BLAZE BAYLEY - Circle Of Stone

March 2, 2024, a month ago

(Blaze Bayley Recordings)

Nick Balazs

Rating: 7.5

review heavy metal blaze bayley

BLAZE BAYLEY - Circle Of Stone

Blaze has carved out an impressive solo discography of pumping heavy metal and newest opus Circle Of Stone is no different. Circle Of Stone holds more importance as it is his first new material since undergoing triple bypass heart surgery in April 2023. And it is gratifying to hear him sound strong and robust on this 12 track, 44 minute trek.

Most cuts hover in the 3.5 minute range and their immediacy is refreshing as Blaze’s vocals power in through up-tempo heavy metal with short verses, big choruses, and melodic leads. Opening combo “Mind Reader” and “Tears In Rain” are a great one-two punch showcasing those abilities. “Rage” supplies a brief buildup before thundering guitars usher in another winner.

Almost 6 minute “The Broken Man” is an emotive power ballad with redemptive, thankful lyrics – could see this going well in a live setting. Bagpipes lead short instrumental “The Call Of The Ancestors” before guitars take over and lead into the striking title track that features a guest with Wolf’s Niklas Stålvind joining in on vocals.

Blaze’s backing band of Absolva is filled with talented musicians. Guitarists Chris and Luke Appleton are flashy without going over-the-top providing gliding fills and tactful melodies and Martin McNee is sturdy behind the drum kit, providing the necessary tempo and rhythmic abilities. The bass makes it presence known on the before mentioned “The Broken Man”.

Circle Of Stone loses some of its momentum after “A Day Of Reckoning” – the rugged, mid-tempo punch provides a finality but is followed by the speeding “The Path Of The Righteous Man” and duet ballad “Until We Meet Again”. The latter is met with strings and Blaze sings with Tammy-Rae Bois who does a nice job, but ends the album on a letdown.

The Stone is still healthily chiseled as this is dependable heavy metal filled with odes to powering through adversity, not giving up, redemption, and hope. Check it out!



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