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Iron Maiden - Brave New World CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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3.97 | 522 ratings

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4 stars Boy! Some of you are going to be really surprised, a Roxy/ Symph Prog fan reviewing Iron Maiden, "wow, we never thought you had it in you, T" . Well, the jokes on you, pals! Prog has turned me into a no-boundaries kind of music fan and this is my first Maiden album and review. Actually, I remember how it happened, I saw a TV show with Maiden live in Rio and I was sort of spellbound by the rather obvious instrumental talents of Steve Harris, Nico McBrain and Jannick Gers. "Brave New World" has your stereo-typical gloom and doom artwork, a futuristic London (yeah, the Bridge still hasn't fallen down) with the river Thames dividing a choking megapolis of surreal missile- like scrapers whilst the "beast" winks from the cloudy thunderclouds. "The Wicker Man" blasts forward featuring a rather classic triple (yes, 3 axemen!) riffing guitar attack, bruising drumming and dizzying bass propulsion. Nuclear-lunged Bruce Dickinson is really quite impressive, howling out anthem-like choruses ("Your Time Will Come"), not very proggy but quite enjoyable while driving down the concrete highway at full speed. "Ghost of the Navigator" is, on the other hand, what makes proggers stand up and pump fist and the first of numerous epics on this spellbinding disc. The near 7 minutes veer into rapid -fire movements that swerve controllably, speeding up and slowing down, twisting on a dime, the chorus is bombastically evoked, guitars buzzing, McBrain pummeling mercilessly. A hysterical guitar solo ensues (don't ask me who, I have no clue! < Nice rhyme, wot?) that blitzes furiously and then the windswept chorus is revisited . The title cut launches gently, almost minimalist with twanging guitars and a sober Dickinson reading, with a sudden upturn in the thrust, defining the theme even more until the massive chorus kicks in. It's obvious to this rookie fan that Iron Maiden really knows how to erect (sic!) multiple choral melodies and weave them into an instrumental package that certainly goes beyond your usual metal arrangement. This song is a perfect example, as the wild solo (Don't ask me who.) only highlights the power and the passion so inexorably expressed by the exemplary vocals. The magnificent "Blood Brothers" offers a fully orchestrated violin-laden intro, tossing in some suitably sweeping keyboard squalls played by Mister Harris, clearly defining the progressive element that magnifies this band's creative craft. The insistent story-telling chorus pushes hard, the guitars churn appropriately, with a short simmering solo (Don't ask me who.) and a colossal anthemic mid-section with more well-placed orchestrations. A Celtic-tinged dual guitar theme is lovingly expressed, with another solo creeping out with unashamed vigor and ceremony. Errr. I love this stuff! "The Mercenary" is a not the kindest subject matter, and the beastly pile driving rhythm is there to reinforce the rage and the nihilism ("No where to run, nowhere to hide, you got to kill to stay alive") , while entertaining, is too mundane for my tastes. "Dream of Mirrors" is another whopping epic, clocking in at over 9 minutes, hissing at first like an angry missile before metamorphosing into a stunning Spanish guitar motif with anxious vocals from Monsieur Dickinson, all restrained emotion waiting to explode into a maelstrom of sonic grandeur, with another gigantic refrain, passionately "colorful" lyrics ("I only dream in Black and White") and a hasty mid-section that pushes and pushes hard, faster and faster. Another warp-speed guitar solo (Don't ask me.) adds the obligatory six-string electric fury to the flurry. "The Fallen Angel" is a 4 minute romp, insistent bass leading the way, a demonic rant that is more classic metal than anything, thus giving Dickinson the opportunity to rant loud and apocalyptically. A wah-drenched solo adds some ass to it all. Cute, even amusing but a tad puerile "pour moi"! The 9 minute "The Nomad" props up a tent of Saharan guitar patterns that rekindle pleasant thoughts of Zep's "Kashmir" before Dickinson howls like the arid wind of a sandstorm, grainy, unrelenting and massive. The screeching guitar whirlwinds brilliantly evoke the isolation of desert perdition (the quiet mid-section is a reprieve, no "Camel" in sight or is it just a mirage?).The guitar crunch returns, fusing with an adamant North African flavored theme, the orchestrations adding even more bombast and mystic aura, proving again that these heavy lads can refine deliciously when prompted. The finale is expertly heavy and desperate, with Dickinson in fine form, while all the axe solos are impressive (Don't ask..). "Out of the Silent Planet" is at first an odd sonic detour that quickly explodes into a reveling instrumental mania that will please the harder-edged fans but again leaves me unchallenged. The final cut (sorry Roger) is the brooding pile driver "The Thin Line Between Love & Hate", an 8 and a half epic that chugs along mercilessly, with a classic lyrical depiction of one of life's obvious tests, a hopping chorus that somehow is not as convincing as the previous whoppers, even though the vocals are heavenly powerful (what lungs!). A series of zipping axe solos (Don't.) put this wild affair to bed. This Brave New World is quite an achievement and seemingly very much admired by the legion of Maiden fans. I started here and I am glad I did, as every "gentle" man needs a little metal fury in his prog collection and I would definitely recommend this to equally hesitant soft proggers. This is dedicated to my colleague and friend sinkadotentee who piqued my curiosity and paddled me to purchase this . I hope it blows your mind! 4.5 valiant, innovative planets
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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