Album Review – Blaze Bayley / The Redemption of William Black (Infinite Entanglement Part III) (2018)

What does the future hold for Mr. William Christopher Black? Here he is, the indomitable Heavy Metal icon Blaze Bayley, to tell us the dramatic conclusion to his stunning Infinite Entanglement Trilogy.

All good things must come to an end, including the beyond fantastic Infinite Entanglement Trilogy by the indomitable British Heavy Metal icon Blaze Bayley. After the stunning two first parts Infinite Entanglement and Endure And Survive (Infinite Entanglement Part II), it’s time for Blaze and his amazing band to tell us the conclusion to this thrilling sci-fi story in the third and final installment The Redemption of William Black (Infinite Entanglement Part III), the tenth solo album in Blaze’s unique career, and believe me, the story of Mr. William Christopher Black couldn’t have ended in a more dramatic, exciting and electrifying way.

Featuring guest vocal performances from Fozzy singer and WWE superstar Chris Jericho and from Luke Appleton, bassist from American powerhouse Iced Earth and rhythm guitarist with British metallers Absolva, as well as several other guest vocalists and narrators such as Liz Owen and Harry Webster Appleton II, The Redemption of William Black continues where the earlier albums left off, with Blaze’s trademark infectious choruses, blistering lead guitar work from Chris Appleton and a bedrock rhythm section from Karl Schramm on bass and Martin McNee on drums, all three also members of Absolva. Co-written by Blaze and Chris Appleton, everything in the album is perfectly aligned with the previous two albums in the trilogy, including its rip-roaring artwork and layout designed by Akirant Illustration. Hence, get ready for another lecture in traditional Heavy Metal by Blaze and his henchmen, and to finally know what the future holds for the dauntless William Black.

The album starts with our anti-hero seeking for redemption, saying he will “save the best of this world”, and Blaze Bayley & Co. make it quite clear with the high-octane, heavy and thrilling opening track Redeemer, with the guitar by Chris sounding extremely acute like a sharpened axe, also bringing one of those electrifying choruses tailored for singing along with Blaze. Then without giving us any time to breathe Blaze and his bandmates fire another metallic hymn titled Are You Here, where Chris and Karl sound thunderous with their strings while Martin never lets the energy level go down with his pounding beats; followed by Immortal One, a powerful song about immortality showcasing a fantastic guitar solo by Chris and an imposing rhythm, increasing in intensity until its crushing finale. Put differently, it can’t get any more Heavy Metal than this, my friends.

In the outstanding The First True Sign the band doesn’t get tired of smashing our ears with pure Heavy Metal, with its initial tribal sounds being suddenly joined by Chris’ most awesome, lancinating riffs of the whole album, turning it into a terrific choice for their live performances. Moreover, Blaze as usual passionately declaims the song’s poetic lyrics, captivating our attention from start to finish. After such metallic extravaganza, it’s time for one of those stunning ballads by Blaze, entitled Human Eyes, where acoustic guitars are accompanied by a pensive Blaze reciting the song’s extremely touching words, and all that dedication and focus by Blaze goes on until the song’s melancholic ending; whereas in Prayers of Light, the aforementioned guest Chris Jericho delivers some cryptic words before the flammable riffs by Chris ignite another explosion of traditional metal music. It’s indeed an upbeat tune perfect for cheering up your day, with both Jericho and Luke Appleton doing an amazing job on backing vocals. And Blaze’s minstrel side strikes again in 18 Days, where he poetically sings the song’s potent lines amidst a feast of mid-tempo heavy riffs and beats, making a sensational vocal duo with guest Liz Owen who delivers beautiful, ethereal vocals together with the Messiah.

With elements from Hard Rock added to the band’s classic Heavy Metal, we’re treated to the very precise and exciting work done on strings by Chris and Karl in Already Won, providing Blaze all he needs to thrive on vocals. And Blaze definitely knows how to reach deep inside our hearts with his introspective vocals like what happens in Life Goes On, being powerfully accompanied by lighter, acoustic parts intertwined with heavier moments crafted by his band members. The second to last act in the epic and futuristic tale of William Black comes in the form of The Dark Side of Black, a thrilling tune bringing forward all we love in the music by Blaze Bayley, that being fast-paced beats, melodic and cutting riffs, and obviously his resonant, potent vocals. Furthermore, Chris once again fires a superb guitar solo as the icing on the cake of the most obscure side of our protagonist translated into first-class metal. Last but not least we have Eagle Spirit, ignited by a special narration by a British war hero, Leading Aircraftman (LAC) Harry Webster Appleton II, before the band offers us all over nine minutes of gripping passages and flammable riffs, with Martin delivering rhythmic, puissant beats to make the whole song even more impactful. And after all is said and done, William finally finds his redemption as the story comes to a climatic and absolutely beautiful ending.

You can buy your copy of The Redemption of William Black (Infinite Entanglement Part III) directly from Blaze Bayley’s official webstore, as well as from other retail outlets such as iTunes, Amazon, Heartland Music, Collectors’ Choice Music and metalmailorder.com, among others. At the same time, a special deluxe box will be available exclusively from Blaze’s website, specially made to house all three albums from the Infinite Entanglement Trilogy (needless to say, I highly recommend you listen to all three albums in a row without breaks to properly experience the full saga), and later this year the new album will also be made available as a vinyl LP, again in a specially-made deluxe box to house all 3 LP’s. Now that the astonishing tale of Mr. William Christopher Black is over, let’s all keep an eye on Blaze’s official Facebook page for news and tour dates, as he’s certainly going to kick some ass live in a city near you pretty soon (just like he did last year in Toronto). I have absolutely no idea if we’ll ever see William Black again, but if there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that the daredevil Blaze Bayley is in the best shape of his life and will therefore keep blowing our minds with his unmatched fusion of old school Heavy Metal and top-tier sci-fi storytelling.

Best moments of the album: Redeemer, The First True Sign, 18 Days and The Dark Side of Black.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Blaze Bayley Recordings

Track listing 
1. Redeemer 4:11
2. Are You Here 2:32
3. Immortal One 2:56
4. The First True Sign 4:04
5. Human Eyes 5:36
6. Prayers of Light 3:25
7. 18 Days 4:03
8. Already Won 2:58
9. Life Goes On 5:00
10. The Dark Side of Black 3:25
11. Eagle Spirit 8:50

Band members
Blaze Bayley – vocals
Chris Appleton – guitars, backing vocals
Karl Schramm – bass, backing vocals
Martin McNee – drums

Guest musicians
Chris Jericho – narration, backing vocals on “Prayes of Light”
Luke Appleton – backing vocals on “Prayes of Light”
Liz Owen – female vocals on “18 Days”
Melissa Adams & Joanne Kay Robinson – backing vocals, choir
Aine Brewer, Rob Toogood, Michelle Sciarrotta & Harry Webster Appleton II – narration

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The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2017

“We sort of find that music tames the beast, you know.” – Malcom Young

It’s that wonderful time of the year again, and I’m obviously not talking about Christmas and the holiday season. In a year where we lost so many talented and important musicians in rock and heavy music for various reasons, including Malcolm Young (AC/DC), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Trish Doan (Kittie), Martin Eric Ain (Celtic Frost), Warrel Dane (Nevermore, Sanctuary), John Wetton (Uriah Heep), David Zablidowsky (Adrenaline Mob, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Chuck Mosley (Faith No More) and Cherry Taketani (Okotô, Hellsakura, NervoChaos), among several others, not to mention the end of the unmatched Black Sabbath, who we were able to witness live one last time during their farewell tour The End, only the freshness and energy flowing from brand new metal music can give us hope, not allowing Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll to die as many like to prophesy every single year.

