Metal Insider contributor Anthony Maisano is listening to a different metal album that was released on that day every day. Although this album came out on September 2nd in Japan, it was released today everywhere else in the world.

Before this calendar list, I didn’t listen to this album since I first went through Maiden’s discography many years ago. I remember hating the album too. After listening to it again, I can confirm how much I really do dislike this album. The only real good parts about it that I see are the generally good elements of Maiden in general. Interesting guitar harmonies, great bass, technical drumming, and Bruce is Bruce. Beyond those, is there really anything on this album alone that’s great? For me, no, not really. The title track has a cool middle section, but takes forever to pick up. “Montsegur” is the highlight on the album for me, and easily has the best riff on the entire album. On final notes, “New Frontier” is the first time Nicko ever received writing credits, and “Journeymen” is Maiden’s first track with only acoustic guitars, so at least the album has that going for it in terms of new things.

The album cover is a fucking mess. Look at it. REALLY look at it. Zoom it in, and look at how shitty that computer art is. I’ve seen prototype video games in their earliest stages that look better than the computer images on this album art. Apparently, the artist who did the art sent them this version as an early showing of his work, unfinished, but the band went with it, instead of waiting for the finished copy. Musically, the songs are just REALLY boring. They aren’t terrible tracks, but they certainly aren’t what one would expect of Iron Maiden. They’re really, REALLY sappy for my taste, too. Some of the tracks have the classic Iron Maiden gallop of old, but then lack the energy that the classic tracks had behind that gallop.

Favorite Tracks: “Montsegur,” “Face in the Sand,” “New Frontier.”

For me, at least, this isn’t a downright awful album, but it’s definitely in the top five worst of their entire discography. It’s just boring, and nothing on the album really holds up to Maiden’s classic work, or Brave New World, which came before it. If you really want to hear modern Maiden done right, I’d say listen to any of their other three albums since Bruce came back before this one. I don’t think it holds up at all.

Now, I haven’t done this before, but I would like to invite our editor Bram to share his thoughts on the album, because in one of our Headbangers Brawls, he said “…I’d rather hear punk music than Dance of Death.” So, Bram, what do you think?

Bram: You’ve pretty much summed it up. After the excitement of Dickinson’s return on 2000’s Brave New World had worn off,  this album’s just lackluster overall. There’s nothing particularly that memorable about it. In fact, even Maiden haven’t played much from it recently, with the exception of the title track. Any time a band gets to 15 albums, there are going to be a few that are inessential. This one’s definitely in the top three in that category. And god, that album cover…