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A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH

Iron Maiden

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mystic fred
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3 stars "A Matter of Life and Death" for Iron Maiden??? Having not heard a new Maiden album for how many years i don't know, maybe since "Seventh Son", i was curious to hear "A Matter of Life and Death" after all the hype and expectation and i must say i'm not in the least disappointed, it is an epic album! Proggish? wellllll........sort of i suppose, forgive me i'm still coming to terms with the term "Prog metal", and i DO like DT/Opeth, so yeah.... Proggish! Maybe too early to judge yet but i'd say many of the tracks on this album show the Lundun boys with a new lease of life and would stand up very strongly to anything on "Number of the Beast" - how's that? There is an almost "Celtic" flavour here and there, such as "Pilgrim" and did i detect a Zeppelinesque eastern feel on "The Pilgrim" ?? The opening tracks "Different Worlds" and "These Colours Don't Run" are CLASSIC Maiden, all their signatures are there, heavy crunching riffs, great hooks and time changes, with amazing vitality. There are very catchy riffs on all the tracks, hard to pick a favourite though "Brighter....." (epic!), "Pilgrim" and "The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg" stand out, the pace hardly lets up throughout the album apart from a few "breathers", young Bruce sounds so different when loud and quiet don't 'e?, hardly believe it's the same geezer! Third spin and the album is growing on me as fast as a nettle rash, highly recommended, an essential addition to any collection of Prog Related...or...er....Prog Metal??? who knows....."only time will tell!"

MUSIC RATING 4/5 PROG RATING 3/5

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Send comments to mystic fred (BETA) | Report this review (#93084)
Posted Monday, October 02, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars After great Brave new world Maiden released poor Dance of death and I thought they'll never record anything that I could call "great". Fortunately they've made AMOLAD. It's a great album with few long and complex copositions, maybe also the heaviest of all IM. It would be 5 stars but I simply hate Different wordls and Pilgrim. Those songs are really boring and so simple they shouldn't be here. Without them, the album would be a real killer, especially Brighter... and last four songs (The Legacy is one of the best Maiden song ever, maybe the best, absolutely brillinat).

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Send comments to Crowley (BETA) | Report this review (#93192)
Posted Tuesday, October 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is by far the most progressive work of the heavy metal masters Iron Maiden. Since "Brave New World", Iron Maiden is trying to broaden their musical horizons towards the progressive music and this album is the first one that can almost get the "Prog Metal" tag. The album is filled with epics. Almost every music has a slow instrumental intro and them explodes in one of the heaviest works of the group. "The Reincarnation of Bejamin Breeg", "Brighter than a Thousand Suns", "Lord of Light" and "The Legacy" will mark the bands history as some of their biggest epics all in one album. The voice of the vocalist Bruce Dickinson is even better than in "Dance of Death", a fact that , for me, puts him very far from any other vocalist. Since he entered in the band until now he is developing and improving his voice, making him the best vocalist on earth for me. Another highlight I can point in this album is the drumming of Nicko Mc'Brain that for me was never a differenced drummer, but in "AMOLAD" he really impressed me. Well, i can say that this is one of the best albuns of their carreer ( if not the best one) but the die-hard fans of the band may find it not so good.

10/10

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Send comments to Benjamin_Breeg (BETA) | Report this review (#93258)
Posted Tuesday, October 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
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4 stars Another reincarnation of Iron Maiden

This album follows it's predecessors like Dance Of Death and Brave New World with it's sound. The songs are longer, better put together, and all in all have a better sound. Really, the band has simply continued the sound they seemed to have put on hiatus after their Seventh Son... album. This new Maiden is more up with the times without appealing to the mainstream. Even the first single was deemed to long to make charts, but still scored big with the fans.

We start with a sheer rocker, Different World. While it does sound awfully familiar to the openers of the last albums (Wildest Dreams, Wicker Man), it is still a good song to bang your head to. The guitar hasn't been better and Bruce even pulls a fast one on us by having an oddly melodic chorus instead of a chaotic one familiar to us maiden fans.

The next song starts the main theme of the album (which is, of course, war). These Colours Don't Run can be compared to Ghost of the Navigator from the Brave New World album, in structure anyways. This song is a bit harder to get into, and at some points makes the audience feel like it shouldn't be able to get into it.

Brighter Than A Thousand Suns is much the same, hard to get into. Clocking at over 8 minutes with heavy riffs, fairly repetitive choruses, this song is fairly menacing. But what Maiden music isn't? After you're able to see the direction the band was taken on tracks like this you're better able to listen to this song, making it very very well done.

The Pilgrim is another short rocker, giving us a small break from the almost overwhelming previous two tracks. It's not as well put together as the last tracks, but this is mainly because it's shorter in length, and short songs are often hard to make as good as their longer counterparts. All in all, however, another enjoyable heavy song.

The Longest Day is one of the standouts of the album. It, like most other songs on this album, starts slow and finishes fast, while keeping a fairly mid paced air about it. This song again refers to the album's main theme, and once again, is not very approachable, albeit, this one more so than the last. This one's more catchy than the rest, whether this is a strength or a weakness I suppose is up to you.

Every album needs a low point, and I suppose Out Of The Shadows is this album's. It is the most approachable song on this album, but that is only because it is very repetitive, very basic, core rock. Yes, it is a good track, but to me it doesn't fit in with the complexities of the rest of it's brother songs. This track sounds too commercial in some senses, but that's not it's biggest downfall in the end.

The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg was a strange choice for a lead single, being as long as "uncatchy" as it is. in the end, that's what makes this song. It starts eerily, leads into a long rock segment and ends eerily. What's so appealing about this track is that it's more experimental than other Maiden singles (2 Minutes To Midnight, for example). Really, it was a strange choice as a single, but it is probably one of the strongest tracks the album has to offer.

If there was a title track to the album this would be it. For The Greater Good Of God is a hard hitting song that states the underlying premise of the album and throws the theme right back at you again. It's structure is near perfect, and though it's the longest song on the album you'd never know it after you get lost in the sonic barrage that is this song. Another very strong track.

The Lord Of Light always seemed short to me, being between two 9 minute songs. It is, of course, long than Reincarnation..., but I guess we tend to forget these things. Anyways, this is a song reminiscent of the Dance of Death album, both in story and sound. A nice revisit to the past if you're a fan of that album. (I for one am.)

