Blaze Bayley

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
I'd say they weren't even started with, as in proper recording. Maiden was on tight budget at VXI sessions. The X Factor took years, the band had inactive years 1994 and 1997 with the sales and audiences being less than they used to be. VXI had to be released pretty swiftly, maybe also due to the Q4 of 1998 being filled with big metal festivals in South America. They had no B-sides which points to shortened studio time. From that angle it's easy to see how 4 songs could've been left completely undeveloped.

However it's 1998 and Harris has a studio of his own where Maiden recorded 4 albums. So there might be studio demos of the stuff with Blaze. Not songs in preproduction or production just studio demos because Harris has access and knows how to use one.
I think it's not unusual for Steve to have demos/ideas from previous albums sessions. He is full of ideas.

Maybe they wrote 12-14 songs during VXI sessions (like during TXF sessions), but decided that they will do an 8-songs album again and Steve saved these 4 songs for the next album (i.e. BNW). Besides, Janick wrote only one song for the album, so it's not surprising that Steve has written so many songs. And they already (sort of) had filled the spots in the album with these type of songs - Blood Brothers/CEA (slow song), The Mercenary/Futureal (fast rocker), DOM/The Clansman (song with acoustic parts), The Nomad/DLTTEOAS (song with long instrumental section).

Edit: ''We actually ended up doing 14 songs for TXF album and we used 11'', said Steve, ''which is very unusual for us''.
 
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TheMercenary

Ancient Mariner

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
Was meant to see Blaze last night for the first time but the fates were against me once more and I spent the night caring for my sickness ravaged children instead.

Which was an easy choice to make but I feel a bit gutted. Really need the catharsis of live music

I am sorry to hear this and hope your children are feeling better!
 

Black Abyss Babe

Quantum weather butterfly
Was meant to see Blaze last night for the first time but the fates were against me once more and I spent the night caring for my sickness ravaged children instead.

Which was an easy choice to make but I feel a bit gutted. Really need the catharsis of live music
Sorry you had to miss it - if it's any consolation, a couple of people at the front seemed to be filming the whole show so you may still get to watch it. I know it's not the same, but there will be other times to come, I'm confident of that now.

Every storm ends: Blaze is right :)
 

Boroking

I talk to planets…
Sorry you had to miss it - if it's any consolation, a couple of people at the front seemed to be filming the whole show so you may still get to watch it. I know it's not the same, but there will be other times to come, I'm confident of that now.

Every storm ends: Blaze is right :)

The time will come you’re right. I’m half considering driving up to the Christmas Bash at KK’s Steel Mill in December as a consolation prize. Blazes music really helped me through the lockdowns so seeing him would be a nice way to sign off the last few years. Still the riffs can wait
 
Since I made a post bashing 2000s Maiden, I'm continuing my agenda of spreading curmudgeonly negativity (I'm kidding) by bashing War Within Me, as it's another essay I've had written in my head for months.

I didn't like Blaze's last album so I wasn't getting my hopes up about this one. It's not without redeeming qualities as the Absolva band is really talented and Blaze sounds really good on some songs, but there's just too many leaks that sink the ship for me.

1. Absolva's power metal sound isn't my cup of tea. Chris Appleton is a hell of a guitarist and a pleasure to watch live, and everyone else are solid musicians too, but stylistically it sounds watered down and cheesy. There's some kickass instrumental sections (I love the solo breakdown on Pull Yourself Up) and they come up with some great riffs. I don't think you always have to reinvent the wheel to be good, but the Absolva band's sound has grown stale. There's just so many better things one can be listening to and offering something so pedestrian and bland doesn't give the listener much incentive to listen to it.

2. Blaze. Yeah, the man himself has been a problem for a while. He blatantly uses autotune on this album which is so fucking greasy and made me lose a lot of respect for him. He's basically telling his fans he's grown complacent and doesn't give a shit about improving his technique, which has never really been great to begin with. Blaze's sense of phrasing has always been piss poor. It's frustrating as a fan because if he actually practiced and fixed his technical shortcomings, he's be one of the greatest singers ever. He's just so inconsistent. When Blaze is on his game, he sounds godly. But when he's not, he sounds like pure ass. The autotuned, computerized choruses make me immediately turn it off, it's such crap. I've heard him sing these songs live in videos and he sounds way better, un-autotuned, so what gives?

3. The lyrics. Blaze's inspirational, TED talk lyrics are getting tiresome. "Don't give up, believe in yourself, don't listen to the haters". Yawn. Blaze always hits you with a barrage of motivational clichés that sound copy pasted from a self help book. I get he's overcome adversity in his life, but my gosh dude write about other things. It's so one dimensional at this point. He used to write so eloquently about other things. Also the spiels he goes on at live shows about how he's proved the naysayers wrong has really outstayed its welcome. I wonder if the guys in the band roll their eyes every time he goes on a 5 minute rant about the haters. It reeks of insecurity as if you were truly confident in yourself, you wouldn't spend so much time constantly perseverating about the haters. He's already proven himself with an excellent solo career, it's a moot point and he should quit beating the dead horse.

