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What's everyone got against Blaze?
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Old 23 Sep 2007, 11:12   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default What's everyone got against Blaze?

I keep hearing about how Blaze era Maiden was crap, how Virtual IX and The X Factor are their worst albums, so on and so forth. Now I can't comment on The X Factor because the only song I've heard is Man on the Edge (Which I love BTW) but Virtual IX is a fantastic album.
Now I'll be the first to admit that it's not as good as a lot of the Bruce Dickinson albums, in fact I don't think it's as good as any of the Bruce Dickinson albums but that doesn't stop me loving it.
Blaze Bailey is hardly a bad singer and he almost sounds like a darker, more dangerous Bruce. The music is still Iron Maiden, afterall most songs were still composed by Steve Harris.

Futureal is a great opener, one of the heaviest songs Maiden have yet done it's a short, sharp shout that grabs the listener and drags them along into the album.

The Angel and the Gambler starts with a dull stuttering guitar riff, then really picks up when the second guitar comes in and gives the riff a nice groove. The lyrics are brilliantly clever and catchy, so that's Steve Harris then. Okay so maybe the song is a bit too long for what it is but then so is Manowar's Achilles, agony and ecstacy and I still love that.

Lightning Strikes Twice starts with a dark and quite sinister riff and the vocals match the overall tone of the piece. The song still feels quite disturbing even when the heavy drums and guitars come in. When the song finally finds its true path it turns into a solid headbanger with a good singalong chorus.

The Clansman is a brilliant song, at nearly nine minutes long it's the second longest track on the album and that is no bad thing. The opening guitar is sensuous and intricate. Harris soon joins with a complex bass line and Blaze joins with whispered vocals and soon steps it up in volume, you can tell there's a typical "blast off" point coming up just by the anticipation in Blaze's voice. What a "blast off", "FREEDOOOOOOOOM" turns the song into typical Maiden that we all know and love, big guitars, big drums, big bass, big vocals and yet with the inbuilt subtlety and melody that only Maiden can do.

As with many of the songs on this album When Two Worlds Collide starts off with a rather slow, sinister riff and whispereing Blaze and soon steps up to a full fledged rocker. At first the heavy vocals sound almost like rapping IMO but I don't really mind, the background music and advent of the awesome chorus more than make up for it and if it is rap then it's very loosely rap. The only problem with this song is the lyrics. i assumed it would be a song about the problems of culture clash, a song with real meaning but instead its about two actual planets crashing together... perhaps there's a metaphor i've missed somewhere. Must have been enjoying the song too much to catch it.

The Educated Fool also starts with a slow, sinister riff (geting bored of saying that now) but instead of going straight into the heavy stuff there's a short transition period with some bouncing vocals and guitar. The heavy section is catchy with its clever lyrics and well timed vocals. I also like how at some points the vocals go very jumpy. The chorus has the extended shouts that we expect from Dickinson and are a highlight of the track. The lyrics are clever and deal with a very common real life situation. The solo on this song is possibly a little too long for what it is but it only underlines how good the rest of the song.

Hey guys guess how this next song starts. If you know then e-mail us your answers at slowandsinisterriffs.com. Ok so Don't Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger starts like most of the songs on this album and once again heads into heavier territory sometime later. I don't care, I love this song, the lyrics are chilling in a way none of the other songs have managed so far, the gradual increase in volume and tempo makes you imagine someone slowly gathering pace, always attempting to outdistance the stalking shadow behind them. Then suddenly they start running, running for their life. The song reverts back to its slow beginnings about halfway through, this is where I imagine that our victim has found a "secure" hiding place and is running a piece of advise given to him in his childhood over and overin his head. "Don't look to the eyes of a stranger". As the music slowly gets heavier and heavier the man can hear his persuers footsteps. Terror begins to grip his fast beating heart and just as the stalker reaches the hiding place the victim darts out accompanied by one of the best solos on the album. The chanting of the title at the end accompanied by the sinister music almost makes me think that our victim was caught and as he is being killed by his persuer he runs that same phrase about his mind. Awesome stuff.

And now for the best song on the album Como Estais Amigos is quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs I have ever had the pleasure to listen to. The opening riff is slow but there is certainly nothing sinister about it. If anything it smacks of remorse, relfection and hope. the lyrics are nothing short of phenomenal, it's hard to fully put into words how much the lyrics to this song affect me so I'll just copy some of them directly.

"Shall we keep the fires burning
Shall we keep the flames alight
Should we try to remember
What is wrong and what is right

No more tears
No more tears
If welive for a hundred years
Amigos no more tears"

The song does, again, become heavier later on but it's not a rocky kind of heavy. It's a serene, solemn heavyness that affects you in so many wonderful ways. The solo is easilythe best on the album, the melody contained within in indescribable in its intensity and beauty.

ok so reading through this review it's easy to see that Virtual IX has it's problems, namely most of the songs starting the same, and some of the solos are a bit dull and long but otherwise it's a brilliant album filled with incredible songs that in no way suffer from Blaze being the frontman, in fact I think these songs work fantastically with Blaze and I couldn't imagine Dickinson doing some of them as well.

It may not be up there with Somewhere in Time, A Matter of Life and Death or Brave New World but it's a great album, worthy of any fan of Iron Maiden... I guess that's the bottom line right there, it can't be bad, It's IRON MAIDEN!
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Old 23 Sep 2007, 16:37   #2 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: What's everyone got against Blaze?

The only songs I've actually heard by Blaze Bailey are "The Clansman", "Futureal," and "Man on the Edge." While I didn't like "Futureal," the other two are great. Like you said, "The Clansman" is a great song, really Maiden-like, but I didn't think that "man on the Edge" was really a Maiden song: I just didn't have the right subject matter, while most Maiden songs feature past events or some kind of ideal, "Man on the Edge" seems more like a personal song than anything else...
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Old 23 Sep 2007, 16:46   #3 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: What's everyone got against Blaze?

Actually you're wrong about Man on the Edge. Many Maiden songs use literature and films for inspiration, including classics like The Trooper (Charge of the light brigade), Rime of the ancient mariner (Rime of the ancient mariner), The loneliness of the long distance runner (The loneliness of the long distance runner), To Tame a Land (Dune), The Prisoner (The Prisoner) and so on and so forth. Man on the Edge is based on an old film called Falling Down where a disolusioned weapons expert goes on a rampage around some city.
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Old 23 Sep 2007, 16:56   #4 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: What's everyone got against Blaze?

Its not personally that i have anything against Blaze. He's an amazing vocalist.

However i just feel that his work fits so much better in Blaze (his current project) than it ever did with Maiden.

I know a lot of people feel the same way too.
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Old 23 Sep 2007, 21:38   #5 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: What's everyone got against Blaze?

I just don't get why people think that. As I have already said in my opinion Blaze sounds like a darker version of Dickinson, concidering that at this point Maidens music was also getting darker then it certainly fits. It sounds like Maiden, its a tiny bit darker but so what. It's not drastically different.

It doesn't just seem like people dislike it, some people actually seem to hate it with a passion. I remember reading on here how Commissar Elvis snapped his Virtual IX CD or something like that.
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