Holy Moly the hype for Iron Maiden’s 6th full length studio release was Mega! Especially in my world at the time as Maiden was and still is the Numero Uno Metal Band in my book. Back in 1986 just about to turn 19 here’s Maiden in late September of that year releasing another studio album and keeping with protocol derailing me from doing my homework. I would stare at the album cover for hours on end and in the artwork always finding something different in the brilliant covers done by Derek Riggs each time my eye balls looked at the cover! Maiden go the futurist Terminator like look with Eddie the bands mascot and I love this whole concept that Maiden went with.
Of course reading the hype set forth by magazine adds that were advertising the album before it hit the record store shelves only ramped up my excitement level to ……ummmmmmm….Ecstasy! Ha! If you don’t know about my excitement level of Maiden releasing new product just dig around the site here for my review on Piece Of Mind. Or better yet ask my good pal Tbone about it!
So without further ado here’s Maaaaaaaaiden!
Cast Of Somewhere In Time…
Bruce Dickinson – vocals
Dave Murray – guitar, guitar synthesiser
Adrian Smith – guitar, guitar synthesiser, backing vocals
Steve Harris – bass guitar, bass synthesiser
Nicko McBrain – drums
Hmmmmmm soooooooo….I see there is the word Synthesizer attached to Harris/Smith/Murray….Whut is going on around these parts? Is this going to be Maidens Turbo album? Geez ….I remember that stood out as my eyes were scurrying all over the LP as Maiden always delivered in the sleeve of the album cool pictures/lyrics/artwork I was spastic man. Could not fathom how cool this album on the marketing scale looked! I was Hooked! To Hell with what was going on outside my bedroom that day or for that matter the world! New Maiden…New Maiden….New Maiden!
1. “Caught Somewhere in Time” Steve Harris 7:22
2. “Wasted Years” Adrian Smith 5:06
3. “Sea of Madness” Smith 5:42
4. “Heaven Can Wait” Harris 7:24
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” Harris 6:31
6. “Stranger in a Strange Land” Smith 5:43
7. “Deja-Vu” Dave Murray, Harris 4:55
8. “Alexander the Great” Harris 8:35
Total length: 51:18
The first thing is Woo Hoo over 51 Minutes of Maiden. The second thing is Bruce is no where in on the writing credit’s. Kinda weird I thought to myself as he had a decent hand in both 1983’s Piece Of Mind and 1984’s Powerslave in which Bruce wrote the title track.
Course years later (1993) when Bruce quit and him and Steve got all Pissy Pants with each other when broached upon why Bruce didn’t contribute to the writing of Somewhere In Time Steve said something to the effect that “Bruce brought a bunch of acoustic tunes that weren’t good” whereas Bruce said ” True some of the songs he submitted were acoustic” but Bruce wanted to take Maiden to the next level but Steve-o had different ideas!
At the time (1986)when I read in the magazines and the subject of Bruce’s not contributing creatively to the album Harris would say that Bruce was burnt out from the Powerslave Tour. I bought that answer at the time as the Powerslave Tour was like 13 months long or some crazy thing like that and here they are after a quick turnaround and pumping out new product…..
So no Bruce in the writing but man here comes Adrian Smith with 3 of his compositions and he lifts this record off…Ok more on that later..
Somewhere In Time is the opening track and at over 7 minutes in know what you’re in for when it comes to an opening number on a Maiden album. Here comes the Synth sounds and within seconds I’m ok with it as Maiden make it sound powerful not sappy like. The song picks up steam and by the time Bruce come joins in we are off and so is Bruce, Harris bass gallops happily away in sync with Nicks smashing of his kits doing his patented drum rolls. Big time solos by Murray and Smith keep the pace going and what can you say! Maiden incorporate a synth like sound they can still kick in my ear drums like its nobodies business!
Below I posted some live footage from this tour with the opening song. It gives you the idea of the cool stage set up! Bruce with his cool jacket with the heart that lights up but the doofus camera work is brutal as the camera’s are on the wrong guy playing the solo’s and you only see Steve Harris in like the first few minutes and it’s not til the catchy chorus that the camera catches up with Bruce! Brutal but whatever this gives you an idea of Maiden in 1986 on how they opened they big Rock SHOW! Watch it!
Heeeeeeeeeeeeereeeeeeee’s Adrian! There is the cool opening riff and Adrian writes pure gold in the form of Wasted Years. For some like my younger brother Todd this is his favourite Maiden Track. It Reeks Super Duper Cool as Bruce delivers Adrian’s lyrics flawlessly. Case in point…here’s a snippet..