Having said that, it’s time to blow our goddamn speakers with The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2017, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums, taming the beast inside us all as wisely said by AC/DC’s heart and soul Malcolm Young (R.I.P.). And as 2017 was the year of bands that cannot be considered dinosaurs in metal (or at least not yet), such as Trivium and Mastodon, that certainly points to a bright future ahead for Heavy Metal with their recent releases because, as you know, we won’t have behemoths like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Metallica kicking ass on stage forever. By the way, this was definitely a fantastic year for Mastodon, who not only released one of the best albums of 2017, the excellent Emperor of Sand, but they also had some extra energy to burn with the classy EP Cold Dark Place, which by the way is part of our top 10 EP’s of the year (as you’ll see after our top 10/20 list). Alright, without further ado, turn up the volume and enjoy our 2017 list… LET THERE BE ROCK!

1. Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence (REVIEW)
A superb album full of fast and intricate riffs, poetic lyrics, a sensational new drummer and, above all, the return of Matt’s trademark screams.
Best song of the album: Betrayer

2. Kreator – Gods Of Violence (REVIEW)
We shall praise the best Teutonic Thrash Metal institution of all time, as the gods of violence come alive.
Best song of the album: Totalitarian Terror

3. Blaze Bayley – Endure And Survive (REVIEW)
The indomitable Blaze Bayley returns with the second installment of Infinite Entanglement, his most ambitious project to date.
Best song of the album: Blood

4. Mastodon – Emperor of Sand (REVIEW)
Follow the inspirational story of a desert wanderer who has been handed a death sentence in this excellent album of Progressive Metal.
Best song of the album: Word to the Wise

5. Accept – The Rise of Chaos (REVIEW)
Let total chaos and destruction rise to the sound of the brand new album by the unstoppable Teutonic masters of Heavy Metal.
Best song of the album: Analog Man

6. Moonspell – 1755 (REVIEW)
An orchestral and emotional concept album that will take you to the year when a giant earthquake destroyed the city of Lisbon.
Best song of the album: Todos Os Santos

7. Striker – Striker (REVIEW)
Canadian Heavy Metal has never been more vibrant and rapturous than this.
Best song of the album: Born To Lose

8. Divine Element – Thaurachs Of Borsu (REVIEW)
Witness the passage of a soldier through various levels of consciousness about the reality of war and human society.
Best song of the album: Thaurachs Of Borsu

9. Torture Squad – Far Beyond Existence (REVIEW)
Don’t cross the path of one of the most respectful bands from the Brazilian Thrash and Death Metal scene.
Best song of the album: Blood Sacrifice

10. Solitary – The Diseased Heart of Society (REVIEW)
Four veteran thrash metallers canalizing all the hatred, degradation and perversions of our modern-day society into their music.
Best song of the album: Architects of Shame

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Karkaos – Children Of The Void (REVIEW)
12. Prometheus – Consumed In Flames (REVIEW)
13. Battle Beast – Bringer Of Pain (REVIEW)
14. Terrifier – Weapons of Thrash Destruction (REVIEW)
15. Body Count – Bloodlust (REVIEW)
16. Dzö-nga – The Sachem’s Tales (REVIEW)
17. Cradle of Filth – Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay (REVIEW)
18. Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black (REVIEW)
19. Infernäl Mäjesty – No God (REVIEW)
20. Katharos XIII – Negativity (REVIEW)

As aforementioned, we also have for you this year our Top 10 EP’s of 2017, ranging from the most rebellious form of Deathcore to the most melodic type of Symphonic Metal, from visceral Doom Metal to demonic Black Metal, and so on. In addition, those bands hail from all four corner of the earth, proving once again that it doesn’t matter where you go you’ll always be able to find first-class metal music, including all of its genres and subgenres, to please your avid metallic ears.

1. Primal Age – A Silent Wound (REVIEW)
2. Sinners Moon – Far Beyond The Stars (REVIEW)
3. Aversio Humanitatis – Longing for the Untold (REVIEW)
4. Loathfinder – The Great Tired Ones (REVIEW)
5. Ljosazabojstwa – Sychodžańnie (REVIEW)
6. Lorn – Arrayed Claws (REVIEW)
7. Jupiter Hollow – Odyssey (REVIEW)
8. Dö – Astral: Death/Birth (REVIEW)
9. Mastodon – Cold Dark Place (REVIEW)
10. Afire – Afire (REVIEW)

Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2017? If you want to check another awesome list, I highly recommend Antichrst Magazine’s Top 10 Albums of 2017 (Editorial Staff), a great online publication that we at The Headbanging Moose also contribute to on a regular basis. Also, don’t forget to tune in to Timão Metal every Tuesday on Rádio Coringão for a blazing fusion of metal and soccer, and to The Headbanging Moose Show every Thursday on Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio for the best of underground metal from all over the world!

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2018!

Actually, before all is said and done, here’s for you the 2017 Christmas single from Norwegian Melodic Power Metal project Aldaria called When The Time Has Come, featuring several renowned guest musicians such as Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Yannis Papadopoulos (Beast In Black),  Lars Rettkowitz (Freedom Call) and Morten Gade Sørensen (Pyramaze), among others, with 100% of all income of this single being donated to Cancer Research. “This is a very important cause for me, as I lost my mother to this horrible disease in 2010. The single will be available across all streaming and digital platforms, and on Aldaria’s official webstore, where you will get a special edition with a lossless audio file, instrumental, high resolution cover art, and lyrics”, commented guitarist Frode Hovd, the mastermind behind Aldaria. Let’s all support such important cause!

Concert Review – Blaze Bayley (The Rockpile, Toronto, ON, 08/19/2017)

A journey through the past, present and future in the career of the unstoppable Blaze Bayley in the form of first-class Heavy Metal for his diehard fans in Toronto.

OPENING ACT: Cadillac Blood

I’ll never understand why people who call themselves diehard metalheads would miss a chance to attend a top-notch Heavy Metal concert like what we had this Saturday at the really nice venue The Rockpile, which despite being usually referred as located in Toronto, technically speaking it’s in Etobicoke, an administrative district and former city that makes up the western part of the city of Toronto, around 18km from downtown. The weather was perfect, the beer was nice and cold, the food was great and all prices were very, very reasonable (including the ticket price). And those so-called fans of heavy music keep complaining on Facebook, Twitter etc. that metal doesn’t have the proper support and all those shenanigans. How about instead of just typing, you get up from that couch, head to a place like The Rockpile and support underground metal?

If you do that, perhaps you’ll face an electrifying band like the young and restless thrashers from CADILLAC BLOOD, a completely independent act from Keswick, Ontario, located 70km north of Toronto. Blending elements from Thrash Metal, Punk Rock and Rock N’ Roll in their music, and being clearly inspired by bands such as Volbeat (by the way, the band’s name comes from Volbeat’s classic album Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood if you haven’t noticed yet), Metallica, Motörhead and Anthrax, the quartet comprised of Luke Morrell on vocals, Tyler Morrell on guitar, Sean Murphy on bass and Dean Fraser on drums delivered an excellent warmup to the fans that were there for Blaze Bayley, being extremely professional and excited from start to finish, in special Luke who didn’t stop jumping and headbanging for a single second while singing at the same time. Unfortunately I don’t have their full setlist, but you can go to their BandCamp page and check out songs like Crow’s Nest and Devil’s Brew, both played by the band on Saturday.

Band members
Luke Morrell – vocals
Tyler Morrell – guitar
Sean Murphy – bass
Dean Fraser – drums

BLAZE BAYLEY

When it was time for the unstoppable BLAZE BAYLEY to hit the stage with his Endure and Survive World Tour 2017, at around 10:30pm, The Rockpile was not even half full, maybe due to lack of better promotion or because the pub was a bit far for fans who rely on public transportation to move around, but I think those are just excuses for our society’s growing laziness to do anything that’s not online. Blaze deserved a much bigger crowd (he even joked it was his fault, as he asked that only true metalheads attended his concert), as he’s been doing superior music being totally independent, with very little support from anyone but himself and his bandmates. His music is powerful and vibrant, his lyrics are poetic and meaningful, and his energy on stage is simply fantastic. What else do you need in a metal concert?

