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Here we go, Bruce's 4th album in his solo career. Before this he went for more of a hard rock sound and outside of a few rememberable songs he really didn't make much of an impact. In 1997 however, he went back to his heavy metal roots that made him a star in Iron Maiden and he came out with this amazing album, Accident of Birth.
The first thing you'd notice about this album is it's very cool and cartoony album cover, much like Iron Maiden put out during the 80's and this is mainly because the artist is none other than Derick Riggs, the man who created all of Maidens album covers during the 80s. Another high point of this album is not does Adrian Smith (also from Maiden fame) perform on this album, he also composes some of it. His sound is easily heard and you don't need to read the writing credits to found out what songs he penned.
But of course the biggest thing about this album that grabs your attention is the music itself. Picture Iron Maiden's sound only heavier and modern. You'll also notice the high amount of ballads found on here (4 out of 12) which is a bit of a surprise considering Iron Maiden almost never perform ballads however Bruce and co. perform them amazingly. The lyrics on this album are very thought provoking and almost every song on here is filled with amazing amounts of emotion. The solos performed by Smith and Roy Z are also amazing and add a lot of feel to the songs.
But like almost anything Bruce Dickinson has been involved in, the highest point of this album is Bruce's vocal performance. Every note he sings is filled with tons of passion. The heavier songs Bruce sings with a lot of anger without ever sounding over the top and during the ballads he sings in a slow, soothing and very moving style in which you can really feel the emotion the songs hold.
We start off with the fast and powerful Freak, out side of a heavy riff and a catchy chorus this song does leave a lot to be desired, however it is still a pretty good way to start off the album. After a weird interlude we jump straight into Star Children which is a great number with an amazing chorus, the only problem is it's too short.
We slow things down for a bit with the ballad Taking the Queen, the first minute and a half is soft until it explodes into another great chorus then we go straight back into the soft verse until we close with that chorus again, much like Star Children this songs biggest flaw is that it's too short and this song could've been so much more.
Here comes the climax of the album, where we are treated to 4 of the best songs in metal in a row. First off we get the albums epic number Darkside of Aquarius, it is another song with a soft opening until the riff kicks in, borderline thrash here people. The chorus is mind blowing then we get to the songs break, which is probably the best bit of the entire album, the song slows down again for a bit until the riff kicks in again. The rest of this song is a great sing along bit which sounds brilliant on the Scream for Me Brazil live album.
Road to Hell is a fast Iron Maiden like rocker which is catchy as all hell and you will be singing along to it within your first listen, it served as the closing track on Scream for Me Brazil and boy what a closer.
We then hit Man of Sorrows, along with Darkside of Aquarius, this is the greatest song on this album, it's a slow depressing number which is very heart wrenching, this is perfect metal ballad and it never sounds cheesy at any point despite the high piano usage.
Then comes the title track, Accident of Birth. It has a very dark opening riff and Bruce's vocals suit the scene perfectly, it has some very thought provoking lyrics and you can the anger in every single note of the song, the chorus is pretty sweet too.
After the past 20 minutes of pure awesomeness we get The Magician, it's not a bad song by any means, however it simply doesn't live up to the past 4 songs. Although it's chorus is out of this world. Here comes the albums low point, the only sub par song on this album known as Welcome the the Pit. If this song was on Balls to Picasso or something like that it wouldn't be that bad, it just sounds nothing like the other songs on here at all and it's simply out of place.
The album ends with 2 ballads, the first being the albums other epic known as Omega, the first half is slow and calm and the second half explodes with power (much like Jerusalem on The Chemical Wedding), this is another great song and it makes up for the average Welcome to the Pit. We finally close with Arc of Space, a very moving acoustic number filled with tons of emotion and mind blowing lyrics. There couldn't of been a better way to end this album and they struck gold here.
All in all this album is amazing and a must for metal heads everywhere, it has it's minor flaws, but the great tracks make up for it big time. And who would've thought that Bruce would out do himself with his next album?