Sound — 10
The Return of Adrian Smith and Bruce Dickinson signalled a massive return to form for British Metal giants Iron Maiden. This also signalled the return of harmonies in the guitaring. Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers play completly differnt things but they seem to blend in so perfectly that is sounds like every guitar player is playing exactly the same. Steve Harris once again shows his blistering fingering ability. Nicko Mcbrain's excess of drums also adds alot to the slightly prog rock sounds of this album.
Lyrics — 10
Bruce's return was spectacular on so many levels. Firtsly The worlds best singer was sounding better than ever with more higher voices and better lower tones. Secondly, Adrian Smiths backiing vocals had also got better. His lyrics were also very good, ranging from the stories of "The Nomad" to the battle cry of "The Mercenary", the mind loss of "Dream of Mirrors" and the memory of Steve Harris's dad(who died while they were writting the album) in "Blood Brothers". They are all genius and display a maturtiy that is rare amoung any song writters.
Overall Impression — 10
Wickerman is the album opener with that genius opening riff displaying everything Iron Maiden stands for in a few short seconds. The solo, which is by Adrian Smith in this case, is one of his and Iron Maiden's best yet. Ghost Of The Navigator is the album low point but it is still a very good song with one of those massive midsong riffs that make this band who they are and blistering solo by Janick Gers. The Title Track has a mix of guitar sounds not seen since "Only The Good Die Young" from Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. This is the first real harmony line in the album and it is a masterful track on the part of Dave Murray in particular with some awesome soloing and that cool chorus fill. Blood Brothers was written by Steve Harris alone and is a masterpeice of crunchy riffs, soft melody lines and couple of blazing Janick Gers guitar solos. The Mercenary is the albums thrashy track with absolutly no let up in the fast and furious pace of the song. The Solos by Dave and Adiran are amazing in thier difference yet fitting together, just like peices of a jigsaw and Nicko is also very impressive. Dream Of Mirrors is really long at 9 minutes, but it really needs to be because it is the song that displays everything that the album is about, from the soft bits and the hard galloping rhythms, to the huge choruses and masterful harmonies. The Fallen Angel is so heavy it hurts and because of that it is one of my personal favourite songs on the album. The crunching intro, which is impressive on all levels, the massive first riff and the massive guitar solos displays Adrian Smith's ability to write a really mean, angry sounding but simple Metal song. The Nomad is beautiful, hard and thought provoking at the same time but the entire middle bit is, although wonderful, completly unnecesaryily long. The rest of the song has a very cool eastern feel to it. Out Of The Silent Planet is not big, or smart but enormously catchy and good fun to listen to earning it the titile of the albums "Run To The Hills": The "poppy" song. The Thin Line between Love and Hate is epic, no other words can describe it. The solos are memorable, the choruses large and the lyrics very thought provoking, which is what all music should be really. Overall this is a truly great record with huge guitar playing by all 3 guitarist and simple but excellent bass playing. Also the singing is truly majestic and the drumming is challenging to play but nice to listen to. The Best songs are Wickerman, Brave New World, Dream of Mirrors, Fallen Angel and The Nomad. Although the other 5 tracks are so awesome it can be called the most complete album until the bands next offering "Dance Of Death".