The coda of the album is probably the strongest Maiden track ever recorded. The Legacy is probably what landed Maiden on this website, as it is very proggy. Looking for a prog track, you found it. With powerful vocals, lyrics and instrumentation alike this could be Maiden's crowning glory. But I guess you'll have to listen for yourself.

All in all a strong offering. In some cases, yes, this album is very hard to get into. The sound is unapproachable, as I've said many times, but once you're in, you're in. One thing maiden could have done better on this album would have been to leave in their avant gard song writing and story telling as they've had on albums such as Dance of Death, Virtual XI, Seventh Son..., and Somewhere In Time. One thing that pulls me away from labeling it as maiden's absolute best is the fact that the album almost gets lost in it's theme, and doesn't give us any of that fantasy maiden goodness. This album is very very down to earth. Which, ultimately, is good and bad. Still an excellent addition to your collection. 4 stars!

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#93434)
Posted Thursday, October 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars It's excellent to hear Iron Maiden doing their thing once again. This album is a lot like the old Maiden sound-wise, but it is much more mature. The songs for the most part are all relatively the same. No song stands out to me in a positive or negative way. Overall its a good listen, though tough to do all at once as teh songs are all the same, and it gets old after awhile. The album is good overall though. The lyrics are the most impressive part of the album and the most matured. Most talk anti war in a new way, which is new after hearing all these punk bands say the same thing the same way every time. It's very refreshing. The album would be a good addition to any rock music collection, but don't expect it to be an album you play non-stop. At least it wasn't for me.

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Send comments to proghairfunk (BETA) | Report this review (#93524)
Posted Thursday, October 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A good addition to Iron Maiden's discography with plenty of excellent listens. A Matter of Life and Death was a CD I was looking forward to when they first announced it. When I got it, I found I was actually not disapointed. With the exception of a couple of bland songs that weren't very appealing (Different World, These Colors Don't Bleed) the rest of the album is atcually very good. A Matter of Life and Death is the progressive side to Iron Maiden, just like thier last two studio albums have been. Bruce's voice is a little bland on this album in some places, but the musicianship is spectacular. Resurrection of Benjamin Breeg was an incredible album along with For the Great Good of God and The Legacy! On this album you'll find some of Iron Maiden's new best. It's probably not good enough for a 5/5, but it's a great 4/5. Worth the buy, and an interesting listen.

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Send comments to Xeroth (BETA) | Report this review (#94140)
Posted Wednesday, October 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
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4 stars Yeah . Iron Maiden is back now with new album (2006) : "A Matter of Life and Death". As the CD is produced locally at my country, I purchased the Cd at first release couple of weeks ago. This fact proves that there are many die hard fans of Iron Maiden. I have seen it with my own eyes when i-Rock! conducted regular jamming session, on last month event there was band that covered Iron Maiden who really burnt the venue! I myself not a die-hard fan but I can enjoy most of Iron Maiden's music.

For me personally, this is an excellent album where the roots of Iron Maiden's music in 80s can be heard from this album. Most tracks are written beautifully in practically straight forward rock music with triple guitars. Most tracks were written by Steve Harris and co-written with Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers. The music flows excellently to my ears from the opening track "Different World" (straight rock) to "These Colours Don't Run" (rock with quite dynamic style) and then to the rest of tracks. I especially enjoy the triple guitar work the band offers here.

One track that can be considered as prog track is "For The Greater Good of God" (9:24). It reminds me really to "Rhime of The Ancient Mariner" of Powerslave album. The music flows wonderfully with Steve Harris bass guitar forms the basic rhythm section augmented with multi-layered guitar sounds. Steve is I think one of great bass players in rock music. Bruce Dickinson voice is powerful and pretty clear during the course of the song.

Overall, this is an excellent hard rock music album with some prog elements. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#95892)
Posted Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars An excellent addition to a cd collection its deffinatley there most proggressive album by far i was dissapointed when dance of death came out and i thought i would when this came out but this is probaly my favorite album from iron maiden that i've listened to it isn't as heavy as some of there other albums i would reccomend this to any one

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Send comments to #1floydfan (BETA) | Report this review (#96902)
Posted Thursday, November 02, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars for me, old maiden's fan from the debut album, a matter.... is a really disappointment!! all the tracks are unoriginally, repetitive and too long. different world is the usually maiden' opener, and the rest is a tragedy!!! the only song that I heard still today was the legacy: the first portion remembers deep purple, and the last is a dance of death's outtake!!! i think that is fault of steve harris: he wants to be the co-author of all the songs, but it would be better if bruce dickinson (see his single albums) and adrian smith could write as they can!!!!

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Send comments to borussia (BETA) | Report this review (#98526)
Posted Monday, November 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Iron Maiden was maybe the first band that got me interested in music at the age of 10. I started buying cds, looking at the booklets, reading bios and for the first time really pay attention to what I was listening. However after a few years I completely forgot them. Yes, I can still tell you when every album was released or sing along with 'hallowed be thy name' but I don't really seem to enjoy them anymore.

In order to try to give them a second chance I decided, though almost clearly negative from the beginning, to listen to their last album that everybody seemed to praise. Unfortunately it just confirmed my opinion. It's nothing more than another maiden album. I don't find it neither prog nor experimental. just another maiden album. All parts seem familiar. I just seem to be bored of maiden's sound. Apart from a couple introductions in songs like "These colours don't run", "Brighter than a thousand suns", "The reincarnation of benjamin breeg" and "For the greater good of god" which even though nothing special manage to differ from iron maiden's common sound, a few Andrian Smith's ideas (my favourite out of these guys) and the first half of the last song, there is nothing that would make this a good album. Probably good is a really wrong term when it comes to music so maybe it's better to say that there is not enough there to attract me.

For someone who doesn't like maiden it's really a waste of time and probably even for a maiden fan. Giving two stars would seem right because there are a few good ideas in this album but also giving one wouldn't be a bad idea since it sounds less original than other maiden albums and it's pretty much for completionists. Anyway, I'll give it 2 stars!

