Sound — 6
Dance Of Death, the only thing I can really say is, although I hate to say this, their fighting a losing battle, the flame they once had is slowly flickering out. The 'music' itself is well above average, it's the sound of the vocals and instruments that really annoy me. It seems like they've tried to take us back to a time when, by opening with a hard-hitter, a few ballards in between, some 'out of the ordinary' tracks, but their age is well catching up on them. Bruce's vocals are, well, shot. It sounds like he's been a cigar smoker for the past 10 years. This is really apparent on "Rainmaker," where he tries to force the vocals, it no longer has the vigor it once had. The guitar work was particularly disappointing, although everyone loves classic Maiden, on songs like "No More Lies" especially, they may have had 3 guitar solos, but nothing conincided with each other, and dare I say, was just total late '70s/early '80s wankage. The high points would have to be "Gates Of Tomorrow" and "Montsegur," nothing less than brilliance.
Lyrics — 5
The lyrics as usual by Steve Harris we're superb, however we're immensely let down by Bruce Dickinson's vocal work. On the track "Rainmaker," especially during the chorus, it seemed kind of weak. Don't get me wrong, it's a really catchy tune, but I was never 'captured' by what the song was actually trying to offer. "Paschendale." I have no idea what they we're trying to achieve here but the way the lyrics we're structured totally turned off. I didn't really have an idea of where the song was taking me, it would quickly jump from one verse to what seemed to be some kind of chorus and then into something else.
Overall Impression — 7
Seeing as this was their latest album, I compared it to one of their earlier efforts "The Number of the Beast", and I have to say it was no comparison. I would choose classic Maiden over anything. Most impressive would have to be "Gates Of Tomorrow" and "New Frontier," both imo payed homage to the classic Maiden I was expecting. I loved the fact that they we're making an effort to give fans what they wanted, classic Maiden, but in saying that was their downfall. It was too much like classic Maiden, not much was different. If it we're last or stolen I'd consider buying it again or maybe investing in another Maiden album. Also there is a DVD version witch contains the video clips for "Wildest Dreams" and "Rainmaker."