From the coast of gold, across the seven seas
I’m traveling on, far and wide
But now it seems, I’m just a stranger to myself
And all the things I sometimes do, it isn’t me but someone else
I close my eyes, and think of home
Another city goes by, in the night
Ain’t it funny how it is, you never miss it til it’s gone away
And my heart is lying there and will be til my dying day
Don’t waste your time always searching for those wasted years
Face up, make your stand
And realize you’re living in the golden years
Man those are slick lyrics and F Those who pigeon holed Maiden as Devil rock from the one song they wrote 4 years earlier in 1982(The Number Of The Beast). This whole song is an absolute GEM from the structure of the song/Adrian’s Solo/ Bruce’s singing/ Maiden’s Musical Muscle Shines Through….. Vid is posted below which is another live 1986 clip in which Bruce intro’s the song in French! (The show was filmed in Bercy France) At least the camera guy shifts to Adrian on the solo and you can see him lay down some sweet Guitar Hero Like Action!
Sea Of Madness is another solo composition by Smith and with Bruce no showing in the writing department Adrian more than picks up the slack and well basically takes charge and pushes Harris as well. Speaking of Steve his Bass is throbbing/hopping and bopping along. Huge sounding along with Nicko riding his cymbal harder than a Hooker riding a Dirty Politician. At one point Sea Of Madness breaks down into a melodic moment and that’s Smiths selling point as a songwriter as he can take a tune make it melodic but still have it retain its Metal!
Steve-o feeling the heat of the two excellent tracks in a row that Smith wrote steps up himself with Heaven Can Wait. Love the beginning of this song as Steve/Dave/ Adrian/Nicko lock horns and just go for broke! Another great Maiden track with a real catchy chorus with a lot of ‘Oh Oh Oh’s” Some real slick lead guitar work and well Heaven can wait for another day!
Side 2 begins with another Harris solo tune and that’s The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner and yup it’s about the isolation one faces when isolated and in this case its the Runner. Lots of Nicko on this tune with him shot gunning the snare drum and kick drum quick. Bruce soars on this tune vocally and to be honest its the selling point for me on it. For a guy who at one point said he wanted to quit after the Powerslave Tour you would have never guessed it by how he shows up and sings for his supper! That is why he is hands down the Best Metal Singer…..EVER!
Smith yet again delivers another classic tune in Stranger In A Strange Land. What another Gem Tune as Smith composes the whole tune himself. Pretty cool as Steve and Nicko hook up at the beginning and were off. I’m gonna post the video of this tune..
Alright now for a few thoughts on the video. Bruce manhandles that mic stand about 15 times in the first 40 seconds of the video and that’s a show upon itself! At the 1 minute 1 second mark when Bruce sings the lines..
No brave new world, no brave new world
No brave new world, no brave new world
What a cool riff underneath right at this part of the tune. Nicko’s drums locked with the guitars along with Bruce’s vocals is soooo damn good. I still remember when I played this album for the very first time when Stranger ended I picked up the needle went back and played this tune again.Impact a roo!
Deja-Vu has Steve teaming up with Dave and they write together a straight ahead Maiden Rocker that features Bruce singing sinister like in the verse’s until the Pre Chorus. Pretty good tune actually and kudos to Harris on writing a track under the 5 minute mark!
Speaking of Steve where oh where would though be without a huge end of the album 8 minute plus tune. Alexander The Great is the tune but for some reason I never really took to this tune as I think Harris set the bar way to high with Rime Of The Ancient Mariner from Powerslave. No fault to Steve but when it came time to tour for the Somewhere In Time Tour Maiden were still playing Rime which is so ridiculous cool! Sure there are probably tons of people who enjoy this track(My Buddy RockStar Supa Paulie)being one would disagree with my snobbiness about this track but hey the first 7 tracks on this album are standouts!
There ya have it! Another riveting tale of how Maiden took ahold of me just being Maiden and continuously putting out superior product!
Adrian Smith for me is the MVP on this album as he takes ahold of songwriting and cuts loose with 3 Top Tier Tracks and giving Steve a real run for his money.
Kinda bizarre that when people think of Maiden 80s output it’s sometimes the Forgotten Album which is bizarre as I think it was there best-selling album in the U.S….
This was a great trip Somewhere( Back )In Time!