IRON MAIDEN — Somewhere In Time (review)

IRON MAIDEN — Somewhere In Time album cover Album · 1986 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Unitron
"Make you an offer you can't refuse, you've only got your soul to lose... Eternally... let yourself go!"

The 80's certainly were the golden age for metal. Heavy metal, thrash metal, and power metal classics were plentiful, as were early masterpieces in the death and doom genres. 1986 in particular was an amazing year, with classics like Master of Puppets, Reign in Blood, Peace Sells, Somewhere in Time, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Orgasmatron, Russian Roulette, Rage for Order, and many many more. While I love every one of those albums I listed, there are four of those that are among my all time favorite albums. Perhaps the best one of those is none other than Iron Maiden's masterpiece Somewhere in Time.

Few albums can legitimately claim to have a futuristic atmosphere. Many bands have tried to create this kind of sound, but still retain the qualities of whatever year they were recorded. Somewhere in Time however, manages to have a cyber-punk futuristic atmosphere while remaining timeless. The guitar tone on this album has never been replicated, not even by the band themselves. It's a bit hard to explain without listening to it yourself, but it has this spacey effect partly caused by the guitar synths used. Not to worry though, the synth is purely used for atmosphere here and always blends perfectly with the main instruments.

The riffs maintain Maiden's usual gallop, but on this album those galloping guitar runs place you in the world the band has created. You're right there, running the long-distances in this mysterious future world. Right at the beginning you are caught somewhere in time, and when is up to the listener. The album is full of memorable hooks, and perhaps most notable is the iconic main riff to the classic "Wasted Years". Steve Harris's bass is probably at it's most prevalent on this album, often playing very audible licks different from the guitar. There's even a short solo bass intro to the swing of "Stranger in a Strange Land". The drums are ever powerful as well, enhancing the grandiose sound that the album sets up.

Bruce Dickinson's vocal melodies and lyrics are at their very best here, just listen to any of the eight songs on the album for proof. "Wasted Years", "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner", "Deja-Vu", and the title track especially all feature beautiful and memorable vocal lines that you'll be singing along to for days. "Heaven Can Wait" is also spectacular with it's synchronized chants during the bridge. The lyrics are perfectly written, as they can all fit into the mood and atmosphere of the album while being incredibly powerful on their own as well. "Wasted Years" and "Deja-Vu" are probably the two main highlights for me, even making me tear up when I listen to them.

The album art deserves a mention as well, being filled with tons of little details and references. Featured are many references to past Iron Maiden songs and albums, such as "Ancient Mariner Sea Food Restaurant" and "Aces High Bar". There are also little tributes to Led Zeppelin, Doctor Who, and of course Blade Runner hidden around the art. There are many more things to be found, and because of that, this is an album made for vinyl.

While sadly often overshadowed by the albums that bookend it, Somewhere in Time is Iron Maiden's magnum opus. The three albums that preceded it are also masterpieces and among my all-time favorites, but Somewhere in Time has the edge over them all as the best one. It nails everything perfectly, and is simply one of the greatest pieces of music ever recorded. If you love classic epic heavy metal and have not heard this album, do yourself a favor and listen to this absolute masterpiece of music. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!
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Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Thanks, I'm really happy with how this review turned out. Usually I end up wanting to re-write my reviews of my all time favorite albums, but I'm still proud of this one.
more than 2 years ago
Great review Uni

aglasshouse wrote:
more than 2 years ago
THE BEST
Vim Fuego wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Indeed you are right. I have been living under that misapprehension for nearly 30 years!
Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
You know how much I love Anthrax, so you would think I would have put that in that list. But I didn't because that one's from '87. ;-)
Vim Fuego wrote:
more than 2 years ago
My favourite Maiden! Some other '86 classics: Darkness Descends, The Return Of... Martha Splatterhead, Among The Living, Convicted, Horrified, Walls of Jericho, Game Over, Obsessed By Cruelty, Zombie Attack... and then a few best forgotten, like The Final Countdown, Look What The Cat Dragged in and Slippery When Wet...

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