Anyway, the brave fans who were at The Rockpile had the absolute pleasure of witnessing an amazing performance by Blaze and his amazing band formed by the talented Chris Appleton on guitars and backing vocals, Karl Schramm on bass and backing vocals, and Martin McNee on drums, who are not only the guys who recorded the first two parts of the kick-ass Infinite Entanglement trilogy with Blaze, the 2016 album Infinite Entanglement and the 2017 follow-up Endure And Survive (Infinite Entanglement Part II), but who are also three quarters of British Heavy Metal act Absolva, a great underground band highly recommended for lovers of old school metal music.

When Blaze was in Toronto for the last time, at the now defunct Hard Rock Café in 2014, he was supported by a Canadian Iron Maiden cover group named Maiden Quebec, and although they were a very good band, Blaze’s performance was somewhat hampered by their lack of chemistry. Fortunately for the fans at The Rockpile this Saturday, Blaze and the guys from Absolva were in perfect sync, a reflection of their years working together, delivering to the crowd a top-notch setlist encompassing the best of Blaze’s past, present, and even future (if you think of Infinite Entanglement as an evolving project), playing simply the best songs from Wolfsbane, Iron Maiden and his unparalleled solo career. From the very first notes of the inspiring Endure and Survive, to the speed and violence of Blood, Dark Energy 256 and Man on the Edge (see his intro video to this all-time classic HERE), and the epicness of The Clansman, their performance was flawless.

As I mentioned before, Blaze is a metal poet, and there was always a reason for a song to be inserted in his setlist, always bringing a powerful message to the fans who were singing along all lyrics with Blaze. For instance, his speech about how we all fail and how we all must stand up from our failures and fight our fears again and again in Fight Back, from his latest album, only shows how much he loves what he does and how much he’s passionate about Heavy Metal, as well as how he said us fans are his “home” in the emotional Calling You Home. Of course there was also room for lighter topics, like when he explained the origins of Wolfsbane and how we all would feel “sexier” after screaming the words “man hunt” during Wolfsbane’s biggest hit Man Hunt. By the way, the “duel” between Blaze and the rest of the band during this song was awesome, with Chris and Karl stealing the show with their refined techniques. Blaze made sure he acknowledged the undeniable talent of Chris not only as a guitarist, but also as a songwriter and producer, something we can easily see through his work with both Absolva and Blaze Bayley.

After the last song of the setlist, A Thousand Years (my favorite track from Infinite Entanglement), Blaze and the guys stayed at the venue for a free autograph and photo session with their fans, not charging a single penny as most band do nowadays with their “meet & greet experiences”, as a sign of his respect and admiration for us, supporters of independent music. All band members were very nice and courteous with everyone, talking about their tour across Canada and the US, their plans for the future and other topics. And all true metal fans who attended the concert on Saturday went back home with a huge smile on their faces, something that happens every single time you see a concert by the metal warrior Blaze Bayley. As simple as that.

Setlist
Endure and Survive
Escape Velocity
Futureal
Blood
Silicon Messiah
Fight Back
Virus
Calling You Home
Stare at the Sun
The Clansman
Man Hunt
Man on the Edge
Dark Energy 256
Lord of the Flies
A Thousand Years

Band members
Blaze Bayley – vocals
Chris Appleton – guitars, backing vocals
Karl Schramm – bass, backing vocals
Martin McNee – drums

Album Review – Blaze Bayley / Endure And Survive (Infinite Entanglement Part II) (2017)

The indomitable Blaze Bayley returns with the second installment of Infinite Entanglement, his most ambitious project to date, this time offering an action-packed album bursting with anger, passion and mystery.

Less than one year after the release of the gripping Infinite Entanglement, the indomitable Blaze Bayley returns with the also astounding Endure And Survive, the second part of his most ambitious project, a Sci-Fi trilogy about Mr. William Christopher Black, a man who doesn’t know if he’s a man or a machine on a futuristic mission to discover one of the new Kepler planets. After the dark and climatic ending of the first part, I’m sure all fans of the Heavy Metal crafted by Blaze (including myself, of course) have been waiting anxiously for the next chapter in the eccentric journey of our mysterious main character, and Endure And Survive offer us all that and more in a brilliant way.

Once again accompanied by the talented Chris Appleton (guitar), Karl Schramm (bass) and Martin McNee (drums), all from British Heavy Metal band Absolva, plus many other very special guests such as Anne Bakker (violin) and Thomas Zwijsen (acoustic guitars), Blaze continues to tell the story of William Black magnificently, with a lot of poetry in his lyrics and, as usual, endless passion and energy in his vocals. The album’s futuristic artwork, designed once again by Andreas Sandberg with additional images from Christopher Steenstrup (who is also working on a Blaze Bayley video game), builds an instant connection with part one, showing how focused Blaze was on providing his loyal fans the most cohesive and exciting story possible.

Shall we begin? That’s precisely how the powerful title-track Endure and Survive starts, exactly where the first part ended, with the music itself continuing to be heavy, melodic and thrilling. In my humble opinion, Blaze found in Chris the perfect guitarist for his vocals as we can see in this epic tune, not to mention the song’s inspiring chorus and the amazing narrations, effectively taking us to the Sci-Fi world created by Blaze. In Escape Velocity, the story goes on at the speed of light, with Chris, Karl and Martin crafting electrifying music full of exciting solos and fast beats, while Blaze canalizes all his passion for metal and science fiction into his potent vocals, resulting in another classic song that I can’t wait to see him performing live. And after a dark intro we’re treated to the best musicality Blaze and his bandmates can offer, titled Blood, a high-speed furious Heavy Metal hymn absolutely perfect for the song’s aggressive lyrics, with Chris being simply insane with his riffs. Furthermore, a man and a woman explain who William Black really is, a murderer with blood on his hands according to them. Is that really the truth? Well, I don’t know the answer, at least not yet, but I know this song kicks some serious ass.

A pensive and anguished William is the centerpiece of the dark composition Eating Lies, showcasing all the talent of Blaze as a storyteller, as you can feel all the inner suffering from the story’s main character due to the lies being told about him through his vocals; followed by Destroyer, presenting that traditional sonority by Blaze seen in pretty much all his albums. In other words, it’s a very cohesive and rhythmic song about the “destroyer of worlds”, with the classic beats by Martin and the soulful riffs and solos by Chris supporting another excellent performance by Blaze. Then we have the epic Dawn of the Dead Son, where a woman with a suave voice seems to be talking inside William’s mind, with the music being a mix of his years with Iron Maiden with his contemporary material, displaying a galloping rhythm and blazing guitars. Each and every song has a reason to exist and this one is no exception to that, taking the listener once again on a dangerous but exciting journey before a serene ambience takes place in the stunning acoustic chant Remember. This troubadour-inspired folk version of Blaze is simply superb, being more melodic and romantic than “What Will Come” from part one, with Blaze flawlessly declaiming the song’s lyrics. Needless to say, his partnership with Thomas and Anne couldn’t sound more in sync, with the song’s female backing vocals also being a thing of beauty.

Returning to a more classic musicality, Fight Back is a song that would have already been amazing on its own in any of Blaze’s old albums, but that in Endure And Survive also plays an important part in the storyline, with Karl and Martin adding tons of heaviness to the music, therefore making it easier for Blaze to effectively deliver his potent vocals. Exhibiting hints of the classic Doom Metal played by Black Sabbath and some songs by Dio in his solo career, in special his biggest hit Holy Diver, the stunning The World Is Turning the Wrong Way brings forward a sensational aura and a profound, catchy chorus, with Chris’ guitar sounding heavier than hell, absolutely in line with all the darkness and agony found in the song’s lyrics. And finally, we have Together We Can Move the Sun, the most introspective and passionate of all songs, with Blaze’s strong voice being flawlessly complemented by the female vocal parts. Blaze and his crew offer us all eight minutes of a touching ballad, showcasing classy guitar lines, inspiring lyrics and an enigmatic (and extremely climatic) conclusion, building a sensational expectation for the third and final installment of the story of William Black, and in the end we all understand what has to happen in part three. William Black must… DIE!

