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

FEAR OF THE DARK

Iron Maiden

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2 stars Essentially a stylistic follow-up to the band's previous album, FEAR OF THE DARK gets much higher marks from fans than its predecessor, although I must admit that I prefer NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING overall. The main problem with this album, aside from the glaring lack of progressiveness, is that the band attempts to include too many songs, resulting in some glaring filler. The highlights, are of course, worth the price of admission, particularly the concert-favorite title track, the Gulf War ballad "Afraid to Shoot Strangers," and the long-forgotten album cut "Judas Be My Guide," a remarkably tuneful song destined to be discarded by the masses due to it being buried in the middle of the second half of this sprawling affair. Bruce Dickinson continues to sing in his new raspy voice, an effort to introduce "grit" to the band's sound after a decade of slick and now post-grunge unhip prog metal. It's a shame too, because they alienated most of their fans in the process, although if I'm not mistaken this album debuted at #1 on the charts and the band headlined the Donington Festival for, what was it, the second time? Still, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who actually likes stuff like "Weekend Warrior," or at least would actively listen to the thing if it weren't for the fact that they were playing this album from start to finish. Bruce Dickinson would soon leave the band for a solo career and Maiden would trudge wearily onward.

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Send comments to JohnGargo (BETA) | Report this review (#93244)
Posted Tuesday, October 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars If this album was a two track EP it would have some worth to prog fans and to the general audience, but instead Iron Maiden chose to contribute an additional 40 mins of songs that sound less like Iron Maiden songs than they do like songs trying too hard to be Iron Maiden songs. They come off as mockeries of themselves devoid of any of the qualities that made them such a breakthrough act.

"Afraid To Shoot Strangers" and "Fear Of The Dark" are two excellently executed songs with proggy undertones that point back to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. However, the rest of the album is forgettable at best.

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Send comments to Equality 7-2521 (BETA) | Report this review (#97118)
Posted Saturday, November 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Last album featuring Bruce Dickinson on vocals in the 90s, this is clearly a follow-up to "No Prayer For The Dying" and shares the same weaknesses. Too many short straightforward heavy metal songs and too few bright moments. Unoriginality and fillers prevail on this album. The guys were so uninspired it seemed to have become contagious and even their master illustrator Derek Riggs lost inspiration for the cover so they had to choose someone else.

The album starts with the heavy "Be Quick Or Be Dead", a song that sounds like all their past album openers - nothing original in the music and lyrics here. "From Here To Eternity" is a song the band likes to play live, but again it has not the quality of past efforts. Next two songs however are highlights on this album: "Afraid To Shoot Strangers" is one of the two lenghty epic songs with the mix of mellow/heavy parts, and "Fear Is The Key" is a great mid paced song with an oriental feeling. "Childhood's End" is another decent song, and of course "Wasting Love" is a beautiful power ballad. But the second half of the album is a series of forgettable fillers, with the exception of the catchy "Judas Be My Guide" and of course the all time live favorite title track "Fear Of The Dark".

Rating: 62/100 (2 stars)

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Send comments to zaxx (BETA) | Report this review (#98300)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Bj-1
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3 stars Progholes might just fear this album instead of anything else, though at least this was an improvement over "No Prayer For The Dying", but still both album were major step-downs from their later 80's albums. In terms of prog, this album, like it's predecessor, is barely progressive at all. "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" and the title track are the only tracks here that really could be considered as prog here if you ask me, and they both definitely help the album up from the trashcan. Otherwise, the album only consist of 90's hard-rock material.

Speaking non-prog now, this is a very good hard rock album and I personally like several of the songs, and Im sure that fans of the band will enjoy this release too. For progheads, however, I'd to get all of their 83-88 stuff before even bother to check out post-Adrian Smith Iron Maiden. Good, but non-essential.

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#107780)
Posted Wednesday, January 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is the weakest work Iron Maiden ever did over their whole career. The only song that is worth to listed to is Afraid To Shoot Strangers. From Here To Eternity looks like some AC/DC song. I'm almost an Iron Maiden fan, but I fell that listening to this album is a complete waste of time. This is the only album over all my collection that I never listen to. As a fan, the only reason of having this album I can see is to complete a collection. Fear of the Dark (the song) is maybe a classic, but I really don't like it. As a follow-up for No Prayer For the Dying (which is not a bad as Fear of the Dark), I expected a lot more from Iron Maiden, but I was extemely disappointed by hearing this album. Don't buy this, unless if you want to complete a collection.

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Send comments to proglil49 (BETA) | Report this review (#114424)
Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
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3 stars This is my first review as a prog-reviewer, and I've chosen this particular album by Iron Maiden because it has special significance to me. As I've said before, my introduction to what in my mind I conceive as "good rock" was The Doors; but my introduction to the genre that probably has taken most of my listening-time these last years, metal (and progressive-metal) came in the shape of two particular albums: Sepultura's CHAOS AD, and Iron Maiden's FEAR OF THE DARK. As it's pretty much obvious that I can't review the former in this website, I've decided to talk about my feelings towards one of the weakest, yet most-beloved (by me) albums in the catalogue of the group that, in my eyes, truly finished making the goal of having good metal an achievable one.

