Reviewed by Andrew Scott
As the old adage goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. If there’s ever been a band which personified this it would be Iron Maiden. After nearly 40 years, 16 studio albums, more than 75 million albums sold and numerous sold out world tours, Iron Maiden are still working away at their own unique brand of metal. Their latest album, The Book of Souls, includes all their trademarks; galloping bass, operatic, soaring vocals and lyrics about history and mythology.
Iron Maiden break new ground, however, as this is the first double album recording by the band. Not being constrained by the limits of a single disc allows the band to expand on more progressive ideas. Album closer ‘Empire Of The Clouds’ even takes the record of longest Iron Maiden song ever, coming in at a shade over 18 minutes. The song recalls the R101 airship disaster and is built around Bruce Dickinson’s piano playing. Interestingly enough, Book of Souls, is the first album where bass player Steve Harris doesn’t have a writing credit on every song. This again reinforces how the band is willing to expand on new ideas from other members of the band. Most of the album was recorded in very few takes, or even single takes which contributes to the rawness of the album’s sound. This demonstrates, after years of performing live, how tight the band is as a unit. Songs such as Speed of Light, ‘Death or Glory’, and ‘When The River Runs Deep’ showcase the bands trademark changes of tempo and technical ability. There are a few low points to the album. ‘The Red and The Black’ sounds very similar to ‘The Wicker Man’ from Brave New World and ‘Tears Of A Clown’, about the late comedian Robin Williams, is a little bit plodding.
If you like Iron Maiden then you’ll definitely like this album. Their recent releases have been a bit hit and miss but this record is a definite return to form for the band. It isn’t quite in the same league as the trinity of Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind and Powerslave but illustrates that after all these years, Iron Maiden are still the best at what they do and have no need to try and fix their winning formula.
Recommended Song: Speed Of Light