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When Bruce Dickinson left Iron Maiden to pursue a solo career, it seemed to take him quite a while to really find his niche. Sure his previous albums had their own pieces of greatness but it wasn't until "Accident of Birth" that he had gone back to the roots that had made him famous to begin with. There were many who didn't think Bruce could out do himself with his next album and surely enough he proved them all wrong with "The Chemical Wedding".
This album blows everything else he has done in his solo career to date completely out of the water. The riffs are heavier, the lyrics are more intelligent, the solos are much more complex and it seems that everyone involved was alot more passionate about what they were doing and it really pays off for them.
This albums has some definate classics on it such as the 8 minute epic "Book of Thel" which starts off with a dark and powerful riff and leads to exploding vocals and a chorus that despite quoting MacBeth, sounds as badass as ever.
We're also treated with an epic ballad which is just short of 7 minutes called "Jeurusalem" which quotes almost directly from William Blake's poem, it has a great soothing opening with a nice and heavy finish.
The greatness keeps on coming with the semi ballads "The Chemical Wedding" and "The Alchemist" which still have that raw and heavy sound. The rest of the album also shows this power, some are fast tracks whilst some are slower, but no song really feels out of place.
Infact, the only real complaint I have about this album would be the oppening track "King in Crimson" and a later track "Killing Floor". The songs aren't necessarily bad, but they seem as though Bruce and his band tried too hard to sounds evil and I feel it backfired.
The expanded edition also comes with three bonus tracks; "Return of the King" is surprisingly one of Bruces greatest songs, and it's amazing that it didn't make an album. "Real World" is catchly little number, but I can see why it didn't make the album since it didn't live up to the rest and would sound out of place. "Confeos" seems like a mess of a song and isn't really appealing.
All in all it's an amazing album and is a must have for any Bruce, Maiden or Metal fan in general. It's a heavier side of the Air Raid Siren but is still as melodic as ever and it really is a masterpiece.