I remember how I got this CD, many, many years ago. I kind of borrowed from a friend who liked all kinds of music just because the "Iron Maiden" name had always generated interest in my mind. The covers with the ugly skeleton-like creature (later I knew what its name was) made me think that the music inside would be truly "devil's music". You know, after being raised with classical music and The Doors being the utmost declaration of "rebellion" in my then-poor musical-world knowledge, a CD with such a cover, such a name, and coming from such a "evil" band (as they were hailed) was really something quite extreme. So I borrowed the CD alongside Sepultura's album which, at least in the cover department, was far less "demonic". Little did I know that the music inside was much more violent.

I didn't immediately love Iron Maiden but I DID immediately fall in love with a particular song, the title track. In a rather absurd way of acting, I was kind of "ashamed" (please, I was VERY young) to like a track by Iron Maiden, and kind of put it aside. But time brought me back to the Irons. After all the metal that I put into my brain soon after my first experience, "Fear of The Dark" was no longer a menace nor something you had to hide. It was just music, metal music. And, I gradually realized, fantastic metal music at that. I already had experimented with lots of noise and machine-like bands like Pantera, Slayer, so Maiden's music wasn't extreme anymore, but now I could appreciate it with more musical background in my head and almost zero pre-conceptions and judgments in my mind and heart (those truly reached the ZERO years later, past adolescence, as with all of us). Years later, when progressive-metal and progressive- rock in general had crushed all of my earlier favorite bands and sent them to oblivion, only a couple of the original remained, and only one metal band stood beside The Doors as the only one I dare to put in the same level as the Dream Theaters, Flower Kings, etc: Iron Maiden. (with time finally those "levels" have disappeared allowing me to enjoy music more for what it is rather than for what some weird idea makes us want it to be).

About the album (yes, let's talk a little about it), it's not really Iron Maiden's best. In some ways is one of the worst, as it has a sound that at times reminds us of Guns N' Roses (?!), Def Leppard (?!) and other bands that, while good, are not usually what we associate with Maiden, and which write much better music in their own styles than what Maiden manages to do when sounding like them. But the few pure Maiden songs that we can find in FEAR OF THE DARK are some of the best in the catalogue, an strange happening this record where we can find true gems alongside true bore-fests.

Be Quick or Be Dead (9/10) What energy this song has! It's no wonder why Nicko McBrain is always smiling while playing: believe me, as I drummer I have tried, there's no way to play this song with a cold, uneventful face. Excellent, though maybe not groundbreaking and not as fantastic as other Maiden fast songs as "Aces High".

From Here To Eternity (6/10) Here the problems start. This song is weak, sounds like another band's, even Dickinson trying to sound different (in a bad way). A very weak song. At times it sounds like AC/DC.

Afraid To Shoot Strangers (10/10) The lack of congruence in this albums is evident here, as suddenly we encounter one of the best songs in the bands' catalogue. Divided in three sections, the first one melodic, the second epic, the third energetic and with a fantastic guitar lead, it stands as one of my favorites from The Irons.

Fear is The Key (6.5/10) This one sounds like a weak rocker by another band, not incredibly bad but so uninspired.

Childhood's End (7.5/10) The beginning sounds like Iron Maiden, that's a true Maiden guitar, the always-great Harris' bass. The song itself is not up to the level of the band's best tracks but it's enjoyable.

Wasting Love (6.5/10) The start of this track reminds us of Def Leppard's early recordings (Bringin' On the Heartbreak). Could be logical as both bands belonged to the start of what was called the "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" (Def Leppard really leaving that path very soon), but this is 1992 we're talking about, Iron Maiden shouldn't sound like another band sounded 10 years ago. Not awful, but not too Maiden. For such a slow song, it should have more melody, as Maiden is capable of delivering.

The Fugitive (6.5/10) This sounds like Iron Maiden but not at their best. It has some energy but lacks inspiration. The chorus gets old very soon.

Chains of Misery (6/10) Another strange mix of Iron Maiden and a few other bands. The songs lacks a hook and the chorus could get annoying if heard too many times.

The Apparition (5/10) The worst song in the album, even Dickinson sounds weird here. The music starts very similar to "Fear is the Key" but then lacks a chorus or any good catch. Bad, bad song.

Judas be my Guide (8/10) At last we got some Iron Maiden back. The song is not truly magnificent as it's pretty generic, but it has energy, melody, a great, catchy, memorable chorus, and the guitars sound like Maiden's, not somebody else's. It's a little too short and unoriginal but just for the entertainment factor it could get even a higher grade.

Weekend Warrior (5/10) The Guns N' Roses moment in FEAR OF THE DARK, it sounds like a track straight from USE YOUR ILLUSION I, and not one of the most inspired precisely. Dickinson even sounds like a poor-man's Axl Rose at times (I think Dickinson could run circles around Rose at singing when sounding like himself, not like Rose). Another melody-less song, the other bad valley we have to walk upon before climbing at last.

Fear of the Dark (10/10) After such a weak album, the finish is nothing short of extraordinaire. From the first, haunting, menacing notes to the explosion of energy in the main part, from McBrain's thundering drumming to Murray's and Gers' magnificent guitars, from Harris' perfect bass to Dickinson's unrivaled powerful vocals, this tracks has everything a Maiden track could have, even a section that in live concerts can really be chanted along. A true anthem in all the Maiden Catalogue, it remains as probably one of my three favorite Iron Maiden songs ever, and I know it's not only because of my sentimental attachment to it, but also because it's really that good.

