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Amazing album, just AMAZING! - 90%

Lane, October 17th, 2011

At last! After seven years of waiting, Mr. Bruce Dickinson has released his new solo work, where he is the pilot, not just a co-pilot. 'Tyranny of Souls' is the first studio album after monstrous 'The Chemical Wedding', which was released back in 1998. I must admit, that I waited for a 'The Chemical Wedding' style album. Pretty stupid expectation that was, since all of Bruce's albums have been different to previous one, and also to each other.

This time however, if comparing this to older albums, there's some familiar-sounding material. Well, somewhat similar sonic adventures, but still so different. After eerie intro 'Mars Within', 'Abduction' launches into speedy British heavy metal à la 'Silver Wings' from the man's "best of" album, meaning soaring vocals and guitar melodies. Another heavy metal piece 'Soul Intruders' begins with fast double kick drum work and shredding guitar, but slows down soon, which does not mean calming down. Well, partly a tad calmer but still total headbang material. 'Kill Devil Hill' is something I can't put into words. One of the most beautiful and atmospheric heavy metal songs I've experienced, plus it's totally catchy throughout. Heavy at first, calm at the end. Which nicely sets atmosphere for semi-acoustic 'Navigate the Seas of the Sun'. Now this is another beautiful and very emotional song, which grabbed me at the first listening. Bruce's voice is, of course, at its most intimate on these slow songs. 'River of no Return' is partly calm, partly heavy-as-fuck piece of emotionally loaded metal mixed with 1970's prog rock. 'Power of the Sun' is the second piece of fast heavy metal on this album. 'Devil on a Hog' harks back to rockier first steps of Bruce's solo career. Gloomier 'Believil' is not for my liking, thanks to its too close to Hollywood-horror style "eerieness". If that was too "Ozzy", 'Tyranny of Souls' sounds like Black Sabbath's title track at times, throwing in some British heavy metal stylings. The song's eerieness actualy works. Basically, 'Tyranny of Souls' takes good bits of 'The Chemical Wedding' and 'Accident of Birth' (1997), with an odd step to more rocking stuff. Anyways, this album is seamless, which it didn't feel on first five or so listens. I think this is musically widest album from Bruce. Once again, Roy Z was Bruce's partner in crime.

Bruce's voice is in good shape, believe me. Maybe he doesn't soar as high as in the early 1980's, but the man has total control of his voice. His lower voice is just magnificent, full of individual touches. Not that his higher voice isn't, no, but with lower ones he is able express more feelings. The best, most talented singer I have ever heard. And story tells he sung some parts while lying on a bed after injury! Lyricswise this is my stuff. Science fiction plays a big part here, but there's other themes too. On the intro, Bruce hollers after professor Quatermass... Okay, I'll give you a hint: Hammer Horror. 'Abduction' and 'Soul Intruders' deal with humanoids and aliens exploitating humans. 'Kill Devil Hill' tells story of Wright brothers, first successful aeroplane flying humans. 'Navigate...' tells a story about mankind, who have left the Earth to seek a new place to call home. On 'River...', two lovers are aboard a spaceship, but soon their love begins to break. Mankind and human being's lives, struggle and such themes are abound on the rest of the album. Even if many of the lyrics are written as sci-fi, they do have a real life meaning. Old demonic artwork is fantastic, but feels a bit weird with these lyrical themes, as every song has its own engraving.

Soundwise this is really organic. Bruce's voice is well audible, so every detail is heard. However, the voice isn't loud in the mix. Guitar and bass work varies quite a lot during the album, from very heavy and distorted vibrations to acoustic (even some Spanish guitar). Drum sound is also totally organic and good, but the beginning of 'Believil' has some lame snare production. Synths are varying and generally good. There's not too much of them, but they spice things up nicely. There's no trickery in the production. Someone may find it a bad thing, but it suits well with the music, where the sound is not the main thing.

How could I review this album well, as I am a fan of Mr. Dickinson? Maybe not totally unbiased. Anyways, if you think those words about the music could mean, that you could like this album, check it out immediately. Bruce Dickinson's voice has widened and his skill to use it is of course better than ever. So, if you have only heard something like 'The Trooper' or 'Wasted Years' from Iron Maiden, try this. 'Tyranny of Souls' is magnificent!

There's Something You Won't Ever Find - 89%

Twisted_Psychology, August 14th, 2009

Even though the Air Raid Siren has come back to Iron Maiden since the release of "The Chemical Wedding," he managed to find the time to put out one last solo effort in 2005. While the album is not as strong as the two works before it, it is a strong release that still rivals a lot of Maiden's more recent material.

