Blaze Bayley is a singer/songwriter born 29th May 1963 in Birmingham, England. Having started his professional music career in Wolfsbane in 1984, his career elevated to global heights when he joined Iron Maiden with whom he released two albums and toured worldwide between 1994 and 1999.
After leaving Iron Maiden, Blaze embarked on a solo career, during which he has released 10 albums and has enjoyed an enviable reputation as one of the hardest working artists touring worldwide.
This brings us to 2018 where Blaze will be releasing and touring a new classical acoustic album entitled ‘December Wind’, co-written with classical acoustic guitarist Thomas Zwijsen who is known for his arrangements of famous rock and metal songs performed in a classical style.
The album will be released on November 9th 2018 via Blaze Bayley Recordings.
It’s hard to know just what to make of this album. It’s different to what you’d normally expect from the metal legend and truth be told is probably for the hardcore fan only. The acoustic/vocal combo is perfectly enjoyable at times but at others it just feels a bit cloying.
There is a bit of folk vibe to the tunes which conjures up images of sitting round a fire watching and listening to Bayley perform. Something that would be awesome at first but would probably get old quick. Thankfully he doesn’t overdo it here as December Wind is only 8 tracks long (not including the 5 bonus tracks but we will get on to them).
It doesn’t start off well as Eye of the Storm’s strumming rhythm feels at odds with Bayley’s impressive vocals. Love Will Conquer All is better though, here the two match up nicely and there’s a little bit more urgency in it.
The coolest moment comes with a wonderfully sombre and pretty cover of Iron Maiden’s 2AM, a track he was part of back when he was in the band. It’s followed by the wonderfully melodic and sweet sounding, Miracle on the Hudson.
Focus is on the lyrical content and Bayley adds a lot of depth thanks to his epic delivery. Songs about World War II (The Crimson Tide) are far more powerful thanks to his deep, clean vocals. Though that doesn’t apply to the poor finale, The Love of Your Life. It’s a foot-tapper thanks to the simple beat but the lyrics are cringe-worthy.
As stated above December Wind also comes with a handful of bonus tracks, the highlight being Stealing Time . It introduces a violin played frantically and is all the better for it.
An odd album and bit too hit and miss to really get excited about. It’s got quality and Blaze Bayley’s voice is on form but a lot of the tracks just don’t resonate.
Blaze Bayley – December Wind Full Track Listing:
1. Eye Of The Storm
2. Love Will Conquer All
4. Miracle On The Hudson
5. December Wind
6. We Fell From The Sky
7. The Crimson Tide
8. The Love Of Your Life
9. Stealing Time (Bonus Track)
10. Russian Holiday (Bonus Track)
11. Soundtrack Of My Life (Bonus Track)
12. One More Step (Bonus Track)
13. Sign Of The Cross (Bonus Track)
Blaze Bayley - December Wind (Blaze Bayley Recordings)
The Final Score - 6/10