Sound — 10
Up The Irons! Iron Maiden is back with their fifteenth studio album, one that has been eagerly awaited by Maiden fans all over the world. This album, as opposed to their previous album, is unique in the sense that the guitar works are quite different. Although tinged with the prog influenced riffs of AMOLAD, the riffs of this new album are heavier and more complicated with much less melody that would've been expected from Iron Maiden. But, the songs carry perfect chord progressions and time signatures and Steve's galloping basslines are stronger than ever. Also, the first track, Satellite 15..The Final Frontier, contained some modulated vocals from Bruce which also sounded nice and one of the songs featured double-bass drumming from Nicko McBrain. Adrian, Dave and Janick were on top gear, featuring some melodic and blistering solos.
Lyrics — 10
First thing that I can be sure of is that this is not a concept album. Although one might get a hint of the concept of space exploration from the title, the lyrics of the songs vary. As Bruce explained the lyrics of El Dorado, it contains cynical lyrics dealing with the economic turmoil that has been happening recently. Some of the lyrics are centered on fantasy, songs such as Isle of Avalon and The Man Who Would Be King. The subject of war, although mentioned less, has not been not wholly left out from this album. The song Mother of Mercy is about such, where Bruce sings I'm a soldier at war. Bruce's vocals are top-notch, polished and operatic as ever. But I feel his voice has lost some vigour which he used to possess back in the middle 80's. But, anyway, the lyrics wholly represent what Iron Maiden is all about, nothing meaningless in them, and Bruce has done in this album what he does best. Moreover, this album has focused less on darker lyrics and more on fantasy and the possibilities of exploration unlike AMOLAD, which dealt with war and nuclear proliferation.
Overall Impression — 10
This is a great album which I absolutely loved. But to be honest, this particular album will create a mixed response among the fans and critics probably due to a different way of playing the songs. I had to listen to the album twice to truly find out the awesomeness in it. However, on the whole, this is a must buy album for metal fans. It has great songs. In fact, all the songs are equally great and epic. The worst song of this album, according to me, would be The Alchemist. I thought the feel of the song didn't quite fit into the feel and vibe of this album. Also, this should be a must buy album for those who aren't Maiden fans. This album has the ability to change their minds. On contrary, it's not comparable to the classics of Iron Maiden like The Number of The Beast or Powerslave. This album has a different feel and sound altogether, similar to their previous album. However, Iron Maiden has proved their crafty, skillful musicianship producing yet another epic tale (my way of expressing an album) full of poetry, epic and lyrical genius. Thumbs Up to Steve and the others for the song making and same to Kevin Shirley for the fabulous production.