Promise & Terror

Blaze Bayley

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Promise & Terror Review

by Alex Henderson

Blaze Bayley, who turned 46 in 2009, has definitely had his ups and downs over the years. When things weren't looking good for his former band, Wolfsbane (who were dropped by Def American), the British singer's luck improved considerably with an invitation to replace Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden. But after half a decade away from Maiden, Dickinson returned in 1999 -- which meant the end of Bayley's association with that power metal powerhouse and the beginning of his own band. Bayley has had his share of hard knocks along the way (including severe clinical depression, a nasty motorcycle accent, and the untimely death of his wife Debbie Hartland from a cerebral hemorrhage and a stroke in 2008), but his survivor instincts serve him well on Promise & Terror. This is an enjoyable effort from the former Maiden/Wolfsbane frontman, whose post-Maiden output has a lot more in common with Maiden than it does with Wolfsbane. This 2010 release is straight-up power metal; there are plenty of Maiden-isms on melodic but hard-driving tracks such as "God of Speed," "Watching the Night," and "City of Bones" -- and on top of those Maiden-isms, Bayley's obvious appreciation of Ronnie James Dio comes through. The Maiden-meets-Dio approach results in an album that isn't remotely groundbreaking but is nonetheless inspired, focused, and passionate; in fact, it sounds as though Bayley is coping with his demons by putting so much energy into this material. And while Promise & Terror doesn't pretend to reinvent the wheel, there's a lot to like about this solid, if derivative, outing.

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