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Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls CD (album) cover

THE BOOK OF SOULS

Iron Maiden

 

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3.88 | 234 ratings

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Pastmaster
2 stars "The Book of Souls" is the sixteenth studio album from heavy metal giants Iron Maiden. Iron Maiden is a band that needs no introduction, as those who aren't metal-heads have probably at least heard the name. Iron Maiden's long-awaited sixteenth studio album is an album of multiple firsts for the band. It's the band's first double-album and contains the bands longest song to date, "Empire of the Clouds", which clocks in at over 18-minutes.

Despite those facts, "The Book of Souls" is unmistakably the sound of Iron Maiden and continues down the path they've been on since 2000's "Brave New World". There are only four songs that are under the six-minute mark, and three songs that are epics longer than 10-minutes. Disc 1 and the album opens up on a grandiose note with the beginning of 'If Eternity Should Fail', which sounds like an ancient procession of some sort with Bruce Dickinson's heroic vocals soon coming in. Both 'Speed of Light' and 'When the River Runs Deep' are ass-kicking energetic heavy metal tracks with great riffs that instantly get you pumped, while the rest of the songs on Disc 1 are epic in nature.

The classical guitar/acoustic bass work featured on the opening song, 'The Red and the Black', and the title track is all really impressive and immensely beautiful and chilling. The Red and the Black's intro especially is killer with its menacing tone and bass reverb, it's a shame that it doesn't last longer. That's not to say the rest of the song isn't killer, as it is as are all the songs on Disc 1. 'The Great Unknown' is probably my favorite on the album, and while only six and a half minutes, has as much of an epic presence to them as the epics. Dickinson's vocal performance is stunning on this song and it has a darkly beautiful atmosphere. The title track has fantastic brooding stomping riffs and orchestration that really compliments the band well.

While not as amazing as Disc 1, Disc 2 certainly has some winners too. 'Death or Glory' is another great energetic heavy metal song, and 'Shadows of the Valley' and 'The Man of Sorrows' are both beautiful epic-sounding songs. The latter also has a nice bluesy tone to it adding some variation. 'Tears of a Clown' is a bit boring, but despite dragging on a bit in parts, 'Empire of the Clouds' is certainly quite the majestic epic finale. I think the first half of the song is the best, but it does do an overall great job at keeping the listener invested for 18 minutes. The many sound changes probably helps.

Overall, "The Book of Souls" is another killer album from heavy metal legends Iron Maiden with Disc 1 being among their best work. Like fellow legends Judas Priest and Saxon, Iron Maiden is another classic act that is still able to deliver amazing material after many decades of performing. Most metal fans have probably already heard it, but if you haven't and are a fan of post-2000's Iron Maiden, you should do yourself a favor and check it out.

Pastmaster | 2/5 |

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