Despite being avid for the conclusion of Blaze’s futuristic adventure, I’m more than happy to wait for it listening to both Infinite Entanglement and Endure And Survive in a row, savoring each and every line declaimed by the Messiah in those two albums. His official Facebook page is probably the best place to keep updated with all advancements in the recording of the next album and to know when he’ll be crushing your city with his amazing metal, and in order to put your hands on the second part of this kick-ass trilogy simply visit his official webstore, iTunes, Amazon or Discogs. Only Blaze knows the destiny of the dauntless voyager William Christopher Black, if he will live or die, or even if his entire life was real, and that marvelous uncertainty created by Blaze is the main ingredient that makes Endure And Survive (as well as Infinite Entanglement) stand out beautifully in contemporary heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Endure and Survive, Blood, Remember, The World Is Turning the Wrong Way and Together We Can Move the Sun.

Worst moments of the album: None. The whole album is awesome.

Released in 2017 Blaze Bayley Recordings

Track listing
1. Endure and Survive 4:27
2. Escape Velocity 3:27
3. Blood 4:41
4. Eating Lies 4:48
5. Destroyer 4:30
6. Dawn of the Dead Son 5:19
7. Remember 3:58
8. Fight Back 3:25
9. The World Is Turning the Wrong Way 4:35
10. Together We Can Move the Sun 8:14

Band members
Blaze Bayley – vocals
Chris Appleton – guitars, backing vocals
Karl Schramm – bass, backing vocals
Martin McNee – drums

Guest musicians
Corvin Bahn – accordion
Anne Bakker – violin, backing vocals
Thomas Zwijsen – acoustic guitars
Liz Owen, Melissa Adams, Joanne Kay Robinson & Luke Appleton – backing vocals
Michelle Sciarrotta – backing vocals, acoustic guitars, narration
Rob Toogood – backing vocals, narration
Aine Brewer – narration

The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2016

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie

The unexpected death of the most badass musician in history, Motörhead’s heart and soul Lemmy Kilmister, on December 28, 2015 was a harbinger of all the bad, shocking and revolting things that would turn the year of 2016 a true nightmare for mankind. That dark prophecy was confirmed less than two weeks later, more specifically on January 10 when we lost another true star in rock music to cancer, the unparalleled chameleon David Bowie, just two days after the release of his final masterpiece Blackstar. If that was not enough to make 2016 a miserable year, we also had to endure the passing of other icons who, despite not being metal, have always inspired countless bands and artists in heavy music. We lost Prince, Leonard Cohen and Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), to name a few, all irreplaceable losses to music in general. In addition, important names in the history of Heavy Metal also left us in 2016, such as Nick Menza (Megadeth) and Jimmy Bain (Rainbow, Dio), not to mention the disbandment of amazing groups like Eths (who are by the way part of our top 10 this year), Crucified Barbara and Bolt Thrower. And I’m not even going to talk about all other types of disasters and tragedies that happened all over the world, as the list is too macabre and grievous to be remembered in full.

Fortunately, 2016 was considerably generous for us headbangers in terms of the quantity and quality of albums released throughout the entire year, especially for diehard fans of old school Thrash Metal. Except for Slayer and Exodus, all other prominent names in Thrash Metal blasted the world with their high-speed, thrilling music, led by another superb album by Testament. Even Metallica released a decent album this year, just to give you an idea of how fruitful 2016 was for this rebellious type of music. Having said that, it’s time for The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2016, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums. And even if 2017 is as hideous as 2016, let’s never forget the wise words by Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted “Theodore” Logan. Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!

testament_brotherhood-of-the-snake1. Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake (REVIEW)
Join the Brotherhood of Thrash Metal spearheaded by one of the heaviest, most technical and most electrifying bands on the entire planet.
Best song of the album: The Number Game

cover2. Charred Walls Of The Damned – Creatures Watching Over the Dead (REVIEW)
A magnificent lecture in Heavy Metal by four electrified beasts.
Best song of the album: As I Catch My Breath

Cover3. Eths – Ankaa (REVIEW)
One of the most prominent and innovative French bands of all time returns with a true masterpiece of complexity, darkness and heaviness.
Best song of the album: Nefas

cover4. Primal Fear – Rulebreaker (REVIEW)
Who said rules must be broken for a metallic eagle to spread its wings and soar high in the skies of heavy music?
Best song of the album: Rulebreaker

megadeth_dystopia5. Megadeth – Dystopia (REVIEW)
And the dystopian world portrayed in the brand new album by the iconic Dave Mustaine and his Thrash Metal army is beyond awesome.
Best song of the album: Lying In State

abbathsoloface_6386. Abbath – Abbath (REVIEW)
The one and only Abbath takes a new step in his career with a brand new band an album.
Best song of the album: Fenrir Hunts

death angel_the evil divide7. Death Angel – The Evil Divide (REVIEW)
Fast and furious anthems, dark mid-tempo songs, austere lyrics and endless stamina. This is how Thrash Metal should always be done.
Best song of the album: Hell To Pay

anthrax_for all kings8. Anthrax – For All Kings (REVIEW)
A classy and electrifying Thrash Metal album especially crafted for all of us, the real kings of heavy music.
Best song of the album: Breathing Lightning

front9. Axel Rudi Pell – Game of Sins (REVIEW)
You might be a sinner, but don’t be a fool and go relish another magnificent album by Mr. Axel Rudi Pell and his loyal henchmen.
Best song of the album: Falling Star

nervosa-agony-201610. Nervosa – Agony (REVIEW)
Brazil’s meanest power trio returns with another marvelous blast of their kick-ass high-octane Thrash Metal.
Best song of the album: Theory of Conspiracy

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Blaze Bayley – Infinite Entanglement (REVIEW)
12. The Silent Rage – The Deadliest Scourge (REVIEW)
13. Neverworld – Dremasnatcher (REVIEW)
14. Ancesttral – Web Of Lies (REVIEW)
15. Front – Iron Overkill (REVIEW)
16. Dö – Tuho (REVIEW)
17. Be Under Arms – Doomed To Life (REVIEW)
18. SystemHouse33 – Regression (REVIEW)
19. Gojira – Magma (REVIEW)
20. False Coda – Secrets and Sins (REVIEW)

As in Heavy Metal the artwork is just as important as the music itself, like what always happens with bands such as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Metallica, KISS and tons of other metallic titans, we decided to list the Top 10 Cover Artworks of 2016. There are several reasons for an album art to be considered outstanding, such as its strong connection with the music like Iron Maiden’s Powerslave, its visual impact (usually associated with its controversial content) like Slayer’s God Hates Us All, or its perfect minimalism and finesse like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. Do you agree with our list?

1. Anthrax – For All Kings [by Alex Ross]
2. Primeval Mass – To Empyrean Thrones [by Karmazid]
3. Witches Of Doom – Deadlights [by Carlo Muselli]
4. Ragehammer – The Hammer Doctrine [by Robert A. von Ritter]
5. Howls Of Ebb – Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows [by Agostino Arrivabene]
6. Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake [by Eliran Kantor]
7. Henriette B – Tales of Reality (EP) [by Pierre-Alain D.]
8. Skáphe – Skáphe² [by H.V. Lyngdal]
9. Diabolizer – Apokalypse (MCD) [by Robert A. von Ritter]
10. Hostis – Hostis [by Zvonimir Grabić & Milena Nićić]

Rest assured in 2017 we at The Headbanging Moose will keep providing you the best of the underworld of Death, Thrash, Black, Symphonic, Epic, Power Metal and all other genres and subgenres of heavy music, as well as our view of the biggest names worldwide. There are already brand new albums confirmed for 2017 by Kreator, Sepultura, Grave Digger, Battle Beast and more, which means at least musically the new year promises to be really good. Thank you very much for your precious time, and keep on rockin’! Au revoir!

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2017!

