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Blaze Bayley - War Within Me review

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Band: Blaze Bayley
Album: War Within Me
Release date: April 2021

01. War Within Me
02. 303
03. Warrior
04. Pull Yourself Up
05. Witches Night
06. 18 Flights
07. The Dream Of Alan Turing
08. The Power Of Nikola Tesla
09. The Unstoppable Stephen Hawking
10. Every Storm Ends

An enjoyable journey in the middle lane.

Coming off the back of the William Black trilogy that unfolded over the latter half of the past decade, War Within Me sees Blaze Bayley return to straight-up 'between the eyes' heavy metal that has been his forte since becoming a solo act over twenty years ago. While War Within Me doesn't break free of the space Blaze's post-Iron Maiden work has found itself in, it shows that the man does not feel confined by this and has made himself and his audience a comfortable place in metal.

Blaze's partnership with Absolva has been extremely fruitful over the last seven years, with War Within Me proving to be another bounty for fans to get their hands on. The guitar tandem of Appleton and Schramm prove to be the album's high point; indeed, it is their performances on the opening tandem of the title track and "303", as well as later on "18 Flights", that make them the album's highlights. Blaze himself is in top form, giving each track his all and ensuring he does not waste the opportunity given to him. While tracks like "Warrior" are cheesy, they are somewhat endearing in their bombast and sit on the right side of the fence thanks to the confiding and imposing performance by Blaze.

The rest of the album is solid and worth the price of admission, offering listeners an enjoyable experience overall and a good counterpoint for people who sell him short solely based on his two-album stint in Maiden. "The Power Of Nikola Tesla" will hook you in with its chorus and guitar solo, leaving you nodding and humming along without immediately noticing.

The material does walk the line between being cheesy and enjoyable and the wrong kind of cheesy; an example of the latter is "Pull Yourself Up", which is too cheesy for its own good and overdoes the self-help part too much. Thankfully, while "Pull Yourself Up" is the worst of the bunch, it doesn't reach lows that derail the album, rather serving as a lull that sees your attention drift further away. The main issue with the album, however, is that for as good as it is, there is a general feeling that the tracks are good but not great, having room for improvement on all fronts. As enjoyable as songs like "Witches Night" and "The Dream Of Alan Turing" are, they don't push through to the next level of quality necessary to make an album a must-hear.

The album's production is bright and clear, allowing all (bar one) of its components room to breathe and prosper, enabling tracks like "The Unstoppable Stephen Hawking" to excel. The exception to the production is the bass, which hits like a feather on a pillow, barely making a dent except for some general wisps here and there, and leaving the album without a solid floor to stand on top of to benefit the songs.

While War Within Me is a fun and enjoyable listening experience, it is one that is ultimately good but not great; War Within Me is a solid basis to build upon but as a finished article it doesn't have the necessary components to stand as one of the better albums of the year, though unless there is a spate of classic albums this year, it won't come close to being one of the worst albums of the year either.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 7

Written on 10.04.2021 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 110 users
11.04.2021 - 00:02
Rating: 9

Can't wait for my copy to show up! I appreciate you taking the time to review this.
11.04.2021 - 09:43
Didn't like it as much as the other Blaze albums I listened to, but his material is pretty consistent. Huge quality difference between this and the two albums he did with Maiden.
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
11.04.2021 - 21:44

Only heard a couple tracks so far, but they've been great. Did notice some use of auto tune though, which I'm not a fan of.

Blaze has been consistently good to great throughout his solo stuff.
29.05.2021 - 10:13
Rating: 5

Ahhh...thanks for that Pull yourself Up warning...I was half way through that song and was about to ditch the whole album when I thought gong through the review.
Now lemme listen to the rest of the album
In the beginning I was made of clay. Then I bit the apple and they changed me to metal 🤘

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