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Bayley, Blaze: The Man Who Would Not Die

Fourth solo album from the onetime Iron Maiden and Wolfsbane vocalist and after some critically acclaimed but commercially overlooked offerings in the past, The Man Who Would Not Die has more than enough of the necessary musical muscle to do justice to its titular statement of intent. This is a weighty offering, not just in terms of the more than sixty minutes running time but also by virtue of the powerful dynamic that exists between Blaze Bayley the vocalist and Blaze Bayley the band. A strong and self-assured vocal performance is a recurring theme of The Man Who Would Not Die as are the chunky riffs of guitarists Nick Bermudez and Jay Walsh. Add in the meaty rhythm section of bassist David Bermudez and drummer Lawrence Paterson and this is far and away the best bunch of musicians Blaze has been associated with since leaving Maiden.

After a energetic title track lays down a marker for much of what is to follow the slightly more pedestrian "Blackmailer" is less immediate but is followed by the epic "Smile Back At Death" where the band really moves up a gear. With lyrics seemingly inspired by the Gladiator movie Blaze has clearly expanded his horizons where dark riffs blend seamlessly with melody to provide the albums stand-out moment. Maintaining the momentum is the near ballad "While You We're Gone" with a blistering mid-section where both guitarists shine and the historical theme of the lyrics is continued with the aggressive "Samurai". The quirky "Robot" evokes the spirit of Blade Runner and keeps up the relentless pace and leads into the second real gem, "At The End Of The Day". Another extremely well structured mid-tempo piece high on atmosphere and emotion the lyrics are a defiant swipe to the doubters and once again there is some sparkling interplay between Bermudez and Walsh. A powerhouse vocal on the thumping "Voices from The Past" is evidence that Blaze is at the top of his game and determined to endure.

Something of an easy target for the press at times Blaze has responded to his detractors in the best possible way. The Man Who Would Not Die might well be one of the best metal albums you haven't yet heard. This is the album that really should elevate him back to where he belongs and with the tour schedule stretching out into next year there is clearly a lot of self-belief that this might prove to be the case.

Track Listing
The Man Who Would Not Die
Smile Back At Death
While You Were Gone
Crack In The System
At The End Of The Day
Waiting For My Life To Begin
Voices From The Past
The Truth Is One
Serpent Hearted Man

Added: April 5th 2009
Reviewer: Dean Pedley
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 2205
Language: english

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