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Iron Maiden - A Matter Of Life And Death CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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3.62 | 433 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars It's been a while since Iron Maiden redefined the heart of metal, but here we are again.

The first two tracks are typical sloganeering, propulsive Maiden - good fun, and no doubt the proverbial olive branch offered to their long term fans. The first track, "Different World" actually has a tired mid-section that sounds a lot like Guns 'n' Roses or even Bon Jovi, but luckily this is as close as we come to cheese this time around.

What follows this double-barrelled metal opening is what's really important to us prog rock fans - eight songs brimming full of progressive references to the likes of Wishbone Ash, Rush and the like (while avoiding the regressive pitfalls associated with them); all the tracks are of extended length and Maiden capitalize on this by developing themes instead of repeating them. Semi-unusual time signatures are employed - 7/8 surfaces in "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns" (a song that also features thrilling if questionable leaps in tempo) with a lurching intro that blossoms into a natural and heavy verse, while other songs evolve past classic metal songwriting by involving A and B sections (think Metallica) and variations upon a song's theme - even a simple transposition from one key to another is a lovely gesture and one of the many reasons why Iron Maiden continue to be considered a step-above your average heavy metal band. In "The Longest Day" you can sense them seizing back the double-axe melodic trademark from bands such as Blind Guardian. The best part is that none of this filigree ruins the purity or epic qualities of the choruses you'd expect, which is why this reviewer rewards "A Matter of Life and Death" with five stars...

...personally, that is. Since this is not a true prog record it doesn't seem comfortable or right to assign this any value higher than three. But let's call this a ***+ since, outside of the world of progressive rock, this was the greatest album released in 2006.

laplace | 3/5 |


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