Blaze Bayley - Endure and SurviveYou might not have noticed it, but Blaze Bayley released a sequel to 2016’s Infinite EntanglementEndure and Survive marks the second part of Blaze’s trilogy of concept records. Musically and thematically, Endure and Survive is the audial continuation of its predecessor, a good, honest heavy metal album. It’s heavier than Maiden, but not as modern as BLAZE was. The songwriting is tight, with tracks averaging four and a half minutes, and it’s remarkably catchy. Endure and Survive is rife with double guitar leads, solid solos, and Bayley’s flare for memorable choruses. It’s exactly what you would expect it to be and there’s nothing wrong with that.

What’s charming about Blaze’s most recent solo work is that he seems to have stopped taking no for an answer. Endure and Survive is the second installment in the story about William Black, whose dark secrets are explored through totally-not-cringe-inducing dialogue. Our protagonist is hurtling through space—sent my psychopathic scientists—toward a planet that is being primed for human settlement by genetically modified übermenschen. There are some plot points on which I am not terribly clear—like how is it possible that both Black and the scientists have survived for a thousand years?—but such questions feel pedantic in the face of such good metal. The story structures the album, which flows solidly and rocks from start to finish, and it allows Blaze to touch on his classic themes: loneliness, loss, independence, and the strength of individual character and will in the face of adversity.

Blaze Bayley 2017

Endure and Survive suffers from familiar problems: Blaze is way too high in the mix; the voice acting makes me feel slightly embarrassed for the band and self-conscious; and the whole production has ‘community theater’ written all over it. But then I get into the record and I can’t help but love it. The whole album is littered with highlights. Tracks like “Destroyer” rock fantastic riffs and groovy-as-fuck choruses that cast me back to Silicon Messiah. “Blood” features a completely addictive chorus, and is up there with “Speed of Light” for the thrashiest tracks Blaze has ever written. “Dawn of the Dead Son” kicks off with a triplet feel guitar lick worthy of classic Helloween, and “Fight Back” rocks like late-Maiden without the bloated and plodding feel of advanced age. All-in-all, Endure and Survive is a record packed with solid, classic, authentic heavy metal.

When all is said and done, I just don’t care that Endure and Survive would cheese out Tony Kakko. Blaze’s unapologetic dedication to his vision may ring of your dad’s dedication to his straw hat, enormous sunglasses and fanny pack when on vacation, but there’s a wisdom in that. The true wisdom of age is learning when not to give a fuck anymore and just doing what works. Endure and Survive—Bayley’s 8th solo album since 2000 and a keen description of what he’s been doing all this time—is one more piece of evidence of Bayley’s gritty dedication to just playing heavy fucking metal. And I appreciate that more now than I ever have before.

Tracks to check out: “Blood,” “Destroyer,” “Dawn of the Dead Son”


  • Nukenado

    This was coming.

  • I still think his best work was in Star Trek. Worf was the man.

    • Septic

      Honestly though, he is a Worf/Picard hybrid

      • basenjibrian

        I was thinking “i never knew Dr. Zaius sung in a metal band!”

        • Kronos

          Rock me, Dr Zaius!

          • Slimylimey

            I always thought that “made me spit out my coffee” was just a phrase and never happened in real life. You just proved me wrong!

          • Kronos

            Oh my gosh, I was wrong!
            It was Earth all along!
            You’ve finally made a monkey out of me…

          • Slimylimey

            Shit dude, I am having breakfast. Keep that up and I’m going to need the Heimlich.

          • Kronos

            That’s pretty much all there is. I do love legitimate theater.

          • John Mosley

            Dr. Zaius, Dr. Zaius.

  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    YOUR DAD’S FANNY PACK:
    WORST.
    EMO BAND.
    EVER.

    • Slimylimey

      Being British I still can’t read “fanny pack” without giggling. Because I’m really twelve, not forty-five.

  • Phil Daly

    Enjoyable record, but still suffers from a very weird and thin overall sound. I’m prepared to cut Blaze and the band some slack, as there’s clearly not much of a budget to play with, but still just sounds “off”, which is a great shame, as he can still clearly write belting heavy metal tunes. A bit more guitar and a bit less vocals (including the over-singing) would really elevate these tunes to greater heights.

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      Honestly budget shouldn’t really factor into sound quality that much these days. People record in their bedrooms and get better quality than this. There’s no excuse anymore for thin, muddy mixes like there was even a decade ago. That’s why it bothers me that Manilla Road (for example) keeps putting out records that sound like low-budget affairs from like 1993.

      • Phil Daly

        I guess that’s true. I’ve met him at a gig, as he’s such a down to earth, honest guy, that I can’t believe it’s just ego placing him in the centre of things. I’d love to hear the last two records with the sound of Silicon Messiah or The Man Who Would Not Die, as they were storming.

    • h_f_m

      I’m digging it as well. It’s better louder. :)

  • Nukenado

    Typo in the category tags, by the way.
    “Things You MIght Have Missed 2017”

    • Malhorne

      Yes I told them one or two weeks ago and they acknowleged it, but I dunno if it is that easy to fix for every writer.

      • Nukenado

        I think it’s a tag problem then, probably harder to fix.

        • Malhorne

          And the funny thing is that they fixed it in the footer of the review but not in the header :)

          • Kronos

            Header and footer lists that you see actually contain different info – the tags and the categories.

          • Malhorne

            That explains everything!

    • Nahuel Benvenuto

      “Our protagonist is hurtling through space—sent my psychopathic scientists—” Sent By psychopathic scientists maybe was what he was trying to say?

      • Nukenado

        Yeah, probably.

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    the music itself sounds good, not so much the production (and that cover art, iugh) but i love concept albums so i will check it out

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Weird that being younger, Blaze looks older than the guys in Iron Maiden.

  • I was worried this wouldn’t be reviewed here, I had been looking for it to pop up since I bought the album and I’m so glad TYMHM includes a write up for Blaze’s latest material.

    I had the honor of seeing them play live in Bolingbrook [read Chicago for most people] and the night was really special. Blaze has long been one of my favorite people in all metal and when I’ve had some pretty rough times it is usually his albums that I return to. He was very inspiring on stage even for all his flaws vocally. His energy and passion in front of a crowd of a mere 50 people was something else. It was also great that he and the band stayed afterward and just hung out with everyone. One of the most memorable shows I’ve ever been to, for sure. It is something that you may assume is crushing to perform in such small venues and still have them only a third full (I know if really bothered me back when I was still playing live shows) but once the first chords were played he treated the place as if it was a festival sized crowd. Truly professional, down to earth, and honest and we all were moved by it.

  • Yolo Swaggins

    You can just tell he feels epic.

  • Caleb
  • Jeremy Freeman

    Hey when did Robb Flynn join Blazes band? lol

  • kmanitou81

    You broke my Dull-o-meter. :(