Sunday, 30 August 2015

Iron Maiden - Book Of Souls (2015)

Genre - Heavy Metal / NWoBHM
Label - Parlophone UK
Track listing:

Disc 1
1. If Eternity Should Fail (Dickinson) 8:28
2. Speed Of Light (Smith/ Dickinson) 5:01
3. The Great Unknown (Smith/ Harris) 6:37
4. The Red And The Black (Harris) 13:33
5. When The River Runs Deep (Smith/ Harris) 5:52
6. The Book Of Souls (Gers/ Harris) 10:27

Disc 2
7. Death Or Glory (Smith/ Dickinson) 5:13
8. Shadows Of The Valley (Gers/ Harris) 7:32
9. Tears Of A Clown (Smith/ Harris) 4:59
10. The Man Of Sorrows (Murray/ Harris) 6:28
11. Empire Of The Clouds (Dickinson) 18:01

Iron Maiden are back, and by god are they back! British heavy metal legends return with their brand new album, the awesome double album (a career first!) "Book Of Souls". Its been five years since Maiden last studio opus, 2010's "The Final Frontier" but judging by the sheer quality of the songs on offer on "Book Of Souls" then its been well worth the wait.

Disc One kicks off with the Dickinson composition, 'If Eternity Should Fail'. The song kicks of with some dark atmospheric keyboard layers and an almost spaghetti western synth trumpet before exploding into one of the heaviest songs that Iron Maiden have ever recorded, yet alone opened an album with! Great start, and its heart warming to hear Bruce in such fine voice!
Next up we have the albums lead single, and in my humble opinion the albums weakest track, the Smith / Dickinson composed, 'Speed Of Light'. Its one of the albums shortest tracks and is destined to become a Maiden classic, with its sing along chorus. Its worthy of noting the energy that both the song and the band seem to posses, something that they have rarely captured in the studio since 1992's "Fear Of The Dark" release.
"The Great Unknown" follows, this time a Smith / Harris composition, and what a song! The song opens with a huge rumbling bass line from Steve Harris before growing into a true Maiden classic, that just keeps on building the atmosphere throughout the songs duration.
"The Red And The Black" is up next. This song is a Harris composition, and to be honest on any other Maiden album this song would have definitely been the album's centre piece. Yet another Maiden classic, so that's four songs in and we have three dead cert new Maiden classics among them!
"When The River Runs Deep", follows, this time being written by Smith and Harris. This song is one of the most metal songs that Iron Maiden have written in years, reminiscent of some early Dio material in places, and at times bringing to mind the Maiden classic's 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner' and 'Heaven Can Wait'.
Next up we have the albums title track, 'Book Of Souls', this time being written by Janick Gers and Steve Harris. This song is huge! Filled to the brim with spooky atmospheres, this ode to the Mayans is simply a huge towering track, and well deserving of its status of being the albums title track. Opening with a simple acoustic guitar and a slowly building atmospheric keyboard layer, before exploding into this huge Iron Maiden classic akin to 'To Tame A Land' and 'Alexander The Great'. Simply magnificent. That closes out disc one of the this two disc opus, and would by the standards of any mere mortal band, that would constitute a great album, but this is Iron Maiden, so lets get onto disc two!

Disc Two opens with the Smith / Dickinson composition, 'Death Or Glory'. This tale of World War I fighter pilots is a ripping track, bursting at the seams with energy. This is one of the albums shortest tracks and definitely destined to become a live favourite!
'Shadows Of The Valley' follows, this time the song is another Janick Gers and Steve Harris composition. With an intro that could have just stepped off of the grooves of 1986's "Somewhere In Time" album, this mid-paced song is simply a maze of riffs and hooks, dark hues and a distinct of the supernatural permeate throughout this track. Guaranteed to become another Maiden classic.
"Tears Of A Clown" is up next. This one is a Smith/ Harris composition, and a tribute to the late great comedian, Robin Williams, who sadly committed suicide in 2014 after his long battle with depression. The song simply asks the question, how can someone who brings so much joy, feel so much pain? tragic subject, but a brilliant song non the less.
The next song on this immense opus of an album is 'The Man Of Sorrows'. This is not Iron Maiden version of Bruce's track from 2005, 'Man Of Sorrows' from Bruce's "Accident At Birth" album. No this track features the only writing credit for guitarist Dave Murray on this album, being a Murray / composition. This is a blues-tinged number that sees the guitarists showcasing a slightly different side of the talents. Once again Bruce is fine voice, as he has been throughout the entire album!
Now every Iron Maiden album since time began has featured and epic over blown masterpiece as the closing track, usually written by Steve Harris, and usually the albums centre piece. Well "Book Of Souls" is no different, only this time the master piece has been composed by vocalist Bruce Dickinson, And what a masterpiece it is! Clocking in at a mighty eighteen minutes and one second, 'Empire Of The Clouds' is Iron Maiden's most grandiose and ambitious song to date. To my knowledge this is also the only song that Iron Maiden have recorded that features a piano and cello so prominently! 'Empire Of The Clouds' is Bruce telling the tale of the tragically doomed R101 airship (or Zeppelin) in 1930. A fantastic piece of story telling and a magnificent opus of a song ta boot!

So there you have it, Iron Maiden return with what is quite possibly their best album ever in the form of the double album, "Book Of Souls" and definitely the best album that will be released in 2015. This album would be a great album to bow out on should the band choose to call it a day after their forth coming mammoth world tour next year, but judging by the quality and creativity on display throughout 2Book Of Souls" I hope they choose to record at least one more album, especially considering Bruce's recent victory in his battle with cancer.

Long Live Iron Maiden!

This album is simply a must for any fan of the band, or any fan of any metal genre!

Very, Very Highly Recommended

Rating - 10/10          (Album Of The Year!)

1 comment:

  1. your 100% right! this is an epic album! up the iron's!!!