Blaze Bayley was the lead singer with the impossible job of replacing Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden. And by replace, we really mean follow-up because Blaze wasn’t there to replace him. The first album, The X Factor with Blaze Bayley, wasn’t a success at the time; but in the following years, fans (like this author) have found it to be an underrated one. In a new interview, Blaze talked with The Metal Command about his time in Maiden and some of the things he might’ve changed.

“‘The X Factor”s got some incredible music on it, but the sound of it is so dark, and the way it was produced, it’s not accessible like some of the other Maiden albums. You’ve gotta live with that for quite a few spins until you’re tuned into what things are doing. Then you can get to the music.

I think that was maybe a problem with it at the time. It’s so dark and the sounds of things were quite different to what came before. People who did live with it, managed to find it. And it’s different cultures as well, different countries. In Sweden and Spain, those albums, people loved them as much as every other [Maiden] album. But in other places, people didn’t. It’s a different thing.”

He went on to talk about some things he learned from his time in Maiden.

“What I take away most is, working with the guys in [Maiden], writing songs with the guys and what I learned from their experience — they were so generous — and I found, working in the studio and writing, another part of my voice I didn’t even know I had. So, now I’m able to express the lyric and the melody and get the emotion and the passion and the specific feelings from that lyric, from that song. I’m able to get my voice and use my voice in a way I could never do before. And that’s because of everything I learned in Iron Maiden.

That’s all it was out of my career of 40 years — five years with Iron Maiden, and I learned so much that I’ve gradually been able to build up. And now with [my upcoming album] ‘Circle Of Stone’, I’m so proud. The things I’ve done on this, I haven’t been able to do before. And I’m so proud of it.”

Blaze has definitely gotten a bad rap for his time in Iron Maiden. His tenure came at the lowest point for metal music across the board. CD sales were down, interest was down, and it was just a bad time overall. That being said, the two albums he played on seem to mark a change in the overall sound of Iron Maiden that we have today. The songs were longer, darker, and more complex, and that shows on albums like A Matter of Life and Death and Senjutsu. The man has seen plenty of turmoil and heartache in his time. He could be bitter and cynical about his time in Iron Maiden; instead, he’s the opposite. Blaze Bayley was the lead singer of one of the greatest heavy metal bands ever, and only a few people in human history can say that.

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