Well, before we go, here’s a special gift from Iron Maiden to all metalheads all over the world… A nice festive yule log fireplace to keep our hearts warm during the entire season!

Album Review – Blaze Bayley / Infinite Entanglement (2016)

Enjoy the first part of this futuristic trilogy created by the iconic Blaze Bayley, a thrilling journey inspired by science fiction and artificial intelligence that transpires first-class Heavy Metal.

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blaze bayley_infinite entanglementSilicon Messiah, Tenth Dimension, The Man Who Would Not Die, Promise And Terror, and now Infinite Entanglement. If you consider yourself a true admirer and connoisseur of traditional Heavy Metal who’s at the same time always looking to the future with an open mind and a passionate heart, you must listen to these five amazing releases by the iconic British metaller Blaze Bayley. What this metal warrior from Birmingham, UK is capable of offering his fans with absolutely no support from any major record label is outstanding. In Infinite Entanglement, a concept album highly influenced by science fiction, artificial intelligence and quantum physics that follows on the ideas found in Silicon Messiah and Tenth Dimension (not to mention Blaze is writing a book on those themes), we’re treated to more of his first-rate metal music embellished by his flammable performance and a more-than-exciting storyline. In other words, it might not be the album of the year for many, but it’s indeed an amazing contribution from Blaze to the world of heavy music. And have I mentioned this is the first part of a trilogy?

When asked about the story told in this new trilogy, Blaze commented that “It’s about a man who does not know if he is human. It’s his personal journey, and he is on a mission to discover one of the new Kepler planets. You know, Kepler discovered all these new planets. It’s set a hundred years in the future, and he’s on a spaceship and it’s how he deals with the fact that he will be one of the first people ever to live for a thousand years because of advances in technology, and how he deals with that. And the question is: is he human or not? And that’s it in a nutshell. And the story expands from there.” The whole concept already becomes evident when you stare at the classic but modern artwork by Swedish artist Andreas Sandberg, which in my opinion seems inspired by most Sci-Fi movies from the 80’s, but it’s when you actually start listening to the album and absorbing its music that you’ll finally understand what Infinite Entanglement is all about.

Let the futuristic journey begin (or continue from where it stopped in Silicon Messiah and Tenth Dimension) with the track that carries the name of the album, Infinite Entanglement, a straightforward Heavy Metal tune with a strong epic vibe, following the musicality from his latest album King Of Metal but a thousand times more polished and vibrant. Before the song is over, a woman’s voice that seems to be from a scientist explains who our main character is and why he was chosen for this mission, introducing us to the high-speed anthem A Thousand Years, my favorite of all tracks. This is where Blaze always thrives, firing pure metallic music with thoughtful lyrics, and I dare you not to sing its catchy chorus along with him while guitarist Chris Appleton showcases a solid performance with his riffs and especially with his solos.

Does he know the truth? No one can cope with the truth, but everyone can bang their heads nonstop to Human, the first single of the album that keeps the electricity flowing (and the perfect soundtrack for the TV series Humans, by the way), with drummer drummer Martin McNee and bassist Karl Schramm providing exactly what the music demands with their respective instruments. In addition, the song’s chorus poses the main question of the entire album (“Human / Am I human? / I am man / I am machine / You just don’t know what it means / To be human”), inviting you to once again sing it together with Blaze. In the pleasant acoustic voyage What Will Come, Blaze’s vocals are perfectly complemented by the exceptional work done by his longtime partners, Belgian guitarist Thomas Zwijsen and Dutch violinist Anne Bakker, proving Heavy Metal doesn’t need to be electric all the time to be stunning; whereas Stars Are Burning, with its hints of modern and alternative music, is yet another contemplative song where it’s mandatory to follow the powerful lyrics declaimed by Blaze to better understand the whole concept. By the time you reach this part of the album, the whole storyline starts to make a lot more sense and you can actually feel the roller-coaster of emotions the main character has been going through.

blaze bayley 2016If you’re a fan of pure metal music with no shenanigans, Solar Wind is for you. However, despite being a good song (in special due to its chorus), it’s below the rest of the album in terms of quality and freshness. In the sinister bridge The Dreams of William Black, where the question “where are you?” is asked to our main character numerous times (and even in different languages), I believe what is actually in question is if William is just dreaming or if this is the new reality he must face. Even if you cannot find an answer to that, you’ll enjoy Calling You Home, yet another dense and exciting metal chant with a traditional “Oh! Oh-oh-oh-oh!” added to the chorus where its backing vocals have a strong impact on the final result; followed by the action-packed tune Dark Energy 256 (or maybe I should call it “Futureal 2.0”?). The unstoppable Blaze has an absolutely amazing performance in which is one of the best songs of the album in my opinion, allowing us all to feel the so-called “dark energy 256” penetrating our skin. Besides, Martin provides Blaze the necessary vibe for his potent voice through his precise drumming, with the last seconds of the song being a beautiful massacre.

In Independence, a smooth intro turns into an energetic chant about freedom and independence (and we know how good Blaze is at singing about those topics), with Chris and Martin once again offering Blaze an awesome support. One thing I love about Blaze is how he always puts his heart and soul into his singing, which is the case in A Work of Anger, a melancholic and meaningful composition full of effective narrations. And do you think the outro Shall We Begin is the end of the story, or is it just the beginning? Well, parts II and III will obviously answer that question, and according to Blaze himself he already has half of album two and some of the music and one of the songs for album three basically finished, which means we won’t have to wait for too long for the conclusion of this awesome saga.

While we wait for more of Blaze’s powerful music, you can also enjoy the making of Infinite Entanglement on YouTube, follow the “Messiah” on Facebook, and purchase your copy of the album at his official webshop, on iTunes, or on Amazon. Is Blaze man or is he machine? We’ll never know, and in fact it doesn’t really matter as long as he keeps feeding our metallic souls with his unique and extremely sharp Heavy Metal for many years to come. Who knows, maybe even for a thousand years.

Best moments of the album: A Thousand Years, What Will Come, Dark Energy 256 and Independence.

Worst moments of the album: Solar Wind.

Released in 2016 Blaze Bayley Recordings

Track listing
1. Infinite Entanglement 4:26
2. A Thousand Years 3:26
3. Human 3:31
4. What Will Come 4:48
5. Stars Are Burning 3:48
6. Solar Wind 4:01
7. The Dreams of William Black 2:20
8. Calling You Home 5:21
9. Dark Energy 256 4:01
10. Independence 5:11
11. A Work of Anger 5:33
12. Shall We Begin 0:56

Band members
Blaze Bayley – vocals
Chris Appleton – guitars, backing vocals
Karl Schramm – bass, backing vocals
Martin McNee – drums

Guest musicians
Thomas Zwijsen – acoustic guitars on “What Will Come”
Anne Bakker – violin on “What Will Come”
Michelle Sciarrotta – acoustic guitars, backing vocals, narration
Emily Pembridge – keyboards, piano
Liz Owen, Joanne Robinson & Mel Adams – backing vocals
Aine Brewer, Rob Toogood & James Dunn – narration

Album Review – Laugh At The Fakes / Dethrone The Crown (2014)

This promising Canadian band is here to provide us all some good old Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal, crafted in the Great White North.

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Album Cover - Laught At The Fakes - Dethrone The Crown - 2014“O Canada! Our home and native land!”

And also a land with so many awesome indie metal bands I could spend hours and hours talking about each one of them. However, if there’s one new Canadian group that truly deserves a lot of our attention, it’s Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band Laugh At The Fakes. Formed in 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, and after releasing their debut six-song EP One Night Only in 2011, this quartet is about to release their first full-length album, entitled Dethrone The Crown, a very honest and exciting celebration of the only music we love, our good old Rock N’ Roll.

Do not expect to listen to modern North American metal, electronic sound effects, infinite doses of virtuosity or anything like that in any of the songs from Dethrone The Crown. Laugh At The Fakes focus heavily on raw traditional rock music, influenced by the musicality of bands such as Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Alice In Chains, among many other classics, and dealing with contemporary topics like murder, corruption and war.

