Metal Insider contributor Anthony Maisano is listening to a different metal album that was released on that day every day this year.
Besides a select few tracks, this was an album I hated the first time or two I listened to it. However, every time I listened to it, the tracks grew on me more and more and more, and now, it’s one of my most loved Maiden albums. The songs on this album are longer, and, I think, generally more ambitious than most Maiden tracks previously. They incorporated synthesizers for the first time, and try to add new elements to their style. Even with these new elements, the songs remain fun, and still have great riffs, amazing bass work, and interesting drumming. It was a very different Maiden album, but I think it was a different turn that Maiden needed. It also features no songwriting credits from Bruce Dickinson, for various reasons, which is quite an odd little side note.
This album is certainly a much more mellow Iron Maiden album. There aren’t many tracks on this album that are just exploding with energy, and for a band that had become known for that sort of thing, the focus on a slower, more mellow general atmosphere can be a little bit disappointing. It’s interesting musically, but there aren’t many moments on this album with that “HELL YEAH” Maiden kind of feeling to them. As a final note, although I like “Wasted Years,” it’s a REALLY cheesy, and maybe even a bit of a sappy track.
Favorite Tracks: “Alexander the Great,” “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,” “Deja-Vu,” “Heaven Can Wait,” “Wasted Years.”
If you like Iron Maiden, I definitely think this is an album worth checking out, but for me, this is an album that just grows on you. If you personally enjoyed this album on your first listen or two, that’s awesome, but I think for a lot of people it might take a few listens to really get into some of these tracks. Check it out if you haven’t already, and if you wrote this one off, I think it’s worth giving another shot to.