Sound — 8
Maiden is a special band to me. I vividly remember sitting in my room and my brother came home with a new album. He was all excited about it and he put the needle to the record and Ides of March came on. I was only about 6 years old when killers came out, but I knew what I was hearing was jaw droppingly awesome. So when I checked the Iron Maiden website and saw a countdown, that same excitement came back. What was it? More concert dates? Date of the new album release? The single off the new album?! My excitement was off the charts, so much so that I didn't want to download it right away. I calmed down a bit and then clicked on the YouTube link. A big Em blasts away and then a little Wasted Years like intro. Pretty cool so far, but I'm only 25 seconds into the song. Then comes the trademark gallop and the opening riff. Definitely Maiden, the impression that I was getting was kind of the No Prayer for the Dying sound. Once Bruce comes in it reminded me of his solo stuff that he did with Adrian. Feels like Bruce and Adrian had most of the input on the song. The song feels more upbeat than the last album, which was a good thing. There are three solos right in a row. First Adrian's solo comes in, very well composed and delivered very well - we'll give it an A. Next up is Dave, with a solo that has more of an improvised feel to it, but fits well. Finally Janick comes in with a solo that to me felt like many of his solos, uninspired (a big bend at the beginning and then some shred, another bend and some more shred). I hate to rip on the guy, because he's obviously a great player, but when you have Adrian and Dave do a nice dual lead and then put Janick in it just never seems to match to the quality by the other two guitarists. When he's playing on a song that he wrote, he's usually comes up with a much better solo.
Lyrics — 7
Lyrics were pretty well written, and went along well with the music. The first listen I wasn't sure about the song because Bruce sounded like he either didn't have the vocal power of old, or the mix was off for him. Not sure, I saw a YouTube of El Dorado live in Houston, and Bruce's voice sounded strong. Going back and listening a couple more times I'm thinking that they went with more of the sound from Bruce's solo stuff for this song.
Overall Impression — 7
This is a song that's growing on me, and I still have high hopes for the new album. There are flashes of glory in the single, but I've put Maiden up so high on a pedestal that I feel like the rest of the songs have to step it up a bit to be called a great album. Upsides to the single are that I liked the feel of the song, it's fun to play and watching them live this song should be fun! Downsides: Bruce's delivery of the lyrics are slightly disappointing and Janick's less than memorable solo. If I lost this I'd replace it just because it's Maiden, but I have a feeling that the more I listen the more I'll like it.