Further listening: Bruce Dickinson - Chemical wedding

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Send comments to sularetal (BETA) | Report this review (#100460)
Posted Sunday, November 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I listened to this album the first time, I was quite disappointed. The sound is not as polished as on the last two albums (it really lacks a lot of clarity, especially with the guitars), and although there are still three guitars playing it's hard to say it brings something to this album... on the contrary. Where are the solos? the heaviness? the melodies? Another thing that bothers me on this album is the poor quality of the production for the vocals - that's too bad because Bruce Dickinson is giving here one of his best vocal performance on an Iron Maiden album, with a lot of energy and nuances in his voice. The first part of the album is totally conventional, the first five songs being classic Maiden without too much originality. However, after more listens, it appears clearly that it is still a good Maiden album. The rhythmic section is awesome - Steve Harris' bass guitar is clearly in front on all the songs and drumming of Nicko Mc Brain is perfect. And the second part of the album contains five gems - melodic, progressive, epic... almost like a totally different album.

"Different World" opens the album like any other Maiden album... nothing original here (see "Wicker Man", "Wildest Dreams", "Aces High") - a classic heavy metal rocker, but still a decent song. "These Colours Don't Run" adopts a more relax tempo, almost anthemic - still very conventional. "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" is the first epic song of the album, but again it sounds like another Maiden song... and this time it's even repetitive. "The Pilgrim" is the weakest song of the album - sounds like a leftover from the "Fear of the Dark album" and shares that album's weaknesses. "The Longest Day" completes the weakest first part of the album - again a wheezy song. "Out Of The Shadows" is the ballad of the album - a cool song in the vein of "Wasting Love". "The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg" starts with the classic melodic guitar intro of any Murray/Harris song, and then turns into a happy catchy song with a nice guitar part toward the end. "For The Greater Good Of God" is one of those awesome epics Steve Harris can write - a great mellow intro (and outro) followed by an incredibly catchy melody with a cool instrumental break in the middle. Here the musical performance is awesome, and the vocal performance even better... "Lord Of Light" shows diversity in the song structure - mellow first part of verses, fast and heavy second part of verses and mid tempo choruses, with a cool (but maybe too short?) guitar solo in the middle. On "The Legacy", songwriter Janick Gers shows that he's capable to write masterpieces too, not only conventional hard rock songs - great acoustic intro (over 3 minutes long!), strong melody, awesome guitar solos... and another song where the band's performance is perfect.

Rating: 80/100 (4 stars)

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Send comments to zaxx (BETA) | Report this review (#102458)
Posted Sunday, December 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Having just acquired this new IM album as double pic-disc LP for a Christmas present, I am listening to it attentively, and comparing and contrasting it with the previous releases. It kind of has a 'business as usual' feel to it ; the same formula of quiet intros, 'galloping' rhythms, tempo changes (Maiden trademarks, I guess)....so it looks like its just another Maiden album, a sure-fire winner, with the band not taking many risks, but this is only superficial. The sound is little raw - quite similar to the sound of 'Number of the Beast' but heavier. The album possibly takes some of the stronger elements from the previous two albums and incorporates them into the new compositions on this release. Quite a number of tracks are credited to Smith/Dickinson/Harris, with the masterpiece, epic closing track, 'The Legacy', credited to Gers/Harris, proving that Gers has come a long way since his days as guitarist in the band 'Gillan'.

Opening with an out-'n'-out rocker, 'Different World', nothing really special with this one, a song that's very close in structure and mood to 'The Wicker Man', 'These Colours Don't Run' is a decent, mid-length track, 'Brighter Than a Thousand Suns' is the first 'big' track and a mighty one at that - full of tempo changes, chunky riffs (even a nice riff in '7'), a very strong piece indeed. 'The Pilgrim' has an eastern sounding riff, and is a quality Maiden track, 'The Longest Day' is very good - it starts and finishes with a moody section, has a catchy chorus, but an impressive instrumental passage soon puts thing right. 'Out of the Shadows' is a rare IM ballad, harkening back to 'Wasting Love' - its similarity is undeniable, whilst not the most exciting song here, still gives one a 'breather', for the most engaging tracks are to follow.

'The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg' is the only contribution from Dave Murray (with help from Harris, of course) and is excellent - starting out quite dark and mysterious, the main section features a great melody and solo (Murray, at a guess) and again finishing how the song began. 'For The Greater Good of God' is the longest track (9.24) and is superb, with ever-shifting tempos, awesome melodies and riffs and an intense vocal from Dickinson. Some quite impressive guitar soloing during the instrumental passage is worth paying attention to. 'Lord of Light' again starts out quiet and dark, gets heavy, returns to dark and quiet, fires up again, solo and ends. Closest comparison would be to the material of 'The X Factor'. 'The Legacy' (9.20) is another classic epic, beautifully constructed and arranged. The first section is highly acoustic (an idea the band don't utilise too often) giving way to some breath-taking progressions and impressive vocals, then the instrumental kicks in with the band playing their hearts out, Harris included, and finishes with some acoustic strumming. A well deserved 4 stars, and they also bettered their last release, 'Dance of Death'.

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#104488)
Posted Monday, December 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Yet another strong and sophisticated album from Iron Maiden. They keep getting better and better! This is in my opinion their strongest album, tied with the debut and "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son". The style of the album is a combination of Dance of Death and X-Factor, making this album their proggiest in my opinion, and one of their darkest. The production is a slight letdown, but not enough to annoy the listener. Most of the songs are somewhat long, but not enough to bore the listeners. I do not think that this album has 'filler'.

Different World begins the album as the typical straight ahead rocker like Wicker Man or Aces High. Nothing too special but never dull or irritating. These Colours Don't Run begins with an inspired mellow acoustic intro and develops into a dynamic mid-lengthed Iron Maiden song with time changes, extended instrumental section, strings, and effective double guitars. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns is a menacing, multi-segmented epic with beautiful heavy riffs and solos, making it the heaviest song of the album. The Pilgrim is an enjoyable rocker with an eastern feel, and a main guitar riff that recalls Led Zeppelin. The Longest Day is a mid-paced epic with a catchy chorus and a very memorable guitar riff playing during the verses. The instrumental section sounds a bit like Dream Theater without the keyboards, very technical. Out of the Shadows is a lighter song, almost like a ballad with electric guitar in parts. A very pleasant listen and a break from the heavier songs. The Reincarnation is a song where its riffs are the best element about it. Like most songs here, it starts softly. The vocal performance is very good here. The Greater Good of God is slightly repetitive, but the musicianship is great, the chorus very memorable (guitar and vocal-wise), the other chorus where the title of the song is chanted has a great guitar riff, and it has a great instrumental section too. Lord of Light is a typical mid-lengthed Iron Maiden song that could have been in their previous album, not a highlight, but not weak either.

