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Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Iron Maiden - A Matter Of Life And Death CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


Prog Related

3.64 | 412 ratings

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4 stars Iron Maiden is going to the progressive metal territory?

This is the first I can say after listening to their newest studio release (to date). A Matter of Life and Death contains 10 songs, 72 minutes, that's quite attractive for a prog fan, isn't it? And the numbers are right, the band has evolved into a really proggy metal style, a genre they helped to develop decades before.

Three guitarist make even more noise than two, but that's completely okay, it increases the amount of different opportunities, especially if we talk about the harmonies. Dickinson and Harris are both geniuses and McBrain uses more cymbals, so the musicianship is good.

Let's see the tracks individually.

1. Different World is a typical straight-forward Maiden song following the good old verse- chorus-solo formula. You won't expect the pre-chorus - it's surprisingly low-pitched and its melody differs a lot from the other ones in the song. Musical highlights are the cymbal playing and the multi- guitar harmonies. This is the only track under 5 minutes, which is quite diverse from the IM standard.

2. These Colours Don't Run opens a new tradition with the lengthy intro, this characteristic's gonna mark most of the songs on A Matter of Life and Death. The chorus is very strong, and the musical changes at 3:00 are very impressive as well, a completely new melody takes over the rule. I may also mention that the three guitars used make more forgettable the fact that there are no keyboards. The calm intro then works in the end as an outro.

3. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns starts in a very tense way. Dickinson starts the opening line quietly than the whole song shifts into a more aggressive mood - absolutely great! The guitar and vocal themes are stunning, the track is full of different ideas, tempos, moods, unusual harmonies (listen to the chorus) and high-level energy. One of the really progressive tracks here, but some of the changes are not sophisticated enough. All in one, a highlight (and did I recognize well that synths in the background?).

4. The Pilgrim is a short one again, with a very catchy almost-oriental riff. One of the old trademarks, the gallop-rhythms are back, however, the chorus remains in the new vein and do not reflects the early days. Right before the final vocal entrance there's a fine guitar solo, one of the bests on the album.

5. The intro of The Longest Day is similar to that of Brighter Than a Thousand Suns, but Bruce remains longer in the background before breaking through the walls and letting the energy of the refrain flow. One of the weaker songs, too repetitive and brings no freshness except of the multi- guitar solo.

6. I've read plenty of times that Out of the Shadows is like Dickinson's solo output, and after I checked the song Tears of the Dragon I had to agree with those reviewers. But here is more strength and this is not a bad song anyway! Folky, bluesy both acoustic and electric guitars are to hear and during the solo I instinctively remember Children of the Damned.

7. The opener notes of The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg display a strange, sad mood, as well as the first verse. At 2:00 join in the electric instruments and it becomes a song more like the second and the third on the album: long and heavy, but not so diverse that the aforementioned songs. Bad points for the relative slowness and uneasyness that have been already represented more times.

8. For the Greater Good of God is the second best (and the longest) song. Wonderful intro, very good lyrics (besides war, religion is a new topic), and great acoustic guitar arrangement. The galloping is once again here, but other melodies by other guitars are played while it gives the base. The chorus is operatic and the repetitivness of the song has to be mentioned, but not in a wrong way! Repetition can not often be defined as a good musical tool, but this case gets an acquittance under that rule.

9. Lord of Light has a soft start lasting until 1:40 where it turns into a typical Maiden song. The soft part gets back in the middle, but this song is not my favourite at all. Near the end there's a distorted guitar which stands very far from the band.

10. The Legacy. This is the ultimate prog song of Maiden. Just fantastic. The first part with acoustic guitars and a new voice style by Dickinson, the excellent, powerful joining in of the drums and electric guitars... Once again, intelligent and superb lyrics accompany the music. And after the changeful, heavy middle part the outro is just something what Yes could have done. Wonderful song.

All in all it's more than a brick in the discography of Iron Maiden. 4 stars, the band's best work so far.

Diaby | 4/5 |


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