"Promise and Terror"

By Dr. Abner Mality

If this record doesn't get Blaze Bayley the respect he is due, I don't know what will. It is 100% metal from beginning to end, dripping with power and emotion and the hard luck vocalist has never sounded more commanding. After the tragedy that's befallen him in the last few years, most especially the loss of his wife, he is surely due for success.

They say out of great hardship comes great art and I think that's true for "Promise and Terror". You can feel the real emotion surging through the album. Even the fast headbanging songs (and there are quite a few of them here) have a dark and melancholy feeling to them. The quartet of songs that end the album are all linked by the theme of personal loss and all of them have a lot more impact than the boring ten minute historical epics on the last Iron Maiden CD. This music is heavy not just sonically but emotionally.

The record starts with a bang on the smashing "Watching the Night". Blaze's huskier vocals now fit the music perfectly. The energy is very high on "Madness and Sorrow", "God of Speed" and "Faceless" and the sound is heavy and fast without quite crossing over to thrash. "1633" and "City of Bones" offer deep, multi-faceted tracks that are still compact and concise. The album slows in the last third for those sad songs I mentioned earlier, but the emotion is raw as Blaze tries to deal with tragedy on "Letting Go of the World" and "Surrounded by Sadness".

This is a great album and by far the best thing Blaze has put his name to. It will be one of the top efforts of the year.