Former Iron Maiden singer Blaze Bayley had an emotional reaction to the metal band's Brave New World when he first heard it back in 2000.

Of course, that's not altogether surprising, especially since it was Iron Maiden's first album back with returning lead singer Bruce Dickinson, who had then just come back to retrieve the Iron Maiden frontman position after Bayley made two albums with the band (1995's The X Factor and 1998's Virtual XI).

In 2000, Bayley was in the early stages of a solo career, which coincidentally began that same year with his Silicon Messiah (released under the name Blaze.) But when he heard Brave New World for the first time, knowing that he could've potentially been singing those songs still hit him hard.

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How Blaze Reacted to Brave New World

"I'll admit that I cried my fucking eyes out," Bayley recalls to Metal Hammer of his first listen.

"It's a really good album," he continues of Brave New World, "but I knew that if things had worked out differently, I would have been working in the studio with those guys, I would have been singing some of those songs. There was this sense of great loss."

Blaze Can Admit the Situation

But Blaze isn't afraid to accept reality. "Let's face it, Bruce Dickinson is the absolute benchmark of what it is to be a heavy metal frontman," he says before comparing it to his own tenure. "He's one of the greatest singers and performers in any genre of music, and he's just left your favorite band and they've got this idiot from Tamworth in?"

Blaze Bayley
Blaze Bayley (Metal Hammer / Future / Getty Images)

Bayley explains of the circumstances, "A lot of fans hated me on principle. There is a percentage of fans that still hate me. Some people have never even heard me, but still hate me because I'm not Bruce."

These days, the musician can admit that hindsight has helped him process his Iron Maiden departure. But he was devastated in the moment.

"It was horrific," Bayley recalls. "I'd be making all these plans for my solo career — I'm going to come back with a new project; I'm going to use everything I learned from Maiden and songwriting with those guys, it'll be incredible. And then a couple of hours later, I'd be sobbing."

He adds, "I couldn't say so at the time, but I was destroyed."

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