The Legacy is the highlight of the album along with "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns". Again, i think of Dream Theater here. The acoustic part I mean. While this song doesn't have Dickinson's vocals on par, the acoustic introduction is as effective as the one in "Dance of Death". It is a symphony of acoustic guitars, the fast paced theme being very beautiful. Also, the epic riff uses wonderful chord progressions, and sounds dramatic when they put the other layers in it. The rest of the song is heavy metal and has excellent songwriting and musicianship. The ending brings back the acoustic guitars and a very powerful last chord that ends the album.

Iron Maiden keeps getting better and better. I highly recommend this album to fans of prog metal.

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#106689)
Posted Monday, January 08, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, I'm actually not a die-hard Iron Maiden fan. I went out to buy some of their classic stuff, however, this was their only CD I could find at Wal-Mart. Disappointed, I wasn't sure what to expect. When I got home I immediately put in the CD, and I was blown away. From the very first riff to the very last cymbal, this album is a masterpiece.

The lyrical content is very deep and sophisticated, leaving the listener thinking. The riffs are true heavy metal at its best, and the vocals are bloody fantastic. Maiden haven't lost their touch. I'm quite impressed with every song on the album.

If you don't already own this album, and you're a Prog/Metal fan, I highly recommend it.

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Send comments to Syrynx (BETA) | Report this review (#109071)
Posted Friday, January 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
laplace
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It's been a while since Iron Maiden redefined the heart of metal, but here we are again.

The first two tracks are typical sloganeering, propulsive Maiden - good fun, and no doubt the proverbial olive branch offered to their long term fans. The first track, "Different World" actually has a tired mid-section that sounds a lot like Guns 'n' Roses or even Bon Jovi, but luckily this is as close as we come to cheese this time around.

What follows this double-barrelled metal opening is what's really important to us prog rock fans - eight songs brimming full of progressive references to the likes of Wishbone Ash, Rush and the like (while avoiding the regressive pitfalls associated with them); all the tracks are of extended length and Maiden capitalize on this by developing themes instead of repeating them. Semi-unusual time signatures are employed - 7/8 surfaces in "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns" (a song that also features thrilling if questionable leaps in tempo) with a lurching intro that blossoms into a natural and heavy verse, while other songs evolve past classic metal songwriting by involving A and B sections (think Metallica) and variations upon a song's theme - even a simple transposition from one key to another is a lovely gesture and one of the many reasons why Iron Maiden continue to be considered a step-above your average heavy metal band. In "The Longest Day" you can sense them seizing back the double-axe melodic trademark from bands such as Blind Guardian. The best part is that none of this filigree ruins the purity or epic qualities of the choruses you'd expect, which is why this reviewer rewards "A Matter of Life and Death" with five stars...

...personally, that is. Since this is not a true prog record it doesn't seem comfortable or right to assign this any value higher than three. But let's call this a ***+ since, outside of the world of progressive rock, this was the greatest album released in 2006.

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Send comments to laplace (BETA) | Report this review (#118361)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
richardh
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I've been giving this a lot of play on my in-car CD play recently.Maiden have been a class above the opposition for some years with a style that sends them very close to prog if not exactly diving in head first.Here they explore some contemporary ideas with the occasional nods to Dream Theater and Tool and with less of the full on metal that was more their trademark in the early days.I really like the meaty production and Nicko has never sounded better behind the drums for my money.The songs are all around the 6-7 minute mark..well developed but not overdone.This is classy stuff and one of the most enjoyable albums I've listened to for a long time.I'll leave it up to you to decide whether its ''prog'' or not but for me its a safe 5 stars.

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#118779)
Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With satisfaction I start to write my last review in my series of Iron Maiden's albums. I've covered all records since THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST and maybe one day, when I have enough money to throw away in cd's I already know I'll very rarely hear, I'll get the two first, Paul D'Anno-fronted albums and give my opinions on them. For now, let's rest.

DANCE OF DEATH was not a great album. After three great consecutive releases, the Irons couldn't keep on track and delivered a so-so record that lacked in melodies, good choruses or memorable instrumental sections. Though the music was still OK, it was a huge step down from the glories of BRAVE NEW WORLD. Even Dickinson sounded a little bit uninspired in the 2003 album, repeating himself, as did the whole band.

A MATTER OF LIFE AN DEATH is a return to form of sorts for Iron Maiden. It's not as brilliant as the earlier albums, but it's much better than it's predecessor. From a progressive standpoint, it may be one of their most progressive albums to date, picking up where they left at in BRAVE NEW WORLD. The retro-sounds of DANCE OF DEATH have all but disappeared and we're once again in the company of a band playing music that looks into the future. Let's talk about the songs.

Different World (9.5/10) Now we're talking! Pure energy, pure vitality, this is the kind of opener I've always come to expect from my Maiden. A great riff, full speed but with melody, and an unusual chorus sung by all the voice in a low key, not typical of Maiden, more melodic than heroic, but very good nevertheless. Yes, what happened in the previous album was just the exception to the rule. A great first track. The Beast has risen again.

These Colours Don't Run (8.5/10) The guitars and the bass open this track in a haunting mood. A melodic start that can stick on our mind. When the main verse starts, it's the same melody but with full force. Dickinson's back on track again, sounding as the powerhouse that he's usually been. The chorus is slower and while not fantastic, is good, better than the forgettable choruses in DANCE OF DEATH. The middle section with a relentless rhythm and synth help enhance this track and make it feel more epic, even more so when the traditional Maiden chants appear near the end.

Brighter Than a Thousand Suns (9.5/10) An atmospheric start leads the way towards a very Queensryche-like main riff. The verse is more metallic than anything Maiden has done as of late, sounding more like progressive-metal than the typical Iron Maiden heavy-metal with prog elements. The second section that precedes the chorus is sung by Dickinson at the top of his lungs. After a repeat of both sections, we get the chorus; it kicks off very quietly, but grows into a powerful, desperate cry from Dickinson sounding as good as ever. A fantastic song.

The Pilgrim (8.5/10) Drums kick off this track. The main verse is very fast, then the chorus is, like the one in the first song, sung in a low register and volume, but very good anyway. A few eastern-flavored melodies serve as bridge between sections. Another success.