All in all, as uneven an album as it gets, for alongside utterly boring songs we have a couple of the best tracks the British machine ever gave us. I can't rate it lower than 3 stars, I just can't when "Afraid To Shoot Strangers" and "Fear of the Dark" are here. But I can't go higher, either. And without those two songs, this album probably could've received a truly disastrous rating. From a progressive standpoint, not the most progressive Maiden ever released, but at least it has two songs that make up for that weakness.

Recommended for: Iron Maiden fans, good metal and progressive-metal fans, good music fans, if only for a few moments throughout the record.

Not recommended for: People that can't stand heavy-metal or that can't stand their Iron Maiden sounding like a lot of bands at the same time, none of those actually being called Iron Maiden.

.But get it anyway. The two song I've mentioned till exhaustion WILL make you overcome your fear of the dark.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#125464)
Posted Monday, June 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is a bit of a mixed bag. It had the production and enough good tracks to hit number one in the UK, but it definitely was intentionally produced in some ways to update Maiden's sound for the 90's as their American market was declining. This is evident in the gang-vocals on the chorus of From Here to Eternity and Chains of Misery and by the beefed up production and heaviness in songs like Be Quick or Be Dead. Some of the songs(Fear is the Key, Weekend Warrior) just didn't seem like Iron Maiden at all. It's a very Dark album and very unique, while also, in my opinion, the most commercially produced album they have ever done.

There is still some great material to be found on here, but I won't debate if it is "prog" or not. I know this is a "prog" site, but I'm more about the music and less about classifications. There are people on here who say Dream Theater isn't "prog rock"

The Good

Be Quick or Be Dead Afraid to Shoot Strangers Fugitive Fear Of the Dark

The Bad

Fear is the Key Chains of Misery Weekend Warrior

The not quite as Bad!

From here to Eternity Childhoods End Wasting Love The Apparition Judas Be My Guide

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Send comments to JD-Buckeye (BETA) | Report this review (#130500)
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars WELL, I'M JUST A MODERN GUY...

The last Dickinson album (first period) as lead vocalist is not the best Maiden one.

Some pure heavy metal formatted song ("Be Quick Or Be Dead", ) heavier ones ("From Here To Eternity") and even some good ones.

At times, some better shaped songs like in the good old days will make their appearance. "Afraid To Shoot Strangers" is one of these, for sure. Wild beat, superb guitar. Almost seven minutes of happiness. But such song is scarce on this album. A highlight.

I prefer to listen to a band that is faithful to its roots (Maiden could have turned AOR maybe.) than to one which is changing its style like a hundred ones maybe; The Oriental mood of a song like "Fear Is the Key" seriously reminds me "Purple" (Mark II B) and at the end of the day, it is not as bad as that.

A funny fact that arose my attention already in their previous album, is the use of titles.

"The Assassin", "Hooks In You" featured on "No Prayer For The Dying" while "Childhood's End" is another one from this album. Superb guitar, powerful and catchy guitar and a great beat. One of the best song here and a highlight as far as I am concerned.

Needless to say from whom these titles are coming from.

It is difficult to write that this album is really bad. So far, Maiden has always taken care that their work could be considered at worse as average. IMHHO, it will still be the case with this album. Not a lot of grandiose numbers of course, but this work needs to be regarded for what it is : one out of many albums of a leading heavy-metal band in the music history. Full stop.

Loads of "progressive" metal bands are just a pale copy of this excellent band. Even if not great, this album could still show the way to go to most of the so called "great" prog-metal offerings.

The very first seconds of "Chains Of Misery" automatically reminds me of "The Passenger" from Iggy Pop of course. Unfortunately, the fantastic beat of the original won't last for long but I can't say that it is a complete waste. Just average. What I know for sure is that I'll just play this incredible song ("The Passenger" of course) just after this album.

If ever you would like to listen to one of the most metallic, most heavy metal Maiden offering : do grab this one. If ever you would like to listen to five seconds of prog music : don't grab this one (nor any Maiden ones actually). A song as "The Apparition" doesn't belong to this site of course. AT ALL.

"Judas Be Me Guide" is another great and energetic song. Just to confirm that the band has not forgotten to write catchy metal anthems.

This album will still peak at the first spot of the UK charts.Not in mine. As ANY Maiden album, there is no prog to be expected. But I had nothing to do with their inclusion on PA. Very little reviews with comments for this album. But this is a global tendency unfortunately : after the first and famous albums of a band, reviewing of later work really seems of no importance.

It is the reason why I tend to review as many albums as I can form a band. To analyse their evolution and to be able to depict some ups and downs in their career. This means of course that it is not always a great experience. Still, this album is OK.

Three stars. Just listen to the excellent title and closing track to be convinced.

I'm rushing now to "The Passenger" from the album "Lust for Life".

"OF COURSE, I'VE HAD IT IN THE EAR BEFORE".

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#154794)
Posted Saturday, December 08, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Fear of the Dark - or Return of the Nightmare. This thing was such a fiasco not only my humble person deserted the band, but so did Bruce Dickinson. Ok, Be quick or be dead is almost a resurrection, and Fear is the Key has its moments - the rest is just a musical hangover. I don't know if its slightly better or worse then No Prayer for the dying - it's really all the same. A waste of time, simply stated.

