REVIEW: Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls (2015)

NEW RELEASE

IRON MAIDEN – The Book of Souls (2015 Parlophone, collector’s book edition)

I have a new hero.  His name is Bruce Dickinson.

Bruce has not only beaten cancer back to that dark hole from which it came, but he takes command on Iron Maiden’s new opus The Book of Souls.

Even though he only has writing credits on four of the 11 tracks here, his impact is massive.  With lungs of iron, Bruce propels everything.  For the first time (possibly) ever, I feel that the most important band member is not leader Steve Harris, but the singer himself.

Right from the opener “If Eternity Should Fail”, Bruce is center stage.  He wrote this complex number himself.  It boasts one of Maiden’s most memorable choruses yet, and musical twists and turns that return us to Powerslave.  Meanwhile, there is a hook that reminds me of Bruce’s solo song “The Ghost of Cain”, from Accident of Birth.

We took a good look at the lead single, “Speed of Light” a couple weeks back.  Maiden often write a fast, heavy blazer to go with a new album, and that’s “Speed of Light”.  Even though it is the single, it is far from the strongest song.  Written by Bruce and Adrian Smith, it is certainly a good Iron Maiden track, but in comparison to the monuments of metal that surround it, “Speed of Light” feels like a brief diversion from the epic metal moments at hand.  Adrian’s solo, however, is delicious.

“The Great Unknown” (Smith/Harris) opens softly, but even so there is a menacing tone to Bruce’s voice and the underlying instruments.  With a slow, thrusting riff, “The Great Unknown” soon lurches forth, a killer metal march for the ages.  Bruce pushes his voice to the very limits, giving it all and then some.  As with many of the songs on The Books of Souls, I hear hints and echoes of past Maiden epics.  This is not a lack of originality, more like a signature — familiar but always different.  “The Great Unknown” ends on the soft note with which it began.

What is an Iron Maiden album without a Steve Harris bass intro?  He and producer Kevin Shirley captured a wonderful bass sound on this album.  “The Red and the Black”, another epic, is the only Harris solo writing credit.  It has a riff that takes me all the way back to Killers, but then it is gone, and it’s onto another riff…and another…and another.  At 13 minutes in length, this is one of those trademark Harris songs.  Time changes galore, loaded with hooks.  You can draw parallels to many epics from the past, but to do so takes away from this one.  “The Red and the Black” is a proud achievement, a passionate metal song as only Iron Maiden can really do.  Adrian Smith handles one of the guitar solos with a huge splash of wah-wah, and that is simply a thing of beauty.  In sum, if you took a little bit of everything that makes Iron Maiden great and unique, then all those ingredients are in “The Red and the Black”.  Bass outro, and that’s that.

A semi-shorty (5:52) is in the next slot, a fast riffer called “When the River Runs Deep” written by Steve and Adrian.  This one is hard to compare to any past Maiden tracks, as it occupies a space all its own.  Adrian Smith sometimes brings in riffs that sound like something other than Iron Maiden, and I think that’s “When the River Runs Deep”.  Adrian takes another wah-wah solo, but not to be outdone is Janick Gers who throws down an edgy solo of his own.  As far as Iron Maiden goes, this song is guitar solo nirvana.

A 10 minute epic always makes a good closer when you’re Iron Maiden, so the title track “The Book of Souls” (Gers/Harris) is last for disc one.  Gentle acoustic guitars and keyboards emulating pipes tell us that this is previously uncharted territory.  Then “The Book of Souls” trudges forth, with a beat not unlike “Mother Russia” from No Prayer for the Dying.  There’s far more to the song than that, however. Soaring lead vocals (Bruce only seems stronger!) just ice the cake.  All three Maiden guitarists shine on this, but Janick and Adrian have some solos that just play off each other so well. You want those trademark Maiden guitar melodies?  How about galloping riffs?  Nicko McBrain killing it on the drums?  Maiden deliver, in top notch style, everything and then some more.

