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Iron Maiden - "Fear Of The Dark" (CD)

Iron Maiden - "Fear Of The Dark" CD cover image

"Fear Of The Dark" track listing:

1. Be Quick or Be Dead
2. From Here To Eternity
3. Afraid To Shoot Strangers
4. Fear Is The Key
5. Childhood's End
6. Wasting Love
7. The Fugitive
8. Chains Of Misery
9. The Apparition
10. Judas Be My Guide
11. Weekend Warrior
12. Fear Of The Dark

Reviewed by on December 14, 2009

"Unfortunately, 'Fear of the Dark' is just that; an album mainly consisting of mediocre songs that left fans to fear the band’s grim future. "

When “Fear of the Dark” was released in 1992, it became incredibly clear that Bruce Dickinson did not like the direction the band was taking and decided to pursue a solo career. This album marked the last of Dickinson as vocalist until his return with “Brave New World” in 2000. Dickinson had a valid concern because “No Prayer for the Dying” was regarded as one of Iron Maiden’s worst albums. “Fear of the Dark” continues the paradigm of only a couple of great songs, leaving the album unbalanced. When the band puts forth a filler track, you can really tell because it is not subtle and is more in your face. Unfortunately, “Fear of the Dark” is just that; an album mainly consisting of mediocre songs that left fans to fear the band’s grim future.

“Be Quick or Be Dead” leads the album off with a drum blast by Nicko McBrain, followed by a scream from Dickinson. The name of the track is quite appropriate because this song is quite fast, exemplifying the speed metal era; it is also the heaviest track on the album. The transition to the next song, “From Here to Eternity,” leaves me quite perplexed. Where did the fast paced tempos go? It seemed that the band sketched this song on a whim because the song reminds me of something by a rock band like KISS.

Indeed, the album feels like a rock album more than any other album. The main riff on songs such as “Weekend Warrior” almost has an AC/DC vibe to it because the note chart is just a couple of strums and not enough fret mashing. In fact, some songs on the album are outright laughable and it is hard to tell if the band took things seriously at the time. The streak continues with “Wasting Love,” where the song is even slower and more monotonous. Dickinson's voice continues to be incredibly linear and dry as ever. Is there even a chorus in this song? It seems that the song is just one big verse, which is not what Iron Maiden is about.

Unfortunately, things don’t get better. The next couple of songs consist of mainly all filler, stuff that will never appear on any future Iron Maiden set list. “Fear is the Key” has a cool opening intro riff, but that is just twenty seconds of the song; everything falls apart after that. “The Apparition” sets a precedent in my opinion for worst Iron Maiden track of all time. There is absolutely nothing redeemable in this track. Every element seems completely generic with no creativity.

The album closes with “Fear of The Dark,” which amazes me. Why did Iron Maiden have to put the best song as the last track? It just does not make any sense. Usually, it is a smart idea to put the best tracks first. This will grab a fan’s attention and hopefully keep them yearning for a track like the first couple throughout the duration of the album. If anything though, this final track is so odd because it completely blows away every other song on the album. It is almost as if Iron Maiden placed everything on the shoulder of one song and hastily created filler tracks just for the sake of doing it.

The band should have just settled for an EP with “Fear of the Dark,” “Be Quick or Be Dead,” “From Here to Eternity” and “Weekend Warrior.” However, when they bombard me with filler tracks, it detracts away from the highlights of the album, leaving only the negatives behind.

Highs: The title track is absolutely amazing. One of the best songs Iron Maiden has ever written.

Lows: There are more filler than good tracks.

Bottom line: This album is so unbalanced, with a couple good songs and some really bad ones.

Rated 2.0 out of 5 skulls
2.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)