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Send comments to strayfromatlantis (BETA) | Report this review (#162747)
Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Probably the best Maiden album, even if it's very different from the other releases - the darkest one, for sure. Dickinson's last Maiden album for 8 years, he'll return in 2000 with Brave New World.

It was the first Maiden album to be releases directly on CD, that's why it runs to almost one hour of music instead of the 40-50 minutes of the previous releases.

Many of the tracks here are among my Maiden favorites : Afraid To Shoot Strangers which talks about the Gulf War (and about the war generally), Fear Is The Key which talks about AIDS, Weekend Warrior (abour hooligans), The Fugitive, Wasting Love, From Here To Eternity (another Charlotte The Harlot song !), Childhood's End, and of course, the title track.

There are many influences here : boogie, blues, classic hard rock (From Here To Eternity should have been an AC/DC song, Fear Is The Key seems to be inspired by Led Zeppelin's Kashmir for the melody), and two of the best tracks here are slow ones (Wasting Love, Afraid To Shoot Strangers).

Largerly underrated album (see the rates), I think it's really unfair to see in Fear Of The Dark a bad Maiden album. It's a very different album, but so was Seventh Son Of A Seveth Son, The X Factor and A Matter Of Life And Death. For me, Fear Of The Dark is one of the most beautiful Maiden albums, I really adore it !

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Send comments to Zardoz (BETA) | Report this review (#164992)
Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
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2 stars I guess they weren't quick enough.

While it's true that the '90s were going to be just as much of a change for the big bands of the '80s as was the change from '70s to '80s, but who knew that these cult giants were going to be affected so much? While No Prayer For The Dying showed a significant change in style with the band moving further and further away from the fantasy flavored music they'd become so good at playing, this one only further proved that the band were confused with what they were doing. The lack of Adrian Smith also proved to be a nuisance, even with a talented gent like Jannick Gers at the helm of one of the dual guitars, and with Bruce about to embark on his solo ventures it just sounds like the band is falling apart here.

What's unfortunate about this album is that it just feels, for the most part, like filler. Some of the songs simply lack the energy and passion that Maiden usually shows. Very few tracks really jump off the page, and while the music seems to have gotten darker (something that works for a lot of band such as this) it doesn't seem to help very much. Still with some catchy hooks (the same kind that saved No Prayer. from complete disaster) in songs like the blistering From Here To Eternity, the dark and eerie Judas My Guide and the heavy classic Be Quick Or Be Dead the rest of the album simply ceases to get some feet under it.

There's mixed feelings about the longer songs on the album. Afraid To Shoot Strangers is a mournful lament which really gains speed at the end. This one is definitely one of the standouts on the album, with Bruce's emotional delivery and the screaming guitars put forth by the ax-men. Fear Of The Dark is the other long track on the album, but really - this one was always better live. While complex and enticing in structure with that ever fun story behind it, it's always seemed that the studio version of this song just lacks that energy that the live performances of the song has. This is with the ability of hindsight of course, because without knowledge of impending blistering performances of this song, it would still be a great standout on the album.

Standouts aside, this one is full of filler. Still a good album for those who love the band, the rest of us should just leave it to them. If you're a huge fan of the title track after hearing live versions of it, then it's actually better to leave it that way unfortunately. This one is going to get a 2. Luckily (in a weird kind of way) the masterminds of this band would soon part to take on separate ventures leaving them completely reinvigorated come time for the next classic line-up album. Unfortunately, that's not until the turn of the century.

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#170359)
Posted Friday, May 09, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars After the lackluster (to say the least) No Prayer for the Dying, Maiden returned with Fear of the Dark. While No Prayer was a 100% straight-forward album, Fear of the Dark is a bit different. Don't get me wrong, the majority of the songs of this record are also very simple and catchy, but the band attempted to create a more diverse record, with the inclusions of a ballad, Wasting Love, and some progressive numbers, in the vein of the band's past works (the title track, Afraid to Shoot Strangers). Anyways, the result was poor: this record lacks direction and, most of all, INSPIRATION.

The performances of the musicians aren't very good as well. Nicko McBrain is no longer delivering technical work, preferring to stay behind the band and play some uncreative beats, which add nothing new to the songs. Steve Harris' bass is pretty hard to hear some times and Dickinson sounds like he's trying to emulate Axl Rose or Brian Johnson, which is obviously a BAD thing. The guitar work is what saves this record from the realms of mediocrity; Gers and Murray play some good solos here and there, like the one on From Here to Eternity, and also some interesting riffs. Despite not being their best performance ever, when compared to the other's contributions, theirs is great.

The record begins, however, amazingly well with Be Quick or Be Dead, a song one million times better than the monotonous No Prayer for the Dying opener, Tailgunner; it features some very fast guitar and drum work. Hell, even Dickinson sounds great here, screaming like Halford in the beginning and with his rasping approach fitting greatly with the aggressive music. From Here to Eternity is another classic, a song that I don't understand why is so criticized by the other reviewers. Sure it sounds like AC/DC, but, hey, in the end it is catchy as hell with that awesome anthemic chorus; the solos are absolutely great too. I love the breakdown too, top notch material, no doubts. Afraid to Shoot Strangers is the last good song before the fillers intoxication, its main riff being the best Maiden ever wrote and the lyrics recalling the Seventh Son days, speaking about death and the meaning of life.

