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Iron Maiden A Matter Of Life And Death album cover
3.65 | 485 ratings | 34 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Different World (4:17)
2. These Colours Don't Run (6:52)
3. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns (8:44)
4. The Pilgrim (5:07)
5. The Longest Day (7:48)
6. Out of the Shadows (5:36)
7. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg (7:21)
8. For the Greater Good of God (9:24)
9. Lord of Light (7:23)
10. The Legacy (9:20)

Total: 71.52

Line-up / Musicians

- Bruce Dickinson / vocals
- Adrian Smith / lead, rhythm & synth (3) guitars
- Dave Murray / lead & rhythm guitars
- Janick Gers / lead & rhythm guitars
- Steve Harris / bass, keyboards, co-producer
- Nicko McBrain / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Tim Bradstreet with Grant Goleash

CD EMI ‎- 372 3212 (2006, Europe)

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IRON MAIDEN A Matter Of Life And Death ratings distribution

(485 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

IRON MAIDEN A Matter Of Life And Death reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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 Metal??? who knows....."only time will tell!"


Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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!

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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

Review by Tom Ozric
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) 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'.

Review by Zitro
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.

Review by laplace
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.

Review by richardh
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.
Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 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.

Review by Prog Leviathan
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

Review by ZowieZiggy
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.

Review by progrules
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.

Review by Mellotron Storm
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.

Review by 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.

Review by Dobermensch
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? Dickinson 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. 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.

Review by Warthur
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.
Review by FragileKings
4 stars Ever since the Dickenson/Smith reunion album 'Brave New World', Iron Maiden albums seem to have had some... I hate to say gimmick but some selling point, as if they needed that. Of course the return of Bruce Dickenson on vocals was the greatest thing that could have happened to Iron Maiden, and with Adrian Smith back in the line-up as well things couldn't have looked better as the band opened the new millennium. In 2003, 'Dance of Death' was recorded all on analogue tape, and 'A Matter of Life and Death', according to the Wiki article, was not mastered but just put straight to disc to give it that 'what you hear in the studio' sound. Later came 'The Final Frontier', which many thought might be the final Iron Maiden album, and then in 2015 we had Maiden's longest album yet with an epic song that featured Bruce on piano.

From my perspective, Iron Maiden spent the first four albums perfecting their sound. What we hear on 'Piece of Mind' is THE Iron Maiden sound. They added a long composition for their fifth album 'Powerslave', guitar synthesizers for 'Somewhere in Time' and a concept album for 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son'. After that, I don't know where they went, though I know many felt 'No Prayer for the Dying' was substandard and 'Fear of the Dark' was an attempt to keep Iron Maiden in vogue with the grunge scene happening all around. The Blaze Bailey albums, I don't know about. Perhaps I'll find out one day. I think many people agree, however, that from 'Brave New World' Iron Maiden were back in their soundscope and playing what us old fans love to hear.

Now honestly, I was not thinking to give this album four stars. After 'The Book of Souls' came out, I was impressed enough to buy the four albums from 'Brave New World' and on because I hadn't bought anything since 'Seventh Son'. Each album had some excellent songs with all the trademarks of excellent Iron Maiden songs. For a couple of weeks I listened to almost nothing but new Iron Maiden with a bit of the old classics thrown in for enjoyment's sake. But as months passed and loads of new music came to me, the thrill of many of the songs on this album faded. Recently I put some songs on mixed playlists and I found that I was not as impressed. The sound was too muddy. Dickenson's vocals were not clear and even sounded weak in parts, like he was straining his voice to keep the notes. When a song from this album followed a song from 'Powerslave' I really noticed the difference in recording clarity; 'Powerslave' sounded just so much better!

So tonight I cued up 'A Matter of Life and Death' and let it run through my ear buds and I found myself once more pleasantly surprised. The sound is a bit thick or muddy at first. I did feel that Bruce Dickenson's vocals don't stand out in the mix as they should. The band rocks out with the opening track 'Different World' and 'These Colours Don't Run' is slower but heavy as a Maiden song should be. Neither of them warmed my feelings toward the album though because of the recording quality.

So I notched the volume up one.

