Cover art fiascos aside, this is a stellar new album by a classic metal band.
On the last studio album, Brave New World, Maiden was trying to find a use for the three guitar attack they found themselves with after Adrian Smith returned (with former vocalist Bruce Dickenson), so the album came across as rather haphazard and not up to the Iron Maiden standard. After refining the three-guitar approach for over three years on the road, they’ve discovered how to blend all three guitars into the Iron Maiden songwriting juggernaut.
I found most of the CD to be more in the recent Maiden style of rythm and melody as opposed to the lightning-fast dark metal they became famous for (see Number of the Beast but it’s what I’ve come to expect from them, so I still liked it quite a bit. Songs like “Wildest Dreams,” “Rainmaker” and “Montsegur” show that Maiden can still rock and definately can still write songs. Songs like “No More Lies,” “Paschendale (which I first heard live back in July)” and the title track, “Dance Of Death” show that Maiden can play with the melodic side. The lyrical content of the disc is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Iron Maiden, too. Thoughtful topics like religion, history and the challenges of life in today’s world. For the first time ever on a Maiden CD, the entire band participates in songwriting, including drummer Nicko McBrain’s first song ever, “New Frontier.”
All in all, a solid offering from one of the pioneers of heavy metal. For someone just discovering Maiden, I’d still recommend old favorites like Number of The Beast, Piece Of Mind or Powerslave but if you’re just looking for some new studio material from the mighty Maiden, don’t leave this off your list.Powered by Sidelines