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Bruce and Adrian co-wrote “Death or Glory”, opening side two with frenetic drums and riffing.  Going for the throat, The Book of Souls has more fast riffs per minute than any Maiden album in decades.  In five brief minutes, you are blasted against the wall, bounced off the floor, and nailed to the ceiling.  Don’t hurt your neck from all the headbanging.  This time, the guitar spotlight is on Dave Murray for an intense, dramatic solo.

“Shadows of the Valley” (Gers/Harris) sounds a lot like “Wasted Years” at first, but only briefly.  If anything, “Shadows of the Valley” recalls Dance of Death-era Iron Maiden.  Although this song is not as powerful or memorable as others on the album, it does contain some seriously incredible instrumental moments.

One of the most heartfelt and powerful songs on the album is the shortest.  “Tears of a Clown” is a thoughtful moment about Robin Williams.  The poignant lyrics are to the point:

All alone in a crowded room,
He tries to force a smile,
The smile it beamed or so it seemed,
But never reached the eyes, disguise,
Masquerading as the funny man do they despise.

I found this to be one of the compelling songs.  Of all the bands to commemorate Robin Williams, I did not expect it to be Iron Maiden.  But they did it in such a way that it completely fits.

Dave Murray and Steve Harris might not have known that Bruce already has a solo song called “Man of Sorrows”, but it doesn’t matter much since Maiden’s song is called “The Man of Sorrows”.  Musically this sounds much like X Factor-era Maiden.  Bruce takes it to a higher level than that.  Dave himself has a nice slow bluesy solo at the end that is just pure gravy.

The biggest surprise, the biggest song, and the biggest challenge has to be “Empire of the Clouds”.  Written solely by Bruce and coming in at almost 20 minutes, it is unprecedented in the Maiden canon.  Never before have the credits “Bruce Dickinson – vocals, piano” been written inside one of their albums.  For the first time ever, the piano is a part of Iron Maiden’s makeup.  Maiden have used orchestras before, and the strings return as well.  “Empire of the Clouds” is a peak accomplishment, something that they (and Bruce) can proudly proclaim, “we did that”.  The piano is a natural fit, in the way it is used to make an epic song even more dramatic.  Aviation has been one of Bruce’s favourite lyrical subjects for a long time, but “Empire of the Clouds” might be his first song about airships.  You can trust him to instill it with all the drama and heaviness that you expect from Iron Maiden.

Even though 92 minutes have elapsed, The Book of Souls does not particularly feel longer than A Matter of Life and Death or The Final Frontier.  Like those two previous records, The Book of Souls is going to have to be digested long-term, returned to again and again to fully absorb and appreciate.  This is an album in the true sense:  best appreciated in sequence, as a single work.  There’s an intermission in the middle for you to change CDs and take a break, but I recommend diving right back in once again.

With Bruce’s very serious health scare, and the increasing age of the band, there is always the chance that this could be the last Iron Maiden album.  Of course, some said that about The Final Frontier as well.  It seems that ever since Brave New World in 2000, Iron Maiden have set to top the previous album each time.  The cumulative effect of that is that they had a hell of a lot to live up to on The Book of Souls.

Mission accomplished.

5/5 stars

Disc 1
1. If Eternity Should Fail (Dickinson) 8:28
2. Speed Of Light (Smith/ Dickinson) 5:01
3. The Great Unknown (Smith/ Harris) 6:37
4. The Red And The Black (Harris) 13:33
5. When The River Runs Deep (Smith/ Harris) 5:52
6. The Book Of Souls (Gers/ Harris) 10:27

Disc 2
7. Death Or Glory (Smith/ Dickinson) 5:13
8. Shadows Of The Valley (Gers/ Harris) 7:32
9. Tears Of A Clown (Smith/ Harris) 4:59
10. The Man Of Sorrows (Murray/ Harris) 6:28
11. Empire Of The Clouds (Dickinson) 18:01

For the official KeepsMeAlive review by Aaron, click here!

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105 comments

    1. Hey Danica! That album cover is by Mark Wilkinson. I first became aware of him via Marillion. He has done their most iconic artwork, but he’s also been working with Maiden since 1999. Oh, and Judas Priest too, since the late 80’s!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yes! YES! All of this. I am blown away by this record, and gibbered about it in my own feeble way over on the KMA, but this. THIS is what we needed. Lebrain’s take on (what will surely be) an album that always be recalled as a pinnacle (in a band’s career full of them). Thanks Mike, this is what I was waiting for and, in fact, can we just this once go 6/5? :)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Danica, I really was blown backwards by this one, and I knew going in I was going to enjoy it. Crazy good.

