Sound — 2
Well, reading over these reviews. I feel I'm in a very small group of people who absolutely loathed A Matter of Life or Death. I waited with high hopes, thinking, Yes, finally, some new Maiden. And then the goddamn album was released. I took one listen and refused to listen to it again. About a year later, I had another listen, just to do this review and nothing has improved. First off, I have no problem with long songs. I am a massive Dream Theater fan; I love long songs IF they need to be long. None of these songs need to be over about 4 minutes.maybe 5 They just don't. They have 3 or 4 riffs in them, and then it's all repeated 7 thousand times. I just don't get it. How can such a mighty band have fallen so far? The first thing that comes to mind is how they actually managed to make Dance Of Death work. Sure the songs were long, sure they had a fair few slower sections, but the songs were catchy, and the fire was still there. On this album, the fire is gone. It's an album full of We can't gallop anymore so we'll just march, single file over a cliff. As someone pointed out, they were never going to exceed the expectations set by Powerslave, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son or Number of the Best, but they didn't have to. All they had to do was release another album full of decent songs, like they have with Dance of Death and Brave New World. Instead, we're treated to this plodding, behemoth of an album that would feel more at home as a 70's rock album, than a 00's metal album.
Lyrics — 5
Bruce has once again proven his worth as a mighty vocalist though. He was never that dynamic (he's always LOUD), but his range was impressive. And still is to be honest. On this album he fits snuggly in like every other album. He doesn't seem to have the same fire he once did, but his enuciation was clear and precise. He's still "Bruce Dickinson", it's just a shame this isn't "Iron Maiden" to me. The lyrics are once again, classic Maiden. Mostly dealing with war subjects, but in a clever enough way.I've always liked Maiden's lyrics and I actually do like the lyrics on this album.
Overall Impression — 2
I can understand the complaint that they are indeed, getting on in years, but come on. If they can still do a two-hour set of songs like Run to the Hills, Number of the Beast, The Trooper and Aces High, then surely they can write another album filled songs with a similar feel? They've managed to keep the same sound for so long, surely it could've held out for at least another album? Apparently not. Because everything on this album reeks of We can't do it anymore. Even the production is not as high-quality as everyone claims, but almost sounds like they deliberately wanted a return to 80's production, with no bottom end (even though the bass is annoyingly, the loudest instrument) and only the most basic of drum tones. I'm sorry, but as a devote Iron Maiden fan, I expect satisfaction, and I was not satisfied in any way by this album. In fact, I'm only giving this album a marginally more higher score than I did on Metal-Archives because I saw them live and I appreciate that they didn't play one song off this goddamn album.