REVIEW: Blaze – Silicon Messiah (2000)

BLAZE_0001BLAZE – Silicon Messiah (2000 SPV)

It took Blaze Bayley a couple years to bounce back with a new band and album, and given the fan reception to his work with Iron Maiden, I was skeptical.  I didn’t shell out for the Japanese, but I did grab the domestic CD as soon as a copy arrived in our stores.  I was pleasantly surprised, as Blaze’s debut solo release Silicon Messiah is a very heavy and memorable disc.

The weakness for some will be Blaze’s voice.  You either like it or you don’t.  Outside of the context of Iron Maiden, his deep vocals work better.  The opening track “Ghost in the Machine” for example is a de-tuned chugger the likes of which Maiden wouldn’t do.  Blaze’s vocals work better with this kind of low, growly metal.  Fortunately there is still enough melody (on the killer chorus) and riffage to keep heads banging.  And no wonder: the CD is produced by metal master Andy Sneap, who laid waste to several excellent Accept albums recently.  Blaze wrote the music with his new eponymous band:  Steve Wray and John Slater (guitars), Jeff Singer (drums), and Rob Naylor (bass).  The band is somewhat faceless, aside from Blaze himself there’s nothing identifiable about the band.

If there is a weakness to Silicon Messiah, it’s that there is a certain sameness to the songs.  It’s a bit homogeneous:  grinding, de-tuned riffs, melodic choruses and solos, with powerful but low vocals.   Fortunately Blaze has written some surprisingly decent lyrics to go with the songs, with several seeming to fit together into some kind of cyberpunk concept.

Highlights:

  • “Silicon Messiah”, perhaps the most Maiden-like track.
  • “Born as a Stranger”, also Maiden-like (think “Be Quick or Be Dead”); speedy goodness.
  • “The Brave”, another fast one that kicks all the asses in the room.  “Fortune favours the brave” indeed.
  • “Identity” which boasts lots of tasty guitar bits along with loud and quiet parts.
  • “The Launch” which is essentially “Man of the Edge” by Iron Maiden re-written (but with a better chorus).
  • “Stare at the Sun”, your typical Maiden-inspired epic closer.

Blaze Bayley, his band and Andy Sneap created a pretty decent metal album here.  It’s perfectly listenable throughout, if a bit anonymous sounding.  Fans of Blaze will dig it.

3.25/5 stars

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35 comments

      1. No, it sucks to be the guy that wasted time and money on those Maiden albums! Blaze is the British Dave Lee Roth, he needs to be out there singing about lubing up teachers and stuff like that. I bought the new Wolfsbane album, so I’m still supporting the great man.

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  1. Another cool review/discussion.

    This record almost hit Maiden’s BraveNewWorld outta the park. Almost. But certainly opened some ears to what Blaze was capable of after Maiden shame it practically went head to head with the new Maiden due to poor choice of scheduling and subsequently sold squat.

    Deserved far more attention back when and has held up well since too and followup records were pretty good too although think Blaze really came into again with his Blaze Bayley records, The Man Who Would Not Die and Promise And Terror (The Kind Of Metal wasn’t so hot though).

    Still, this was probably his best release would rate this at least a 4 myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Wardy thanks for the comment and recommendations! I just heard one of the new Wolfsbane songs, and it smoked too!

      I also have to single out the double live Blaze album as excellent. I’ll have to review that for you guys. Great live record.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool!

        Can’t remember much about that live album but seem to recall it was rather good. Didn’t know about new Wolfsbane,certainly keep an ear to the ground for that one!

        Cheers

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        1. It was a very good live album. While it’s not usually a good idea to cover Zeppelin, Blaze did a great version of Dazed and Confused. And there were a few Maiden tunes on it too. Sign of the Cross, I believe.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I highly recommend Blaze’s 2009 live album Alive in Poland.

    – It’s got a large variety of excellent tracks
    – Blaze is in fine form
    – It has the best and most energetic renditions of Futureal and Look for the Truth that you will ever hear.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He does Virus as well. Although one downside of the album is that he goes on a couple of minute long semi rants, probably bought about by some things the label said and did. Nothing malicious, but it does occasionally break the flow

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