The Longest Day (8/10) An atmospheric start that reminds us of THE X-FACTOR. The opening lines could've been sung by Bayley, though we can't say the same about what unfolds, where only the powerful chest of Dickinson could live up to the energy and demands of the Iron machinery. The chorus is a little odd, good but not brilliant. A good song, somewhat in the same level as the epics in DANCE OF DEATH: enjoyable but not memorable.

Out of the Shadows (7.5/10) This song starts quietly, Dickinson singing very melodically. The beginning is the best part of the song, as it gets lost just like many of the tracks in the previous album did. Good.

The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg (7/10) Another start that could've sung by Bayley, very quiet and in a low register. The difference is how Dickinson can actually sing a different melody than what the guitars are playing. The main riff is, again, very prog-metal, a la Queensryche (as I said a million times, Maiden revisits its own music, it's full-circle influence here). The tracks is not memorable, but a good listen. Only the middle section makes it stand out somewhat.

For the Greater Good of God (9/10) A somber beginning; Maiden continues to travel progressive waters. Then Dickinson appears and sings a great melody, this doesn't sound retro at all. Everything grows more restless and then the epic chorus attacks; the guitars help make this feel rather heroic. After a few average songs, The Beast gives us another excellent short-epic.

Lord of Light (7.5/10) After the melodic, pensive beginning, the music gets rather typical for Maiden, though nobody could accuse Dickinson of uninspired singing. Great playing by all the musicians, the track is not remarkable but enjoyable.

The Legacy (9.5/10) The opening acoustic lines are great, with Dickinson marvelously flowering over them. A very progressive start. After a brief pause, we hear doubt, the guitar doesn't know whether to attack or to play a tuneful melody. A fantastic opening that stands out from almost any other in this album. The synth dominates the sound, this is almost full-blown prog-metal. The chorus is sung over acoustic guitars, synth, very atmospheric, and with the voices following the descending riff from the guitars. Very, very good. Halfway down Maiden interrupts all this progressiveness with a 100% Iron Maiden moment that takes us back to the POWERSLAVE years. "The Legacy" is, as of today, a great legacy that the Beast has left us, chessy pun intended.

My final word: a great album, with some weaker tracks that bring the rating down a notch, but full of great moments and, specially, very progressive in nature. A great comeback after the slightly-above-average DANCE OF DEATH.

Recommended for: Iron Maiden fans, fans of Progressive metal, fans of good metal and good hard rock in general.

. this makes me wait anxiously for the next album. Until then, this series has been a pleasure to review. We'll wait for the 15th of The Beast.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#128131)
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I feel this is Maidens strongest effort since 1988s 7th Son album. Production wise it is scaled down to a level reminiscent of Piece of Mind or even No prayer. The drums sound like cannons and the album hits hard cranked up but I do think the only problem with Bruces voice on this album and on Dance of Death is a lack of production. Ever since Martin Birch retired and Kevin Shirly came aboard for Bruces return, the vocals haven't been quite right in my opinion. For the most part they sounded great on Brave New World and on Dance of Death they made them less polished and here, they are even less polished. It's not an issue with Bruce, but an issue with the producer not knowing how to handle his vocals. On many parts of this album they sound completely dry and when you're hitting some of the highs Bruce hits you need some studio assistance to properly integrate them into the mix. Case in point, compare Bruces vocals on his solo works such as tyranny of souls. Maybe they should have Roy Z produce the next Iron Maiden album. It would sound a hell of a lot better.

The vocal production isn't my only beef though, as the guitars sound a bit dry and muddy as well. I hate to complain about one of my favorite bands on one of their best albums they've done in a long time, but I want these guys to be produced better and I know they can be. I know Steve Harris has a lot to do with this because he gets involved with everything in the studio. For instance, Steve decided not to master the album because he liked the mix as it was. Was he right? Who knows. I don't think mastering changes a whole lot anyway, but it does polish the record a bit.

I shouldn't have so many criticisms considering Maiden is doing very well and this album was #8 in the USA. I saw this tour and they played the whole album and it was awesome. I know I've bitched a lot here, but this is a great record and the best since 7th son. I can't wait for the next one. Every song on here is good or great. It's also important to note, that this is the hardest Maiden album to sing since 7th Son as well. You would think as Bruce got older he'd tone it down a bit, but this is a bitch to sing!

Up the Irons!

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Send comments to JD-Buckeye (BETA) | Report this review (#130504)
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A very polished and finely produced release from one of my favorite metal bands, featuring what many fans will find to be some of the band's most interesting and dynamic compositions to date-- especially in songs like "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns", "Reincarnation of BBreeg" and the sweeping "Great Good of God". Of all the members, I was most impressed by Nicko (drums) and Steve (bass), who in my opinion deliver their finest performances; the iconic guitar work is surprisingly lacking throughout, at least in the solo department-- although the listener can easily hear the added complexity in most of the instrumental sections which are spread across all of the lengthy, usually epeic songs.

"Life and Death" is likely the band's most ambitious album to date, and it doesn't disappoint. Fans willing to let go of Bruce's soaring choruses will find much to enjoy, and snobs willing to take chance might just find there is a lot more to this band than they assumed.

Songwriting 4 Instrumental Performances 4 Lyrics/Vocals 4 Style/Emotion/Replay 4

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#132095)
Posted Monday, August 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece!

I admit it. THis is not an objective review, but, then again, can you be objective with music at all? "A MAtter of Death" is, to my ears, a really great and quite progressive album with intricate compositions, epic tracks, catchy melodies, interesting and relevant lyrics, and great performance by all six members. As with many of their golden era albums, all tracks on "A Matter of Life and Death" are memorable in one way or another, so I'm just going to mention three highlights here.

"Different World" started out a more progressive affair with a 7/4 riff by Adrian Smith which Steve Harris straightened out to 4/4, and it worked. THe track is very catchy, uplifting and energizing with some really great singing by Bruce Dickinson, including an unusual Lynott-esque sounding chorus-line. If spent an entire month listening only to this track while bicycling to and from work (and that's 10 km each way) - that's how energizing it is.

"Brighter than a Thousand Suns" is, to me, a truly progressive affair with interesting and surpirising changes in time and tempo and some odd time signatures here and there to boot. While complex, it's catchy at the same time, and it does include an almost power pop like section which explodes out of the blue, and that world really well. The lyrics may be outdated, as they deal with the atom bomb, a theme that was prevalent in the 1980s; but then again, maybe it serves as a reminder that nuclear weapons are still around. In addition it's not you classic fear-the-bomb song, but rather it approaches it in an almost philosophical perspective describing the bomb as man's attempt to play God.