Musically, you could describe this album as a cross between "Accident Of Birth" and "The Chemical Wedding." It is not bright as the former or as heavy as the latter, but it manages to combine some of the former's melodic touches and the latter's theatrical mysticism. "Mars Within" is a spacy opener that seems to expand on "Toltec 7 Arrival," "Navigate The Seas Of The Sun" and "River Of No Return" are both strong ballads with a neat Spanish guitar flavor, and "Power Of The Sun" is a Maidenesque number that reminds me of "The Road To Hell" in a way. In contrast, "Abduction" and Soul Intruders" are both more aggressive numbers, "Believel" is made memorable by a haunting atmosphere, and "Kill Devil Hill" and the title track appear to be channeling the drama of "The Book Of Thel." Hell, they even managed to squeeze some "Tattooed Millionaire" influence by means of "Devil On A Hog!"

The lyrics are also well written and cover a lot of topics in comparison to past efforts. Just a few of the themes that appear include space/sci-fi ("Mars Within," "Abduction"), flying ("Kill Devil Hill"), a smartass Satan ("Devil On A Hog"), and even a bit of Shakespeare ("Tyranny Of Souls").

Even if Bruce's other albums were technically solo records, they still managed to feel like group efforts thanks to the great line-ups that were behind him, particularly the Tribe of Gypsies led by guitarist/producer Roy Z. Unfortunately, Z himself is the only Gypsy that appears on this album and the final product ultimately seems to be less solid as a result. From what I understand, much of this album's writing consisted of Z sending guitar/bass riffs to Dickinson and the singer writing lyrics/vocal lines while he was on tour. While the process certainly resulted in some amazing songs, it would've been even cooler if Adrian Smith had showed up for a quick cameo...

Overall, I consider this to be Dickinson's third best solo album and I recommend it to fans both old and new. While it doesn't go as deep as the two albums before it, it is a little more accessible...

Pros:
1) Excellent vocals and riffs
2) Great song variety and accessibility
3) Intriguing lyrics

Cons:
1) What happened to the Tribe Of Gypsies?
2) Not as deep as some of Dickinson's other efforts

My Current Favorites:
"Abduction," "Soul Intruders," "Kill Devil Hill," "Navigate The Seas Of The Sun," and "Devil On A Hog"

I believe evil... - 70%

Nhorf, March 17th, 2008

Finally! After many years, Bruce Dickinson records another solo album - A Tyranny of Souls. Well, this record is very, very different from its predecessor, The Chemical Wedding. The songs are shorter (no epic numbers here, all the songs are less than 6 minutes long) and much heavier (in my opinion, TCW is a much softer record).

Bruce is brilliant here, he still has an immense and outstanding voice. Just listen to the way he sings on the chorus of the title track or in Abduction: amazing! I also like the way he sings on the ballad Navigate the Seas of the Sun. One of the best metal singers ever.

Roy Z also delivers a pretty good performance; he shares the songwriting of all the songs with Bruce and his riffs are heavy and somewhat "modern" (he reminds me a bit of Zakk Wylde). Definitely, he has not the same style as Adrian Smith and Dave Murray and that marks the difference between this record and the predecessor: on TCW you could clearly hear Maiden influences here and there, but on A Tyranny of Souls the sound is completely different. So don't expect this album to be a Maiden CD under a different name. Roy Z proves to be a fantastic producer too, the sound is clear and everything is well mixed.

The drumming on The Chemical Wedding was amazing: the drummer had a style that was reminiscent of Nicko McBrain (and that definitely is a good thing!) and his beats were complex and creative. Unfortunately, Bruce hired another drummer to record this CD; the new one's name is David Moreno. He is less technical, but his patterns are ok and don't harm the whole sound. I especially like his performance on Believil (the soft and mysterious beginning), on Abduction (good fills) and on River of No Return (double bass! whoa!).
A traditional metal/rock artist that knows how to deliver a consistent performance. The bass work is inaudible on some songs and solid on others.

As I've already said, all the songs are heavy and straight-forward. The good thing about this is that all the songs have excellent choruses: from the addictive one on Power of the Sun, to the beautiful one on Navigate the Seas of the Sun.
The album is also varied:
-There is a ballad: Navigate the Seas of the Sun,
-A typic rock song: Devil on a Hog,
-An almost speed metal one: Abduction,
-An atmospheric intro: Mars Within,
-A pop-ish one: Power of the Sun, etc.
The weaker track is, as many other reviewers said, Devil on a Hog because of the slightly repetitive chorus but, actually, the song isn't that bad.

