Anyone who loves a good trilogy knows that the second part always ups the ante. Beloved middle children like The Two Towers and The Empire Strikes Back work to expand the worlds that were conceived by their predecessors, often raising the stories’ stakes and darkening their tones. Serving as an immediate sequel to 2016’s Infinite Entanglement, Endure and Survive sees Blaze Bayley’s metal trilogy evolving in a similar fusion musically and lyrically, even if the story itself is still impossible to follow without liner notes…
For the most part, Endure and Survive picks up right where Infinite Entanglement left off right down to the style template. The songs are pretty much all upbeat power metal numbers with the odd ballad thrown in, though the choruses may not stick to the brain as deeply as the ones before. On the other hand, the production mix may be a bit more balanced out as Blaze’s vocals aren’t quite as in your face this time around. The backing musicians do their jobs well with the drums in particular standing out and the guitar getting plenty of chances for sing-along leads and shredding.
But while the songwriting isn’t as ear catching here, it does certainly feel more complex. As expected with the story turns, the tone is darker throughout with “Blood” in particular having a heavier guitar crunch that recalls the Blood and Belief album. Elsewhere, the ballads on here are surprisingly multifaceted than the mere acoustic exercises of Blaze’s most recent efforts; “Eating Lies” has a triumphantly dynamic structure while “Remember” makes up for the somewhat sharp duet with tasteful accordion and violin flourishes. In addition, “Together We Can Move the Sun” is as elaborate as its mouthful title suggests, closing the album out in an epic fashion that goes from sentimental romanticism to an ominously delivered cliffhanger.
Overall, Endure and Survive may trade some catchiness away for more thematic song structures but it’s probably on the same level as Infinite Entanglement in terms of quality. Fans will find plenty of the same dark power metal that they’ve come to expect from Blaze and there’s no real incentive for anyone to convert to the ways of the Silicon Messiah if they haven’t already done so. With any luck, Part 3 will end this trilogy with a bang but it also wouldn’t be a bad thing if it decided to stay in this little niche.
“Endure and Survive”
“The World is Turning the Wrong Way”
“Together We Can Move the Sun”