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Bruce's Best - 80%

BotD, August 3rd, 2006

Bruce Dickinson finally gets his stuff firmly together and, most importantly and most definitely, returns to the genre that made him famous: metal.

Joining the Air Raid Siren again, Roy Z shows his amazing guitar chops and production skills. One of the best decisions Dickinson ever made was teaming up with Ramirez.

Accident of Birth does everything I require of a good metal album, a few outstanding numbers intermixed with other cuts of varying quality, but nothing that is mind numbingly putrid. The album starts with "Freak" and "Starchildren", two songs that will (and should) not enter the annals of metal classics but carry some decent riffs and overall start the album nicely. "Taking the Queen" is a slight misstep. Of the ballads on the album, it just fails to work.

After that, we get what we have waited four albums to hear finally, Bruce retiring the idea that he must sufficiently differentiate from his old band Iron Maiden. With "Darkside of Aquarius," we come to the first highlight of the album. This would not be out of place on a Maiden album in sound and most assuredly quality. Following this same line of thinking, "Roadside to Hell" is one of the rockers Iron Maiden does so well.

I can’t elaborate on the praise given to "Man of Sorrows." I can only reaffirm it’s status as the best thing Bruce has done in his solo career. I weep, I cry, and when it is over, I have to hear it again.

The title track continues the streak of quality of the last three tracks before the album dips into mediocrity until the end. "Omega" is another winner and "Arc of Space" is a beautiful acoustic ballad. Truly, a paragon for how to write a ballad and how to use acoustic guitars in metal, "Arc of Space" is a fitting closer.

Highly recommended for Bruce’s fans (who isn’t?) and for anyone that likes a nice slab of traditional metal.