That made a big difference. From here on in, each song delivered things to impress. Some featured excellent heavy riffing like 'Brighter than a Thousand Suns' and 'The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg'. And many songs include what I call the Maiden musical journey. This is where the band go into an extended instrumental segment that is only partly devoted to guitar solos but is otherwise used for adding in new rhythms and riffs and changing tempo and meter. In a couple of tracks there were some surprise heavy riff parts like in 'The Longest Day' that don't crop up anywhere else in the songs. And in 'Lord of Light' I was surprised to hear a high wailing sound that turned out to be an electric guitar played in a way I've never heard done on a Maiden album. 'The Legacy' has an acoustic guitar and electric bass intro that I swear touches on renaissance music though I am no expert there at all. Bruce Dickenson still delivers his powerful vocals, and song after song just seems to sound great, some more so than others.

Where I feel there might be any reason to be disappointed other than the sound which could have been clearer is basically in the Iron Maiden formula approach to the song writing. I mean, Maiden established their sound and style over the first four albums and I feel that 'A Matter of Life a Death' treads barely any discernable new territory. Why should no mastering of the recording be a big selling point? This album is the same as the previous two with some long songs over seven or eight minutes and some shorter ones under six minutes. There's a standard approach of intro, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, repeat, instrumental journey interlude, pre-chorus, chorus, repeat the song title 8 to 12 times, and return to the intro to wind the song down. Six of the ten songs begin with a slower intro of clean electric guitars and bass and most of those end the same way, sometimes seemingly unnecessarily so. 'Let's just play the slow intro for the last few bars, gentleman, after the big thundering finish, you know, to make it all tie together'. The beginning of 'Out of the Shadows' harkens back to 'Revelations' from 'Piece of Mind'. And some of the drum rhythms are the same, in particular the "ONE... two... three... ONE... two... three" approach that's in 'The Pilgrim' and 'For the Greater Good of God', which is also in songs on their other recent albums.

In a way, Iron Maiden have what I call AC/DC syndrome, which is where the band basically follows the same approach album after album, musically and lyrically, and every album has its great songs that typify the band's ability and style but also have some songs that just seem to rely so heavily on that formula that they sound redundant.

Okay, that sounds like some harsh criticism and a reason to not buy this album. But as I mentioned earlier, once I started listening to this album all the way through, there were great moments in every song with some being greater than others. I was feeling really good about the songs and believing the album to be actually worthy of four stars after all.

Yes, I guess it is too late in Iron Maiden's career for them to pull an Opeth and go off in a very different direction and I think no one would want them to. Their fans know what they're going to get on an Iron Maiden LP and that's what the band is expected to deliver. And they do. Very well. And this album is no exception.

Latest members reviews

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 capab ... (read more)

Report this review (#1061464) | Posted by Timdano | Thursday, October 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 passi ... (read more)

Report this review (#218800) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, May 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 che ... (read more)

Report this review (#217782) | Posted by LSDisease | Saturday, May 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ev ... (read more)

Report this review (#205784) | Posted by Diaby | Sunday, March 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 st ... (read more)

Report this review (#169943) | Posted by strayfromatlantis | Monday, May 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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, consist ... (read more)

Report this review (#161474) | Posted by burtonrulez | Sunday, February 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 So ... (read more)

Report this review (#145054) | Posted by Deepslumber | Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 g ... (read more)

Report this review (#142709) | Posted by Time Signature | Monday, October 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 Dan ... (read more)

Report this review (#130504) | Posted by JD-Buckeye | Saturday, July 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ri ... (read more)

Report this review (#109071) | Posted by Syrynx | Friday, January 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#102458) | Posted by zaxx | Sunday, December 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#100460) | Posted by sularetal | Sunday, November 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#98526) | Posted by borussia | Monday, November 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ot ... (read more)

Report this review (#96902) | Posted by #1floydfan | Thursday, November 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 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 appea ... (read more)

Report this review (#94140) | Posted by Xeroth | Wednesday, October 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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, thou ... (read more)

Report this review (#93524) | Posted by proghairfunk | Thursday, October 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 epic ... (read more)

Report this review (#93258) | Posted by Benjamin_Breeg | Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 hat ... (read more)

Report this review (#93192) | Posted by Crowley | Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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