IRON MAIDEN — The Book Of Souls (review)

IRON MAIDEN — The Book Of Souls album cover Album · 2015 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Iron Maiden is a band that (should) need no introduction; a band that have long proven that they are something special. Despite a poor showing in the 1990’s, the band have certainly been back on form since Brave New World in 2000 and although they have slowed down a lot in terms of how long they leave between full-length releases (though let’s remember that they tour hell of a lot in support of each album), they show no sign of being content to just relive old glories or even to age gracefully and deliver albums that are simply passable that don’t come anywhere near to the greatness of their past work. No, Iron Maiden are a band who keep pushing their sound forward, trying new things on each new album and The Book of Souls, their sixteenth, is not only no exception to this, it also pushes them forward more than any of its immediate predecessors.

A double disc CD/triple vinyl album, The Book of Souls is the longest Iron Maiden studio album so far, with a total time of about 92 minutes. There are however only eleven songs, which is only one more than either The Final Frontier, A Matter of Life and Death and Brave New World, and the same amount as on Dance of Death. You know, therefore, that the album contains some very long Iron Maiden tracks. The notable one, of course, is the final song, Empire of the Clouds, which usurps Rime of the Ancient Mariner (from 1984’s Powerslave) as their longest song, being a whopping 18:01 in length. But there are also a couple of others which pass the ten minute barrier while the opener If Eternity Should Fail hits 8:28. The musical ideas themselves are typical Iron Maiden for the most part, but Empire of the Clouds stands out again for its use of piano. It’s easily my favourite from the album, not only for being different but also being excellent from start to finish. I can say that about the whole of The Book of Souls though. Despite the long length this is a very easy album to take in one go. As with most albums there are highlights that stand above the rest, but no actual low points. There’s no temptation to play one disc and then take a break before starting the second one, although apart from Empire of the Clouds my personal favourites are on the first one; If Eternity Should Fail, Speed of Light, and The Red and the Black.

It’s been almost a month now since The Book of Souls was released and while it may still be too early to really say it, I think that this one may well have got one up on my previous post-Dickinson/Smith reunion favourite, Brave New World. I’m not fully confident yet to say that it does, but either way, it’s a really close call. It’s at least a stronger album than The Final Frontier, although I enjoyed that one more than many seemed to.
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more than 2 years ago
I listened to the album twice and thought it was as Maiden should sound. I listened to some songs a couple more times. Great stuff. Then I moved on to other things. I keep thinking to listen again but other music calls louder. I'll have to listen again. Maybe tomorrow.
Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Good review, I still haven't been inclined to listen to it much, but I haven't been in much of an Iron Maiden mood as of late.


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