Sound — 9
When listening to this the newest outing by Iron Maiden you expect to hear their trademark sound and some listeners may be thrown by the intro but after their foray into dark ambiance they kick into what got them to album fifteen The Final Frontier. Maidens sound on this album is the classic metal sound which has served them well through the years. But they have obviously experimented with it on this album. Down tuned guitar work on the intro, acoustic guitars over distorted riffs in the title track but this experimentation doesn't take away from the Iron Maiden sound. They revisited the studio in which they recorded The Number Of the Beast in 1982. Their sound is so radically different today that I'm not even going to compare the two albums. Its the sound we've all come to love and respect but with some little nuances too.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are typical of Maiden at this point. Steve Harris leads the charge here again, writing and arranging probably all of the songs on this album. Although the subject matter can be cringe worthy at times and the lyrics can be kind of cheesy they are too well suited to the vibe of the album not to enjoy. But my one problem is they sometimes seem disjointed from the music itself as if the two were recorded differently and just placed over one another, El Dorado being the prime culprit in its verses. Bruce delivers a fantastic performance here too. His voice has definitely suffered from the years of abuse touring but his vocal performance is exceptional but did we expect less? I'm a fan of Dickinson anyway so I have to resist the fanboy urge to praise and be unbiased. Its not his strongest vocal performance in his career but as I've said for a man of 52 in a Metal band its exceptional and admirable.
Overall Impression — 8
Iron Maiden are a well established band in the spectrum of Metal and Hard Rock, so its only natural people are going to compare it too their older material and other bands doing similar projects. But this is such a different animal to the previous Maiden albums from the 2000 onward line up. Its a refreshing sound and a terrific album and is a progression that remind me why I'm a metalhead in the first place. The power, passion, excitement and raw aggressive energy that exudes here is astounding as these gents are hitting 52+. Its not perfect, not by a long shot. Its too long by about fifteen minutes, the problems I've mentioned above too also add to this sentiment. But I definitely feel that the pros here outweigh the cons, and its lack of perfection here adds to my love of it, it knows its not perfect but it stands out warts and all above many younger bands today with their modern production and technology.