The Book Of Souls review by Iron Maiden

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  • Released: Sep 4, 2015
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (121 votes)
Iron Maiden: The Book Of Souls

Sound — 9
Oh boy, as a avid Maiden fan I've been dying to hear what Bruce and the boys had in store for us this time and even then I wasn't prepared for the shitstorm of awesomeness that came from the band. First of all, for someone who was suffering with technically "tongue" cancer, I was blown away to hear him reach pitches the "Brave New World" Bruce probably wouldn't have been able to achieve. Steve Harris, the main songwriter, keyboard player, and bassist, sounds phenomenal as always and never fails us with the magnificent gallop. As a bass player I am a fan!

Adrian Smith, Janick Gers and especially Dave Murray have shined and stormed through the challenges each song has faced them. Dave Murray as I've said, is exceptional this time around, I can't possibly begin to tell you how ground-breaking it was for me to finally hear a few of his bluesy licks in "The Man of Sorrows." But I saved the best for last, Nicko McBrain... Man, he just got me banging away at the desk (oi, that's rude), trying to pathetically recreate the insane technicality that he had. If you love a tight drummer in hard rock/metal, this album could be for you.

Lyrics — 10
I have to give this a ten mainly because of Bruce singing like an absolute legend without even knowing what he'd have to deal with in the next few months (with cancer and all). But honestly, the lyricism brought me to genuine tears on the song "Empire of the Clouds." Let me tell you a quick story, me and my father love airships and have always been fascinated in how quickly they revolutionised air travel, but also how quickly they vanished from the face of the earth without any genuine reason. Which is why the song about the R101 ("Empire of The Clouds") moved me. Not to mention, the guitar work in this song is probably in the top ten for Maiden. I'd go as far to say this is my, truthfully, favourite song Maiden have EVER done. For a song that's a whopping 18 minutes long, I can't stop listening to it's haunting but humble atmosphere.

Overall Impression — 9
Okay, now here come the negative parts... The reason I give it an overall 9/10 is because they really could've spent more time on coming up with memorable, original riffs. While they sound and are spectacular, it took me over five listens to actually remember THREE of them properly. Whereas songs like "Run to the Hills" and "The Trooper"? They come to mind so, so quickly. Even if you're a fan or not. I am also disappointed that "The Red and the Black" didn't explore the bass solo even more at the beginning and end. It ended up feeling a bit like a clone to the beginning and end to "The Book of Souls" because of it's atmosphere was so similar (although they, alone, sound very different).

Now to the positives:
- The production is raw, powerful and downright warm.
- The musicianship is exceptionally clever.
- In lyricism, it is probably up towards a "Seventh Son" level.
- Dammit Dave Murray, you aren't complex, but you're something!

This is hands-down my personal favourite Maiden album, I love old styled prog, I love drama, and I love me some Maiden. It may not be as musically imaginable as "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son," but damn it comes close!

My top picks for this album are: "Speed of Light," "Empire of the Clouds," "Death or Glory" (tied with) "Man of Sorrows" and of course, "If Eternity Should Fail."

If you haven't listened to it yet, please do so now!

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I've been a huge Iron Maiden fan for over 25 years now and I've been listening to The Book of Souls for almost a week (giving it some time before I really "judge" it) and I can confidently say that it's their best post-reunion album so far and their best since Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.
    Looks like, if people can't appreciate something different then it's not going to amaze them. If you appreciate a project and something fresh, you'll enjoy it. Since I've listened to Music, I find this album out of any, I can put on and sit there for the entire 90 minutes and really soak it in. Its sounds so raw as well. I realy like the cuts and the mix.
    Well, as most of the commentators I have grown with Iron Maiden, and The Number of The Beast and The Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son were the best albums for me, I would listen till my ears bleed or the tapes wore out (they still are the BEST by the way) Yes Maiden sound a lot (and I mean A LOT) different from back then; but this is a great album. You can't expect them to sound just like 80's - they also age as anything staying around that much. I won't talk about musicality but this album has a connection to that period - the golden age of Maiden. You can feel it all through it and this is all a Maiden or a metal fan would need to get to listen to this album. So it is definitely a 10/10. Up The Irons!!!
    Personally I think it's below the rest of the new millennium releases. Unremarkable guitar work as far as harmonies and solos go, but the riffs are good. Really draggy at points, doesn't feel as dynamic as the last few releases.
    Phenomenal album, can't stop listening. Has nobody mentioned the monstrous tone they got going on the guitars? The overall production screams mid-80s, and its amazing. Compositionally its Iron Maiden what theyre good at, plus some interesting proggy stuff going on. Cant complain at all, its good vibes for days. Thank you Iron Maiden for recently a Metal masterpiece in 2015.
    I love The Book Of Souls, it's much better than Final Frontier It's a good mix of their new and older style. Although there are some average songs like Speed of light, there are probably some of their best songs like The Red And The Black, Empire Of Clouds, If Eternity Should Fail etc.. Great album!
    Honestly this is my favorite album of theirs in th time line since Seventh Son. I can understand why someone might not love it if they aren't a huge fan of the prog feel it has with so many long songs, but anything that would qualify as filler to me sounds great....They could've ended it after Man of Sorrows and it would still be an incredibly strong album, but then Empire of the Clouds kicks and it takes it to a new level. I'd pay a lot to see them do the album in full on tour like they did for AMOLAD. A lot of the songs sound like they'd be a lot of fun live either with the way crowd interaction is woven in or just how sick the solo'ing sounds at different parts.
    This is great and pristine post-2000 Maiden, but the energy is far greater than that of Final Frontier. Empire of the Clouds is the only real daring and musically - Maidenly - provocative track, and easily the most interesting one too. Still can't believe I feel that Harris really lost it with The Red and the Black. 6 Minutes would've been quite enough, 10 minutes almost painful, but 13 bloody minutes of clumsy shifts and repetition to no end? Such a good basic rhythm and beautifully working melodies, but the complete lack of innovation, surprises, and most of all dynamics, makes it extremely tiresome for me.
    I find the album too daunting to comprehend really. What I mean by that is that it seems the songs are overly complex so it's difficult to for any of the songs to stick in the mind. For instance - the song Red and the Black - I counted 17 different sections to the song ! 17 !! Even orchestral pieces don't have this amount of work going on in them ! So I give them 10 out of 10 for integrity, skill, artistry, work ethic - but I'd have to listen to this album another 200 times before I fully understand what's going on.
    Was going to say that I'm surprised how amazing this album is, but it's Iron Maiden, they're so reliable when it comes to putting out fantastic music. I think this one is a mile ahead of "The Final Frontier" and gets a 10/10 from me. The title track really blew me away, specifically.
    Sometimes i miss simplicity of the older albums, but i guess Steve wants to move from that formula,make it more complicated. This is good i really like hearing these guys playin and they got their formula that works.People often miss times when they where young and refuse to accept changes in life (listening old CDs ,revisiting old stuff coz new stuff scares them reminds them of maybe how behind they are of certain things}. People hate changes, not because its stuppid but because they are afraid of it,it tells them how fucked they are. Love and Peace
    This is maidens 16th studio album, not 17th, unless there's one I've never heard!! As for the 18 minute epic, bored me to death!!! Rest of the album is great though, best in a few years