Infinite Entanglement, by Blaze Bayley
Suggested by Danny Nuttall
Iron Maiden were my gateway drug into the Land of Metal.
My first album was Number of the Beast, and throughout the Eighties I sucked up everything they did. Every album from Number of the Beast to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son? Pure gold. When the Nineties came, I became more metal-adjacent than metal-centric. I’d moved onto more Thrash Metal, specifically Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Iron Maiden felt like Beginner’s Metal, and as I embraced other sounds I let them drift away. I noped through their next two albums, and by the time Bruce Dickinson left to pursue solo endeavours I couldn’t really care less. Along came Blaze Bailey to fill Bruce’s clown shoes, but all I could muster was a shrug.
Before today, I’ve not listened to anything by Mr Bayley. I presume he’s competent at least, as he was chosen to lead Britain’s premium Metallers for a number of albums, before embarking on a solo career himself once Bruce returned to the Maiden fold. Infinite Entanglement is Bayley’s fourth of six studio releases as Blaze Bayley, each predating the three he had as Blaze.
Infinite Entanglement is a sci-fi concept album, the tale of the first man to live for a thousand years. It spawned two sequels, which bodes well. It must have merit if it formed a musical franchise?
After subjecting myself to the full twelve-song fifty-minute run time of such interminable bilge, I’m flabbergasted that whichever music exec that green-lit this wasn’t taken out back and shot.
Let’s talk production. The balance on this is all wrong. There’s so little bass. It’s supplied by proxy, through headphones over a Teams meeting. Blaze himself is so prominent he both dominates the entire band and makes the entire album unlistenable. He’s got a huge voice – more on that later – but it sandblasts the other musicians so ferociously that he’s being backed by wind-up toys with tin drums and plinky cymbals.
Let’s talk vocals. Blaze is huge, that’s for sure, full of neck-whipping modulation and resonance. He’s also full-on over-played gurning, an opera singer sending up of Ronnie James Dio. There’s One Level of delivery, no matter what is required of the song. From the fast and frenetic opener Infinite Entanglement to slower ballad What Will Come, Blaze belts it out in the Vic Reeves club style with little nuance or intrigue. He does one thing: overblown and theatrical operatics. if I learnt that Blaze Bayley was the Go Compare Man, I would not be surprised.
Finally, let’s talk concept. It’s completely laughable. Songs such as Dark Energy 256 and Independence are crowbarred with idioticly worthy spoken word excerpts that are sub GSCE level at best and frankly embarrassing at worst. It’s truly the worst example of such indulgence I’ve ever heard, right there with W.A.S.P.’s Crimson Idol. Then again, I’ve little time for Operation Mindcrime, so what do I know?
My standout song? Human, I guess. And I don’t even like that.
I can only assume that Blaze Bayley’s voice has not aged well, and that the Ninteties Bayley was much more exciting. Because on the evidence of Infinite Entanglement, the fact he succeeded Bruce Dickinson beggars belief. Blaze gets 3/10, with my infinite disappointment.