Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Review: Blaze Bayley – War Within Me

Label: Napalm Records

Date: April 9th, 2021

“From my heart I thank you all. It is a privilege, an honour, and a great pleasure to be able to write my songs thinking of you. Knowing that you are there encourages and inspires me. Over the years I’ve had my ups and downs with my career and my mental health. Many of you have supported me and believed in me, even when I struggled to believe in myself. You have often given me a reason to pick myself up and go on.

Some of the lyrics on this record are conversations with myself. Trying to find a positive voice to push my negative self-destructive thoughts. When I thought about the lyrics and the overall vibe on this record, I knew I wanted it to be very positive. I am so lucky I have your support.

At our meet and greets sometimes there has been time for a chat, and many of you have shared stories about how you have found comfort and encouragement in some of my lyrics and music. I have found that to be a very humbling experience. That is, in part, what has inspired me to use a lot of personal thoughts and feelings about the challenges I face in my own life. I feel many of those challenges are the same, in different degrees,for all of us. At some point we all feel low and down, we wonder if there is any point in going on. We feel alone. We have to find a way to hold on. You are part of this. Your support has made this album possible.

From my heart I thank you all.” 

From the lead singer of Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden, over to the BLAZE, Blaze Bayley band to solo career and partnership with Absolva, the nicest person I have ever met, Mr. Blaze Bayley delivered another masterpiece. “War Within Me” is not just a collection of self-thoughts that were part of his healing process but also honor to great minds such as Nikola Tesla, Steven Hawking and Alan Turing.

The man who was on the edge for so many times, driven by personal and professional tragedies, as a part of the healing process delivered ten songs with a little help of Christopher Appleton.

“War Within Me” embraces both: the bright and dark complexion of Blaze’s personality. No matter what problems he encountered in life, he managed to rise and overcome it despite all the struggles. And I admire and respect that. Never give up!

“303” brings us back to the period of World War II, to be precise, August 24th, 1940. Here I can draw a parallel with the Iron Maiden and “Aces High”. Both songs are aimed at a British RAF pilot fighting during the Battle of Britain.

The way I see Blaze, if I could describe his personality in one word, it would be a warrior. I have been on a life roller coaster for a few times, as Blaze says: broken, alone, left for dead. But same as him, I chose to fight, I am a warrior, creator of my own destiny.

“I can choose my destiny
Feel the freedom within me,
Choose which thoughts I will believe
Choose to get back on my feet
I can build the strength I need
I can find the bravery
Be defiant till the end and fight the darkness once again.”

“Pull Yourself Up” is inspired by another personal tragedy, Blaze’s motorcycle accident. He speaks not only about the physical scars but also the mental ones that this accident caused. Same as in previous one, Blaze repeats what obviously is very important to him or might be his life philosophy:

“Stop doubting yourself
Questioning yourself
Stop hating yourself
To believe in yourself
Control my own thoughts
Control my own mind…”

So many people faced depression and suicidal thoughts, some left it behind, some unfortunately not. “Witches Night” talks about loneliness, doubts, fears; reconsidering life decisions.

How dedicated he is to his fans, how much they (we) mean to him, Blaze describes in “18 Flights”. Earthquake, tsunami, evacuation during his Coquimbo (Chile) concert, eighteen flights and sixteen shows, six countries… One of his many experiences found its place in this song.

Alan Turing, computer theorist, considered the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence is immortalized in the next song, “The Dream of Alan Turing”.

“Alan Turing dreams of thinking machines
They must deceive to be believed
Survive the lies humanity agreed
They are born.”

When I look at how backward humanity has come with the development of technology, I wonder would Alan Turing thinking machines wish to be ignorant?

The next tribute goes to Nikola Tesla (“The Power of Nikola Tesla”), I would say the greatest visionary, futurist (feel free to choose the right word) more than a scientist. However, genius inspired Blaze for another great song, powerful as befits a man whose life is still a mystery.

The man who was an inspiration to many, Stephen Hawking, despite the captivity in one’s own body, is a true example of a man who does not give up. I would say that there is actually a point of contact between these three geniuses to which those three songs are dedicated (“The Dream of Alan Turing”, “The Power of Nikola Tesla” and “The Unstoppable Stephen Hawking”): misunderstood, mysterious, ahead of their time, persistent, unstoppable, warriors!

And in the end, as the ultimate message: no matter what you are facing, no matter how much you think there is no hope, you must know: every storm ends! Look at Blaze: the man who was excluded from the world’s grates band, who nearly lost his leg, loss of a loved one,

Once, Blaze said:

“I believe if you want to be in the world’s greatest metal band you will pay, and horrible things happen.”

I deeply believe that the suffering has come to an end.

And my final word(s):

Blaze, from my heart thank you for your music, thank you for your each letter, word, verse, note, song, album you put your heart and soul into it. Thank you for the time you dedicated to your fans, including me, an annoying girl, almost 14 years ago somewhere in Serbia. It has been an honor and privilege to meet you. Hope we will meet you again with a big smile on your face, because that is how I remember you.