"For the Greater Good of God" is yet another lyrically interesting and relevant tune dealing with religion and all the atrocities that have been committed in its name. It starts out with a soft melodic section in which Bruce Dickinson, according to himself, sounds almost like Cat Stevens. As with most other tunes on this album, this track is rich in catchy guitar melodies and great solos, and the chorus is just great both in terms of vocals and in terms of music (there's even a stint of a galloping feel to it).

The other songs are equally as great. Progheads may find "The Legacy" interesting with its eerie introduction, which Steve Harris himself finds reminiscent of early Genesis.

"A Matter of Life and Death" is a truly great album and a very progressive affair. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen.

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Send comments to Time Signature (BETA) | Report this review (#142709)
Posted Monday, October 08, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another great Iron Maiden album. I enjoy them all, but a Matter Of Life And Death is something new in Iron Maiden. Obviousely it's an continuation of Dance Of Death, but is very different from it. This is the most progressive Maiden album ever. IMO even more proggy than Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. Almost all tracks are over 6 minutes lenght. But not boring at all. I now, that this album won't be an Iron Maiden classic. Why? Because the young fans mostly won't understand it, and the old fans usually will complain, about how it is not Seventh Son or the debut. But I now that this is a great album, and I konw that I'm right. Excellent melodies, lyrics, and musicanship overall. This album is a must have. If you don't like, you must be deaf. 5/5

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Send comments to Deepslumber (BETA) | Report this review (#145054)
Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The last Maiden offering to date opens brilliantly (as usual) on a catchy and great metal song. Let's hope that "Different World" will set the pace for this work.

The journey has been quite long since their first and excellent "Iron Maiden" album (1980). IMHHO, the band never released a poor album, even if "No Prayer For The Dying" was probably their weakest one (two stars).

As during all their albums, prog will be hard to find. All tracks are seriously metal oriented here, but we all know that it was their style and nothing else, right?

And when one listens to "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" there is absolutely nothing than an reinforcement of this FACT. But while the band was rather creative during his long numbers (epics?), I have to say that this one only sits shy to the great "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner", "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" or even "Alexander The Great" to name a few. A good number with some great guitar moments, but no more.

The Oriental mood during "The Pilgrim" is rather unexpected and brings this otherwise average song to a stronger level. But the middle part of this album is a little weaker. The archetype of the heavy metal genre is featured during "The Longest Day". The ballad "Out Of The Shadows" sounding as a poor AOR tune out of the eighties. Strange because the band didn't fall into this trap very often in their long career.

I can't really say that this is a great album. Even "Dance Of Death" (their previous album) was better IMO. "A Matter Of Life And Death" holds nothing else than average numbers. Over-extended and somewhat useless, unfortunately ("The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg"). They just sound as an average heavy metal band, and to be honest they were much, much better than that.

The Maiden will try hard to cope with their brilliant past and will deliver more long songs in this album than on any previous album. But long is not always a guarantee of great, even if "For The Greater Good Of God" is another killer song. One of the best of this whole offering (with the opening number).

Almost ten minutes of the most vigorous beat, and the power of those three guitars are quite an experience. They work quite well together but the attempts to a solo are not convincing. But this is probably the problem of this album : no real highlights to be found.

A few good songs, but this is not enough to fill over seventy minutes of music. As such, it is longish, uniform and a bit dull. If you are fully in heavy metal, maybe that you will appreciate this album more than I do.

I'm afraid that two stars is the max I can rate this album. And The Legacy is not good enough to turn it higher.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#157852)
Posted Saturday, January 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have very split opinions about this album. I like it a lot, yet it does not, in my opinion have enough variation in it to rank it with maiden's classic period. However I do prefer it to a couple of their albums from the 80s.

The band now has possibly their strongest line up to date, consisting of the classic line up plus Jannick Gers, making for a very full sound. Early Maiden might have thought, why have one guitarist when you can have two, but now it's why two guitarists when you can have three.

As for the songs, the album opens with 'Different World'. This song has a brilliant riff, but it is very different sounding from the rest of the album. It is very catchy and it reminds me of the 'Somewhere in Time' era. 'These Colours Don't run' is an anti-war song and it introduces us to the darker sound we will experience on this album compared to previous releases. Good song. 'Brighter than a Thousand Suns' is a highlight and shows Maiden's adeptness for creating complex and changing compoitions. 'The Pilgrim' is more of a generic heavy metal song and doesn't do much for me. 'The Longest Day' is another very good anti-war song, but it is a bit repetitive. 'Out of the Shadows' is very good and has a feeling similar to folk music, and has very good lyrics. 'The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg' is another highlight and shows a great contrast between loudness and subtlety. 'For the Greater Good of God' and 'Lord of Light' and very memorable but are good to listen to nonetheless. 'The Legacy' is the other highlight of the album and easily the most progressive thing the Irons have written to date. Very powerful and moving.

With three great songs, four good songs and three alright songs this a relatively strong release. Certainly better than that study in monotony known as Killers. This is recomended for people who are familiar with most of Maiden's 80s stuff already and want to come to grips with their newer works. 3.75 stars

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Send comments to burtonrulez (BETA) | Report this review (#161474)
Posted Sunday, February 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars About a year ago I bought many Iron Maiden albums because they were for sale and because the band is on our site which made it possible to review them all. I only owed one album at that point, one I already possessed as a vinyl and that was Somewhere in Time, their album I to date still consider their magnum opus. Right after this in the quality line-up we find Brave new World and Matter of Life and Death, that is measured to my personal taste.

And the funny thing is that both last mentioned are from this century which means that Maiden is not dead by a long way for me. It could even be they get better by aging. But I don't want to go that far just yet. I will give brief opinions about each song now.

Different World is a fine opener but not really one of the better of the album. 3,25*.

These Colours don't Run is a much better effort and is indeed one of the better. 4*.

Brighter than a thousand Suns goes on in the same strong way and is even better than previous. One of the highlights. 4,25*.

The Pilgrim is like the opener one of the lesser and I believe it's no coincidence that it's also one of the shorter tracks (like 1st). 3,5*.

The Longest Day is bringing things on the right track again and is another cracker. 4,25*.

Out of the Shadows is a slower paced track, almost a ballad. Very good, though not excellent. 3,75*.

