Sound — 10
The boys have come back with a vengeance! This is an aural onslaught! Maiden brings the heat from beginning to end with a diverse array of songs that seems to be culled out of the DNA of all of the bands previous works. This huge album sounds familiar immediately upon hitting the first galloping bass lines moments into "If Eternity Fails." The sonic landscape they traverse is littered with Maidens' trademark harmony guitars and galloping rhythms. Bruce sounds as if he popped out straight of a time machine from the mid '80s. "The Book of Souls" is a dynamic ten and a half minute journey filled with the ghosts of the "Powerslave" CD. "Shadows of the Valley" re-imagines the classic "Wasted Years" riff with equal aplomb. "Empire of the Clouds" is an epic masterpiece that firmly plants Maiden on the Mt. Rushmore of prog. metal without abandoning the adoring metal heads that have held the torch for the band for over thirty years.
Lyrics — 9
Iron Maiden has always set the bar high lyrically and they've sought to overachieve on this newest edition to their catalog. Bruce and company have succeeded in taking the listener into the deeper regions of the human condition with songs about life and death and the consequences of hasty decisions. They've always had a flare for the dramatic and a pension for more substantive themes and they've gone to great lengths to construct an album worthy of the title "The Book of Souls." Tons of descriptive references woven into a brilliant tapestry of consciousness and the repercussions that cognitive awareness can cause.
Overall Impression — 10
The band haven't aged they've leveled up (again) and this time they've doubled down. Quality and quantity! The longest Iron Maiden album (clocking in over 92 minutes) and what may prove to their crowning achievement. This is without a doubt an absolute masterpiece. The holy grail for classic Maiden fans to grasp firmly in their trembling hands and cradle to their breasts jealously with the zeal of Gollum clutching his "precious." Having said that, it may not win them any new fans but, any fan of any era of Maiden will be thoroughly satisfied with the sonic brilliance of this two disc collection of songs from our favorite purveyors of theatrical progressive heavy metal Iron fucking Maiden! Up The Irons!