Although there are no masterpieces here, I will name a few stand-outs now.
First I'd like to say that you MUST listen to the first two tracks as a whole! Mars Within is very atmospheric, it begins slowly, then becomes heavier and when you think it will fade away, there's a fast drum fill and a raw riff kicks in, courtesy of the fantastic Roy Z, marking the beginning of Abduction, the single of the album. Bruce Dickinson begins to sing and then we are lead to the chorus, which is accompanied by a very good riff. The drumming is very dynamic, the solo rules and the song is fast and energetic. After the solo, Bruce repeats the chorus and the track ends. A very good song.

Kill Devil Hill is another stand-out: a very strong track, which also has a mellow ending, that sounds amazing.
Navigate the Seas of the Sun is the ballad of the record. Although it isn't the best ballad Dickinson ever written (see Tears of the Dragon), it's a very well done piece, with acoustic guitars and an inspired and emotional solo.

The other stand-outs are the last tracks: Believil and The Tyranny of Souls.
Believil is a mysterious tune, with some atmospheric ingredients and a fantastic beginning.
The Tyranny of Souls has 2 or 3 different sections. The tune begins with a slow and evil guitar riff; after that, Bruce begins to sing very softly and then there is a crescendo that leads us to the chorus. After it, the slow riff returns, this time accompanied by a simple drum beat. The chorus is sung again, and a heavier riff is played, the song becomes a bit faster, and the guitar solo begins, a very tasteful solo in my opinion. The chorus returns and the album ends.
The Power of the Sun also deserves a honourable mention, as it is a very solid song.

Best moments of the CD:
-the transition between Mars Within and Abduction;
-the beautiful and uplifting ending of Kill Devil Hill;
-the fascinating beginning of Believil;
-the guitar solo and the final chorus of the title track.

Concluding, this is an enjoyable record, with an amazing production and full of catchy and addictive tunes. The musicians deliver good performances, especially Roy Z and Bruce Dickinson. However, I miss the epic songs of The Chemical Wedding. Definitely a solid album, but not a masterpiece.
The cover is very good too, as it fits the dark mood of some of the songs of the record (especially Believil and The Tyranny of Souls).

And I thought tyranny was a bad thing... - 89%

thatcoltkid, May 2nd, 2007

This is Bruce's first solo album in years and his first solo album since rejoining Iron Maiden, yet he still manages to keep the magic he first had with his last two albums (Accident of Birth and The Chemical Wedding), I'm talking of course, about Tyranny of Souls.

This album's sounds is unlike anything Bruce has ever done before; it features dark, brooding tracks, a heavy as fuck headbanger which still keeps that Dickinson charm and some pretty decent rockers in between, including one of his greatest ballads.

We get started with a weird little opening where Bruce asks for some professor, not really important but it sill sounds cool. After this we are treated to 3 songs of pure heavy as fuck metal. First we get the murderous drum roll/riff combo that gives you ‘Abduction’ with its chorus that just screams Iron Maiden, definitely the best track on here. After this we get the borderline thrash song with awesome double bass drumming in ‘Soul Intruders’, some say this is similar to Accident of Birth’s ‘Star Children’ but I tell you this is only in lyrics as this is much heavier and so much more sweeter. Then we get the slower but still heavier song about the Wright Brothers in ‘Kill Devil Hill’, a good song with a great sing-along chorus however the second half becomes very ballad-like.

That slow ending of Kill Devil Hill takes us right into the ballad of the album, Navigate the Seas of the Sun, another great song about aviation with beautiful lyrics and even more beautiful music; this is definitely up there with Tears of the Dragon and Man of Sorrows as one of the greatest ballads in his career.

Next we get the first dark and brooding song, ‘River of No Return’, we get a slow soothing verse which has that dark feel to it (mainly due to the lyrics) and it eventually explodes with an amazing chorus, definitely a high point of the album. The heaviness returns with the very Iron Maiden-esque song ‘Power of the Sun’.

Tattooed Millionaire and Bon Jovi’s unhappy love child seem to find it’s way onto this album in ‘Devil on a Hog’ this song is a much more happier sounding song, and it seems like the song you’d listen to driving down the country towns of Australia. This is the albums only real flaw.

Suddenly the evil we heard in the intro comes back with ‘Believil’, a slow, dark and incredibly heavy track which is unlike anything heard before, well at least to the average Iron Maiden fan. The best part of this song is unsurprisingly the power chorus. Then this album comes to a close with the title track, ‘A Tyranny of Souls’. Much like ‘Believil’, this is another dark and heavy song. The chorus in this is out of this world, as is the part near the end. Bruce’s vocals are the best they've been since Powerslave in this one song here. This song always finds its way into being one of the most played songs on my iPod. This is definitely the best track on here, and man what a way to close this album.