After this track ends, be prepared because you'll be intoxicated with fillers, the first one being Fear is the Key, a plodding song that clocks at five painful minutes. Wasting Love is a poor attempt at a power ballad, although the intro sounds good (I especially like the bass line). The chorus is pretty repetitive though, despite the emotional Dickinson approach. The next three tracks probably form the worst trilogy of songs ever put into CD (or vynil) and I won't talk about them, I hope you never listen to those atrocities, for your own sake.

Nevertheless, there are two more songs on the record that are worth listening: the title track and Judas be my Guide. The latter is an average rocker that compared to songs like Weekend Warrior sounds like a masterpiece. The chorus is among the best of the album and the guitar intro is very good too. About the title track, it certainly is a good song, but not the fantastic tune that many say it is. It begins very softly, with some interesting guitar lines and Dickinson singing calmly. Then it progresses to a heavier part where Bruce sings the awesome chorus. This song is no Rime of the Ancient Mariner or Powerslave, but good in its own way. If you want to listen to the best version of Fear of the Dark, it's better to pick the live one, with the crowd interaction.

Anyways, Iron Maiden absolutely were going through a bad time during the early 90's. After being criticized for the progressive approach they adopted while composing the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album, the band tried to return to their more straight-forward period with No Prayer for the Dying, which was a big mistake, since that record is absolutely the worst ever made by this british group. Fear of the Dark is a huge step forward, there are some really good songs here, but, as I've already said, there are too many fillers and the whole listening experience is ruined because of that. It's better for you to ignore the record and create your own version of Fear of the Dark, with this tracklist:

1.Be Quick or Be Dead 2.From Here to Eternity 3.Afraid to Shoot Strangers 4.Childhood's End 5.Wasting Love 6.Judas Be My Guide 7.Fear of the Dark

Just seven tracks but, hey, why more, the record would sound much, much better if this was the chosen tracklist. Anyway, I totally understand why this album is so poor, since Maiden had already released tons of records and, you know, inspiration isn't endless! After the Fear of the Dark tour, Dickinson thankfully leaved the band and Blaize was hired for the job. Despite his low vocal range, I think that his addition in the band was very good, since he gave to the music a fresher and newer sound. So, to summarize, this is one of the worst Maiden albums I've ever heard, but, hey, after the huge amount of classic records the act has released, the lack of creativity displayed here is understandable.

Best Moments of the CD (yes, because there are some interesting moments, after all): -the beginning of the record - what an explosion of speed and aggression! -the breakdown of From Here to Eternity. -when the main heavy riff of Afraid to Shoot Strangers is played for the first time.

Some great songs, but too many fillers. It's better not to listen to this record as a whole, select those seven songs and play them, forget about the others. That's my advice.

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Send comments to Nhorf (BETA) | Report this review (#176659)
Posted Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars I'll be honest-- I love Iron Maiden; their axe-work energizes, Dickinson's vocals remedy any gloom, and their over the top style is brilliant. This, and more, makes me want to shrivel up and cry when I listen to Fear of the Dark-- a fantastically bland failure on so many levels.

To start, is the simple fact that this album is dominated by Bruce's lyrics-- which deserve credit for at least being slightly different thematically than his previous ones (no songs about WWII?!) but which really come down to words for the sake of filling the page. This, combined with his overbearing, and now banal, vocals simply make this one a chore to get through. But he's not the only culprit. The instrumentalists here distincly phone this one in at all levels. Their instensity-- blah; their creativity-- ehh?; their solos-- good enough; their song writing-- formulaic.

Bottom line, ignore this one like the plague and keep your worthy vision of Maiden intact! They come back with a vengence with their newest releases!

Songwriting: 1 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 1 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#201652)
Posted Wednesday, February 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Oh dear........

This was the last Dickinson album before the split and the two Blaze Bailey albums. The first thing I notice is the vocals. It feels like the vocals are forced and Bruce Dickinson sounds like he is fed up. The vocals are one dimentional and does not show his full range and abilities. Frankly, they are abysmal. So is some of the songs too.

The opener Be Quick or Be Dead is a fast and furious song. It is best forgotten. From Here To Eternity and Afraid To Shoot Strangers too deserve to be forgotten. Fear is The Key.... gosh what a pile of s***. So is Childhood's End. Wasting Love is a ballad which I detest. The Fugitive is OK. Good licks. Chains of Misery feels like a brit pop song and is abysmal. The Apparition is OK. Judas be my Guide is another pop song. Weekend Warrior is a good rock anthem. Fear of the Dark is the only really good Iron Maiden song here.

Fear Of The Dark is an album in the No Prayer For The Dying vein. A disaster in other words. I do not like the artwork too. I can now understand why Bruce Dickinson took a break (or a permanent split from Iron Maiden as he saw it). I believe both Iron Maiden and Bruce Dickinson needed it. This album is a forty-five minutes long I Quit document. It is one of Iron Maiden's weakest albums.

2 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#202072)
Posted Sunday, February 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Iron Maiden - Fear of the Dark (1992)

I've rewritten my review about this particular Iron Maiden album because I thought my previous review didn't match the quality of my current reviews. Besides that, I've regained much interest in this album since I was able to find this great double vinyl, it sound's great.

