Iron Maiden - "Brave New World" (CD)
"Brave New World" track listing:
1. The Wicker Man
2. Ghost Of The Navigator
3. Brave New World
4. Blood Brothers
5. The Mercenary
6. Dream Of Mirrors
7. The Fallen Angel
8. The Nomad
9. Out Of The Silent Planet
10. The Thin Line Between Love And Hate
Reviewed by DeathCrush on December 2, 2009
The "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" had a fundamental influence on almost all the metal acts during the golden age of thrash in the 80's. Without Iron Maiden, who knows what the metal scene would look like today. Since they were one of the founding fathers of "speed" and "power thrash," almost all bands have to give their dues to the origin of this style. Having released fourteen albums during the span of nearly thirty years, most people would consider Iron Maiden the godfather's of metal. You can tell this right away because a plethora of new metal bands will cover one of their songs as either a bonus track or a song on an all cover album.
With the departure of Paul Di-Anno, and what was left of the hardcore influence on their self-titled album and "Killers," came one of the most renowned vocalist of all time: Bruce Dickinson. Bruce's nickname was "Air-Raid Siren," and for good reason. No one in the metal scene can hit those high notes like he can. His voice was also more suited to the sound that Iron Maiden was going for on the "Number of the Beast," which was the first album with Dickinson on vocals.
With this, came the "Golden Opera era" (1982-88), which is rightfully noted so since Dickinson can scale his voice, reminiscent of an operatic performance. Then, something happened in 1990 with the release of "No Prayer for the Dying." Dickinson lost his operatic voice, and the band was falling short on their performance with a lot of filler on "No Prayer for the Dying" and "Fear of the Dark." This was clearly not a good sign, and Dickinson left the band to pursue his aspirations in a solo career.
The band had seemed to begin to fall apart. Blaze Bayley replaced Dickinson and the musical style shifted completely. There were only a couple of songs that were memorable on the next two albums, and it appeared that the band was going to fade away. With the turn of the century and a new millennium, the band made a complete 360 degree turn around that undoubtedly made up for all their shortcomings in the 90's.
"Brave New World" is called their "comeback" album for a reason; the band took a return to their original roots. One thing you notice right away is Dickinson's voice. It seemed that his solo project had resuscitated his voice back from the dead. Unlike the subsequent releases, "Brave New World" has tracks that are truly memorable.
The lead track and single "The Wicker Man" is one of the best songs that Iron Maiden has ever composed. The song has a memorable riff that is reminiscent of a mid-tempo mosh riff from the 80's. The title track is where I am very impressed. In the beginning, you would think that this song is going to be a power ballad ala "No Prayer for the Dying." The song just explodes though, which caught me by surprise. The solo is incredible and not forced upon the song, like the last two albums with Bruce Dickinson. When the song nears the end, it returns to the initial ballad riff, which is a great way to end the song. The chorus is catchy as hell too. In fact, almost all of the choruses are classic Iron Maiden. I would compare it to "Piece of Mind" with a dash of "Somewhere in Time." Best of all, there are no fillers like the majority of the albums throughout the 90's.
The sound of the guitars is as good as ever now, with Adrian Smith returning to where he was needed. The solos from Dave Murray flow just like during the prime years of Iron Maiden. The album feels more harmonious than the previous albums. The album is diverse in the sense that it combines power ballads like "Blood Brothers" and mid-tempo thrash songs reminiscent of the 80's, such as "The Wicker Man," "The Nomad," and "The Mercenary." Some of the songs are similar to "Fear of the Dark," which start off slowly but digress, including "Ghost Ship Navigator," "Brave New World" and "Out of the Silent Planet."
One of the things that I had a qualm about on the last album is the choruses. In "Virtual XI," they were often redundant throughout the song. In "The Angel and the Gambler," one of the choruses were repeated around 22 times without much digression in the tempo. It seemed that Iron Maiden broke this bad habit because each chorus does not overstay its welcome on each track. The only track that I felt that stretched the chorus a bit was "Out of the Silent Planet." However, it was not as repetitive as any of the songs from "Virtual XI," and had a more catchier chorus which offsets this minor imperfection.
"Brave New World" is one of the better Iron Maiden albums and marks a significant turning point in the epic career of Iron Maiden, which has span nearly 30 years. It has also set a precedent for the return to "origin" in the next upcoming two albums that are equally as outstanding.
Highs: Almost all of the tracks are unique and memorable in their own way. "Wicker Man," "Blood Brothers" and "Ghost of the Navigator" are my favorites though.
Lows: None really. One minor imperfection is the overplayed chorus in "Out of the Silent Planet"
Bottom line: Iron Maiden is back with the best album since 1988's "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son."
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