      As for upping the Irons yourself, I cannot endorse the adventure enough. I am a (relatively) recent discoverer myself. I knew the hits, yada yada, but it was our fine Mr. Ladano and this crew of bloggers that really got me into it to the point where I bought up all the records and did all the reviews as a series – and even cooler, in tandem with Mike’s (far superior) reviews! What I came away with was twofold: 1) this band is insanely good at what they do, and if the sound appeals to you, there are infinite treasure to find in their albums, and 2) a deep bit of regret that I hadn’t explored their depths sooner in my life.

      We’d really love to hear your take on the incredible Maiden discography!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi Danica, you might recognize my name from KamerTunesBlog. I too am a recent Maiden convert. I’m about the same age as Rich (i.e. 50), and have known about Maiden for almost as long as they have existed. About 3 years ago, I ran across “Journeyman” by chance on YouTube. It is not typical Maiden: acoustic, and the beginning sounds a bit like Kansas’s “Dust in the Wind”. I then bought the Dance of Death album which contains this song. This is usually quite low down in the ranking, but it would be difficult to find a better album recorded in the last 30 years (except perhaps some by Maiden).

      Why had I avoided them for so long, when I listen to a huge variety of music, with a fair amount of hard rock (Maiden are much more in the tradition of hard-rock groups such as Wishbone Ash, Jethro Tull, Uriah Heep, Thin Lizzy and so on than most of the rest of “metal” (there is more variety in heavy metal than in the rest of music combined))? The main reason, apart from the fact that they are rarely on radio (this has changed with the advent of internet radio), has been their somewhat goofy image. One thing which puts me off a lot of hard-rock/heavy-metal music is a) lack of true musicality (though virtuosity might be to the fore) and b) daff lyrics. While certainly virtuosi, Maiden never let their chops get in the way of the song. Also, while perhaps not quite in the league of, say, Ian Anderson or Neal Peart (or even Roger Waters), the lyrics are way better than typical heavy-metal fare, based mainly on literary and/or historical themes.

      Do check them out.

      They have 16 studio albums. None of them are bad. Most pundits favour the first 3 albums with Bruce (before he left for a while). I agree that these are very, very, very good, but the albums since his return are also very, very, very good. Different, but at the same time still Maiden. Personally, I like the first two albums the least, though there are some good songs on there. I also rate the 2 albums with Blaze higher than most people rate them. Especially the second album, I think, is quite good.

      While I might like some individual albums by other groups more than some, or even all, Maiden albums, I think it is fair to say that no group has maintained such a level of quality for so long.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Phillip! Thanks so much for this informative background and overview.
        I like Thin Lizzy and it’s interesting to me that you put Iron Maiden more in this category. As to image, this might be similar to Mr. 1537’s aversion to some flag-waving.
        I’m not sure why I haven’t sought them out before now. Nothing in particular alienated me…I’ve probably just been busy with other music. (So much music and so little time!)
        This is such an interesting discussion and I’m enjoying everyone’s thoughts and opinions.
        What do you think about the ideal first-time listening experience…from what you’ve said, maybe starting from the newest release and working backwards?

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        1. “I like Thin Lizzy and it’s interesting to me that you put Iron Maiden more in this category.”

          Not just me; Steve Harris also cites Lizzy as an influence, even more so Wishbone Ash (do check out 1972’s Argus), who were really the first to go with the “twin lead guitars” approach. (The story behind this is interesting: the bassist and drummer were auditioning axe-men for a power trio, had a short list of two, and decided to ask both to join.) Harris also cites Geddy Lee as a bass influence.

          Bruce cites Ian Anderson as an influence. There is also an obvious reference to Joni Mitchell on the new album. Am I the first (only?) person to get it?

