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Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time CD (album) cover

SOMEWHERE IN TIME

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

3.90 | 425 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Without a doubt, this album has one of the best covers in all the Iron Maiden/Eddy catalogue, with a futuristic approach and even some irony. Not that this matters that much for a musical standpoint, but I thought I had to mention Maiden's covers at least once in my series of reviews.

This album arrived two years after the preceding one, POWERSLAVE, which means that for one year there was no new studio record by the British. 1985 only viewed the release of LIVE AFTER DEATH, Maiden's first proper live album and one that would capture the hearts of its fans even more. It seems that that hiatus from the compositional stage worked, as SOMEWHERE IN TIME is, in my eyes, far superior to POWERSLAVE, to the point that it may well be, alongside SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON, my favorite Maiden disc with Dickinson on vocals.

This album presents a slight change of style in Iron Maiden's music. If the focal point of the music in POWERSLAVE seemed to be speed and energy, in this record we find, alongside fast, pure-adrenaline tracks, more atmospheric moments, more use of the guitar synth, and a couple of songs which are absolutely progressive, maybe the first ones since "Rime of The Ancient Mariner" and much more so. The use of textures, of guitar harmonies, the dialogues between the two guitars get more complex, more interesting; Harris' bass continues to astound with its marvelous mix of simplicity and virtuosism; McBrain's drumming is just as tight as always but he seems more secure in this album, like if he finally felt himself 100% a part of Iron Maiden. And one of the factors that I love the most about this band is showcased here to a great extent: the ability to create ultra-fast metal pieces but filled with lots of catchy, even beautiful melodies. If there is something that no metal band has managed to do is to write fast music so tuneful. All the bands that have hopelessly tried to emulate Maiden (mostly power metal and progressive metal outfits) are yet to match the wonderful experience that some tracks in this album can produce in a fan, that sense of hearing music that belongs to you, metal that's yours. A fan gets to become one with the songs, and the songs are designed to do that. More on that later.

Caught Somewhere In Time (9/10) A typical Maiden-esque melody in guitars opens this fast track that, unlike most Maiden openers, lasts over 5 minutes. The main verse is faster, like a horse galloping at full speed the bass takes us through this journey. At every moment we're dazzled by short but glorious little melodies by the guitars. Dickinson sings even better than usual here. It has a long instrumental section with a great guitar solo and some truly inspired bass work. Another fantastic opener by the Irons, maybe not as instantly memorable as others like "Aces High", but surely more complex and easy to grow with time.

Wasted Years (10/10) Not much can be said about this anthem of anthems in the already-full-of-anthems catalogue of The Beast. Speed, energy, beautiful guitar melodies, a sense of weird melancholy and nostalgia, the years that passed us by are gone and the song makes us pay them homage but also leave them as relics of an ancient, dead past, making us look for the future. Smith and Murray just blow their axes away with a magnificent display of guitar playing and one of the best solos in the band's catalogue. The chorus can't be more memorable. This song is the stuff of legends. The first song ever by Maiden that I need the urge to give a 10/10 to, but certainly won't be the last (as my chronologically-wrong review of FEAR OF THE DARK can easily attest).

Sea Of Madness (9.5/10) The opening verse of this song is quite unique, the rhythm has a certain weird groove to it. The chorus is very good again, but the relentless stop- and-go main riff of the song is what truly makes it instantly recognizable. The middle section is slow and quiet, more melodic, atmospheric almost, with another great display of prowess by Harris. Great song. Another grower.

Heaven Can Wait (10/10) This track may well be THE anthem by Maiden, and in this case almost literally so. It starts very quietly, haunting, only strings (bass and guitars it's what I mean; they work with strings after all). Then another energetic verse with a breathless delivery by master Dickinson. The chorus is very likeable but rather generic. The song is going great but as it is up to this point would be just another good fast song. Then we start going upwards, the guitars stars dueling with each other, the battle seems unstoppable. A sudden change in speed, a little slower, Dickinson sings and then we're invited to join in a true anthemic moment made for stadium chants and for uniting all the thousands of fans of The Beast. A moment that, if maybe not incredibly fantastic from a musical point of view, some may see it as cheesy, but is just magical because it unites the music and the fan, both are made into one. The speed comes back and the guitars' fight reaches a climax where neither one seem to be able to win, and they just join forces, as we already did with this music. This rollercoaster of a songs started like a regular decent track and by the end became one of the all-time greats by The Beast.

The Loneliness Of A Long Distance Runner (9.5/10) The beginning of this song sounds like future albums like THE X-FACTOR will sound. The bass goes up and down, one guitar plays chords, the other a soaring high melody while the hi-hat provides the touch of heart-less mathematics to such a warm start. The main verse starts, Dickinson delivers as usual, some great double melodies by the guitars ensue, melody after melody. Excellent.

Stranger In A Strange Land (8.5/10) The bass and the drums open this one in unusual fashion, and then the guitars come in and we're fooled for a second into believing this is a ZZTop track (please, stop the violence, only for A SECOND). The use of guitar synths is clear here, the song is not so fast as the preceding ones, but is more atmospheric, even futuristic at moments. The texturing work is just great as in every track in this album. The chorus is good, not great. This song is another proof as to the progressiveness in Maiden's metal. (Harris' most important influences were Squire and Rutherford among others, as he himself has recognized and, most importantly, as the music SHOWS.) Very good slow track. Only the slightly average chorus deters it from being excellent.

Déjà Vu (9.5/10) Another slow, melodic start where the three string-based electric instruments seem to dialogue with each other. And then suddenly one of those legendary lightning-fast riffs by The Beast attacks. McBrain adds to the energy while Dickinson forces his throat to the limits. A fantastic fast track, very melodic all the craziness notwithstanding. At moments sounds like a "progged-up" version of "Killers", the title track of Maiden's sophomore release.

Alexander The Great (10/10) The longest and most progressive song in SOMEWHERE IN TIME, it starts like a slow march filled with evil, dark spirits. Guitar melodies fly over the marching snare-drum rhythm and the pedal. Then the main verse comes into scene. The tempo is similar to that of "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" in POWERSLAVE, but the song as a whole is much more progressive, varied, complex. Instrumental sections abound, guitar solos inhabit this epic track as the most honorable of citizens of the land of melodic metal. Another superb song that deserves a perfect rating, even if it hasn't reached my heart as much as the other two, but maybe that's because of exposure, as this is another example of why I love Maiden.

This album is better than almost any other in all of Iron Maiden's catalogue (bar, in my opinion, SEVENTH SON and X-FACTOR), but it's definitely a "grower": one has to give it time, and it will grow; one has to give it a few listens, an it will show its true face. The first true masterpiece by The Beast, it gets a 5 from me, and I think the rating is in accordance to PA guidelines, for this is a true progressive album.

Recommended for: Every Iron Maiden fan and every Metal fan. But give it time to grow with you as it did with me.

. and be ready to chant in communion with The Beast, and tell Heaven that it will have to wait... at least till you finish listen to SOMEWHERE IN TIME.

The T | 5/5 |

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