From the very first riff of the opening track, Not Like Me, you can enjoy their traditional Hard Rock with a huge Heavy Metal influence, something like a mix of Led Zeppelin and Alice In Chains, which is reinforced by the 70’s/80’s Rock N’ Roll vocals by singer/guitarist Everett Mason. It’s a nice song for headbanging, with the final part of it being totally awesome, especially the guitar solo and the accelerated drums. The second track, Death Awaits, is a more metallic tune (probably inspired by the NWOBHM) that gets a lot heavier and progressive halfway through the song, with highlights to its lyrics that couldn’t be more real than that (“The uniform buys you time, a luxury you’d never give / Pulling the trigger, it makes you feel bigger, for taking a life away, from our own”), followed by the superb Cut To The Chase, a soulful Hard Rock tune perfect for hitting the road, with its excellent guitar solo making it even more enjoyable.

Killing Time, the first single of the album (a perfect choice, by the way), is a very professional and pleasant music journey guided by its amazing riffs, with lots of elements from the beginnings of Heavy Metal and 70’s Rock N’ Roll, while Fighting Dirty focuses on more traditional Heavy Metal the likes of old school Deep Purple, with highlights to its nice chorus and all the progressive parts that flow until the end of it. Then we have Got No Regrets, which sounds like the stuff Maiden recorded in Piece Of Mind, especially its rhythmic drums, vocals and lyrics (“I don’t belong here, I got no reason left to stay / I’m getting lost dear, my mind is far far away”), and Harmonica Playing Man, a song that flirts with Pop Rock and maybe due to that it’s a little below the rest of the album in terms of quality.

Laugh At The Fakes - Photo Credit - Naryan Wong 3Finally, closing the album on a high note we have And I, another good Hard Rock song with a huge influence from Rock N’ Roll from the 70’s, with its smooth vocals blended really well with the melodic bass lines, and the title-track, Dethrone The Crown, a more ferocious song with hints of Thrash/Death Metal, which despite being very technical, it doesn’t sound cheesy at all.

If you hadn’t had a chance to see those guys playing live, like I did when they opened for Blaze Bayley at the Metal Showcase on October 17 during Indie Week Canada, you can check their music at their official website or at their Facebook page, and stay tuned for the release of Dethrone The Crown pretty soon on their iTunes profile page, as well as in other online and physical stores. And do not miss their CD release party this November 14 (Friday) at Bovine Sex Club, in Toronto. Just like the Centennial Flame in Ottawa will never die, Laugh At The Fakes are making sure Canadian Rock N’ Roll won’t die either with their honest music crafted in the Great White North.

Best moments of the album: Cut To The Chase, Killing Time and Fighting Dirty.

Worst moments of the album: Harmonica Playing Man.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Not Like Me 6:28
2. Death Awaits 4:52
3. Cut To The Chase 3:37
4. Killing Time 6:14
5. Fighting Dirty 5:38
6. Got No Regrets 4:03
7. Harmonica Playing Man 6:15
8. And I 6:56
9. Dethrone The Crown 5:14

Band members
Everett Mason – guitar, vocals
Kevin Daliri – guitar
Galen Weir – bass
Chris Avalos – drums

Concert Review – Blaze Bayley (Hard Rock Café, Toronto, ON, 10/17/2014)

The Messiah blessed his loyal fans with pure Heavy Metal at Indie Week Canada 2014 in Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: Laugh At The Fakes, The Blackcloud Syndicate, Spewgore and Phantom

blaze bayley torontoOn a very pleasant not-so-cold night in the heart of Toronto during Indie Week Canada, from October 15 to October 19, Hard Rock Café was invaded on October 17 by around 150 metalheads to support four amazing local bands, with the icing on the cake being an electrifying performance by the “Messiah” Blaze Bayley, as part of the festival’s Metal Showcase.

I can’t say I was expecting more or less people than that, probably a little more due to the presence of such a great musician as Blaze, but one thing that I loved about the festival was the sense of family among all bands and fans at the venue, including Blaze himself who spent a lot of time talking to fans, taking pictures and signing stuff, as well as being able to put some faces to names like Jon Asher, from Asher Media Relations. You will read more about this great guy from Montreal, his business and the bands he works with here at The Headbanging Moose for sure.

IMG_2993The first attraction to hit the stage was Rock/Metal band LAUGH AT THE FAKES, from Toronto, Ontario. Those guys play a nice mix of Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, very old school but with a more polished sounding, and they surely entertained everyone already at Hard Rock Café before 9pm. Although it was impossible to get or memorize the setlists of any of the opening bands, I know Laugh At The Fakes played a pretty cool song called Killing Time, from their debut album Dethrone the Crown, which will  be released pretty soon and, of course, reviewed here at The Headbanging Moose.

Band members
Everett Mason – guitar, vocals
Kevin Daliri – guitar
Galen Weir – bass
Chris Avalos – drums

IMG_2997After some Rock N’ Roll and a short beer break, it was time for Thrash Metal/Hardcore band THE BLACKCLOUD SYNDICATE, also from Toronto, Ontario, to speed things up with their visceral music, with highlights to the wicked performance by lead singer Miko Zolefrapanidis. The guy was on fire, probably inspired by Blaze’s usual performance. In regards to the songs, I truly enjoyed a song named Protest the Riot and their cover version for Billy Idol’s classic Rebel Yell, both from their 2013 release called Rage in Common.

Band members
Miko Zolefrapanidis – vocals
Giuseppe D’Angelo – guitar
Graham Scott Anthony – guitar
Shawn Davidson – bass
Glenn Novak – drums

IMG_3003And there was more violence to come with the third indie band of the night, Thrash Metal/Hardcore veterans SPEWGORE, from Brampton, Ontario. Led by vocalist Bill Brown, the band took the proverbial phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” seriously, as they were able to deliver an almost full setlist in a very limited amount of time. If you enjoy fast, short and brutal hardcore songs, go after the music by this Canadian band. They truly delivered a nonstop energetic concert at the festival.

Band members
Bill Brown – vocals
Steve Macpherson – guitars
Ken Gibson – bass
Mark Macpherson – drums

IMG_3004The last attraction before the Messiah was Heavy Metal band PHANTOM, from Toronto, Ontario, and let me tell you those guys make the expression “New Wave Of Canadian Heavy Metal” more real than ever! What an amazing band, with powerful songs such as their new single Blood & Iron being the perfect warm-up for Blaze Bayley. Kudos to D.D. Murley, Necro Hippie and J.J. Blade for keeping the fire of Heavy Metal burning, and for reminding us why the 80’s were the best decade in the history of music by far.

Band members
D.D. Murley – lead vocals and guitar
Necro Hippie – bass guitar
J.J. Blade – drums and backing vocals

BLAZE BAYLEY

IMG_3015Coincidence or not, when the clock hit two minutes to midnight, BLAZE BAYLEY began his flaming performance at Hard Rock Café, accompanied by the extremely competent Iron Maiden tribute band MAIDEN QUÉBEC, from Montreal, Quebec, who were by the way supporting Blaze in all of his Canadian dates.

Celebrating 20 years of the controversial, obscure and awesome album The X Factor, Blaze and Maiden Québec presented a very interesting mix of his first solo albums (when his band was called only BLAZE) and Iron Maiden songs. And it wasn’t a perfect mix, just an interesting one, because unfortunately there were absolutely no songs from his best solo albums, the masterpieces The Man Who Would Not Die and Promise and Terror, which I can understand based on the fact Blaze is a 100% solo artist now, relying on local bands to build his setlist wherever he goes. I know it might be hard for any band to learn too many “new” songs in a short period of time, and so adding songs Maiden Québec are used to play like Running Free, Whathchild and Wasted Years was the most viable solution for all musicians involved.

