CD Blood & Belief (CD 963496),
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Blood & Belief

  • 1. Alive
    2. Ten Seconds
    3. Blood and Belief
    4. Life and Death
    5. Tearing Yourself to Pieces
    6. Hollow Head
    7. Will to Win
    8. Regret
    9. Path and the Way, The
    10. Soundtrack of My Life
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 69562

  • Credits
    ProducerAndy Sneap
    EngineerAndy Sneap

    Blaze (Rock Band)/Blaze (Metal): Blaze Bayley (vocals); John Slater (guitar); Wayne Banks (bass instrument); Jason Bowld (drums).
    Someday, Iron Maiden main man Steve Harris will have to explain just how singer Blaze Bayley was made to sound so tiny and subdued during his short stint with the British metal gods, while in both his pre-Maiden days as vocalist of Wolfsbane and subsequent work fronting his own group, Blaze, he could roar like a lion. Coincidence or conspiracy, we'll probably never know, but it's hard not to suspect foul play after experiencing the power and command with which he leads Blaze -- the band -- through their third studio effort, 2004's very impressive Blood & Belief. Taking a simpler, more direct road to heavy metal mania, Blaze's material keeps well away from both Wolfsbane's overt Van Halen-isms and Maiden's grandly epic ambitions. Instead, the band's songwriting embraces more straightforward hard rock structures, in many ways recalling the category-free, modern metal style employed by Bruce Dickinson during his solo sojourn, ironically enough. As such, initial offerings like "Alive," "Ten Seconds," and (to a lesser degree) the title track counter their rougher metallic tendencies with a chart-minded economy, always ensuring that the kids can scream along with the chorus as they bang their heads against the stage. Even better are ensuing numbers "Life and Death" and the wonderfully tense "Tearing Yourself to Pieces," both of which slow the pace down somewhat but comparatively turn up the drama to achieve startlingly heavy results. But they also cast a shadow over the album's second half, which alternates additional bright spots (the anthemic "Will to Win," the emotionally charged "Regret," the surprisingly confessional "Soundtrack of My Life") with some forgettable headbangers ("Hollow Head," "The Path & the Way"). Still, the final balance is undoubtedly positive, arguably obscuring both of those Bayley-sung Maiden LPs (no great challenge there) and notching a definite win for the little guy. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

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