          As for order, I really don’t think it matters at all. Whatever the views on the relative merits, I think that all agree on the phases: 1) before Bruce (2 studio albums), 2) the classic period of Bruce’s first tenure (3 studio albums) , 3) the two “progressive” albums, 4) the two “stripped down” studio albums without Adrian Smith, 5) the two studio albums with Blaze, 6) everything since (5 studio albums). Maybe listen to an album from each phase and if you don’t really like it, try another phase. The phases aren’t that different compared to, say, various phases of Rush, Pink Floyd, The Who, The Beatles, Jethro Tull, and so on, but there are some differences.

          While there is not agreement on the relative merits of the phases, I think there is agreement on what are the good and not so good albums in each phase. For 1), go with Iron Maiden. For 2), it doesn’t really matter. For 3) it doesn’t matter. For 4), I would recommend Fear of the Dark slightly over No Prayer for the Dying.
          Slightly. For 5), Virtual XI. 5) is a tough call. I haven’t heard the new one enough to really comment on how it compares to the others. I think the other 4 are all strong and equal to, though somewhat different from, those of the classic period.

          Most pundits will rate the classic period the highest, the Blaze period the lowest, the “stripped down” phase probably above only the blaze period. Opinion is probably evenly divided on whether the first phase, the “progressive phase”, or the latest phase is the best of these three (but put it below the classic phase).

          What everyone agrees on: The first phase is a bit less polished, a bit rawer. The classic phase is, well, the classic phase. The progressive phase showed somewhat more complex song structures. The stripped-down phase was supposed to be “back to the roots”, but ended up a bit AOR. Blaze has a different voice from Bruce. He wrote very little, if any, of the music, so any differences there are not directly due to him. I think that, musically, this phases is an amalgam of all which came before. Musically, I think that this continued more or less seamlessly after the return of Bruce and Adrian, though of course Bruce’s voice and the presence of three guitars have their influence on the sound.

          Do I agree with the pundits? I think that the Blaze era is underrated, especially the second album (Virtual XI). I think that the classic phase is overrated or, rather, that all other phases are underrated compared to the classic phase: in other words, even if you think the classic phase is the best, the difference to the others is not that large. I think that the first phase is overrated, particularly the second album (Killers). I think the “progressive” phase is slightly overrated and the “stripped down” phase slightly underrated.

          My order, from best to worse, would be: classic or current are best, first phase is worst, and the other three are in-between.

          However, we are talking about fine distinctions here. No other band has maintained such a high level of quality over such a long time. Even though there are some albums by other bands which I like even more than the best Iron Maiden album, most Iron Maiden albums are better than most other albums by these bands.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. “As to image, this might be similar to Mr. 1537’s aversion to some flag-waving.”

          That’s not what I’m referring to. Yes, Bruce is famous for waving the Union Jack during “The Trooper”, but that is part of the role.

          I think that, in general, when listening to Iron Maiden, one should be in the same frame of mind as someone listening to opera. The typical opera listener doesn’t necessarily sympathize with the sentiments echoed by the characters in the drama. (Opera, by the way, is something I can’t get into at all. It does have many similarities to heavy metal in many respects, though: musical cliches, posing, and so on.) As opposed to most rock lyrics, most Maiden songs are based on historical and/or literary themes (again a similarity to opera), rather than the lyricist opening his heart to the listeners.

          No, what I mean is the whole Eddie business. It’s just goofy, almost as low as Beavis and Butthead (which is funny if you take it as satire, but not if you take it seriously). I realize that there are many references and in-jokes, and it might have been OK at the beginning (sort of like I can live with The Beatles as Teddy Boys in the early days), but it has gone too far. I could even live with a sort of Death as mascot in an Ingmar Bergman, Seventh Seal sort of way, but not as low-brow comedy. :-|

          Liked by 1 person

        1. Have to disagree here with respect to Rush. I still can’t get into their post-Moving Pictures era, though some of the music is good on the earlier ones of these, there are some good lyrics, and Counterparts is fine. The other phases are OK, but none reach the classic phase (and everyone knows which 4 albums I am referring to).

          Liked by 1 person

        2. By that, I meant the 8 albums following Moving Pictures, except Counterparts, and Vapor Trails. The newer stuff is OK.

