I was recently reminiscing about the days of old when heavy metal was in its gloomy period and so many bands were breaking up and getting back together to the point we all lost track of what was happening. One such band that went through this phase was Iron Maiden. They took on, misused and sacked Blaze Bayley. During this period the group released some of their most under appreciated work, specifically in the magnificent The X-Factor.
So when Blaze Bayley was ousted from Iron Maiden, the folks who enjoyed the band’s most recent input looked forward to his first solo outing and we were utterly gob smacked at the huge quality difference between the bands début Silicon Messiah and the previously released Virtual XI.
The material produced by the Blaze band is very well written and quite dark. The tone of the guitars is quite different to the Iron Maiden based material and it is a refreshing sound, even in 2016. Each song has a satisfying punch as the band blast their way through the ten song track list with endless enthusiasm. Songs like the opening Ghost In The Machine, The Brave, Reach For The Horizon and even the albums title track are fantastic. I would go so far to say that there isn’t a bad track on the album and each one has aged a lot better than the material produced by Bayley’s former colleagues. They most certainly made a questionable decision getting rid of this bloke.
Musically speaking, this was a great band of musicians. There are moments of bass and drum rhythms from Rob Naylor and Jeff Singer that could be considered world class. The same could be said for the twin guitar playing from Steve Wray and John Slater. Two players who are borderline brilliant. They work off each other so well that had they kept going, I think they could of been a band for the ages. I certainly would of loved to of heard them perform this material live.
Iron Maiden fans will forever compare this to the album Brave New World which was released on the same year. In comparison I would say that Blaze got an edge on his former band mates. Whilst their album is fantastic in it’s own right, it lacked the emotional feel and powerful presentation that is in Silicon Messiah. This is by definition an underrated classic and one that should be in every heavy metal fans collection.
The only negative I have for this record is the 15th Anniversary Edition bonus tracks. The songs themselves are great but there is a noticeable volume difference between them. Once track ten finishes you suffer a major kick in the face in the opening notes of The Day I Fell To Earth. A minor flaw in an otherwise perfect album.
Where to buy :
Track Listing :
- Ghost in the Machine
- Silicon Messiah
- Born as a Stranger
- The Hunger
- The Brave
- Reach for the Horizon
- The Launch
- Stare at the Sun
- The Day I Fell To Earth (bonus)
- Motherfuckers R Us (bonus)
- Steel (bonus)