So there we have it, Tyranny of Souls. An album which I feel outclasses Accident of Birth but doesn't quite match Chemical Wedding, but then again... what does? This albums only real draw back is that it's too short, just over 40 minutes I believe, and not one song goes for 6 minutes or more. This album is a must get by all metal heads simply for the mind-blowing amazing choruses in every single song.

After this, I can't wait to see if he can do it a fourth time....

Dickinson returns! - 95%

EnemyOfReality06, August 15th, 2006

It has been over 5 years since Bruce Dickinson released his last solo effort 'The Chemical Wedding' which was highly rated by many of his and Iron Maiden's fans. Will he be able to follow up his last heavy offering? Yes!

Opening with dark intro 'Mars Within' you begin to think that this will be a heavy, gloomy offering. 'Abduction', the first single from the album is an up-tempo, modern metal song. When the first riff kicks in, you must remind yourself that you are listening to Bruce Dickinson, not a Lamb of God record.

'Tyranny of Souls' is the third instalment of his metal trilogy, following up 'Accident of Birth' and 'The Chemical Wedding'. There has been much discussion between fans as to whether this album will be as good as them. It is certainly easy to say that it is as good as the previous two- but is it better? It has the heaviness of 'The Chemical Wedding' and the melodic parts of 'Accident of Birth', but there appears to be one thing missing from this album...The lack of epic songs. The last album had seven-minute offerings such as 'Jerusalem' and 'Gates of Urizen', but this album sadly has no song that lasts over five minutes. The closest thing on this album would have to be 'Navigate the Seas of the Sun', which sounds like Bruce's answer to Maiden's 'Journeyman'.

You would usually thing that lack of long songs from a singer who fronts the best band on the planet would affect the quality of the album, but the funny thing is...You don't actually notice it! The mouth-watering solos, brilliantly sung choruses and brilliant riffs seem to carry you off on an amazing journey.

Bruce Dickinson shows his love for flying in the song, 'Kill Devil Hill', which is about the Wright brothers. He manages to sing without it seeming cheesy at all. 'Devil on a Hog' is the only song on the album that could be considered filler because it doesn't fit on the album; many people have commented that it sounds like it would at home on Bruce's debut album 'Tattooed Millionaire' which has more of an 80's rock sound. 'Power of the Sun' is a brilliant offering, displaying one of the most memorable and catchy choruses on the album, next to 'Kill Devil Hill' and the title track. Towards the end of this album you begin to wonder if the closer will be memorable like the previous albums and by god is this one hell of a closer! Opening with a line from Macbeth it may sound cheesy, but this is one of the most powerful songs on the album- no doubt about it!

'Tyranny of Souls' is definitely one of, if not the best album Bruce Dickinson has released, this is the best album of 2005 so far and possibly may be the best by the end of the year. But the question you may ask yourself is, "Will he be able to follow this amazing album up?"

Bruce Does It Again! - 93%

lonerider, March 29th, 2006

Bruce Dickinson’s second studio album since his brilliant return to form named “Accident of Birth.” His third masterpiece in a row. That is pretty much all that needs to be said about “Tyranny of Souls.” It is difficult to pin down what makes the guy so special, but somehow I can’t seem to get enough of his music. Even songs that would be dismissed as merely average were they performed by another artist are miraculously transformed into great ones owing to Bruce’s unparalleled charisma and brilliant voice. Although he has slightly altered his approach to singing since the early Maiden days, mostly steering clear of the very high notes and preferring mid-range vocals instead (no, not even Bruce is immune to the implications of age), he is probably still the best singer in the entire realm of Heavy Metal. He somehow manages to put so much passion and conviction in every single note that you will find yourself gaping with awe while listening to his mind-blowing performance on “Tyranny.” And the things he has to say in his songs are, as always, pretty interesting and beautifully phrased – this is indeed miles ahead of the drivel some other classic Metal bands frequently come up with (Priest, I’m looking in your direction…).

Anyway, I guess that should be enough unabashed Bruce worship for now – time for a more or less detailed song-by-song low-down on what the Air Raid Siren has to offer on his latest studio album:

“Mars Within” is a beautiful short intro, effectively setting the tone for the rest of the album. That applies to the music as well as the lyrics, where Bruce was obviously inspired by Science Fiction this time around (“Mankind returns to the stars… but sometimes, the stars return to mankind…”).

“Abduction” is the perfect way to start off the record. It virtually rips out of your speakers like a hurricane – fast tempo, fierce riffs, stomping drums (I should add that the drum sound on the entire album is magnificent), and Bruce’s soaring vocals on top of it all. This track had me singing along pretty much the first time I heard it – simply awesome! By the way, the lyrics sound like Bruce has had a rather unpleasant encounter with alien life forms recently…

“Soul Intruders” is the legitimate follow-up to “Star Children” from “Accident of Birth.” Fast double bass drums, heavy riffs, and a memorable chorus are the major ingredients for this more than solid song.