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    3. The Maidens of Iron are something else. Something very unique and intelligent musically and lyrically.

      If I had to offer my own 2 cents:

      Top 15 on the 15th. I know for a fact you are going to be seeing some Iron Maiden that day. So maybe stay tuned for that, and decide from there which is the best one to dive into.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This album would be both a great entry point and an interesting one. What you get here is the sum total of all the rest of their tricks of the trade, their best moments distilled into 90+ minutes of incredible. It would be interesting to hear this first and then go back to Iron maiden and Killers and work your way up and hear their self-influences in reverse!

      As for the passion, you’re so very right. And for humour’s sake, can I add a “that’s what SHE said!”? Hahaha.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Excellent. Be sure to check out all of Mike’s review series AFTER you’ve heard each one!

          Just curious: after getting this one, do you intend to go back to the beginning with Iron Maiden, then Killers, etc and work your way up to the album before this one, or will you just get them as you find them?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Okay. You did a review series as well, didn’t you? Both would be worth reading after first listening to the albums.
          After this one going back to the beginning would be interesting. Listening to the albums chronologically would reveal more, I imagine. Your recommendation is excellent.

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        3. Yeah I did do the series in tandem with Mike’s, but at first I thought they were just all in the comments on his site, but it seems like I copy/pasted them to the KMA. At least, I think they’re all there. If not, they’re on Mike’s. :)

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        4. The thought of starting with this album and going back in certainly an interesting one. However as a long time fan I would like to add this. The album is certainly strong enough for you to use it as an entry point… but a fair warning should be in place. Some find it hard to “connect” with much longer songs, of which there are many on this album. I have no idea what music you have previously connected with or whatever .. but if longer songs are not your usual cup o’ tea? You actually might wanna just start from the beginning. Or atleast start at the beginning of the Dickinson era of Maiden (Number of the Beast) . I LOVE the first two Iron Maiden albums with Paul Di’Anno singing.. but it should be noted that there are distinct differences between Iron Maiden albums pre and post Dickinson.

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        5. “Skip the albums with “X” in the title somewhere. In fact pretend they don’t even exist.”

          The two Blaze albums, especially the music (as opposed to Blaze’s vocals, which are not Bruce but not bad), are vastly underrated, especially the second. I would take Virtual XI over Killers any day.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, great write-up, Mike. I might not be as overwhelmed as you are, but I agree on that this is a damn fine record. I really don’t think Maiden has released a great album since Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son apart from A Matter Of Life And Death, but this one sure is. I was very disappointed with The Final Frontier, it was almost as bad as No Prayer For The Dying, so it feels great that Maiden showed everybody that they’re still capable of kicking ass. Empire Of The Clouds sure is an astonishing tune – impressing, to say the least.

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    1. I love both No Prayer and FF and upon first listen I also love this one. AMOLOD didnt resonate with me right away. BOS captures all of what is great with Maiden!! Unlike Matter I don’t find myself straining. Everything is in rhe right place.

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  3. I love songs that start slow.and then BAM, kick you in the ass. Also, AC/DC has a signature, familiar but always different. If it works for them, it can work for Iron Maiden.

    I am so freaking happy Bruce’s voice is back. It would be such a loss to the world. I had heard he had lumps the size of walnuts in his throat. A big shout out to his doctors for saving his voice. I’m sure it was stressed on them that this was no normal voice box and vocal chords they would be working around.

    Now I need this album. Maybe I’ll look at Best Buy online. Hopefully it won’t list Genesis. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is an interview where Bruce claims that his throat cancer was caused by oral sex. No-one should get cancer, but if you have to get it, there are worse causes. :-)

      (Michael Douglas was laughed at for making the same claim. However, HPV causes cervical cancer, HPV can be transmitted via cunnilingus (practically no other STD can, at least not compared to other, errm, channels), so it is not far-fetched.)

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  4. Hear hear on the great write up Mike! This album is a definite triumph for Bruce after what he’s been through. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this album. Even the heavy metal hating Sun newspaper had good things to say about it. This means I’m going to have to get it.

