Review Summary: Put some respect on his name.
It's interesting how narrative can influence someone's opinion, or in Blaze Bayley's case, a myriad opinions. Had Blaze Bayley stayed with Wolfsbane or followed a solo career, he might have been perceived as an underground warrior. But the oft-maligned Birmingham-born vocalist was considered an important reason for Iron Maiden's slump in the mid-'90s, even though his vocal approach was just different and unsuited for the material that he was asked to sing. However, what cannot be disputed, is his ability as a bandleader and his talent to come up with quality material; his solo career has been more than solid, and War Within Me
is further proof of his ability to produce fist-pumping, honest heavy metal.
What makes this album such an enjoyable listen is the attention given to choruses. After completing a trilogy of concept albums, it seems that the music here is more song-oriented and Blaze is just having a great time. The album oozes positive energy, expressed in the form of lyrics and melodies. Right from the start, the title track's lyrics deal with overcoming difficulties, which is also a very current subject. You can feel that the lyrics are quite personal for Blaze, but they're also easy to relate with. Several catchy moments on here will stay with the listener and bring to mind Virtual XI
, so if you think that Iron Maiden's 11th release is awful, then this LP might not be for you. Apart from the above, great work has been done on the guitars, with some memorable riffs, nice harmonies, and solid solos. The aforementioned qualities are present in all songs, with the album containing not even one stinker.
Now, if you're wondering if this is one of those albums that will stay with you for years and jam every once in a while, the answer is probably "no". However, it will lift your spirits and maybe help you forget your worries every time you decide to revisit it; and these are qualities as underrated as Blaze himself.