Blaze Bayley - "Circle of Stones" (2024)

Blaze Bayley for me means dedication and passion. After a potentially deadly stroke, here he is again and strong with a new album "Circle of Stones". Let's talk about it it, saying that the album is divided in two. The first part is a collection of unrelated songs while the second one, starting with "The Call of the Ancestor" is a mini-concept about pursuing aspirations while keeping an eye on what and who came before us to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

The opener "Mind Reader" is too modern for my taste, with autotune (you don't need that, dude) and it doesn't sound Blaze at all, to me. Way better are the following tracks "Tears in Rain" and "Rage", very Blaze instead, and two of the best songs on the album, in my opinion. "Ghost in the Bottle" could be an Iron Maiden song until the chorus, a little weak, in my opinion. I love the verses and the riffs, though. Very emotional is the ballad "The Broken Man", where Blaze thanks his fanbase for being supportive of him during the years. I love the solos and the lyrics, very intense. 

In the second half, after the bizarre break "The Call of the Ancestor", we find the good title track (great vocals!), the usual maiden influences in "Absence" (with a different twist in the verse) and probably my favourite track on the album "The Path of the Righteous Man", which is what I want to hear from Blaze and it brings me back to the Era of Silicon Messiah (and Maiden, of course). The album closes with another good ballad "Until We Meet Again", with a beautiful violin solo, a classical arrangement and a very emotional finale.

There are very good tracks on the album and the performance by Blaze and his band is spot on. I'm not fond of all the tracks on the album (the opener above all, but also "A Day of Reckoning" and "The Year Beyond This Year") but overall "Circle of Stones" is another good brick in the solid career of Blaze Bayley.

Rating 69/100
Top tracks: Rage, The Broken Man, The Path Of The Righteous Man.
Skip track: Mind Reader.

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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