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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.