Now, about this Fear of the Dark album. The many differences in reviews are quite puzzling here. Most of the reviewers seem to agree on the fact that Iron Maiden has a very mature sound, but the quality of the song-writing and the performance of the band is debated fiercely.

After Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, which is perceived as a masterpiece of progressive metal, the band had turned to a different direction that would evoke both memories of their first albums as well as allegations about going commercial (mainly due to songs like 'Holey Smoke', 'Can I play with Madness' and the currently reviewed 'From Here to Eternity'). It is definitely truth that Iron Maiden got a more main-stream sound on the Fear of the Dark album, but by doing that they also embraced a specific art-rock sound that would mix very well with Maiden's great sounding guitars. This album always felt 'different' from all Iron Maiden albums, though X-Factor would have a resembling sound (albeit still very different due to the change of vocalist).

Fear of the Dark has it's own mind-set, a new way of doing things. 'Be Quick or be Dead' would be the heaviest opening song of all Iron Maiden albums. It's very energetic and I love the almost frantic guitar-playing in the riffs. Of course the solo's are all great! 'From Here to Eternity' is a more commercial effort with simple melodies and a stadium-rock sound, but the lyrics are actually quite funny and the way you'll hear the motorcycles during the instrumental section is actually quite exciting.

'Afraid to shoot Strangers' is the first epical track that really showcases how different this album is. The long low-volume opening section with sensible and intelligent political lyrics (quite rare in rock-music) and a brilliant melodic, bombastic instrumental ending section. The guitarsolo's are again some of the best ever played on a metal-track. 'Fear is the Key' has a distinctive, slightly dark atmosphere that some can dislike. The bridge is however very strong and the song evolves very interesting.

Childhood's End is another unique Maiden song that has a great sound a perhaps some folk-influences (in the instrumental theme). A really strong emotional effort in my book. 'Wasting Love' is a hard-rock ballad with great guitar arpeggio's in the couplet-theme. I like some of the lyrics, like: "Maybe someday.. I'll be an honest man".

'The Fugitive' is one of Iron Maiden's stronger progressive metal songs. The troubled atmosphere of the song-writing and the fear in the vocals of Bruce Dickinson are great during the couplet themes and the refrains are very strong. The lyrics about an innocent fugitive who tries to clear his name are some of the strongest of the Maiden discography. Besides that, the instrumental themes are very original and the use of acoustic guitars during some parts is very intelligent. With "Chains of Misery' the band tries to write commercially adaptable material, but fails. In this case, it isn't much of a problem; the song just has a to much of distinctive atmosphere to be suited for the masses. Still the stadium-like sound is present.

'The Apparition' is again a very original song. With a un-Maiden like atmosphere during the couplet theme on the beginning and ending of the song and a great instrumental theme in the middle it's just a bit unconventional. Again we get to listen to lyrics with a story and vocals of Bruce that show how much the song owes to his brilliant interpretation of the guitar-themes. The instrumental section is very strong and the solo's.. again.. those brilliant Iron Maiden guitar solo's. Can't get enough of that. "Judas be my Guide' is a more conventional song, but Iron Maiden presents itself as a very melodic metal act. I love the main riffs and warm, almost tender atmosphere of this song.

'Weekend Warrior' is a song that has much in common with before mentioned 'The Apparition'. Again lyrics with a political involved story (about the abuse of football hooligans) brought from the eyes of a single hooligan. "And afterward's you feel so ashamed, and after all; it's only a game!', sings Dickinson. The melodic, sensitive instrumental section of this song is perhaps the most beautiful of the album. The title track 'Fear of the Dark' is again one the strongest songs of this album. The opening double-guitar melody can rightfully be named legendary and the atmosphere of the couplet theme is a thrill. The lyrics are brought very convincingly and the refrain and instrumental sections are all as memorable as can be. The "Feaaaar of the Daaaark" ending section with it's nice melodic guitar's is a real way to treat your fans live with a feeling of togetherness. Brilliant track back then and it still is brilliant today, only topped by some of it's even more convincing live versions.

Conclusion. This is an Iron Maiden record you can really spend some time on. One day you think you know all about it, another day it seems like there's still so much more to it. With it's twelve songs, of which I would call seven songs masterpieces and five songs 'just great' it's a long album. If I'm not mistaken the first studio effort by Maiden that would be printed on a double vinyl. On the Fear of the Dark album Iron Maiden renews itself and comes with a lot of delicate song-writing, a great sound, very strong vocals by Bruce, the best guitar-solo's and many memorable instrumental parts with those recognizable twin-guitars. Still it is not a typical Iron Maiden album and even fans might have some trouble with it's distinctive approach. I fell in love (three times already) with it's diversity, it's song-writing & composition and it's professional sound and perfect production. I think I'll call it a masterpiece of prog-related metal. Recommended to every-one who doesn't claim the be the one who knows how Iron Maiden SHOULD sound.