IMG_3024Anyway, despite those minor limitations, it was indeed a great performance by “the man who will not die”, with highlights to songs such as The Brave, Silicon Messiah and Kill and Destroy, together with his Maiden-years songs When Two Words Collide (which I saw live only once, during the Virtual XI World Tour in 1998), Lord of the Flies, the all-time classics Futureal and Man on the Edge, and the more-than-perfect The Clansman. How can a normal person not get all fired up with this epic song, especially after Blaze’s inspiring words about living our lives, about feeling the sense of true freedom? This song always makes me want to be Scottish, I just love it!

IMG_2998

The Messiah is among us!

But the most important detail of the whole concert was, of course, Blaze Bayley himself. There’s an expression in Brazilian Portuguese that summarizes the state of a person when he is fearless, brave, lionhearted, and 100% ready for war: we say that person has “sangue nos olhos”, or blood in his eyes in English (not in a surgical way, of course), and that’s exactly how I see Blaze Bayley every single time he’s on stage. He gives it all, no matter if he’s playing for 50 or 50,000 people, and he literally demands each and every motherfucker from the crowd to join him in an incredible metal music havoc. You cannot hide from Blaze, he will see you standing still and kindly ask you “Hey, you, motherfucker! Come on!”, it doesn’t matter if you worked for over eight hours, if you’re fuckin’ exhausted nor if it’s already 1:30am. And that’s how true independent Heavy Metal is done.

Setlist
1. Lord of the Flies
2. When Two Worlds Collide
3. The Brave
4. Ghost in the Machine
5. Silicon Messiah
6. Ten Seconds
7. The Clansman
8. Futureal
9. The Launch
10. Soundtrack of My Life
11. Kill and Destroy
12. Man on the Edge
13. Running Free
14. Wrathchild
15. Iron Maiden
16. Wasted Years

Band members
Blaze Bayley – vocals

Maiden Québec (Canadian tour support band)
Pat Lalonde – vocals
Steven Bergeron – lead guitars
Leandro Alves – lead guitars
Math Gagnon – bass
Jef Rastoldo – drums

Interview – Blaze Bayley

The Headbanging Moose celebrates Halloween with an exclusive interview with the one and only Blaze Bayley (Wolfsbane, Iron Maiden, Blaze Bayley) prior to his acoustic concert in Montreal this November.

BlazeBayleyThe Headbanging Moose: From your first solo album until today, you have produced some very high quality Heavy Metal such as the masterpieces The Man Who Would Not Die and Promise and Terror. What in your opinion has changed and what has remained the same in your music since your solo debut with Silicon Messiah?

Blaze Bayley: The main thing that has changed is the way we record. With Silicon Messiah, I had to hire a studio with lots of equipment in, whilst now, with the new Soundtracks of My Life album, we could just record in Rick Plester‘s front room. It has become a lot easier and affordable in that way. I always write what interests me at the time or what goes on in my life, so that has stayed the same.

THM: You’ve just released a brand new song called Hatred, which is included in your new best of Soundtracks of My Life. What was your inspiration for that song and how was the recording process for it? Is it a “sample” of what people should expect from Blaze Bayley in the future?

BB: I had the idea for this song after having problems with a support band. I told Rick Plester about the idea and we came up with the music. I feel that I will record more songs like Hatred and especially Eating Children.

BB2010 027THM: I have seen you a couple of times in Brazil playing your regular Blaze Bayley concerts, with heavy guitars and drums, fast solos, and all your amazing energy on stage driving the fans crazy. However, you have been doing a lot of acoustic performances lately around the world. What’s the main difference for you when playing acoustic and why have you decided to start doing this kind of concert? Does it have anything to do with the fact that you’re now a father, as people usually “slow down” when they have kids?

BB: I have always wanted to a big acoustic tour but never found the right guitarist or time. It is a lot simpler because I can tour in Europe in my own car, so also a lot cheaper. It has worked out really well, although I notice that the fans are looking forward to my full metal shows again so the December dates in Brazil will be the last ones of the Russian Holiday tour. For me, the performance is exactly the same as full metal show, maybe even harder because there is no place to hide from me. The vocals have to be 100% to make that show work. Becoming a father, a parent, has made me want to work even harder. There is an undeniable reason to give my absolute best, to make sure my daughter has everything I want her to have. I want her to see that you have to work hard to make sure you can afford the nice things in life and I would love for her to join me when she is a bit older so she has a chance to see the world. My wife does a great job in combining my management with looking after our daughter so I have the freedom to perform as much as I want. It is always hard to leave home but once on tour, it all makes sense to me.

THM: The concert here in Canada, at the Piranha Bar in Montreal on November 9, will also be an acoustic performance. Could you please give us an idea of the setlist? Are you also playing any cover songs from other bands, like Doctor Doctor from UFO, or are you playing your regular setlist with a mix of Blaze Bayley, Iron Maiden and Wolfsbane songs only?

BB: The set will be mainly Iron Maiden songs and maybe also a song from other bands. A lot will depend on the rehearsals as I won’t be performing with my own guitarist. I am looking forward to meeting Some of the Few.

THM: During your world tour in 2011 you played that amazing sequence of dark and heavy songs that are part of a story from Promise and Terror: Surrounded by Sadness, The Trace of Things That Have No Words, Letting Go of the World and Comfortable in Darkness. Are you considering playing the same songs all together again but in an acoustic performance? I know those songs are very important to you, so how do you feel when you play those songs live nowadays?

BB: The songs are great and I like to add them in a set but it sometimes doesn’t work out like that. For next year, I’d like to keep the set fast so they might not fit in there. Acoustic they sound great.

THM: You had to cancel your whole Canadian tour back in 2012, and now in 2013 you’re only going to play one single concert in Canada. How difficult is it for an independent artist like you to organize a full tour in different countries? And how do you see the future of independent bands/artists in the world of Heavy Metal and music in general in the short and long term?

BlazeBayley02BB: It has been extremely difficult to book a tour in the USA and Canada. The agent that booked the 2011 tour, turned out to be not reliable. I think I am just not popular enough over there to get a full tour together. Europe, South America and some other places are ok to get tours together. My manager, my wife, books all my shows with the help of some agents. Since I split up with my full metal band, it has become a lot easier for me to tour as I don’t have to worry if my band can do the show. I just found musicians for the gig instead of finding the gig for the band.

THM: One of your recent tours was together with classical guitarist Thomas Zwijsen, playing songs from his album Nylon Maiden as well as some material from your solo career and Wolfsbane. Are you planning on joining forces with other different types of bands and musicians for some unique projects in a near future? I would love to see you performing together with the guys from Apocalyptica or Van Canto, for example.

BB: Everything is possible. My main focus is of course my own shows, which is what always gets booked first. Then, if some other projects show up, we try to fit them in if it is something that interests me.

THM: What are your favorite bands from Canada? Are there any new Canadian bands that you would recommend us listening to?

BB: I must admit I don’t know many Canadian bands. I performed in the US with Man the Destroyer, who were great guys and I am now guest on Some of the Few so I would say, check them out!

THM: What type of music and/or what bands do you listen to when you’re at home by yourself and with your family? Does your daughter already understand what your music is, and do you play any of your songs for her?

BB: I play a very varied range of music. From folk, to country to pop and of course to heavy metal and rock. We play a lot of music in our house, and although not always metal, my daughter always spots out the songs where I am singing. You can tell she has got a natural feel for music and goes dancing every week too. I think she will be a very expressive and creative girl.

THM: You toured with Iron Maiden in Canada back in 1996 during The X-Factour and in 1998 during the Virtual XI World Tour. What do you remember from those visits to Canada? Was there anything crazy or unusual that happened at that time you would like to share with us?

BB: I remember the fans, they were absolutely crazy and amazing!

THM: Thanks a lot for your time, I really appreciate that. Please feel free to send a special message to your fans in Canada and also to invite them for your acoustic concert in Montreal on November 9 at the Piranha Bar.

BB: Thanks for the interview. I’d like to say a huge thank you to my fans in Canada! I often see their comments on facebook and their orders on the webshop and I would love to perform my own shows there!

