Artist:  Blaze Bayley
   Title:  Promise And Terror
   Label:  Blaze Bayley Recs 

It's been a tough couple of years for Blaze Bayley. Since the release of the bands last album 'The Man Who Would Not Die' in 2008, Blaze has had to cope with the tragic death of his wife, and also the loss of his father. These experiences however have made the man stronger, as he describes in the sleeve-notes of the new album, 'Promise and Terror'.
 
The album starts with the barnstorming 'Watching The Night Sky', which thunders out of the speakers like an express train. Similar to the track 'The Man Who Would Not Die', this will most likely be the show opener on the 2010 tour, and is an excellent showcase for Blaze's powerful voice.  A powerful and solid drum pattern from Larry Paterson backs up the track, which also has a catchy riff that gets under your skin after a while, as well as the customary killer solo and crowd participation 'woah-oh-ohs' that are a trademark of a lot of the bands best work.
 
'Madness and Sorrow' rattles along afterwards, and the speed is upped a notch.  When Blaze declares he "won't take more madness and sorrow", you can tell these words are heartfelt. The brilliant crunching riff is never far away in the track and when the kick drum gets going in this one it's a real classic.  Probably the best track on the album.
 
'1633' starts with a rumbling bass line before the thrashy guitars take over in this tale of Galileo facing the Inquisition. Again Blaze puts his all into this track, a tell of a man begging for his freedom. This song boasts an awesome solo and is also quite possibly the heaviest track on the album. Up there with the best of Blaze.
 
'God of Speed', as Blaze explains in the sleeve-notes, is based on the story of Burt Monroe, whose story is documented in the film 'The World's Fastest Indian'. This track is a bit of a slow-burner and the pace is turned down a bit compared to the tracks that have gone before it, however it is still a heavy slab of metal with a crunch and a memorable chorus that brings the classic Blaze track 'Ghost In The Machine' to mind.
 
A marching drumbeat opens the next track, 'City of Bones', which describes the 900 day siege of Leningrad by the Germans during the Second World War. Another thunderous track with excellent guitar work from Nicolas Bermudez and Jay Walsh, the tune contains another killer solo which is a hallmark of the album, and another killer chorus of 'Stand and Fight, Fight for Your Life!' echoing the work ethic of the band. A simply brilliant tune.
 
The mighty 'Faceless' follows, a juddering, stuttering colossus of a tune which is certain to become a live favourite. The chorus line "A man that no one hates" sharply gets stuck in your brain! The pace never slows down on this track which would make an ideal single, much like 'Robot' from the previous album.
 
'Time to Dare' is a statement of intent with a soaring guitar riff and is marked out with more thunderous drumming.
 
The final four tracks merge are merged together, and, as Blaze describes in his sleeve-notes, form a sort of suite about him coping with the trials and tribulations of the last couple of years. 'Surrounded By Sadness' sounds almost medieval by starting off with just an acoustic guitar and Blaze's voice, and then builds up into a slow-burning riff before slamming into the next track 'The Trace of Things That Have No Words'. This is lyrically the most open Blaze has been about recent times, ("my scars prove my life was real" being a prominent lyric) and how important it has been for him to keep going. 

The music itself is typical blood and thunder from the band with no let up in the heaviness at all. Another excellent tune, 'Letting Go of The World' follows, which is a monstrous slow-burner which suddenly takes an almighty unexpected u-turn in the last couple of minutes to become a headbangers delight of a track. 'Fight, Kill, F**k, Eat' proclaims Blaze in one of the albums finest moments, indeed one of the finest moments of the bands career to date. Finishing off with the reflective 'Comfortable in Darkness' on which Blaze's voice is at its very best, this album builds upon the excellent previous album and adds a little extra into the mix. The excellent production also deserves a mention, and I myself am looking forward to hearing some of these tracks in the live setting.
 
An early contender for album of the year.

Review by: Dan

Tracklisting:

1. Watching The Night Sky
2. Madness And Sorrow
3. 1633
4. God Of Speed
5. City Of Bones
6. Faceless
7. Time To Die
8. Surrounded By Sadness
9. The Trace Of Things That Have No Words
10. Letting Go Of The World
11. Comfortable In Darkness

 

                  

 

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