Blaze – As Live As It Gets

In 1989, a friend of mine turned me on to Wolfsbane’s debut album, Live Fast, Die Fast. The first time I heard him sing, I knew vocalist Blaze Bayley would become famous. He did, eventually, but not in Wolfsbane. In 1993, Bayley left Wolfsbane and became the lead singer for one of the biggest metal acts in the world, Iron Maiden. Despite Bayley’s best efforts, the five years he was with Maiden was five of their worst. After his departure in 1999, Bayley went on to form the band Blaze.
Following 2000’s Silicon Messiah and 2002’s Tenth Dimension comes Blaze’s third release, As Live As It Gets, a live double-disc release. Those wondering if Bayley’s chops can carry a two CD live set need only to pop in the first disc and crank it up to be convinced.

Pulling material from Blaze’s first two albums as well as various tracks from Maiden’s X-Factor and Virtual XI, the eighteen tracks on As Live As It Gets certainly do not disappoint. “Speed of Light”, the opening track, lives up to it’s name as Steve Wray and John Slater take turns shredding riffs as fast as possible.

Disc one wraps with the band’s version of Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused”. While Bayley is no Robert Plant, the band puts enough of a spin on it to make it their own, and the tuned-down, distorted rendition does the classic justice.

Disc two picks up slower than the first, but finally gets up to speed with songs like “Futureal” and “Ghost in the Machine”. By “Tenth Dimension”, the album’s closing track, the band has been cruising along at full speed for quite some time.

As a fan of Bayley’s work, I never felt like he got a fair shake in Iron Maiden. Even his great voice couldn’t pull the band through those dark years. With his new band Blaze, Bayley is allowed to do what he does best. As Live As It Gets is a masterpiece — fans of any portion of Bayley’s work over the years should check out what the man’s been up to lately. Listeners won’t be disappointed.

Disc 1
01. Speed Of Light
02. Two Worlds Collide
03. Steel
04. Kill And Destroy
05. End Dream
06. Stare At The Sun
07. Land Of The Blind
08. Silicon Messiah
09. Dazed And Confused

Disc 2
01. Virus
02. The Brave
03. Stranger To The Light
04. Identity
05. Sign Of The Cross
06. Futureal
07. Ghost In The Machine
08. Born As A Stranger
09. Tenth Dimension

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