Links
Blaze Bayley Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Interview – Larry Paterson (Iron Knights)

Heavy Metal drummer and writer Lawrence ‘Larry’ Paterson (Arbitrater, Metalhead, Chokehold, Blaze Bayley, Raven Lord, Iron Knights) talks about his drumming style and career, his passion for World War II, his books, Blaze Bayley, Iron Maiden, his current band Iron Knights, and more.

Larry_PatersonThe Headbanging Moose: You have already played in your career with many different bands such as Chokehold, Blaze Bayley, Iron Knights and Raven Lord. What are the main differences you found playing with each one of those bands? Did you have to adapt your style to their music, or did they accept your ideas in their creative process?

Larry Paterson: Actually, I never really adapted to suit the bands – it’s more you bring what you have into it. You will always alter what you are doing slightly anyway to match the other people’s playing; but the same influences always come into play really, even if you are headed in slightly different directions. From the bands you mentioned above, in three of them I had a lot of creative input into everything; the drumming itself, but also ideas for arrangements and so on. I don’t play guitar well at all, or sing, but I can still hear ideas that may or may not work, in the same way that guitarists have good drum ideas. That way it becomes a real collaboration between everybody and the songs can really evolve into the magic of that band. If there’s no magic – then you haven’t got the right guys 🙂

Raven Lord was one where creative input wasn’t wanted at all, so that didn’t last long for me 😉

Chokehold, Blaze Bayley and Iron Knights all have/had the same buzz for me – particularly on stage. Good straight down the line heavy metal, maybe with a twist here and there. That’s what I like to write and play 🙂

THM: There’s a new Iron Knights song available for download in the band’s official website, called Destroyer, which by the way is really good. Is that exactly what the fans can expect from the new Iron Knights album that you’re planning to release in 2014? How about future tours? Are you planning on touring only the UK and parts of Europe, or are you going to extend the tour to other parts of the world such as Latin America, USA/Canada, Australia and Japan?

LP: Thanks very much; glad you like it. It’s definitely the way things are headed 🙂 Iron Knights really needed to evolve from what it started out as, and it has done so. The new stuff coming out is sounding really strong to my ears and I can’t wait to get it on the road. Ultimately, it’s a new band so will take time to grow, but we want to play anywhere and everywhere that we can. May take a while to get out of the UK – and we still have a TON of work to do here – but we want to play anywhere that wants us!

saxontour4THM: You have just finished a tour with the band/project called James Rivera’s Sabbath Judas Sabbath in the UK. Can you give us more details about this project? Who are the other musicians in the band? I saw the setlist for some of the concerts and it’s an awesome mix of the heaviest Priest classics with the best songs from the Dio years. How were the songs selected for this tour?

LP: It’s good fun this one. Beam (the bassist from Iron Knights and SJS) and I met James when we supported Vicious Rumors in Europe. At the time Iron Knights was the original lineup and falling apart more and more each day. But James already had this thing going in other countries where he would fly in and do the cover set. Beam and I grew up on this stuff, so it’s always a blast to play it and we got our friend Shoi Sengupta and Paul Nazakardeh in on guitars (both EXCELLENT players from the band De Profundis). James had the setlist which we added one or two tracks to and voila…we’re off. Great fun, and of course James can actually hit the notes in stuff like Painkiller and Screaming For Vengeance!

THM: Let’s imagine you had a similar type of project, but with focus on the material from all your previous bands, from your start with Arbitrater until today. If you had to select 15 or 20 songs to play on tour, which songs would you pick and why?

LP: Wow…that’s a hard question. Hmmm…well I can tell you that the reason for all the songs I choose would be because they have a lot of feel to me; either in the vibe of the song or sometimes just the speed (I like a bit of fast drumming every now and then!) Well, in no particular order they would be:

1. Judge And Jury (Arbitrater)
2. Choose Your Weapons (Arbitrater)
3. Life On Loan (Chokehold)
4. Legion (Chokehold)
5. Faith Of Fear (Chokehold)
6. The Man Who Would Not Die (Blaze Bayley)
7. Robot (Blaze Bayley)
8. Smile Back At Death (Blaze Bayley)
9. God Of Speed (Blaze Bayley)
10. City Of Bones (Blaze Bayley)
11. Voices From The Past (Blaze Bayley)
12. Comfortable In Darkness (Blaze Bayley)
13. Ludovico Technique (Metalhead)
14. Crack In The System (Blaze Bayley)
15. Post Work Syndrome (Chokehold)

That should make me sweat a bit 🙂

THM: You have written around 9 non-fiction histories of Germany’s Second World War U-boat service since the year 2000 due to your passion and interest in the Second World War. Could you give us more details about those books and where we can find them for sale? When did your passion for this type of topic start, and why did a Heavy Metal drummer like you suddenly decide to write many books about it? Have you ever turned any of the stories in your books into music, or are you planning to do so?

LP: Actually, I have been interested in WW2 since I was a kid. One of my Grandfathers was in the ANZACs in WW1 and the other in the Royal Navy in WW2 and they taught me that people were people no matter who they fought for. So I started to specialize in the German forces. My main areas of study were actually the Army and Waffen SS but I spent several years as a scuba instructor and was diving on a lot of German wrecks from the Second World War when I lived in France. That led to me writing a book about the U-boat service which became my specialist field. It’s important to me, this kind of history, and it’s a human story, not a political one. I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing people who served in all of the German forces, not to mention the Allied ones, and it’s always very humbling.

I haven’t actually written any songs about it – but there are plenty that feature war as a kind of theme.

THM: As a drummer and at the same time a connoisseur of World Wars, what’s your opinion about the Iron Maiden song Paschendale, which is about the Battle of Passchendaele that took place during the First World War and that had Canada as one of its most important players? Have you ever played this song live, with friends or by yourself?

LP: I think that is one of the best Maiden songs for years! My Grandfather (the ANZAC) was involved in that battle as part of the Australian Army and I have his memories of it that he wrote down before he died. Terrible battle! And Adrian Smith managed to capture all that imagery in the song. It’s brilliant musically and emotionally. I have jammed along with it, but never played it properly.

THM: You have also written a book about the Blaze Bayley band’s history entitled At The End Of The Day, published in 2009 with an update in 2010. Could you give us more details about this book, and where can we find it? How is your relationship today with Blaze and the other guys that played together with you then?

LP: Well, it’s still available through my website and as a Kindle version on Amazon. I had a great time in that band though we definitely didn’t see eye to eye by the time I left. I’m in touch with them all every now and then and hope they’re all moving on okay. I know Jay has Bull-Riff Stampede now which is doing great things here. Haven’t really spoken to Blaze much, but you never know what’ll happen in the future.

?;&????xV4xV4xV4xV4`^+&??????????CALZDFE02Cur.ZDFI02CML018001001THM: Canada is not very famous for generating a lot of heavy music bands, although we have some good ones such as The Agonist, Annihilator, Anvil, and of course one of the best progressive rock bands of all time, Rush. What do you know about the current Heavy Metal scene in Canada, and what are your favorite artists and bands from here (if any)? Are there any new Canadian bands that you would recommend us?

LP: Actually – I don’t know too much about the Canadian metal scene other than the bands you mentioned. I’ve only been to Canada once and loved it. The only band I saw was a covers band that did an amazing version of Sympathy For The Devil (can’t remember much else…..I had a beer or two…). I do remember thinking that the Canadian music scene in general seemed pretty healthy, but that was in the late 90s so no idea how it is now. It can be hard to break out of your home country, so I’m guessing there are lots of good bands that are trying to make that break.

THM: Thanks a lot for your time! Would you like to send a special message to all headbangers in Canada?

LP: Thank you for your interest! A special message? You guys live in a fantastic country – Keep metal alive – Support smaller bands – Don’t let the bastards grind you down!….and buy the new Motorhead album! 😉 Hope to get over there sometime.

Links
Larry Paterson Official Website | Facebook | Twitter YouTube
Iron Knights Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

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