4. The production. Not a big stickler about production like I said in my other post about 2000s Maiden, but this is the worst mixing I've ever heard. Apparently Blaze did it himself so that makes a lot of sense. The bass is barely audible and just adds mud to the mix. The vocals are poorly mixed. The whole thing sounds like a jumbled mess.
 

CA Bryers

Educated Fool
1. Absolva's power metal sound isn't my cup of tea. Chris Appleton is a hell of a guitarist and a pleasure to watch live, and everyone else are solid musicians too, but stylistically it sounds watered down and cheesy. There's some kickass instrumental sections (I love the solo breakdown on Pull Yourself Up) and they come up with some great riffs. I don't think you always have to reinvent the wheel to be good, but the Absolva band's sound has grown stale. There's just so many better things one can be listening to and offering something so pedestrian and bland doesn't give the listener much incentive to listen to it.

2. Blaze. Yeah, the man himself has been a problem for a while. He blatantly uses autotune on this album which is so fucking greasy and made me lose a lot of respect for him. He's basically telling his fans he's grown complacent and doesn't give a shit about improving his technique, which has never really been great to begin with. Blaze's sense of phrasing has always been piss poor. It's frustrating as a fan because if he actually practiced and fixed his technical shortcomings, he's be one of the greatest singers ever. He's just so inconsistent. When Blaze is on his game, he sounds godly. But when he's not, he sounds like pure ass. The autotuned, computerized choruses make me immediately turn it off, it's such crap. I've heard him sing these songs live in videos and he sounds way better, un-autotuned, so what gives?
I think at this point in the game when it comes to Blaze's career, both he and most of his fans have come to accept this is likely as good as it's going to get from here on out. Yeah, there's nothing revolutionary or even new to Absolva's sound and whatnot, but it's a hell of a lot better than the dire circumstances they brought him out of during the KoM era when he had no band whatsoever and no direction as to what he was going for musically.

As for his voice, if you've read At the End of the Day, you know he has little interest in improving his vocal abilities and hasn't for a long time. One of the original BLAZE members (I forget which) said Blaze had once told them that his going out of tune was an artistic choice, which he called bullshit on. And how old is Blaze now? Not ancient by any means, but he's not about to reinvent himself at this point whether by technique or some new, more innovative direction. He has a solid backing band who's stuck with him through four albums and they give his fans the trad/power metal they expect from Blaze as a solo artist. This lineup has delivered one of the best albums of his career, IMO (Endure and Survive), so it's not like all hope is lost that he could produce an album that lives up to your expectations in the future.

Just my thoughts on the state of things. And I agree, WWM is far from perfect, but there's plenty to like about it (and I've come to expect a "pull yourself up" sort of song on almost every album at this point, so that doesn't bother me).
 
I think at this point in the game when it comes to Blaze's career, both he and most of his fans have come to accept this is likely as good as it's going to get from here on out. Yeah, there's nothing revolutionary or even new to Absolva's sound and whatnot, but it's a hell of a lot better than the dire circumstances they brought him out of during the KoM era when he had no band whatsoever and no direction as to what he was going for musically.

As for his voice, if you've read At the End of the Day, you know he has little interest in improving his vocal abilities and hasn't for a long time. One of the original BLAZE members (I forget which) said Blaze had once told them that his going out of tune was an artistic choice, which he called bullshit on. And how old is Blaze now? Not ancient by any means, but he's not about to reinvent himself at this point whether by technique or some new, more innovative direction. He has a solid backing band who's stuck with him through four albums and they give his fans the trad/power metal they expect from Blaze as a solo artist. This lineup has delivered one of the best albums of his career, IMO (Endure and Survive), so it's not like all hope is lost that he could produce an album that lives up to your expectations in the future.

Just my thoughts on the state of things. And I agree, WWM is far from perfect, but there's plenty to like about it (and I've come to expect a "pull yourself up" sort of song on almost every album at this point, so that doesn't bother me).
That's a pretty accurate assesment of the situation IMO. It is pretty dissapointing to hear he's been this complacent from the get go though. I've never heard of "At The End Of The Day" did someone really write a book about Blaze?

I agree Endure and Survive is one of his best albums. My personal top 3 are Silicon Messiah, Endure and Survive and Blood & Belief. (I could never get into the Bermudez albums that much despite a couple classic bangers, and I think the other Absolva albums are pretty meh. Couldn't get into Tenth Dimension much either.) I can only hope he can put out something as good and inspired as that at a later point.
 

TheTalisman

Ancient Mariner
I've never heard of "At The End Of The Day" did someone really write a book about Blaze?
Yes, Lawrence Patterson did, the drummer on The Man That Would Not Die and Promise and Terror. Printed copies were originally sold from Blaze's webshop, and later through Patterson's own website, but now it's just available digitally on Amazon, with Kindle.


Language wise it's not that well written, but it gives some interesting stuff about his time in Maiden, not featured in the Run to the Hills biography, along with an insight into his solo career. Both Janick Gers and Steve Harris were interviewed, along with all of the original line-up of BLAZE and members of the Blaze Bayley band.
 
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