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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Blaze Bayley

The King Of Metal

Review by Larry Toering

Blaze Bayley has been through an awful lot in the last several years, and rather than go through all of that stuff, it's best to key in on what he's done in the studio on this hot new release. There is no denying the metal force that Bayley is, and he makes the point ever so clear that he does not mess around. He is a very self confident individual who's message is to not let anyone push you around or shape your life by their bad influence. He pleads to the average man that everyone has a purpose and got here that way and will leave this earth that way the same. The King Of Metal is a breath of fresh air if you're a fan of Bayley’s. If not you probably will be after you get a load of this hot slab of black country metal, the same kind his former fellow rockers Iron Maiden, as well as Judas Priest, Pantera and others play. His band is in full force here, with a sound that can't be beaten. At times it even gets operatic in an acceptable way for any hard rock fan. This album is a statement, one that Bayley is out to make with a vengeance.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The King Of Metal

Instant pile driving comes on strong from the drums and everything joins in as the chant begins. This is insanely rapid with speeds reaching terminal velocity as it soars downward into the ground like a jackhammer taking everything with it as it goes. Bayley runs the show with a killer lyric that hits right home with all the wit to knock 15 politicians out of their thrones. This is virtually awesome!

Dimebag
The title hints at the obvious, as this is a story about the great Pantera guitarist who was murdered on stage during one of Pantera’s performances in 2004. Not only does Bayley sing his all for the deceased guitar hero, but this also features some outstanding guitar work from both twin leads. This is a stormer of a track to say the least, as homage is payed with the utmost respect.
The Black Country
This has all the feel of blacksmiths forging their steel, with a husky vocal to keep its strength. This is an industrial-styled number that just won’t quit. The guitar really comes on strong with some of the wildest playing on offer. This is one piece of killer metal, just a hard hitting well structured song all the way. It is one of the most enjoyable numbers here.
The Rainbow Fades to Black
If the last number wasn't hard enough, this should do the business, as it's another fine metal minded track with a machine gun like effect going through it. I love the chorus here as Bayley chants “it's never coming back.” This seems to have a very Dio-like feeling to it.  Who knows, it could be written about about him. Perhaps not, but it fits. This is simply another killer tune with all kinds of melodic guitar playing that is totally cosmic. This winds up going perfectly with a bullhorn mic effect from Bayley. It just gets better as it goes. How cool!
Fate
This is more of the same and Bayley doesn't seem to lose a step as he goes. This is just as good as anything on offer here. The title speaks for itself in defining this.
One More Step

 A piano gives a surprising wrinkle to the mix, but it's really just a set up for Baley's operatic vocal, which is interesting and very cool. He sings about taking steps, one by one, and you just can't deny its menacing charm. This is a very commanding vocal performance with a melodic hook to it that just pleases. I would like to hear this one vocal track separated from the music, just to see how it sounds without backing.

Fighter
This is very English in its entire delivery, as Bayley carries on about the warrior in each of us. There is more great stuff here. More piledriving drums and machine gun guitar are featured. Once again the way Bayley controls his voice is technically brilliant, without losing any of the rough edge for which he’s famous. There is more absolutely stunning guitar work here as well. I really wouldn't want to go up against Bayley in a dark alley, it wouldn't be pretty. The whole thing goes into a chant of Bayley telling his opponent to “get up one more time” and then the speeds increase beyond belief.
Judge Me

Again, the pace is mesmerizing and the vocals are beefy as a bull. The singing here is lyrically to the point of the title as anyone can imagine being judged. He really hits home with some of these words, “you haven't done what I've done,” and “I don't think I'm better than you / Just better than you think I am.” Out of everything on offer here, this is my pick for the best track. This is totally incendiary on every level!

Difficult
More machine gun pace continues to get belted out here. It’s combined with an extraordinary vocal that reminds me of Rob Halford. In fact, there is even a slight Judas Priest feeling to the music, as well. Bayley manages to kick rocks all over the place here and go through the usual interesting vocal changes throughout. You just have love that sort of thing. I love the guitar bits here, too. This is about as Maiden as anything gets here.
Beginning
Closing with yet another extremely interesting vocal from Bayley, this one is a brooding ballad with no breaks. It’s just a straight forward tune with what I would call a melancholy vibe. It takes the proceedings out with an unexpected grace and perfection. It’s a great way to end the set.
 
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