In case you were not aware, Iron Maiden is set to release another greatest hits compilation on June 7th (June 6th in the UK). This compilation is titled From Fear To Eternity and features the best of Iron Maiden from 1990 to 2010. No doubt conjured up to coincide with their current tour, in which Iron Maiden is performing mostly their latter day material, From Fear To Eternity is a 2-disc best of that spans No Prayer For The Dying through The Final Frontier.
While it’s great to see a compilation of the later material from the band’s storied career, this album still arrives with disappointment. I was saddened to learn that the tracks from The X Factor and Virtual IX will only be the live versions that Bruce Dickinson sang on concert releases. Why is this happening and who made this decision? It’s bad enough that the fans are brutal when it comes to Blaze Bayley, but now to see that Maiden won’t even include Bayley’s vocal version of “The Clansman,” “Man On The Edge,” or “Sign Of The Cross” is just a slap in the face to a great singer.
Why is Iron Maiden completely ignoring Blaze Bayley? Is it because the fans never really warmed to him? Is it that Steve Harris wants to show the songs from both The X Factor and Virtual IX are great songs, but he thinks the fans won’t pay attention unless Bruce sings them? As far as I know, Blaze and Maiden parted ways on amicable terms and it’s a shame that they seem to write him out of the band’s history. It’s almost as if they are trying to fool fans into thinking that Bruce Dickinson never left.
I’ve always felt that Blaze Bayley got a bum rap. This is a talented singer that had to step in and fill the lead vocalist slot for one of the most beloved bands in all of metal history. There is no one that could compete with Bruce Dickinson, and yet Blaze jumped in and rose to the challenge. When Maiden and Dickinson parted ways in 1993, it was not a pretty departure. Dickinson believed that he would do better as a solo artist and Maiden was understandably put off by this. Dickinson clearly suffered from “Lead Singer’s Disease” if he felt that he would be better off without Steve Harris. The fans were upset, the band was disappointed, and the stage was set for failure no matter who took over the lead vocals.
Enter Blaze Bayley. He worked his ass off and tried his hardest to be an exceptional lead singer for one of the world’s greatest heavy metal bands. However, the fans never gave Bayley a chance. Immediately they shunned The X Factor and the new lead singer for no good reason. The fans were just upset that it wasn’t Bruce and the haters couldn’t wait to get their pot shots in. Everything from the artwork to the length of songs was over scrutinized when The X Factor was released.
Personally, I think that both of the Blaze Bayley albums are excellent. Are they some of the best Iron Maiden albums in the catalog? No. Are they two of the worst? No. They are just solid hard rock records that reflect a certain period in Iron Maiden history. Yet, to not include songs from those albums on a retrospective collection is ridiculous. Perhaps the band is trying to eliminate that portion of their history altogether, or they think their fans are naïve. Either way, it’s wrong.
Blaze Bayley is a talented lead singer who had huge shoes to fill. I can’t think of anyone who would have done any better in that situation. He handled the transition like a true professional, gave his all on both studio albums, and delivered as best he could during the live concerts. He certainly wasn’t Bruce Dickinson, but not many are. Should Iron Maiden ever decide to release a box set, I can only hope that not only will they include the Blaze Bayley studio versions of some of these songs, but also his live renditions of other Maiden classics. That would be a real treat to this Iron Maiden lover.
Blaze Bayley’s second studio album ‘Promise and Terror’ will be released on the band’s own label – Blaze Bayley Recordings – on 1 February 2010 and distributed by Plastic Head.
The accompanying World Tour kicks off in the UK on 6th February 2010 with European & South American tour dates to follow.
On 25 September the book ‘At The End Of The Day’ was released. This follows the story of ‘Blaze’ Bayley Cooke from Wolfsbane to Iron Maiden to BLAZE and, ultimately, to the current self-titled Blaze Bayley band. ‘At The End Of The Day’ is available to buy from the band’s website.
The double live album and live DVD ‘The Night That Will Not Die’, recorded at Z7 in Switzerland, have also been released on Blaze Bayley Recordings; the concert filmed by director Kris McManus and all audio mixed and mastered by producer Jase Edwards.
In 2008, Blaze Bayley released his 4th solo album, The Man Who Would Not Die. On this new album, the former Iron Maiden front man has a brand new band cranking out the quality metal on this release.
Quite honestly, I am not familiar with the musicians in Bayley’s current band. With that being said, I had no expectations going into Blaze Bayley’s latest solo effort. Much to my surprise, Bayley has put together an ultra tight band that truly delivers the goods.
Nicolas and David Bermudez both came from a band called Under Threat. Judging from the tunes on this CD, and the songs I have heard from that band, Blaze Bayley has found two hotshot players for his current group. I am quite impressed with aggressive riffing and pummeling bass of these two brothers from Columbia.
I don’t know why Blaze Bayley doesn’t receive more credit in the metal world. He easily delivers what is the vocal performance of his career.
The Man Who Would Not Die sounds like a classic 80’s metal CD. The songs are filled with super tight riffs, and a kick ass rhythm section to drive the songs home. From the very first song, you will find it impossible to keep yourself from headbanging. The opening and title track, “The Man Who Would Not Die” is the type of song that you will NOT want to drive to. If you do, a speeding ticket may ensue, as the high speed rhythm of this song will definitely pump you up. The shredding on this tune is fantastic!
Some of the highlights on The Man Who Would Not Die are, “Blackmailer”, “Samurai”, “A Crack In The System”, and “Robot”. There honestly isn’t a bad tune on this CD.
I can’t seem to get “Blackmailer” out of my head. It is practically impossible to not sing along with this song. The music is great, and Bayley’s vocals truly give this song a classic metal feel. I love it!
“Samurai” could have easily been a tune from Iron Maiden. It really is that good!
If you love riff heavy metal, you need to find this CD now! The Man Who Would Not Die is one my favorite new metal CD’s. My only complaint is that I didn’t hear this music sooner.
For more information on Blaze Bayley, please visit the band’s myspace page, at this link.
Rating: Out of 10
1. The Man Who Would Not Die
3. Smile Back At Death
4. While You Were Gone
6. A Crack In The System
8. At The End Of The Day
9. Waiting For My Life To Begin
10. Voices From The Past
11. The Truth Is One
12. Serpent Hearted Man
Blaze Bayley Band is:
Blaze Bayley – Vocals
Nicolas Bermudez – Guitars
David Bermudez – Bass
Jay Walsh – Guitars
Lawrence Paterson – Drums
After ten months of intensive touring, the band are back in the studio writing their new album. Recording is due to begin at the end of September after their headline show at Metalfest, UK.
The double live album and live DVD ‘The Night That Will Not Die’, recorded at Z7 in Switzerland, have been released on Blaze Bayley Recordings; the concert filmed by director Kris McManus and all audio mixed and mastered by producer Jase Edwards.
On 25 September the book ‘At The End Of The Day’ will be released. This follows the story of ‘Blaze’ Bayley Cooke from Wolfsbane to Iron Maiden to BLAZE and, ultimately, to the current self-titled Blaze Bayley band. However, this book is not solely about Blaze; rather it traces the history of all the band members, back to their roots in New Zealand, Colombia and…Bristol. ‘At The End Of The Day’ is available to pre-order from the band’s website.