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#202327)
Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fear Of The Dark isn't much different than Prayer. It's still hard'n'heavy release very typical for early 90's. Same as for previous album I have very good memories about the time when it was released. And I listened to this album a lot. It's a very good record for summer. Dickinson turns into sleazy beast even more than on Prayer. Good example is excellent tune Weekend Warrior. It isn't typical Maiden but I love it. Fear Is The Key is probably my favorite song on this album. It isn't typical Maiden either. Janick Gers wrote music for that song and he proved he could put on Smith's shoes. From Here To Eternity is similar to Holy Smoke and if you enjoyed that tune you will like this one. There are of course typical Maiden songs on this release, like Childhood's End, Afraid To Shoot Strangers and the song I truly hate - Fear Of The Dark. I know it became very popular and probably saved Iron Maiden from oblivion (due to grunge invasion) but I can't listen to it. It's simply pathetic. Other songs from this release I enjoy a lot. And I also have to mention beautiful ballad Wasting Love. Almost Wishbone Ash-like guitar parts. Love it. Fear Of The Dark doesn't fail. To many Maiden fans it ends the best group's era. To me it lasted one album more.

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Send comments to LSDisease (BETA) | Report this review (#217696)
Posted Saturday, May 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#218592)
Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars When it comes to the time, are we partners in crime?

Iron maiden was the band that introduced me to rock in my early teenage years and without Maiden i probably wouldn't be listening to the music i listen to today. This album carries the title track that i probably lost my rock virginity to.

The album really isn't something you want to hang up in your christmas tree, so to speak. I still remember how i hated to switch cd:s in my walkman because i just didn't find anything else interesting here except for the legendary title track and the absolutley amazing "Afraid to shoot strangers". The latter is, in my opinion, the greatest Iron Maiden song ever made. It's progressive in a way, but that's not the point. The point is that the guitar solos in the chorus are absolutley fantastic. If someone asks what would be great about Iron Maiden, i would recommend this song.

I would feel compelled to give the album 3 stars, just because of the 2 great tracks, but this just isn't a good album. 2 stars.

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Send comments to paragraph7 (BETA) | Report this review (#236832)
Posted Thursday, September 03, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars FOTD marks a good improvement over the No Prayer disaster. It's a more polished album, featuring lots of ballads, attempts at blues-rock and plenty of AOR next to their usual arena metal. So its bad reception shouldn't be a surprise really. Maiden had become a prisoner of a fanbase that wouldn't welcome any change at all and that wouldn't applaud again till Bruce rejoined Maiden in the 00's and completely gave up trying anything they hadn't done before.

Now that doesn't make FOTD into a good album, but it's decent enough and on a similar (low) level with 7th Son. It lacks epic qualities but on the other hand, the commercial tendencies that got in the way of enjoying 7th Son are at least done much more professionally now. The lesson learned being: if you're going to do AOR, at least do it competently. Especially the ballads are quite pleasant.

It's nothing that justifies rounding up the 2.5 stars though.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#260768)
Posted Thursday, January 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hmm, this is (to me) the bands most overrated album, i mean sure its light years better than their last one but really? i mean this is Iron Maiden, we have to put up with yet another uninspired effort here really, although there are a lot more good songs than on No Prayer For The Dying the title track being such example and the opening BE QUICK OR BE DEAD with its rapid gun riffs and great vocals from Bruce, AFRAID TO SHOOT STRANGERS is not a bad track either even though personally i prefer Blaze Baileys version and WAISTING LOVE is an epic ballad Maiden style, the rest though (unfortunately) just lacks inspiration the way the old Maiden had, its not terrible, just not great;

Be Quick or Be Dead - 8/10 From Here To Eternity - 6/10 Afraid To Shoot Strangers - 8/10 Fear is The Key - 5/10 Childhood's End - 5/10 Wasting Love - 8/10 The Fugitive - 5/10 Chains of Misery - 6/10 The Apparition - 4/10 Judas be my Guide - 8/10 Weekend Warrior - 5/10 Fear of the Dark - 9/10

CONCLUSION: Again its just very uninspired, not a terrible album, just not a solid Maiden effort

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Send comments to FarBeyondProg (BETA) | Report this review (#305608)
Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Fear of the Dark is the 9th full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. The album was released in May 1992 by EMI Records. The original album contains 12 tracks while the 1995 re-issue comes with a bonus CD with 7 additional tracks.

The music on the album continues the more hard rock influenced heavy metal style of the predecessor No Prayer for the Dying (1990), but the sound is still unmistakably the sound of Iron Maiden. Bruce Dickinson´s distinct and strong vocal delivery is as always one of the defining elements in Iron Maiden´s sound, but the twin guitar leads that the band are known for are also present on Fear of the Dark. The musicianship in general is excellent. Tracks like the fast-paced Be Quick or Be Dead and the two epic tracks Afraid to Shoot Strangers and the title track, are the tracks that mostly sound like the earlier output by the band while tracks like the more hard rock tinged Weekend Warrior and Childhood's End represent the other side of the album´s sound. Tracks like The Fugitive, From Here to Eternity and Judas Be My Guide fall somewhere in between.

The production is powerful and clean. The sound suits the music well.

