Sound — 9
Many people dislike this album because the "real" maiden was defined by adrian smith and bruce. I too was not too fond of this album the first couple listens through as I wasn't much impressed by the new vocals and the seemingly "changed" sound. All of the songs build up in the same fashion (staircase) and blaze's voice takes a while to get used to for anyone that listens to alot of the more mainstream maiden songs. But I have since fallen in love with this album, and in my mind, only bested by fear of the dark. Many of the songs have tremendous lyrics and riffs, if you take the time to truly listen to them, and janick and bayleys sounds seem to mix and become astonishing. A few of the solos arnt what you expect to get from janick after listening to his more modern shredding, but they have a much more poetic sound.
Lyrics — 10
As I noted before, Blaze's voice takes a while to get used to, but I have found myself enjoying it more than bruce and harris put together. The lyrics are brilliantly written, and have that perfect mix of eerieness and depth that many other maiden songs seem to miss. Sign of the Cross and Look for the Truth have stuck with me to this day, as they really reach to me. All of the other songs are amazing as well. With the kind of 'rusty' voice blaze has he doesnt get into the extremely fast lyrics bruce does so well, but he likes his note holding; which he does amazingly well.
Overall Impression — 10
As with alot of changed bands, you have to forget what they put out in the past and just listen. Had the name Iron Maiden not been on this cover you would be sitting in a corner in your room crying because it blew your mind. Did it meet the expectations I had for them? No. Was it a fantastic album? Definatly. I had listened to maiden for a long time, and due to the unpopularity of the album, had never really heard any of blaze's stuff so when I eventually got the album I really felt confused by the new sounds and had a somewhat biased opinion against it. After listening for a few days this album has truly showed me the diversity Iron Maiden has had, and I love it. I think many people wont give it a real chance and just raise their noses at it, but in my opinion it blows away any other stuff. If you want a step away from the mainstream of Iron Maiden and really get a feel for the band and what they are all about this album is definatly the one to listen to. I cannot stress enough that sitting through it a couple times, you will love it. I know almost all of my fav songs are off this album now, and I beleive they really outstaged themselves by pulling it off while going through such a rough period.