“Kill Devil Hill” is the next potential classic on this record. The title initially had me thinking along the lines of anti-war movies such as “Hamburger Hill,” when in fact the lyrics are again based on the theme of aviation and space travel. The chorus is simply out of this world – Bruce is in full swing here, and the keyboards merely add to the atmosphere instead of dominating the song – just the way it should be.

“Navigate the Seas of the Sun” is the ballad on here, and I have to say that at first I didn’t care for it at all. I still consider it the weakest song on the album, but at least it has grown on me to a point where I don’t have to skip it to enjoy the record. It’s just a somewhat unspectacular ballad driven by acoustic guitars and some keyboards. The major reason why it passes as a pretty decent song after all are Bruce’s stellar vocals – even when they are as relaxed as they are here, they still rule.

“River of No Return” is another great mid-tempo tune, alternating between atmospheric verses with some nice piano touches and a very heavy chorus. I really like how the verses slowly gain momentum until the awesome chorus kicks in. (Need I mention Bruce is once again phenomenal here?)

“Power of the Sun” is the most Maidenesque of all the songs on “Tyranny.” Clocking in at only around three and a half minutes, it wastes no time at getting to the point and has speed, great riffs, and yet another insanely catchy chorus, making this one of my favorite songs of Bruce’s solo career up to this point.

“Devil on the Hog,” as has been observed by other reviewers, has more of a Hard Rock feel to it and sounds almost like a leftover from Bruce’s solo debut “Tattooed Millionaire.” It’s not exactly the next highlight, but it doesn’t feel out of place either – I think it does a good job at adding variety and depth to the record.

“Believil” is a very interesting tune that differs a little from the majority of the songs. The verses are very slow and brooding, primarily focusing on eerie keyboard sounds, whereas the chorus with its chunky guitar riffs is just punishingly heavy. Overall, this song sounds very dark and has somewhat of a 1970s Black Sabbath Doom vibe to it.

“Tyranny of Souls,” the title track, concludes the record in due fashion. Bruce has saved the best for last here, as this song is a legitimate epic masterpiece. Though it clocks in at slightly under six minutes, it is so varied it actually seems to last much longer. The awesome chorus, which may be the best on the entire album, features amazing riffs and guitar harmonies, binding all the different parts of the song seamlessly together. Breathtaking!

As a conclusion, having already mentioned several times how great an album this is, it should suffice to say that Iron Maiden (i.e. Steve “stubborn old mule” Harris) would do well to take this as an example and make extensive use of Bruce’s songwriting skills on their next record. Hiring Roy Z, who has yet again done a very solid job as a producer, to handle the recording of the next Maiden album would also have been a very wise move, but apparently Kevin Shirley is already working with the boys in the studio. Oh well – here’s hoping the Caveman doesn’t screw up again this time around…

Bruce's Best Solo Effort - 99%

Fatal_Metal, November 8th, 2005

2005 has brought us in many cases the best in artists (Nevermore, Dark Tranquility) and in some cases quality releases (Children of Bodom, Destruction). Bruce has joined the former category as Tyranny of Souls is by far his best album. Many won’t agree with me on this but “Accident of Birth” and “The Chemical Wedding” were both excellent releases which I’d give a 90% but this one makes me go right to 99% without any hesitation at all. Bruce Dickinson finally returns to his solo band and has graced us with an awesome release. The style played here is 80’s metal (The big choruses and triumphant verses, fist pumping anthems) mixed with Maiden (Virtuoso soloing, Bruce’s vocals (Duh!)) with a modern touch. Even though the material here is simplistic, it is highly enjoyable and Bruce has released one of the best albums in 2005.

Musically, Bruce is his same solid self and delivers another great performance pouring in a lot of emotion and hitting high notes without shrieking as is his usual style. Whoever said that Bruce’s vocals now sucked would experience a punch in their face while listening to “Tyranny of Souls”. Roy Z is an awesome guitarist and almost as good as Adrian and Murray from “Iron Maiden”. His delicious soloing style is clearly seen in “Abduction”, “Kill Devil Hill” etc. Everyone else too does a solid job. The production on here is crystal clear and every instrumental is heard very clearly. Bruce once again makes a wise decision in putting the guitar right up front. The guitar tone is crushing and really gives the album a heavy edge; this guitar tone would have perfectly suited a thrash album and works perfectly for Bruce and co.

