If I could describe Blaze Bayley in one word it would be passionate, point proven by his second release of 2018 December Wind.
The album is a stripped down acoustic release via Blaze Bayley Recordings on November 9th consisting of thirteen songs that run a gamut of emotions that include five bonus tracks originally released as the Russian Holiday album. Backing Blaze are classical acoustic guitarist Thomas Zwijsen and violinist Anne Bakker. The album kicks off strongly with ‘Eye Of The Storm’ as its call to arms lyrics are backed by ‘Pinball Wizard’ like chords. Huge choruses arrive early with Blazes chest beating vocal delivery featuring some mighty “Woah oh oh’s”. The guitar intro chords tugged at the heart strings gently through my headphones during ‘Love Will Conquer All’ as they muscled up midway to vie with an astounding vocal to match the depth of the subject matter as it ends on a fragile whisper.
‘2am’, the first of two numbers from his period with Iron Maiden features soul searching lyrics we can all relate to and is still a powerful song without any bombast behind it. ‘Miracle On The Hudson’ rushes along with a breathless vocal that captures the urgency of the chain of events leading up to and after a miraculous escape for one hundred and fifty five passengers on a plane that was forced to land on the river of the same name. The lyrics and guitar lines of the title track grip together like a firm handshake to draw you in for a thrilling rollercoaster ride of emotions.
Swirling violin pieces during ‘We Fell From The Sky’ fight for attention in this uptempo race to the finish line stormer. ‘The Crimson Tide’ is a full blooded charge into battle hymn as a curveball is thrown by ‘The Love Of Your Life’, a feel good catchy number that lifts the spirits up. Blazes performance in ‘Stealing Time’ will have you on the edge of your seat as he belts it out with sheer conviction. The poignant first half of ‘Russian Holiday’ gives way to a strange kind of flamenco groove to finish on. I’ve seen Blaze play ‘Soundtrack Of My Life’ live, it was my set highlight then and my album highlight here mainly due to the very deep lyrics. Guitar lines flow like a babbling brook and heavy up in the epic choruses!
‘One More Stop’ is a short, sharp fist clenching hope for the future and the album finishes on a high with ‘Sign Of The Cross’, the second Iron Maiden track here stripped down to its bare bones for an epic ten minutes as the heavy metal delivery is replaced by an energetic jig which captivates throughout. The lengthy acoustic guitar/violin piece midway is enthralling to say the least.
December Wind album track listing :-
Eye Of The Storm.
Love Will Conquer All.
Miracle On The Hudson.
We Fell From The Sky.
The Crimson Tide.
The Love Of Your Life.
Soundtrack Of My Life.
One More Stop.
Sign Of The Cross.