While Fear of the Dark isn´t exactly a revelation and the album could have used a few more metallic sounding songs, I actually find myself enjoying the album quite a bit. Either the years have softened me or maybe the album isn´t as bad as I remembered it ( I used to dislike the album, save for a few tracks). The bottom line is that even the hard rock tinged songs on the album are enjoyable when I listen to the album today and I´ll go as far as to give the album a 3.5 star rating.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#375389)
Posted Friday, January 07, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars come on, Maiden couldn't get worse than "No Prayer...", could they? this is a mini-bounce-back before they went crashing down again with The X Factor.

i quite like Fear Of The Dark - it doesn't really have any bad songs though Chains of Misery and Judas Be My Guide try really hard to be bad.

its got some great classic-Maiden type frantic rockers - the 2 first songs Be Quick Or Be Dead and From Here To Eternity, a slow-proggy 7-min Afraid To Shoot Strangers, 2 superd mid- tempo songs with some variations Fear Is The Key and Childhood's End.

the good stuff takes a break with Wasting Love which is, at best, a run-of the-mill rock ballad and totally not Maiden-worthy.

then, there's the fantastic drum-bass rhythm opening of The Fugtive keeping up the long- standing Maiden tradtion of B-side (on tape) openers being about a fictional person/s ("The ***")

but its all downhill from there with the title-track only being slightly better than average.

but then again, as i've said before, there was worse to come...(The X Factor)

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Send comments to sv_godspeed (BETA) | Report this review (#468574)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Fear Of The Dark' - Iron Maiden (7/10)

Despite having one of the band's best-known crowd favourites, Iron Maiden's 'Fear Of The Dark' is a somewhat less successful album for the legends, at least critically speaking. My first experience with the band, the album may have more of a personal significance to me, and while proving to be one of the band's less consistent works, there is some great music here from the band. While not as good as the true classic material of the band, 'Fear Of The Dark' is an at-times wonderful collection of tracks from one of metal's most enduring acts.

'Be Quick Or Be Dead' kicks off the album in a fairly classic Maiden fashion; a fast pace, galloping rhythm, and Bruce Dickinson's howl makes this track one that I would not have been surprised to see one of the earlier records. 'From Here To Eternity' also somewhat follows this formula. Truth be told though, Iron Maiden does take the rest of the album down a somewhat different lane. While it's certainly nothing alien to what Iron Maiden had already been doing, the music is perhaps a little more conservative in terms of speed, with many of these tracks veering towards Judas Priest's 'older' sound. Cutting straight to the point; this is done very well at times, but some songs fall off the wagon, and this may be why some fans of the band do not regard this album as highly. 'The Fugitive' and 'Judas Be My Guide' are two more straightforward tracks that really rock. While the intensity is toned down a bit, the riffs are in much the same style that Maiden had done before. Despite the subdued angle, there is still the care taken to the dual guitar harmonies. Weekend Warrior' is the only miss of a track here, with fairly uninspired guitars and facepalm-inducing lyrics. Here, Iron Maiden virtually declaws their music, and despite being released in '92, 'Weekend Warrior' sounds like it would have been some arena rock track from the heyday of the '80s. One bad apple aside, I don't think it hurts the rest of the songs.

Bruce Dickinson's voice is a point of contention for some, especially seeing as he would leave the band for the next two albums after this. Although some of the melodies are not so inspired or memorable, his voice was still in top shape, although he does not quite sound like himself here. At times, he sounds like Rob Halford- a good thing- and at others, he ad-libs away in the style of Axl Rose- a decidedly bad thing. 'Fear Of The Dark' certainly has some weaknesses to contend with, but the album's two most involving songs take it from being merely decent, to a very good album. Those two are the famed title track, and the lesser-known 'Afraid To Shoot Strangers'. The first of these evokes a maddening response from the crowd whenever its played live, and for good reason. It begins with a classic riff, then takes a breath as it gently builds into the most intense passage of the album. 'Afraid To Shoot Strangers' proceeds in much the same manner, with perhaps a more progressive direction. With these two songs alone, 'Fear Of The Dark' is more than worth a listen to a fan of the band.

Iron Maiden have gone through many phases, and 'Fear Of The Dark' falls on the brink of a rough transition for the band. All the same, there are many good songs, and even some gold to hear with this one. A painfully underrated album.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#572408)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars For many die hard fans of Maiden this album is considered as weak compared to its predecessors for many reasons. As I am not one of those but I enjoy the Maiden music, I still consider this as a good one to enjoy. Fear of the dark was Bruce's last record with Madien for quite a while and man is it a good one. Some consider this one sounds like a comeback to the classic sound of Iron Maiden. A true Maiden album for even non-Maiden fans like me, and a more than adequate followup to 1990's half-flop "No Prayer for the Dying", 1992's "Fear of the Dark" delivers quite well musical composition.

I still engoy the double guitar work by Dave Murray and Janick Gers as well as powerful bassplaying by Steve Harris. From the opening track "Be Quick or Be Dead" to "From Here To Eternity" I can feel the taste of Maiden's classic. Of course my favorite is the album title track which spans a longer duration with great bass guitar and double guitar harmony. As many of you know that this track appears anywhere in their live concerts. In fact, the reason I purchased the CD of this album was actually from one of their live CDs because I really enjoy the track performed live and now I enjoy the studio version which is also excellent.

Overall, the album differs from previous Maiden records. It's like a mix between No Prayer for the dying and Powerslave. My favorite is Seventh Son. Best cuts, I think : Be Quick or be dead, Afraid to shoot Strangers, Judas be my guide, Weekend Warrior and the best favourite track is Fear of the dark. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#1131707)
Posted Saturday, February 15, 2014 | Review Permalink

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