On a song level, there’s nothing here that’s even vaguely bad. Its pure heavy metal, full of triumphant fist-pumping anthems and great solos and riffs. “Abduction”, the first single from the album starts off with an instantly catchy heavy riff and also has a great solo near the end. “Soul Intruders” has an awesome fist-pumping chorus that shows the Air Raid Siren is in fine form indeed. “Kill Devil Hill” is the catchiest song on the album with awesome guitar melodies and a very well-written and executed chorus. “Navigate the Seas of the Sun” is a nice acoustic piece with excellent vocals by Bruce and a good solo. “River of No Return” follows with another great chorus. “Power of the Sun” is an insanely catchy number with a vintage-sounding chorus. “Devil on a Hog” has an excellent intro riff (actually like a heavier “I Don’t Believe in Love” {From Operation: Mindcrime by Queensryche}) and has some very catchy verses and a strange yet instantly catchy double-voiced chorus. “Believel” starts off with a strange “evil” overtone and is a crunchy heavy number with a dark atmosphere over it. “Tyranny of Souls” builds up slowly and breaks into an awesome chorus at 1:08 and gets really heavy around 2:45 with awesome soloing at 4:05 and acts as an excellent closer for the album.

All in all, an extremely memorable and well done album that any metalhead would like. Bruce truly is “the master of the chorus” as his voice can make any chorus memorable. So is “Tyranny of Souls” better than last years “Dance of Death” by “Iron Maiden”? That’s extremely tough to decide, but both are quality albums with “Tyranny of Souls” being underrated as no-one have given it the praise it deserved.

...Antoher Great Solo Work - 89%

Knives, June 15th, 2005

After seven long years of silence (except one live album and on best of). Bruce Dickinson brings us a great solo album again. Again he shows us that he really is the one of the greatest metal singers ever and that he can make a great album even without his "mother" band Iron Maiden.
The sound and atmosphere of the whole album is very exciting and won´t keep any fan of Iron Maiden or Bruce Dickinson cold.
The intro track "Mars Within" is just a starting line for the big storm of great music we are going to listen. It continues with a great song "Abduction" (this song also have a Videoclip :D ), which is starting with a heavy guitar riff supported by infernaly great drums. The rest of the songs until the song with number 5 are just very good. But the song with the number 5 – "Navigate the Seas of the Sun“ is the nicest and the most atmospherical song I have heard in last two months (the last one like this was Never, Ever by HammerFall) . Bruce´s voice supported by an acoustic guitar is just awesome. The other song that really drived my attention because of it´s memorable chorus and great guitar riffs, was „Power of the Sun“. The last but title song „Tyranny of Souls“ is one of the best songs by Bruce (honestly I like Dickinson´s title songs like "Chemical Wedding" and "Accident of birth" mostly).Very heavy with great guitar riffs and chorus.
The whole album is very good, but there is one big error of it. It´s lenght. The whole album has something less than 45 minutes. That really is very short for an album these days.
But, as I said before, every fan of Bruce Dickinson will enjoy this album to the maximum.

Controversial, yet amusing - 87%

deaf_rider, May 18th, 2005

After 2 albums and 7 years of extreme touring with the reunited Iron Maiden, Bruce decided to put out his sixth solo work, “Tyranny of souls”. As most of you could anticipate it is once again a solid effort in the same musical style as its latest predecessors. Bruce’s voice is in great shape and sharp riffs and guitar work is once more present thanks to his “alter-ego” Roy Z. But unfortunately when trying to compare “Tyranny…” with Bruce’s latest works, “Accident of Birth” and “The Chemical Wedding”, it somehow falls short of atmosphere, creativity and ultimately quality.

The album opens with an atmospheric introduction (“Mars Within”) followed by a killer track “Abduction”. Its “maiden-ish” structure and ravishing riff and chorus will satisfy even the most mistrustful. Then “Soul Intruders” kicks in, another uptempo, bringing in mind “Starchildren”. The third track, “Kill Devil Hill” is probably Dickinson’s view of how “Paschendale” and “Montsegur” should sound, a 5-minute epic with stunning chorus. Can’t wait to hear it live! The next track is the most interesting of the album. The tempo slows down as Roy is experimenting with acoustic guitar, keyboards and some samples and Bruce is giving us a more sensitive version of his voice that we can’t have in Maiden. The result is breathtaking and is completed with emotional lyrics about the experience of flight. “Tears of the Dragon” no. 2? Maybe even better.

