By Ryan Falla
Former Iron Maiden vocalist Blaze Bayley releases his 9th solo album ‘Endure and Survive’ as a continuation of a sci-fi trilogy concept presented in the record ‘Infinite Entanglement’. The fact that this is a heavy “sci-fi” oriented album calls back to Blaze’s ‘X-Factor’ and ‘Virtual XI’ days with Iron Maiden. Now, Blaze isn’t trying to call back to his Iron Maiden fame, this sci-fi power metal concept is simply what lies in the wheelhouse of Blaze Bayley.
‘Endure and Survive’ takes the most successful and simplest elements of power metal to build a solid record that rings with echoes of Iron Maiden in a completely natural way. I have to stress the fact that, while Blaze brings a lot of what he had in his Iron Maiden days, this is not a cash grab record. What happens in this record is a product of Blaze Bayley’s natural writing instincts, and this is not a contrived continuation of his career with Iron Maiden.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can discuss the album without confusion over whether ‘Endure and Survive’ is a nostalgia grab towards Iron Maiden. This record does an interesting job of showcasing what Blaze Bayley brought to Iron Maiden; straightforward power metal. Blaze Bayley always brings a strong presence with his power metal approach, yet as with his career with Iron Maiden there is a showing of musical talent that is interesting… but it’s not overly compelling.
While the album as a whole is simply “decent”, there is enough to solidify ‘Endure and Survive’ as a competent record with occasional flashes of inspiration within the listener. There are tracks such as ‘Dawn of the Dead Son’ that successfully flashes tones of his Iron Maiden days without becoming overbearing. Again, this is simply a showing of the writing talents Blaze took to Iron Maiden; this is not a nostalgia grab at his Iron Maiden days. It’s an interesting showing, because while being listenable, it isn’t fantastical or majestic; it’s simply a solid showing.
I already know what you’re thinking coming into this record; “Am I going to get some Sign of the Cross magic in this record”?
Short answer: No.
Long answer: Steve Harris wrote Sign of the Cross, don’t be silly.
One of my personal favorite tracks on this record is the acoustic track ‘Remember’, a very special track that takes a Renaissance-stylized focus that emphasizes jaunty instrumentals full of accordions, the violin and nylon acoustic guitar.
There is not a lot within ‘Endure and Survive’ to call it an outstanding or simply a “great” record. There are not many praises to be sung while simultaneously holding no seriously detracting elements.
To put it bluntly, ‘Endure and Survive’ is a record for Iron Maiden fanatics who need to absorb anything Iron Maiden, and the dedicated Blaze Bayley fan base. This album isn’t going to grip you in any significant way, but it won’t turn you off in any significant way either.
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Release Date: March 3rd 2017
01. Endure and Survive (4:36)
02. Escape Velocity (3:28)
03. Blood (4:41)
04. Eating Lies (4:49)
05. Destroyer (4:31)
06. Dawn of the Dead Son (5:30)
07. Remember (4:06)
08. Fight Back (3:32)
09. The World Is Turning the Wrong Way (4:36)
10. Together We Can Move the Sun (8:15)
Total Duration: 48:04