The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg is in between two previous songs. Almost excellent this time. 4*

For the greater Good of God is more epical than former. This time I like the instrumental bits better than the vocal ones. Dickinson does a great job on this album and also on this song. The problem is the chorus though. The solos are once again top notch. 4*.

Lord of Light has a light intro but after the first two minutes the band breaks loose once again to do another great performance. 4*.

The Legacy is almost an example of "save the best for last". Well, I'm not sure if it's the very best track of the album but at least one of the best. 4,25*.

With Iron Maiden the task is actually to describe the measure of progressiveness because it's a prog related band and their presence on PA is often questioned. Iron Maiden is a hard rock monument that deserves every praise by at least all hard rock and metal fans but that's not really the point now. Not every band makes it through the ballot here and therefore I believe the measure of progressiveness is essential. For IM standard this album is progressive enough to deserve its place on this site. It could even be their most progressive album to date. The songs are long, inventive, pretty complex and at least far more than plain hard rock let alone pop. And that's immediately the reason I love this album so much. Overall it could even be a better album than Somewhere in Time but - and then we come to the only slight weakness - contrary to SiT this albums lacks a real highlight. It's a very stable and equable album. One that deserves 4 stars without any reserve.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#163883)
Posted Friday, March 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Many reviews here are in favour of this album, but I'm in two minds. There is some good stuff on it - mostly alternating with the not so refined (if not unnecessary) tunes. After all, this album resembles a ride on a dipper or a see-saw. Here are some words to each track:

DIFFERENT WORLD: a straight rocker that seems to come directly from the 80's. Certainly no different world in musical terms, just a song to get the album started (2/5).

THESE COLOURS DON'T RUN: a good tune with Maiden's old dull good-for-everything drum figure during the instrumental section. (3/5)

BRIGHTER THAN A THOUSAND SUNS: the first highlight. Heavy, melodic, inventive. Dickinson's high- pitched voice in the chorus is slightly unnerving. (4/5)

THE PILGRIM: another song of Maiden's usual series (The Prisoner, The Trooper, The Mercenary, The Nomad etc.). Formulaic metal of the 80's. Not a complete mess, though. (2/5)

THE LONGEST DAY: war always figured prominently in IM's lyrics. This is about D-Day. Good song. (4/5)

OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Sounds like it was ordered: Write some more song using formula, will you please? Here we go again, with a slightly mellower tune. (2/5)

THE REINCARNATION OF BENJAMIN BREEG: a nice heavy anthem. (4/5)

FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF GOD: The dull drum routine again - but this time it works wonders! The most aggressive and best song of the album. The instrumental parts seem a bit unmotivated, but they sound good. (4.5/5)

LORD OF LIGHT: a song like Frankenstein's monster: stitched together from different parts and reanimated to a life that should not be - the result is a simulacron or in other words: muzak. (1.5/5)

THE LEGACY: I don't really know what to make of this piece - seems to me it's falling apart. Nothing to write home about in any case. (2/5)

29 points for 10 songs = 2.9 = 3 stars.

Favourite Track: For the Greater Good of God

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Send comments to strayfromatlantis (BETA) | Report this review (#169943)
Posted Monday, May 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Diaby (BETA) | Report this review (#205784)
Posted Sunday, March 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 stars. An improvement over the previous album "Dance Of Death" especially the cover art. Haha. This is the most progressive release from MAIDEN since "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son". I can't get over the variety here, even with Bruce's vocals. I really think they're trying to mix it up a bit more on this album and for me it works big time.This album has taken me longer to get into as well compared to their past albums. One complaint is that at 72 minutes it's too long, but when they finish the way they do with those last four tracks it's hard to complain.

"Different World" is an uptempo rocker and Nicko is all over this one. It's the most straight forward track though. "These Colours Don't Run" opens with some atmosphere with Harris adding some synths. I like when it picks up and the vocals arrive. More synths after 3 minutes followed by some ripping guitar. "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" is a top three track for me. Like most songs it opens in a laid back manner before kicking in. Huge bass when it does as the guitars grind away. Blistering guitar solo after 3 1/2 minutes. It gets intense a minute later. Some really good contrasts on this one between the heavy and more laid back sections. Check out Adrian Smith on the synth-guitar after 7 minutes.

"The Pilgrim" is a fast paced tune with Nicko once again keeping very busy. Bruce is giving his all vocally. Nice and heavy with deep bass lines. "The Longest Day" is mid paced to start with a heavy soundscape and vocals with attitude. It kicks into gear but it's not as dark. These contrasts continue. A killer instrumental section after 4 1/2 minutes. Heavy stuff. "Out Of The Shadows" opens with outbursts of drums before it settles with reserved vocals.This is a powerful mid- paced track that changes 3 1/2 minutes in with some great bass. "The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg" starts slowly as usual before almost spoken words come in just before a minute. It settles then here we go ! Check out the rhythm section ! Very cool track. "For the Greater Good Of God" opens with fat bass lines and is very atmospheric. Reserved vocals come in with synths. It kicks in around 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound ! Amazing sound after 6 minutes as they rip it up. Nice and heavy too.

"Lord Of Light" is a top three track for me. It's all pretty reserved until after 1 1/2 minutes then all hell breaks loose. It settles after 4 minutes as contrast continues. "The Legacy" is the other top three tune although "The Longest Day" and "The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg" are all right there for me. So that's my top five I suppose. The final track starts off with acoustic guitar as reserved vocals come in.The tempo starts to pick up. It's even fuller after 3 minutes. Check out the guitar after 5 1/2 minutes then Harris joins in. Another guitar solo follows and then it ends as it began.

Difficult for me being such a fanboy not to give this five stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#210636)
Posted Monday, April 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Steve Harris knows how to make money. And because I'm pro capitalistic I give him point for that. But do I need another Maiden record? After two weak releases Iron Maiden gain a hattrick. Steve likes football so he wouldn't mind my words I guess. Young fans probably have nothing against this cheesy metal stuff that is pumped up to enormous impudence. I guess band with the same impudence is trying us to say 'just take a look on times of these songs, they're long'. So is it artistic? No, it's just boring. Production of this album fails same as production of Brave New World. Of course this album is loud but some dirt was put on guitars and vocals are flat like Earth in XII century. If you just turned 12, look for good cover and want to tell your friends you listen to ambitious music (cos songs are long) buy it. Otherwise don't waste your money for such evidence of artistic suicide. Objectively 2 stars.