Unfortunately the next four tracks are not of the same quality. “River of no return” is a plain filler, “Power of the Sun” wants to sound aggressive and in-your-face but ultimately fails to do so, while “Devil on a hog” is a soft rock tune that could have been written by Van Halen. Not bad but completely out of the album’s spirit. “Believil” is an effort to sound introvert and atmospheric but sounds narrow, flat and dull instead. Finally the self-titled track is another mid-tempo with a nice chorus, its dark approach bringing in mind “The alchemist” and “Man of sorrows”. A clever selection to close the album…if you haven’t pressed the STOP button during the previous 20 minutes of dullness, that is.


Ultimately “Tyranny of souls” is a nice album that is heard pleasantly but lacks something to be a real classic. Every fan of Bruce should enjoy this one…or at least its first half.

A tyranny of sound - 88%

enemy_of_the_public, May 15th, 2005

It is hard to believe that is seven years since Bruce Dickinson dropped the intense and stylish heavy metal album ‘The Chemical Wedding’ into the laps of metal listeners throughout the world. Boasting heavy and grandiose pieces of metal the fans were treated to what has been called his greatest work.

So now, in 2005, Bruce finally fulfils his promise to go back and record a new solo album with ‘A tyranny of souls’. But has he managed to keep the style that brought him the immense success last time around, or has he changed it and given the fans something new and diverse? The answer to this question is synthesis.

‘Mars Within’ is nothing more than an intro, boasting an eerie and dark soundtrack while Bruce calls out a lost professor, almost like a child chanting after a dream. This is immediately followed by a thunderous drum roll and skin flaying riff that opens the song ‘Abduction’ At first one could be forgiven for thinking that they were listening to a ‘lamb of god’ record, yes it is that modern. However the song oozes classic metal and Bruce’s vocals sound sharper and more crystal than anything he recorded during the 1990’s.

‘Soul Intruders’ follows in a similar style boasting some thunderous double bass and guitar riffs that are very thrashy and totally unexpected from a Bruce record. Singing about riding the winds of time and so forth this track has a very good vibe running through it and possessing a chorus that immediately harks back to ‘star children’ from 1996 record ‘Accident of Birth’.

‘Kill Devil Hill’, however, begins with a very symphonic guitar tone and is backed by quiet tapping of the cymbals. Just as you think this will be a slow number a tom roll smashes the silence and Bruce’s soaring voice serenades the track with wonderful notes. Bruce’s love of flight is no more apparent than on this song, singing about the maiden voyage of the ‘wright’ brothers. While this track lacks speed, Bruce’s voice just holds you in a transfix and the constant slaloming leads and riffs hold you fixed in place.

What follows next totally catches you out, slow acoustic strumming and jazzy snare rolls introduce the albums centrepiece ‘Navigate the seas of the sun’. With a topic about space travel Bruce sings in a very clean and soaring voice. This song sounds very much like ‘tears of the dragon’ and boy does it have the same power. Lovely Spanish guitar solos and beautiful keys serenade Bruce’s vocal journey beyond the stars, while totally unexpected in terms of what came before it, this song is just beautiful and a very apt middle track.

Following such a song would never be easy and ‘river of no return’ begins with tight and sludgy riffs that hark back to early 90’s rock. As a song it would be easy to dismiss this as filler, but Bruce’s voice just gives it such a power that should not be there, it is almost magical that he is able to produce such stunning singing. Not very memorable, yet a lovely song all the same.

Beginning with a very strange vocal solo that almost sounds like an outtake ‘Power of the sun’ begins with a swift and visceral guitar attack that seems alike ‘freak’ from AOB, yet has the sludgy and heavy riffing of TCW. While nothing special as a track it has a good groove and is again a good example of Bruce’s ability on vocals that Roy has produced from him on this record.

… and then it gets weird. Beginning with a riff that instantly harks back to ‘tattooed millionaire’ “Devil on a hog” comes at you in a vein that is pure 80’s rock. Bruce has said in a recent interview this was deliberate with the idea of the devil riding on a Harley Davidson across the stars pulling women. It is very much a parody of a song and is pure fun, indeed one could say Bruce parodies himself with lyrics like ‘I’m not the retiring kind.’ A surprise, but like ‘navigate…’ a very welcome one.

What follows this are two tracks that hark back to doomy and slow origins of metal. ‘Believil’ has a vibe that is very similar to that of the ‘Holy Diver’ record by Dio. It would be very easy to see the great leather lunged one himself singing this track and as a song it is very good. A slab of old doom twinged metal, very welcome indeed.

…And so we are led onto the closing title track ‘A tyranny of souls’ and boy what an ending, this begins with a vibe that is reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s eponymous signature song. Much like ‘the alchemist’ at the end of ‘chemical wedding’ Bruce returns to the beginning of the album at the start of this song, rechanting the name of the mysterious professor from ‘mars within’. This song has incredible attacking riffs that while slow, just scream metal. Bruce’s vocals are also very similar to those used on the title track to CW with lots of exaggerated malice and darkness to them.

