Yes folks today I’m cheating with a repost of this review from April 2016! The reason? Well I’m off to see Maiden Live in Minneapolis tonight(June 16th) and that’s thanks to my brother Todd who got us tickets on a presale as the show sold out in 2 days back in January! So thanx to Todd I’m outta here but fret not…Full Live Review….ASAP!
It wasn’t for the fact that Maiden after 35 years of albums would release a double studio album too psyche me out! Nope! It also wasn’t for the fact that Maiden as per protocol would have some tunes that clock in at 13 minutes and one at over 17 minutes! Nope…
It was the fact that in the credits as it listed the bands names their’s lead singer Bruce Dickinson credited with both vocals and piano!
Scccccreeeeeeech…..HALT! Yep my fine readers at Stick It In My Ear that is the difference between Maiden 2015 and Maiden 1985!
If you’re looking for Maiden speed metal in Aces High from yesteryear just keep on trucking. They can still hold down the Metal Fort thank you very much but their sound has advanced proggy,epic in spots,a different kind of recording beast in 2015!
Just like how Rush stepped up and delivered a classic in Clockworks Angels back in 2012. Iron Maiden step up and deliver what I would say is there best album since Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son(1988)
Rush and Maiden have nothing left to prove but how they managed to step up and release such majestic epic recordings pushing the age of 60 years young is mind-boggling but yet for us Lovers of Hard Rock its a win win…..
Bruce Dickinson(vocals) Dave Murray,Janick Gers,Adrian Smith (all guitars) Steve Harris(bass) and Nicko McBrain (drums) are still alive and kicking into The Final Frontier(Ha!) ….No slouching around at Maiden HQ when Commander Harris is at the controls!
IF ETERNITY SHOULD FAIL- Ahhh so the proceedings begin with Bruce and some Voodoo Hoodoo Mayan like vibes. Yep all is fine with the Air Raid Siren and at age 57 his vocal pipes are as strong as ever and why wouldn’t they be? Before too long the rest of Maiden shoots out of the gate and I like the production courtesy of Kevin Shirley who keeps things dry in other words he doesn’t overproduce Maiden he keeps things sonically balanced. First thing is that I notice is Harris bass is mixed down and not that twangy vibe like some sonic beef was added to the grill. Great chorus and Bruce’s vocals just sail over and Frigg his voice is outstanding. Dig how the song shifts into a Steve/Nicko mashup before the solos are launched by the Three Amigos on guitar. What a powerhouse opener as Maiden always deliver on the first song on each of their albums! Stand up and take notice Fokkers! Must also mention that I dig Bruces old creeper voice at the end of this song where he talks…”Good Day My Name Is Necropolis…….” Love it! Also a round of Hip Hooray for a close to 9 minute opener!
SPEED OF LIGHT- When I preordered this album from iTunes they dropped this tune Into my iPod! Read how at the age of 48 I still go Bonkers over these guys! …https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/iron-maidenspeed-of-light/
FYI- I posted a live clip of this tune from Mexico a few weeks back! Check out the crowd at the beginning as you see now nutty the crowd is with beer flinging through the air people just flat-out Rockin! Well done people of Mexico! Plus you see how a frontman aged 57 named Bruce has not lost a step like the frontman he was at the age 27!
THE GREAT UNKNOWN- It starts off chill with some nice electric picking along with Bruce’s voice and then builds up into a heavy kick of Maiden Prog as Nicko sets the tempo with his driving Sonor drums and the chorus here is the money shot. Bruce soars vocally (Shocker! Not!!) and lifts the song as only he can do. Nice guitar work and as the song wraps up its back to where it began with some nice electric picking and Bruce’s voice!
THE RED AND THE BLACK- How about a 13 minute plus Maiden Attack as Bruce and Steve lead the charge from the get go and now about that guitar that cruises along with Bruce’s vocals during the verses. The Red And The Black has a bunch of music and it gets heavy proggy at the end and when you think it ends it keeps going and why not? Stop? Naaaa when the riffs are rolling keep em rolling! Nice interplay between all three guitars and I’m sure this song will go down a storm when played live! As per protocol the song ends as it started!
WHEN THE RIVER RUNS DEEP-Kinda could have been on the Somewhere In Time album from 1986 me thinks! The song super charges ahead and theirs Nicko riding that Paiste Cymbal like no ones business. When the song crashes into the verse Maiden slip gears and crank it up with a slower doomed pace with some slick backing vocals perhaps Bruce doubling up but regardless When The River Runs Deep is a great track! Freight Train Maiden Full Steam Ahead!
THE BOOK OF SOULS- 10 minutes of the title track and if you want tempo change look no further! This track sweeps through all kinds of musical landscapes meshed with the Maiden Synth firmly entrenched in the background but not overstepping the boundaries of the guitars of Dave,Adrian and Janick. One of the things I love about Maiden is right around the 5 minute mark the song does indeed shift gears and that’s thanks to Nicko as he does his smooth as silk drum n tom rolls and Maiden go into the zone and blast off with solos and its back to the Prog but Maiden Heavy Prog!
DEATH OR GLORY-A nice little ditty that kicks ass! It launches right out of the Maiden Gate with all hands on deck! Nicko is smashing the cymbals while the guitars play off each other and man oh man there’s the Air Raid Siren stretching his tonsils and laying down a great vocal. Believe it or not it’s a Maiden tune under 6 minutes! Video is posted so play it please!
SHADOWS OF THE VALLEY- The beginning riff is straight outta Wasted Years kinda and this tune would have fit nice and snug on side 1 of Somewhere In Time! Tons of Maiden synth fill the backspace along with Maiden ensemble! Great tune and better solos. Nice pace as well!
TEARS OF A CLOWN- A song inspired by Robin Williams (RIP)and its a fabulous piece of musicianship,lyrics and voice! It’s all here. Love the Crispy Crunch sound of the guitars and the amped up Maiden Synth during the chorus. One great track but I have been saying that all along this review haven’t I!?
MAN OF SORROW-A mid tempo track that is paced once again by Nicko and the features a ton of Maiden triple guitar combo attacks and also features some real slick bass playing by one Mr Harris! Nice Cymbal riding at the end of this tune!
EMPIRE OF THE CLOUDS-And Here It Is …Piano! Ha! But well done and played by Bruce(what can the guy not do!) Cellos sweep across the backing of Bruce’s Piano playing and it’s a great hook! Nicko does his marching snare to Bruce’s vocals! Amazing that Bruce composed this tune about a Military Airship ( to understand the scope of this the Titanic could have fit in this Airship!)pre Hindenburg and can keep the song and more importantly us the listener interested as the song clocks in at 18 minutes! Yep 18 minutes! It’s a journey it’s not Metal but Maiden keep it moving as for the first time ever in Maiden History the piano drives the tune! Epic comes to mind! I know people were going on about Bruce only writing a couple of tracks for Book Of Souls. This qualifies as about 3 plus tunes! Give the guy a break! Ha! Fantastic song! It ends how it started with Bruce at the piano!
Holy Heck Maiden show up yet again and knock me on my ass! A double bubble epic album release. If you’re a reader at Mikeys site you know this was my Numero Uno #1 of album releases in 2015! No one came close!