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  5. Great review Mike. Deservedly comprehensive. My initial listen through I have to admit did not leave me as beaming as this, but after reading the review I find myself with a bit more interest in another round of this album. The vocals are certainly strong though, especially considering the circumstances with Bruce.

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    1. The vocals, yes. One thing I don’t like with Bruce’s vocals is that sometimes on those long, held notes he goes for this vibrato thing and it’s horrible (to my ears). It sounds very nasal and like someone is shaking him by the shoulders while he tries to sing. I didn’t notice that at all on this new album, and that makes me very happy.

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  6. Great review Mikey…well done on such short notice man! You and Aaron powered out well thought reviews as well as very detailed spots of the album!
    Great to see these reviews out already! Well done fella’s!

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        1. LeBrain is sitting next to me for the day game. He seems to be enjoying himself. (A step in the right direction,)

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        2. “EDWIN CAN SAVE THE DAY” A quote from the husband himself. Blue Jay fever is knocking at our door. (Maybe LeBrain will answer it before the playoffs begin – a girl can wish can’t she?)

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  7. Very good review. But I quite disagree with your judgment. While being a new astonishing demonstration of Maiden musical and compositional ability and as well as of their busness attitude (they would not be flying on a personal jumbo if it wasn’t that way), what you and most reviews keep saying, has already been said at every release since Blaze was kikcked out. The reality remaining that most Maiden fans are still awayting a simplier and more immediate product with the soud and the power of Piece of Mind and Powerslave; something really enjoyable, that does not need three years to digest; sound that everybody keep going looking for to their majestic concerts, where they mostly crave for oldies rather than for newer songs. And how to blame them: can you really have fun, gettig hyper and headbang on For the Greater Good of God or this new Book of Souls track…? No, of course. If we want prog or cervellotic things, w can go to Pink Floyd concerts or to Opera. What the album misses, is what every previous album has been missing since a good while: the simplicity and the kick to make it a true METAL product. So IMO this is a wonderful Maiden album, but it is a total drag as a metal representative product. And I am most than certain I and many fans will not be spinning it much, despite having been a Maiden fan for the past three decade and having attended many of their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Micmarc! Thank you for the great comment. I know exactly what you mean. One of my favourite Maiden albums has to be the first one with Di’Anno. It just crackles. It gets your feet moving and your fists going.

      I was talking to one of my fellows reviewers yesterday, and he suggested playing the album again and trying for a version 2.0 review in two or three months from now. It’s an interesting idea to see how the album feels in a little bit of time. I myself don’t write new release reviews nearly as often as I should, because you don’t have the time perspective yet.

      Thanks again for the comment!

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    2. Can appreciate that too micmarc but perhaps in the majority, but (respectfully) this fan indeed does bang thy head to the likes of For The Greater Good Of God and found (and still find) the best aspects of Powerslave are its title track and Rhyme ;) Alas, can appreciate your comments and to a degree am on board with the wishes of others for a more simplified record (although that said do find there’s enough quick time boogie on offer here to balance things well enough – IMO of course ;)

      Mike, GREAT read yet again and timing was spot on. Got through a couple full spins (first time listens too) with one of my partners in love of things heavy metal over a few cold ones, a few more spins through the evening and got yer email indicating yer review was up. So got to read through your thoughts too while listening (WELL past midnight too – ouch!) and ya got this bang on man. Yes early days (would also be interested in your re-visit down the track) but on face value The Book Of Souls is easily the most complete and enjoyable Maiden record since Brave New World. Where it sits in couple years time is anyone’s guess, way too much to delve into for a time :)

      Just how great that opening number is is beyond description, If Eternity Should Fail is by far the best opening track since their heydays made even more special for it being a Bruce solo-write while made Maiden by Mr Harris and his Eddie ways \m/

      The Red And The Black appears to be the most divisive of the material but count me in LOVING Steve’s throwback to all things Rhyme, Seventh Son (title track), Blaze era and everything in between and the “whooo’s whaaa’s and singalongs” are killer and managing to make 13mins feel half that is ace! Title track probably my next pick (see, weird as one of my faves is The Wickerman and LOVE those short kick to the head Maiden numbers but it’s the epics doing it fer this record)…

      Ya know the only thing thus far not so hot is when stacked up against other records out there Kev Shirley’s production does sound a tad muddy and smothered, but no doubt without the Harris seal of approval so guess again this is what they wanted. And that said, as a stand alone record, in ears and on a good system The Book Of Souls holds its own and sounds great enough regardless, so no biggie.

