IRON MAIDEN — Brave New World (review)

IRON MAIDEN — Brave New World album cover Album · 2000 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
2/5 ·
Modrigue
Brave New Maiden?

"The return of Bruce Dickinson", "And Then They Were Six", "And Then They Were Three Guitarists"... All that's fine, but all that's for what? Much ado for nearly nothing...

The reintegration of IRON MAIDEN's historical frontman and guitarist Adrian Smith showed great promises for the band lovers. The entire "golden" line-up is back, furthermore with nineties' guitarist Jannick Gers! What else could any fan dream for? In addition, unlike the past decade, the revival of heavy metal of the 2000's were a favorable context of the genre! Unfortunately, even this is not sufficient to recover the inspiration vanishing since 1990. If you're expecting a return of the grandeur of the 80's, renewal, or just something refreshing and catchy, you may be quite disappointed. To be honest, the compositions even difficultly matches the troubled and uneven MAIDEN waters of the 90's.

Named after the well-known eponymous book by Aldous Huxley, "Brave New World" does not take many risks. Like "Virtual XI", the music is overall insipid and lengthy. It contains even fewer interesting tracks than its predecessor. A continuity, as "The Mercenary", "Dream of Mirrors" and "The Nomad" were initially composed for the 1998 album. A global impression is that IRON MAIDEN's asperities developed in 20 years are progressively disappearing: very few memorable melodies, remarkable bridges, breathtaking soli or galloping bass. The same dish, but without flavor. By the way, in case you're wondering about the three guitars, they are hardly audible and fail to bring something to the songs.

In addition, this will be the last collaboration with historical artist Derek Riggs, and he only illustrated the top half of the cover. Furthermore, Martin Birch, the band's producer since 1981's "Killers" has been replaced. There are signs that do not lie...

Concerning the rare good passages, the rocking "The Wicker Man" clearly does the job as an MAIDEN opener with its powerful theme, but it's just an illusion. The only genuine originality here is "Nomad" with its mystical Middle-Eastern-ish atmosphere. We haven't heard this since 1984's "Powerslave"! Recovered creativity? In fact, the calm beautiful section borrows an extract from 1974's BECKETT's "Life's Shadow". A bit lengthy, but overall quite good. "The Fallen Angel" average but has its moments. The rest of the disc rather flat and boring.

As a fan of IRON MAIDEN's eighties' albums, from their first self-titled opus to "Seventh Son", and of "The X-Factor", I was really disappointed by what was announced as the resurrection of an iconic and influential metal institution. I felt like if I was fooled by the product.

Steve Harris and co. were one of the few to entirely redefine the genre in the 80's. The 90's musical melting pots were a difficult context for traditional metal bands, and MAIDEN didn't make exception, delivering just a few interesting tracks inside average albums. The departure of high-pitched vocalist Bruce Dickinson was an occasion for renewal, seized with the dark and progy "The X-Factor". However, this evolution divided the fan-base, so the musicians decided to return to a secure path by going back to their original recipe, but without the inspiration and the spiciness.

Since the controversial 1995 opus, it seems that the band is on auto-pilot (no pun intended), gave up their creativity and will to try something new. This had to happen, "Brave New World" clearly marks the turning point: IRON MAIDEN has lived and now became a pale copy of itself. For sure, same can be done for other numerous artists of all genres, but here the difference is that the music doesn't match what was proclaimed as a renaissance.

"Brave New World" is an aseptic and overrated album. Too polite, neither raging, nor really epic nor adventurous compared to what modern progressive metal bands were proposing at the same period. A new MAIDEN yes, but not very brave...
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Unitron wrote:
1 year ago
Good review. I like this album, but I generally agree. They have had the occasional unique idea since, like "Satellite 15...the Final Frontier". I really wish they continued in the space metal direction of that song. However, I'm perfectly content with just enjoying their holy 80's tetraology of The Number of the Beast to Somewhere in Time.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
1 year ago
Initially i was disappointed too but i let it sit for a few years and then when i picked it up again i was actually blown away. I always wanted something more daring from the mighty Maiden as well but i think that the 90s output proved they should stick to what they do best and that's ok with me. There are plenty of other experimental bands out there. But to say they have been on autopilot since the 90s? Are we listening to the same band? There are lots of progressive ideas tucked away on the 2000s releases

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