April 6, 2021 Blaze Bayley – War Within Me (Album Review)
Looking back at one’s accomplishments can be a positive motivation to soldier on, even during the roughest of times. Sometimes taking on that leadership role can alleviate the pressure of rejection but also push boundaries into the highest version of oneself. English-born Heavy Metal Vocalist Blaze Bayley, best known for his 1994-1999 stint with Iron Maiden, may be about to put his best face forward with his latest album, War Within Me. Out for release on Friday, April 9th, 2021, this is the first full-length, full-Metal studio album from Bayley since the conceptual albums from the Infinite Entanglement trilogy which concluded in 2018.
In fact, rather than jump into another Science Fiction concept album, Bayley has taken a direct approach to exploring the interworking of himself, using this self-exploration as a tool to powerfully push towards the brightest future possible. With this, the 10-song collection sends off the perfect vibes to motivate those feeling the draining effects of everyday life struggles. And Bayley emphasizes this by kickstarting the LP with its title track, “War Within Me,” which serves as a bold choice as well as a sanctified message to fight for another day.
However, this is one of those free-range albums that can really be played in any order and still be as effective. Still, second track “303” seems reminiscent of something that could be an Iron Maiden tune but with a different set of strings. Nevertheless, it’s a fun blastoff kind of tune that is subtly followed by the song “Warrior,” which takes fans back to Blaze’s solo routes.
Shifting towards the meat of the album, “Pull Yourself Up” weighs in on the struggle of emerging from the darkened depression that life can sometimes feed people. This jumps into the tune “Witches Night,” though it is not until three-quarters of the way through that the broomsticks really start to take off into the guitar solos. It is worth the wait, however, though it abruptly makes its end before the catchy tune “The Dream Of Alan Turing.”
Precisely at this point some speedy Heavy Metal riffs rev up the airwaves with “The Power Of Nikola Tesla.” This seems to be one of Bayley’s most inspired tunes, perhaps due to the relation of the subject matter to musical arrangement. Then, beginning the exciting conclusion of War Within Me, is the six-minute long “The Unstoppable Stephen Hawking.” As some may recall, Stephen Hawking passed away back in March 2018, but his legendary scientific theories live on, and the track seems an appropriate tribute to him that fans can experience with joy. Though, in the end, the LP comes to a close with “Every Storm Ends,” another lengthy tale serving its “keep on trucking” kind of message quite well. It has a powerful motive but ends in a peaceful tone.
These days Bayley has a consistent lineup working with him, one whose members include players from the British Metal band Absolva—including Christopher Appleton on guitar plus backing vocals, Martin McNee on the drums, and Karl Schramm on bass. Additionally, Appleton shared the work of mixing and producing alongside Bayley. Meanwhile, the creative mastery of the album’s cover artwork was created by Akirant Illustration, who has some high-ranking credibility with their work completed for Iron Maiden as well as Star Wars.
This consistency does not hurt Bayley’s latest collection, which is certainly up to par with its competitors. An enjoyable addition to the exceptional vocalist’s oeuvre of material, War Within Me is apt to keep fans engaged during this pandemic, waiting patiently for the day when he can tour once again. For this reason, Cryptic Rock gives the album 4.5 out of 5 stars in rating. Here’s hoping for a successful future for all those whose lives have been put on hold!