Sound — 9
At the end of the World Piece Tour, for the last show, Iron Maiden "killed" their mascot Eddie on stage. They tore open the head and pulled out all of these clothes to represent brains, and they were kicking him and stuff; it really was quite a good show. And then, for "Powerslave," Eddie had been resurrected as a Pharaoh. And now, for 1986's "Somewhere in Time" album, Eddie has, for some reason, gotten lost in time. You know a band is deep when their freaking MASCOT has a back story! Pretty much a transition album between "Powerslave" and "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son," "Somewhere In Time" shows one of the strangest things at the time for Maiden to do; they changed their sound. Well, okay; to be fair, it was still signature, classic Maiden. But with the added touch of the synthesizer on most of the tracks, a whole new dimension is added to the album; the sound is completely different from "Powerslave". It's definitely not a bad thing, though, considering that the album has arguably some of the band's best material. In terms of production value, this album is great. I assume it was fitting for the futuristic theme of the album. But there's something so special about the way the whole album just "sounds," it's hard to explain. It seems as if there's a tinge of whammy bar usage in spots where Murray and Smith previously would've left it out, the guitar solos are more complex and generally longer, the drums usually feature more complex and unique arrangements, Harris is the usual madman on bass, and when added with the synths, it really gives an incredible sound. Imagine, if you will, the classic Maiden harmonized guitar solo. Now, imagine that with a synth over it. Yes, it's ridiculous. Theoretically, synths shouldn't fit with Maiden, but somehow, they do. Almost perfectly. Bruce does pretty well on this album (has he ever done bad? ), but there's just something about his voice that lacks from previous albums. I know I'm being picky here, but it just seems to me that certain tracks like "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "Deja Vu" feature a different side of Dickinson's voice, it's nothing too terribly bad, but it's different, and almost to a disturbing degree. I don't know, I could just be nitpicking here. If you ask me, this album and "Seventh Son" are the only two albums that feature this type of sound, I can't even explain it. Maybe it's the synths. Maybe it's the more complex arrangements. Whatever it is, the sound on "Somewhere In Time" is incredible, and was almost as signature of a sound as their previous releases.
Lyrics — 9
Lyrically, this album is great. Straying from your average Maiden concepts (history, literature, war), the band try a completely different and unique approach. Sure, "Alexander the Great" is an 11th-grade history lesson packed into 8 and a half minutes of song, but even that has its high points. But you get songs like "Caught Somewhere In Time," the opener which definitely sets the stage for the rest of the album, albeit in a very disturbing but awesome way. "Deja Vu" is pretty much exactly what you think it is; a song about Deja Vu. Bruce sings lines about feeling familiar with things and knowing what's coming up next, it's basically like the song "Fear of the Dark" but with a different concept. It's also eerie how well Dickinson hits the matter truthfully on mark, too. Overall, the lyrics on this album go in a weird direction, but all I can say is that I still really liked it. A lot.
Overall Impression — 9
Coming from a long-time and rather hardcore Maiden fan, this album really is quite good. I'm not quite sure if it's the first Maiden album you should run out and buy if you're just getting into the band ("The Number Of The Beast" is always reserved for that spot), but if you have quite a few other early Dickinson Maiden albums, then get this. When analyzed alone, it's a good album. When you see how much it influenced their followup, "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son", it's an exceptional album.