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With his second solo album, Dickinson starts to gain his stride. After the mostly atrocious Tattooed Millionaire, it is good to see him adopt more from the genre that made him famous and put out a quality album. I would still hesitate to call this a metal album, but it shouldn’t offend the ears of any but the most hardcore metal enthusiast.
First, let me say that Roy Z knows how to play the guitar. Part of the reason I enjoy Dickinson’s solo albums so much is the mesmerizing leads this guy busts out. The production here is stellar too, even if Roy Z wasn’t heading it as he would later.
None of the tracks here are exceptionally weak, but a few of them truly fail to stand out. I am just going to go through my favorites.
Cyclops – This is an exciting confirmation that Dickinson has abandoned that horrible rock of the last album. He opens the album with an epic 8 minute piece, not your normal opener. This thing stomps all over most of the meandering epics of Iron Maiden. This track highlights the guitars; they really talk to you—screaming out the lines along with Dickinson.
Laughing in the Hiding Bush – Tell me that chorus isn’t infinitely more catchy than the repetitive choruses Iron Maiden has put out recently? Absolutely stellar guitar riffs here.
Change of Heart – Usually look down upon by the metal community, either because of a fondness for the typical faster tempo of metal or because of the stigma attached to them by hair metal bands, Dickinson usually has an excess of ballads on his album. Thankfully, this one nearly surpasses the better-known Tears of the Dragon
Shoot All the Clowns – A silly song. Very hard rock tune with tinges of Guns ‘N’ Roses and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Excellent except for the overuse of the chorus, but at least it is a good one.
Tears of the Dragon – Despite considerable exposure, this song still remains excellent, a highlight of the entire Bruce Dickinson catalogue.
You can definitely see Dickinson picking up steam here for the absolute classics still to come.