      GREAT read and like said, perfect timing Mike big cheers for getting this blogged about so timely. Ya done good Mike, I’d go a 4.5 at this early stage.

      And yeah, just how good is that Bruce fella!!!!? \m/

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      1. And that shoulda read while perhaps in the MINORITY LOL… Hey was up all night listening to all things Iron Mayan… errr, Maiden… Am TIRED alright!?!?!?!?

        ;)

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      2. Thanks Wardy once again for the comment. If Eternity Should Fail is definitely a fantastic opening. I have a feeling that in a couple years from now, I will feel strongly about this one, just as I did with AMOLAD. I get a similar feeling from the two albums, in a way. Just in terms of riffs meets hooks.

        Kev Shirley’s production, I haven’t had a chance to hear properly yet. I need to give it a solid blast at home still.

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    3. I can appreciate your take … however it should be noted that Maiden going “off the rails” .. so to speak … and there is merit to that. As for the live show? To explain my take on that I will say this ….. When I went to see Maiden on the Matter of Life and Death tour, I was excited because it’s Maiden. However for days before the show I had been telling someone I was going to the show with that I wasn’t sure I was looking forward to the “typical” Maiden set list. And what we got was exactly NOT that. They came out and played the whole Matter of Life and Death album .. in album order .. cut for cut. A very memorable concert experience because it was something I had never seen before. At this point they have played so many Greatest Hits shows that I think they should do the same on this tour. That would be pretty stellar.

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      1. I have a 2 CD bootleg of that tour and it’s fantastic. They will never play most (if any) of those songs in concert ever again, so that is a special moment. I am glad I have a good quality bootleg of that historic tour. I think they should play at least half of this album.

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      2. I was excited for the Matter of Life and Death tour as well. I was excited to see Maiden for the first time. I thought it f*cking sucked ass. I don’t pay hundreds of dollars to see a band I had wanted to see for over 25 years to only play a couple songs from their heyday, and start off with a new album I had never heard. Probably the worst concert experience I have ever had. I would rate that show as a 0.1/10. Half way through that tour they changed the setlist and dropped off a bunch from the new album and added a bunch of classics. That tour turned me off Maiden.
        I get that it was unique, and looking back fans may enjoy the bootleg, but at the time it was really insulting to the paying customers. I think they learned from that mistake and since this may be their last tour they will not do the entire new album.

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        1. It depends. There are bands who have been playing the greatest-hits set for so long that I would welcome opening the show with an entire album, new or old. You can’t please all of the people all of the time. I believe Bob Dylan said that.

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        2. I have no problem with a band playing a full album. Whether old or new, as long as I know going in. It seemed as if Maiden blindsided the fans for the first half of that tour, the fans revolted and they changed the setlist. That didn’t help me though, and I still have a little resentment. If I had known they would have been doing the entire new album I would have bought it first and listened to it as much as possible before the show. A metal concert experience for me is headbanging, devil horns and singing along with the band. When I looked around during that concert there were a few hardcore dudes that knew the new songs, but most did not.
          As for a greatest hits show, I would be happy with an entire setlist of B sides.

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  8. I’m in the middle of going through a few new albums.

    In terms of Iron Maiden, I have spent a few years of not listening to the band apart from the odd song on my iPod. In preparation for this album, and because I was travelling around London, I revisited ‘The Final Frontier.’ I really like that album and soon I got their new album.

    To be honest, I’m still stuck on the first disc. With a double album I like to listen to the first disc, then the second, and finally, listen to them both together.

    This is a great review, Mike. I reallyl ike how didn’t go totally over-the-top in depth but kept it balanced.

    Like

      1. You’re welcome.

        Finally managed to listen to the entire album. It’s absolutely fantastic. That tribute to Robin Williams — just wow.

        Like

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