Blaze Bayley – Damaged Strange Different and Live

Blaze Bayley – Damaged Strange Different and Live
Blaze Bayley Recording
Release Date: 07/07/23
Running Time: 43:27
Review by Simon Black

This man is if nothing else a true survivor, and not just in terms of his recent health challenges. Personally, I’ve always rated him as both a singer and as a frontman, although I never felt he was the right fit for his brief stint in Iron Maiden, with everything he did either side of that challenging period proving to have lasted the tests of time way more strongly. And like a fine wine he gets better with age, as 2021’s “War Within Me” scored a respectable 9/10 from me on these very pages and given it’s one I’ve kept in my playlists, I stand by that review. He’s also had lots of thumbs up for his live tour for that album (although I feel for the Absolva guys pulling double duties as both support and backing band) and so I had high hopes for this one. I wasn’t let down either…

With only nine tracks culled from shows on that tour, the only disappointing thing about this release is that it’s not a full-length headline set, which is a shame because I think that could have worked, although when you are releasing things independently on your own label and want something reasonably priced to sell at shows, a single CD does make sense. It also has the second order benefit of probably being the cream of the crop, with not a filler in site and therefore remaining hugely effective throughout it’s forty-five minutes. The best sign of all? When I finished I wanted to listen again…

And again… 

…And that’s the best sign of all.

It would also have been easy to let the most recent album’s material dominate (although it’s a belter) but only four songs are taken from there with the rest peppering his career, although inevitable three come from his Maiden period. That said I think these three surprised me the most, as he delivers them with a power, grace and confidence that was lacking back in the day, which has also forced me to go back and revaluate that material. Much to my surprise it has aged well, like the now fully recovered Blaze who is hopefully ready to deliver the next belter in the studio sometime soon. In the meantime, this roaringly energetic live performance shows just why five years in the biggest Metal band on the planet is not the only thing Blaze Bayley should be remembered for. Spot on…

01. War Within Me
02. Pull Yourself Up
03. Warrior
04. The Power of Nikola Tesla
05. 18 Flights
06. Lord of the Flies
07. Judgement of Heaven
08. Fortunes of War
09. Como Estais Amigos

Blaze Bayley – Vocals
Christopher Appleton – Lead Guitar
Luke Appleton – Guitar
Martin Mcnee – Drums
Karl Schramm – Bass


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