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Iron Maiden - Fear Of The Dark CD (album) cover

FEAR OF THE DARK

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

2.94 | 293 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars A more mature maiden!

Fear Of The Dark was very much an anomaly in my CD player in the 90's, during which I mainly listened to alternative rock bands like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. But unlike all those alternative bands, or anything else I listened to in those days, this album has staying power. Fear Of The Dark was the first Iron Maiden album I ever heard and for a very long time it was the only Iron Maiden album I had ever heard. It is fair to say that this was the Iron Maiden album for me during my early years as a music lover.

I certainly wouldn't call myself an Iron Maiden fan - not then, and not now - and also not really a metal fan in general, but this album holds a very special place in my collection. Indeed, it cannot be excluded that this album actually influenced my personal musical journey towards progressive rock (even though in those days I did not know what progressive rock was). However, I honestly do not think that my personal relationship with this album affects my present rating in any way that makes it biased. It really is my (re-) considered judgement that this is one of the very best Iron Maiden albums! It is needless to point out how vastly superior this album is compared with the previous, and very disappointing No Prayer For The Dying.

Fear Of The Dark may not be as progressive as Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son or Brave New World but it is highly melodic with very strong and memorable melodies and riffs and loads of great guitar solos. In my view there is not one weak song on this album and several of the songs are excellent. There is just one great melody after another and most of the songs have a progressive touch. The progressive leanings can be found mostly in the arrangements and in the details, but especially also in the many interesting tempo changes and mood changes often within the same song. Like on Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son there are discrete keyboards in the background on several songs that adds a greater depth to the music than on most earlier albums.

Afraid To Shoot Strangers is one of the more progressive songs here. I remember how impressed I was by the several tempo and mood changes and great, highly melodic guitar parts and good solos. And today, I am still impressed with it! There is much progression in this song too. Every time the main guitar melody returns, it is played slightly differently than the last time around which proves that Iron Maiden can be intelligent when they want to. Subtle intelligence, in a way.

Wasting Love has a great guitar melody and is an unusual type of song for Iron Maiden to do - it is something of a (semi-)ballad. This helps to make this album varied and interesting throughout. It might be compared with Deep Purple's Wasted Sunsets from the Perfect Strangers album. Indeed, the voice of Bruce Dickinson sounds even closer to that of Ian Gillan on this album than on other Iron Maiden albums, I think. On some parts of Fear Is The Key you could easily believe that it is Ian Gillan singing!

The title track is a classic that, if I'm not mistaken, has become a live favourite for the band until this very day. It is a great song!

Many Iron Maiden fans seem to dislike this album, and that might be because it is a bit different from many of their earlier albums - both lyrically and musically. Personally, I find this album much more mature than most of their early albums. I find some of those early albums somewhat naive and lacking in substance, especially some of the (supposed) epics that I often find repetitive and overlong. Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son was to my mind the first great Iron Maiden album (and my all time favourite by them). Fear Of The Dark has a nice diversity and also consistency.

I am always very restrictive with my higher ratings, but I do not hesitate to give this album four stars. (And I do not do that to compensate for other people's low ratings, I never do that!)

A very underrated album! Recommended even for people who are not Iron Maiden fans.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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