The album isn’t as fast as you would believe from the opening songs, nor is it as heavy as you would have expected from a follow up to ‘The Chemical Wedding’. But what this album has is musical prowess from all angles. Roy Z seems to benefit very much from having Bruce in the studio and likewise Bruce’s voice soars free of the straining live conditions forced upon them during the last two Iron Maiden records. In its place comes an album packing power and oozing style. For those who are not fans of Maiden or Bruce there is not much here that will encourage you to listen, but for those who are I suggest checking this out.

A step down from Chemical Wedding but still great - 85%

gor, April 4th, 2005

You can’t write a complete review of a new Bruce Dickinson album if you don’t compare it with the latest Maiden offering. That is an unspoken law that has ritualistically been kept since 1990. I will avoid head to head comparisons, because the result, in 99% of the cases has been solidified by the time the reviewer sees the band logo on the front cover. I will, however, mention what parts of the album, which ideas, which methods I’d like to suck into a syringe and inject them into the iron skull of Mr. Harris.
Since I am on my first listens, it is difficult for me to do a song by song review. Let me compose my review with remarks I made in general:

-As expected, Bruce’s voice doesn’t sound strained on no groove of the album. Take note of that Steve next time you decide to record “live”. True, the high end vocals here are not as common or as high as the eighties albums where Bruce sings, but that doesn’t seem to be missing. Bruce has mastered his voice and knows how to deliver the goods, even without his 1983 vocal range.

-Also as expected, the guitar section is good but orphaned from the absence of Adrian. His fluent solos that seem to branch of the song as naturally as they return to it are missing. Not that Roy’s playing is bad. But what I like most of him as a guitarist is his crunchy riffs which are sown through the album.

-Unexpectedly, many of the vocal lines of the album, in my opinion, sound less musical and fluent than what I’ve come to expect from Bruce’s solo albums. They sound a bit forced, a bit read through instead of sung, suffering a bit from Acute Harrisitis (when else has Bruce tried to fit “With wood string and wire we can barely control our desire” into one breath?). I hope our boy pulls through in time for the next Maiden album because I was counting on him to kick some sense into Sgt Harris on that matter. (Note: I have just started the second listen, and Bruce’s vocal lines on Abduction, which stink of Silver Wings, reassure me that the vocal lines could have been better). The situation seems to get better as the songs advance, and surely hasn’t affected the choruses, which are catchy and witty, which brings me to the next observation:

-The lyrics are as mystic and carefully crafted as ever. Bruce even managed to avoid lyrical cheesiness on Kill Devil Hill’s subject. This album is further proof that he must be the central lyricist in Maiden, Eddie knows we don’t need any more lyrics about hardcore Christian beliefs on genetics or about petty crimes punished with a holiday. Let me note simply that Bruce seems to wink at Maidenheads on more than a couple occasions during the album: Blood Brothers, Icarus and Wildest Dreams, all found their way on the lyrics, surely without Bruce thinking that some of us would take notice.

-The rhythm section is solid and crisp. I wouldn’t even think of comparing the bass player with Harris (of old). The drummer, compared to Nicko is what the T1000 is to TX on Terminator 2. He’s faster, he’s updated, he’s louder, but he doesn’t stand a chance in terms of character when compared to Nicko. In fact, I thought it was the T1000 playing drums on Navigate The Seas Of The Sun, because it is a mellow song which requires not power but versatility and jazziness, and that is where David Ingraham, the Tribe Of Gypsies drummer, would have surely done miracles.

-The production is great, Bruce seems to bring out the best in Roy Z… Not one muddy guitar. I wonder what magic Bruce does on Roy every time they work together, because almost all of Roy’s non-Bruce productions have been muddier than a tar pit. After this realization, I would even dare to consider him as the No2 option, behind Andy Sneap, for the production chair in Maiden, which is currently shared by Kevin “Pontius Pilatus” Shirley and Steve Harris.

-The cover artwork sets the mood perfectly, the choise of painting is great, although the yellow with a white border of the band’s logo really clashes with the rest. It clashes enough to believe that it was pasted atop it by someone who wanted to show what the artwork could be like, knowing which painting Bruce was going to use. But we know what happened last time we speculated that the cover was fake, don’t we…

-All in all, buy the album. You know you will anyway. It is quality stuff and will surely fill the gap between it and the next Maiden offering. Or maybe it filled the gap between Chemical Wedding and the next Bruce solo album. It depends which side you’re on….. errr…. what you like best.