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Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death CD (album) cover

A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

3.69 | 289 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Having just acquired this new IM album as double pic-disc LP for a Christmas present, I am listening to it attentively, and comparing and contrasting it with the previous releases. It kind of has a 'business as usual' feel to it ; the same formula of quiet intros, 'galloping' rhythms, tempo changes (Maiden trademarks, I guess)....so it looks like its just another Maiden album, a sure-fire winner, with the band not taking many risks, but this is only superficial. The sound is little raw - quite similar to the sound of 'Number of the Beast' but heavier. The album possibly takes some of the stronger elements from the previous two albums and incorporates them into the new compositions on this release. Quite a number of tracks are credited to Smith/Dickinson/Harris, with the masterpiece, epic closing track, 'The Legacy', credited to Gers/Harris, proving that Gers has come a long way since his days as guitarist in the band 'Gillan'.

Opening with an out-'n'-out rocker, 'Different World', nothing really special with this one, a song that's very close in structure and mood to 'The Wicker Man', 'These Colours Don't Run' is a decent, mid-length track, 'Brighter Than a Thousand Suns' is the first 'big' track and a mighty one at that - full of tempo changes, chunky riffs (even a nice riff in '7'), a very strong piece indeed. 'The Pilgrim' has an eastern sounding riff, and is a quality Maiden track, 'The Longest Day' is very good - it starts and finishes with a moody section, has a catchy chorus, but an impressive instrumental passage soon puts thing right. 'Out of the Shadows' is a rare IM ballad, harkening back to 'Wasting Love' - its similarity is undeniable, whilst not the most exciting song here, still gives one a 'breather', for the most engaging tracks are to follow.

'The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg' is the only contribution from Dave Murray (with help from Harris, of course) and is excellent - starting out quite dark and mysterious, the main section features a great melody and solo (Murray, at a guess) and again finishing how the song began. 'For The Greater Good of God' is the longest track (9.24) and is superb, with ever-shifting tempos, awesome melodies and riffs and an intense vocal from Dickinson. Some quite impressive guitar soloing during the instrumental passage is worth paying attention to. 'Lord of Light' again starts out quiet and dark, gets heavy, returns to dark and quiet, fires up again, solo and ends. Closest comparison would be to the material of 'The X Factor'. 'The Legacy' (9.20) is another classic epic, beautifully constructed and arranged. The first section is highly acoustic (an idea the band don't utilise too often) giving way to some breath-taking progressions and impressive vocals, then the instrumental kicks in with the band playing their hearts out, Harris included, and finishes with some acoustic strumming. A well deserved 4 stars, and they also bettered their last release, 'Dance of Death'.

Tom Ozric | 4/5 |

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