Monday, March 19, 2012

Blaze Bayley


Blaze Bayley
The King Of Metal
Blaze Bayley Recordings

After Wolfsbane knocked everyone's dick in the dirt to end 2011, there was high hopes for front-man Blaze Bayley's return to all things metal in 2012. Expectations got even higher when he went with "The King Of Metal" as a title. I mean, fuck ... Blaze may not have set the world on fire during his time fronting Iron Maiden, but the guy's do-it-all-for-the-fans mentality, don't-let-the-bastards-grind -ya' down-ethic and working-for-a-living-charm has made him the definitive underdog to root for. Sure, he kept the seat warm for Bruce Dickinson during the alt-rock, grunge explosion, but what no one but Steve fuckin' Harris has the balls to say is that he saved Maiden's ass when Dickinson flaked out and didn't want to weather the shit-storm. Afterwords he got sacked when said former singer hopped on the reunion bandwagon, dusted himself off and record label/manager conspiracy and all still put out some of the most criminally underrated metal work on the planet. But the ever-revolving door of musicians may have finally caught up to him. "KOM" sounds more like a rushed release to get back out on the road than the anthemic efforts of year's past. It's muddy in parts, unfinished in others, and some of it's even downright cringe-worthy (see the news report-like lyrics of "Dimebag" - an ode to the fallen Pantera axe-man). You hate to say a cross word about such a good guy, but Blaze missed the mark here. Ideas start and sort of don't go anywhere. Still, for a guy who has arguably never had a dud he was in charge of up to this point, we can cut him some slack. There's enough here to still rock live (title track, "Fighter," "Black Country"), and yet another inspirational tear-jerking ode to really, and I mean really, really, really never letting the bastards grind you down ("One More Step). It's easily his worst record, but somehow it's still so god damned honest it'll probably end up being a classic. 5/10 -- B.J. Lisko

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