Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls review



Reviewer:
8.9

713 users:
8.21
Band: Iron Maiden
Album: The Book Of Souls
Release date: September 2015


Disc I
01. If Eternity Should Fail
02. Speed Of Light
03. The Great Unknown
04. The Red And The Black
05. When The River Runs Deep
06. The Book Of Souls

Disc II
01. Death Or Glory
02. Shadows Of The Valley
03. Tears Of A Clown
04. The Man Of Sorrows
05. Empire Of The Clouds


The cat is out of the bag - Iron Maiden dropped their 16th Studio Album today. Opus - such an overused word, and while other bands affectionately call their latest effort just that, the Brits literally delivered one with The Book Of Souls.

I don't care if you are a fan of the band or just call yourself a regular metalhead, there is no way one can make a judgement with just one listen on what Iron Maiden just hurled at us. With a running time of over 92-minutes this, first in their discography, double album is not a sprint to the finish line but rather a marathon with highs and (some) lows.

After the (in my opinion overall rather disappointing) The Final Frontier it took five long years for Iron Maiden to take another stab at (re)earning the right to hold the heavy metal scepter high. If they did or not will be in the eye of the beholder, but one thing is for sure, The Book Of Souls will go down in history as the 'Most Anticipated Album Of 2015' and I bet will top tons 'Best Of 2015' lists.

No doubt, the 'elitists' will try to compare the album to their back catalogue, but let's be honest here, there will never be another The Number Of The Beast, Powerslave or Seventh Son … for that matter, those times are gone. Take it or leave it, but, at least for me, Iron Maiden proved with The Book Of Souls that they still have what it takes without sounding stagnant.

While "If Eternity Should Fail" was originally written by Bruce for a new solo album, it makes for a great opener and although it doesn't hint on the direction of The Book Of Souls, it intrigues with a rather catchy chorus. A nice mid-tempo start before going into the somewhat 'meat' with "Speed Of Light"; also released as the first single. Would the album deserve to go into details about each and every song on it? Yes, but this would make for a very long read. We all know the guys in Iron Maiden can play their instruments and Bruce can sing; no need to nitpick about how they do this on here. Rest assured, the trademark galloping sound with rotating guitar solos and crushing bass lines ARE present, and Bruce has not lost his ability to 'break glass' when called for.

Granted, some songs are überlong, but I don't hold this against them. In the past, people were bitching about Harris's writing style but since the new album has compositions from not mainly him (and Adrian Smith), it has a somewhat mishmash of styles; progressive at times, but also familiar at others. Hence, "The Red And The Black"; an over 13 minute titan where everyone goes to work during the solo sections and the first "ohohohohoh, ohohohohoh" sing-along presents itself 2 minutes in. Can't wait to hear this one live!

Disc 1 ends with the title track and while the song does drag on after a while, it does showcase Bruce in all his (vocal) glory and despite the fact that some of the riffs, chorus, solos do remind me of older Iron Maiden material, it is by far not the strongest piece on the album. And here I am actually glad that they decided to add another disc to The Book Of Souls since otherwise it would have gone down as a half-assed attempt to sway the critics.

On part two of the album, Iron Maiden dug deep into their 'souls' and delivered a diverse assortment of 'ear-candy'. With "Death Or Glory", one of the few shorter songs on the album, the band continues full steam ahead; fast, fun, maybe a bit on the modern side? While "Shadows Of The Valley" seems like recycled material from years past, I really dig it; old habits don't die I guess. And the slower paced "Tears Of A Clown", a homage to the late Robin Williams, did grow on me and my verdict for the ballad'ish "The Man Of Sorrows" is … well, the song is ok, but the album closer is what grabbed my interest even after the first listen.

"Empire Of The Clouds", a massive 18 minute long musical journey, not only is (now) the longest song in Iron Maiden's history, it also showcases Bruce Dickinson talent on the piano. Don't dismiss this song due to its lengths; give it a couple chances and you will discover on just how awesome and dare I say epic, this song really is.

So, did Iron Maiden deliver a masterpiece with The Book Of Souls? Hard to tell. There is so much going on in the album and the opinions will vastly differ. I for one am glad that the band did not throw in the towel and rest on their laurels, but rather show the world, and maybe themselves, that there is still plenty of Iron Maiden spirit present for years to come.

Long live Eddie!


 



Written on 04.09.2015 by Editor-in-Chief

Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!

Guest review by
tominator
Rating:
9.5
After The Final Frontier we had to wait five years for this album. But does The Book Of Souls deliver a great experience?

Read more ››
published 03.01.2017 | Comments (9)


Comments page 3 / 3

Comments: 61   Visited by: 931 users
04.10.2015 - 17:55
Issa!
AMAZING album!!! \m/
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