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Best Of The Bruce - 94%

Slinky, December 25th, 2002

The unquestionable return to form of the former golden voice of Iron Maiden. Bruce Bruce after the first 2 [i]average[/i] albums outside of Maiden, finally got his shit together and realized he was born for heavy metal. It is really difficult to pinpoint a single element as to what made Bruce get back to business. Many argue it is the [i]depression[/i] he encountered as a result of not succeeding commercially in his previous solo efforts, and just not being happy with himself. Although, if I were to put my money down, I would definitely put it on addition of Adrian [b]H[/b] Smith. What really makes this album truly slay, is quite simple to see for the long term fans of Bruce, is that you can just feel the emotion present throughout, as though it is your best friend speaking to you, giving you all he has got. RoyZ is solid, I really like his emphasis on the guitars in his production, and the chemistry is just evident throughout between the band members, as everyone is right on the spot. And this exactly is it, the [i]accident[/i] of an album, as it seemed no one ever expected, from a man with nothing to lose.

1. [b]Freak[/b] – The opener has some really nasty riffage going on in the beginning. As the return of the crisp RoyZ production makes it return. This song is actually I would consider one of the weaker tracks on the album, but in reality it just falls being solid/good. I especially love the lead break, and Bruce’s melodic lines, and the chorus seems to be okay. The problem is the instrumental part, which seems a bit too rough and unmelodic. However, still the song quite simple rocks, and this kind of speed that is present on this album, is not found on any other Bruce’s material including Chemical Wedding. 8/10
2. [b]Toltec 7 Arrival[/b] – The introduction to the terrific Starchildren, is also really good, the spoken part is really effective in setting the mood for the following song as well as the sounds also sound really cool, however, I can not put a clear rating on this track simply of inadequate length time (37 seconds).
3. [b]Starchildren[/b] – Now this is what I am talking about. The song picks off right away after Arrival, and I love the main riff, as well as Bruce, this dude is all money. This song also illustrates great lyrical support, something that is clearly evident throughout the album. Something that also to the mood, is the guitar solo which was I believe done by Adrian also sounds like something of an experimental nature, but rocks like hell. 9.5/10
4. [b]Taking The Queen[/b] – Slowing the things down a bit, but what a song! The soft beginning is just so touching, yet the chorus quite simply burns, and just sends shivers down your spine. The guitar work is exquisite as well, and as well you can hear a light synth sounds present, mainly during the chorus parts. This also leads in just incredibly to the following song, kind of also creating concept album feel with many transitions such as this one. 10/10
5. [b]Darkside Of Aquarius[/b] – The intro guitar lines are so overlooked, yet are very powerful. The starting riff also leaves you knocked into your seat, and your neck unwillingly starts moving. Again, the guitarwork just simply slays, and I think the production adds to it beautifully. Now the whole song is simply terrific! BUT! I want to overemphasize the quiet guitar part that leads into incredible break, you know the “Come to push the wheel for me..” This just is incredibly and is among my favorite parts of all time. And when the heavy guitars come in. :drool: I can not listen to this part without feeling feelings I have never heard before, and then another melodic break.. and OH OH OH !! Simply stunning. I never thought mankind is capable of producing a song of this magnitude in the supposed [i]dead metal age[/i]. :finger: 10/10
6. [b]Road To Hell[/b] – After the breathtaking ending of the previous song, comes a fairly straightforward rocker, but, it is actually really an excellent one at that. The drumwork really reminds me of Nicko’s style (and I’m not really a fan of that). However, you can tell this song is written by H and Bruce without even looking at the song credits. The Maiden sound is present throughout this baby, and it simply rocks, also the chorus is fairly simple, but is very catchy and easy to sing along to. Again, the guitars are truly killer. 9.5/10
7. [b]Man Of Sorrows[/b] – A Bruce only song, is of course nowhere near the glory of Tears Of The Dragon, but neither did I expect it to be. I actually really like this as well, the only problem I feel, is the a bit too quick of a drum intro about 30 seconds into the actual song. Otherwise, the piano work by RoyZ is excellent as well as the guitar parts, which are not really emphasized to give the song the special feeling it needs to have. 9/10
8. [b]Accident Of Birth[/b] – Ho ho ho ho .. Holy shit. This song absolutely burns. From the beginning to end, truly one of the best moments of metal, and is my 2nd favorite BD song behind of course the predictable Tears. (For the record Aquarius is top 5). The lead break just makes you wanna tear something apart, it’s that powerful and just plain sick. :666: The lyrics are quite haunting as well, “Jesus had his day off when they pulled you through..” I think Bruce is onto something. Again, can’t describe this song in greatness, listen to find out, I’m sure most of you already did. 10/10
9. [b]The Magician[/b] – Another quite a smoking rocker, that sounds nothing I have ever heard before, pretty much like any song on this album. The riff and actually the whole song is very catchy and quite melodic too, which makes it another solid number. Nothing much really to say aside from it continues the consistency of the album perhaps only broken off by the next song. 8.5/10
10. [b]Welcome To The Pit[/b] – This is really a weird song, as it is closely resembles absolutely nothing from this album. Surprisingly this was co written by H and Bruce again, but has no real speed, no real melody, just sounds quite brutal (for Maiden anyway ;) ). Really strange, and I am not really a fan of this style either, it just sounds plain weird. This style is also evident in 2 songs on the next album in Killing Floor and Machine Men. Not my cup of tea. 6.5 - 7/10
11. [b]Ghost Of Cain[/b] [i][JAPAN & U.S. Bonus Track[/i] – The bonus track, but a killer one as such, as it picks off where the Magician left off, and just makes me forget about the Pit.. :sniff: Great melody, mid paced song. Really like this one, and is actually among my real favorites off of the album. The riff work after the vocal parts are really cool, as well as the main riff sounds sick as well. Great track, somewhat simple but oh so effective. 9/10
12. [b]Omega[/i] – A really powerful number this one is. The 2 line chorus sticks in your head, and does not ever go away. It is another [i]slower[/i] number, very thought provoking lyrics as well. The instrumental sections really add to the atmosphere set by Bruce’s powerful voice. I really can’t stress enough, how important it is for the people to hear songs such as this, or hear them again, but with more attention and perhaps a different approach. Because, simply words, will never make an impression this song leaves on you. 10/10
13. [b]Arc Of Space[/b] – So we have come to a final conclusion. And an acoustic/voice only song. But, really good one at such, and just flows brilliantly after Omega. Perhaps this also arguably represents the Climax of the album, however, Omega seems a bit more perspective in that respect. However, Arc delivers what we have not heard before again. With beautiful chorus lines from the man, and terrific acoustic work throughout. This song just leaves us in much emotion and new feelings, as we have witnessed the return of the king. 10/10