My first impression.....This is the best Blaze solo album yet and definitely the best vocal perfrmance by Blaze.
There are 2 basic elements that really make this album special. Firstly is the awesome riffing in some of the songs that turn them into Heavy Metal dynamites (listen to “Watching The Night Sky” and “Faceless” and you’ll know exactly what I mean) and secondly the variety in the compositions since the songs themselves are ranging from speed metal thunderbolts to more dark/atmospheric approach (like the stunning “Comfortable in Darkness” ) where Blaze’s singing is more than awesome, taking advantage of the baritone sound of his voice.
Opening with “Watching The Night Sky,” the fast-paced riff is similar to a Maiden song, complete with whoa-oh-whoa-oh sing-along parts. The chorus shows Blaze’s great vocal range as well as some killer guitar leads and great drum fills throughout the song. Definitely a good start to the album.
"Madness and Sorrow" follows in a similar vein to ensure a one-two punch of overt heaviness is unleashed to kick-start the album into life. This song features some terrific trade-off guitar solos!
Slowly the song "1633" begins with a bass line and heavy riffs, then the song becomes a heavy, riff-based tune. As soon as Blaze joins in the tune becomes really heavy. This song has those historical type references and elements not unlike many great Maiden songs this one being based on Galileo if I am not mistaken and the church not accepting his heliocentric views.
"God Of Speed" is next which is a great creative song which seems to me to be about motorcycle riding??? It features a fantastic building chorus.
Next some military style drumming introduces the military themed "City Of Bones" This song is quite complex and features rolling bass drums and just some killer guitar sounds.
"Faceless" is next giving us a fast paced song that has some terrific lyrics. Nice guitar work here once again!
"Time To Dare" (my current favorite) includes some terrific guitar work, is rather catchy, and Blaze just nails a great vocal performance on this one!
The final 4 songs are a suite of sorts. The gaps between are VERY minimal and so they flow together. "Surrounded By Sadness", The Trace Of Things That Have No Words", "Letting Go Of The World" and "Comfortable In Darkness" comprise this very sophisticated, wonderful deep, dark, mournful ball of sadness for the album to burn away to an ending. Obviously inspired by all that Blaze has been through in the last year with the loss of his dad and wife, the emotion is very evident in the lyrics, vocals and music. Powerful to say the least! Some lyrics that really pop out as a bit strange in here are "FIGHT KILL FUCK EAT"
All in all, great album! No filler so to speak as far as I am concerned. A lot of elements are combined in this very complex and intricate artwork that words fail to describe properly. There are thrashy speed metal sections as well as some power metalish stuff as well as some just good old fashion kick you in the gut metal!
Most outstanding is the drumming! Excellent rolls and fills throughout! The guitar work is definitely excellent as well!
Nice job Blaze and band!
If you are in doubt about Blaze due to not liking the Blaze Maiden era much, this will put your doubts right out the window! Listen to it!