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Send comments to LSDisease (BETA) | Report this review (#217782)
Posted Saturday, May 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is always very satisfying when one of my favorite bands surprises everyone with a strong album. RUSH did it with Snakes and IRON MAIDEN with this album. With a smirk, I have been reading the glowing reviews of this album by newspapers and magazines who normally hates IRON MAIDEN with passion. Does that means IRON MAIDEN changed on this album ? Not much. Their lyrics became a bit more intelligent and Mr. Dickinson started to use his God given talents in a more intelligent manner. Vocals wise, this is his best ever album.

I am so tempted to write that IRON MAIDEN finally has come of age on this album. Well, I have just written that and I mean it. Both the music and the lyrics is very mature on this album. This album is much more conservative than the pretty radical Dance Of Death. There is no revolutions here, as opposed to that album. All songs here is pretty much in the IRON MAIDEN school of metal/prog rock. Which is a good thing.

IRON MAIDEN has both refined and improved their songwriting on this album. So much that most of the songs are somewhere between prog rock and heavy metal. This without slimming down their heavy metal whatsoever. This album is in fact very heavy. It is also very monumental and very epic. Monumental, heavy and epic is in my view the cornerstones of IRON MAIDEN. Add excellent musicianship and you have a full house.

There is no really weak tracks on this album. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg is the best track here. A truly superb IRON MAIDEN song. The average length of the songs are seven minutes plus. The album is over seventy one minutes long. The album grows and grows every time I listen to it. It is full of small details. Each band member really contributes here. In short; this album has made me proud of being an IRON MAIDEN fan. Very proud.

I personally rank this album as IRON MAIDEN's second best album, just beaten to the top of the rostrum by Powerslave.

4.5 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#218800)
Posted Friday, May 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A Matter of Life and Death is the fourteenth full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. This is the third album release after the band re-united with lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith. I was very happy about their last album Dance of Death (2003) and my expectations for this album were as a consequence very high.

The music is no surprise if you´re familiar with the trademark Iron Maiden sound. Melodic heavy metal with an epic edge. As on the last couple of albums there are a few faster paced rockers on the album but most songs are mid-paced and pretty long epic tracks. Songs like the strong power ballad Out of the Shadows, the really heavy The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg and my favorite on the album Brighter Than A Thousand Suns really prove that Iron Maiden still have lots to offer even after all these years. The guitar solos and guitar melody theme work is excellent and Iron Maiden really make full use of their three guitarists Janick Gers, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. A few times I´m almost reminded of the multilayered guitar harmonies on ...And Justice for All (1988) by Metallica. The rythm section is as always impressive and tight like hell and it never cease to amaze me how powerful and commanding Bruce Dickinson sounds.

The production is powerful and really gives the music the right punch. Much like the sound on its predecessor the sound on A Matter of Life and Death really means that this album sounds heavier than what we´ve been used to from Iron Maiden in the eighties and in the nineties. I really enjoy this newfound heaviness. It makes them sound fresh and inspired.

A Matter of Life and Death is another great album by Iron Maiden. Their basis quality level is so extremely high that even though A Matter of Life and Death doesn´t really bring anything new to Iron Maiden´s sound it´s difficult to rate it with less than a 4 star rating.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#234997)
Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Same old, same old, I'm afraid. How is it possible to have a recording career as long as theirs and show so few signs of development? Bruce still has the same old operatic vocal style that he's used continuously for 29 years. Fair do's though - he still sounds good. It seems as though Iron Maiden just release the music that's expected of them. Honestly, take any one of their albums from the last 10 years and guaranteed - they all sound identical. Still, it's better than the previous 10 years before that. Now there was a grim time for Maiden fans.

I may seem negative towards this LP but I just feel there's so much more they're capable of, as they're undoubtedly good musicians.

I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe while listening to this. Despite its healthy rating I find 'A Matter of Life and Death' to be instantly forgettable. There's no new ideas, no 'lets do something completely off the wall and unexpected', no tampering or experimentation with the guitars, no deviation from the straight drums. Iron Maiden seem to be caught between two stools. Do they go all out attack or stay safe? It's the latter I'm afraid and safe isn't good enough these days.

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Send comments to Dobermensch (BETA) | Report this review (#510353)
Posted Saturday, August 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars As Maiden's modern 2000 and on Dickinson/Smith reunion era material goes, I'd say A Matter of Life and Death deserves its place soundly in the middle - better than The Final Frontier and Dance of Death, but not as solid and consistent as Brave New World. At their prospective ages, the boys are capable of creating tapestries of incredible music... and some fairly average stuff as well. Nevertheless, I find myself coming back to A Matter of Life and Death even after having it in the playlist for over a month now. There's a dark consistency to this album that holds my listening attention. It's no wonder that drummer Nicko McBrain considers this album the band's best material.

A quick rundown of most of the songs:

"Different World" is a weak opener - predictable hard rocker. "These Colours Don't Run" features awesome catchy choruses and galloping harmonized guitar work and the usual Maiden themes - soldiers fighting wars in faraway lands, etc. Very anthem - up the irons!"The Pilgrim" is awesome and trim. The epics, "Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg," "Brighter than a Thousand Suns," "For the Greater Good of God," are incredible songs but meander and lose focus in certain suites of each respective song. Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining about the lengthy proggy epics; rather I just think they could have been a little more focused.

And the best comes to those who wait... "The Legacy" may just be one of the best Iron Maiden songs ever produced (and most progressive) and proves the band's collective musicianship and ability to write damn good material that reignites my long-haired teenage angst-fueled obsession with their proggish metal story-telling awesomeness.

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Send comments to Timdano (BETA) | Report this review (#1061464)
Posted Thursday, October 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The third in Iron Maiden's extremely consistent run of albums to follow their reunion with Bruce Dickinson finds the band continuing to explore the matured post-Seventh Son of a Seventh Son sound they have pursued from Brave New World onwards. It's expansive and veers mainly towards Iron Maiden's long-standing tradition of songs about war, but it doesn't outstay its welcome thanks to the now traditional high standard of performance and the powerful songwriting involved. Bruce Dickinson's vocal delivery is particularly emotive, perhaps because he's singing about real, timely subject matter which is close to his heart and to the bands' own concerns.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#1151058)
Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | Review Permalink

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