Damaged Strange Different And Live

Blaze Bayley
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

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

Never underestimate a diehard metalhead. Despite all the ups and downs of his three-decades-and-counting career, BLAZE BAYLEY has proved himself to be close to indestructible. Emerging back into the spotlight after major heart surgery last year, the former IRON MAIDEN and occasional WOLSFBANE man is clearly eager to get back on the metallic horse. Recorded prior to his unexpected health battle, "Damaged Strange Different And Live" may have been originally intended as a simple stopgap between studio albums, but circumstances have ensured that this 45-minute blast of classic, Bayley-powered sonic steel now seems like a triumphant comeback. Backed by the strongest band he's ever had as a solo artist, this fiery performance captures the big guy in his natural environment, on blistering form.

It helps that the set list is roughly divided between tunes from BLAZE's most recent studio effort, "War Within Me", and songs from the two albums he made with the world's greatest heavy metal band in the '90s. "War Within Me" was unjustly overlooked upon its release in 2021, but those in the know acknowledged it as a career high point; on a par with the mighty "Silicon Messiah" (2000) and the ferocious "The Man Who Would Not Die" (2008). Pleasingly, its songs are even more powerful and convincing in the flesh, and "Pull Yourself Up" and "Warrior", in particular, are as good as anything Blaze has ever written. Certifiably heavy and delivered with great passion, they have obviously connected with Blaze's loyal fan base, who collectively bellow along in all the right places.

Meanwhile, those MAIDEN tunes haven't sounded this good since Blaze's first tour with the British legends back in 1995. "Lord Of The Flies" and "Judgement Of Heaven" were always great songs, and Blaze sings them with such authority that it's hard not to see them as his material, rather than Maiden's, at this point. Likewise, "Fortunes Of War", which was disappointingly sluggish on "The X-Factor", is reborn here. Played with measurably more vigor than on the original studio version, it stomps where it used to plod, with surprisingly exhilarating results. The closing "Como Estais Amigos" is similarly revived, and is obviously an important song for Blaze, as his immaculate vocal attests.

The whole thing sounds monstrous and vital. When Blaze fully recovers and returns to active service, this should provide him with a solid benchmark to aim for. Welcome back, you unstoppable bastard.

Author: Dom Lawson
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).