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Bayley, Blaze: Live In France

Singer and metal stalwart Blaze Bayley is as English as the Marmite attitude he often receives from the metal masses. Some absolutely love the fleeting ex-Iron Maiden frontman, voice of Wolfsbane and solo artist of some repute and others, well, don’t. Why this hard working and clearly invested man of metal gets such a rough ride from certain quarters I’ve never quite fathomed but his latest release, Live In France, confirms that not only is the double B a supreme frontman and excellent singer but he’s also provided some seriously top notch traditional/power metal over the years. In recent times that output has revolved around the trio of Infinite Entanglement releases, hence it’s no surprise that this double live set (that comes in the usual formats - I’ve only heard the audio) concentrates on a triplet of albums that rival any in the man’s back catalogue.

Surrounding himself with a serious band in the shape of drummer Martin McNee, bassist Karl Schramm and guitarist Chris Appleton (otherwise known as three quarters of Absolva), the music basically takes care of itself. The power, fury, skill and accuracy required delivered in some style. And with their Absolva band mate and Iced Earth bassist Luke Appleton also joining in the fun for the last five songs on guitar, there’s just no doubt what a live force this outfit are. Bayley himself is in fine form, whether narrating some of the conceptual tales the songs reveal, cajoling the audience into a fervour, or telling his stories through his character filled vocals. This is a man with serious stage time behind him and it shows.

With the ability to roll out Infinite Entanglement cuts such as the memorable “Redeemer” and “The First True Sign”, or the forceful “Fight Back” and “Endure And Survive”, the latter years of Blaze’s work shows up superbly here. Some may decry the lack of material from The Man That Would Not Die album, but with a live release already out there that focused on that era, it’s understandable that repetition is avoided. However, we still get early solo Blaze work in the shape of the underrated “Silicon Messiah”, while it’s no surprise that a quick nod is also given to Blaze’s time with Maiden, with an excellent run through of one the undisputed high points from that era, “Man On The Edge”, and welcome renditions of “The Angel And The Gambler” and “Virus” also standing up really well to fresh scrutiny. However, it is the Blaze Bayley years that we are truly here to celebrate and the closing pair of “Infinite Entanglement” and “Dark Energy” illustrate why, both being triumphant examples of what Blaze and his band provide.

In terms of sound, Live In France is honest, raw and in your face - in fact, if his previous live album, The Night That Would Not Die could maybe be seen as his, well, Live After Death, then this release is more a Live At Donington, in terms of the truthful and engaging sound it provides. More importantly, it makes you wish you’d seen Blaze and his boys on this tour and want to see them on their next. In itself that should tell you that Live In France is a huge success.

Track Listing
Disc one
1.   Redeemer
2.   Are You Here
3.   Futureal
4.   The First True Sign
5.   Silicon Messiah
6.   Dawn of the Dead Son
7.   Escape Velocity
8.   Fight Back
9.   Prayers of Light
10. Virus

Disc two
1.   Independence
2.   Immortal One
3.   Human
4.   Calling You Home
5.   Endure and Survive
6.   Angel and the Gambler
7.   Man on the Edge
8.   A Thousand Years
9.   Infinite Entanglement
10. Dark Energy

Added: March 10th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Blaze Bayley online
Hits: 735
Language: english

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