Review

IRON MAIDEN Fear Of The Dark

Album · 1992 · Traditional heavy metal
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2.5/5 ·
Modrigue
Maiden's most uneven release

In 1992, IRON MAIDEN's ninth studio album navigates in troubled waters. The recent explosion of grunge highly overshadows traditional heavy metal bands. Furthermore, Harris and co.'s last opus, "No Prayer For The Dying", saws a clear lack of inspiration and renewal. "Fear of the Dark" roughly suffers from the same problems than its predecessor, however with the difference that, this time, interesting tracks are more numerous and especially more remarkable. Result: good and great titles, sometimes reminding the past glory, are surrounded by fillers ranking from average to bad. If the music neither possesses the ferocity of the first years nor pursues the progressive approach developed at the end of the 80's, the epicness is (partially) back. Another noticeable point is that "FOTD" features the first songs co-written by guitarist Jannick Gers for the group.

Let's talk about the 5 interesting tracks first. From the beginning of the disc, you can hear an improvement compared to the previous opus. Composed by Dickinson and Gers, "Be Quick Or Be Dead" is a typical MAIDEN-ien raging, fast-paced opener, much more convincing than "Tailgunner". Steve Harris' "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" is one of the two little gems of the record. Setting up a mysterious and haunting atmosphere, the musics turns melancholic, until the gorgeously powerful bridge. A very catchy composition, on the level of the group's eighties' standards! "Childhood's End" is quite pleasant and epic, while "The Fugitive" is enjoyable. As you may have guessed, the other little gem is the well-known title track, the best of the album, a metal hymn worthy of MAIDEN's past grandeur.

The other songs are mostly flat or boring. Dickinson and Gers' "Wasting Love", the band's first power ballad, which dates back to Dickinson's first solo effort "Tattooed Millionaire", is rather so-so. Without "Judas Be My Guide" and "Weekend Warrior", "FOTD" would have been a correct release.

80's fans will have a strange impression after listening to "Fear of the Dark". An uneven album, where nice titles, and especially two of MAIDEN's best 90's compositions, are interlaced between mediocre ones. Nonetheless, these aren't numerous enough to make a convincing record. Why too much fillers? 2 or 3 of them could have been avoided. As a result, this ninth opus is better than its predecessor, but overall ranks as average. However, if you enjoy the group's 1982-1985 era, you'll still have to give it a try, at least for the few songs cited above.

One year later, charismatic frontman Bruce Dickinson will left the band. Since ten years, his singing greatly contributed to the epic ambiances and the success of the metal quintet. Then... what future for IRON MAIDEN?
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UMUR wrote:
10 months ago
Yeah Fear of the Dark and Afraid to Shoot Strangers are really great songs, but there are so many unremarkable tracks on this one, that I seldom listen to it.
Vim Fuego wrote:
10 months ago
This was definitely a slow burner, but Afraid to Shoot Strangers and Fear of the Dark are two of Iron Maiden's best ever songs. Of all the fillers on it, Fear is the Key is my least favourite, and to my mind the worst Maiden song ever recorded.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
10 months ago
For me this was one of the slowest of burners. I initially had the same reaction as about everyone else but i have to say that after i'd heard the earlier albums to death that this one started emerging as my first choice on the playlist.

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