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IRON MAIDEN are an enigma to me. While I both understand and respect the incessant lauding the band has received since their initial inception (or for some, after "Number of the Beast" was released), for all their flair and elegance their music has always been quite middle of the road and bland to me. The music seems easily enjoyable, energetic, and able to generate plentiful fist pumps...for the first few songs. But once you get halfway through and are treated to more of the same it's like feasting on a supper of saltines and water; sure, it's filling, but leaves leaves the palette uninterested and blah. I gave this band more than a fair share of honest tries, unfortunately to the same conclusion time and again, so I figured it would suit us both well if I were to just leave them to their dedicated fanbase and for me to fuck off into that goodnight. That was, until a high school chum made me listen to this, stating its importance and all-out awesomeness within both the MAIDEN and metal world, hoping to change my perspective
Nope. Didn't happen.
I'm not saying IRON MAIDEN is a bad band, far from it; they're very capable and professional musicians who know their craft and do it well. It's just that my tastes have been tempered since day one with more extreme and relatively differing acts to the point where ensconcing of the NWOBHMy kind just doesn't cut the mustard. As with JUDAS PRIEST and MANOWAR I'm not really thrown by the more simplistic and humbly necessary old-timers in this day and age, and "Brave New World" doesn't help matters.
This album screams "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", obviously remembering the days of yore and catering to it in absolute spades. However, this time around the energy and interestingness is watered down, coming off more as "MAIDEN by numbers" as opposed to the Seventh Son of A Real Live Beast that plugged along for years. In my eyes this isn't quite the rebirth of the MAIDEN that many people have made it out to be. When it comes to the performance, however, the listener gets a column A-column B dilemna...Steve Harris is still a master of the four stringer, plinking along to his heart's content as the rest of the band follows suit in varying degrees; from the good end of the human metronone-style drumwork of Mr. McBrain to Bruce Dickinsen's air-raid siren wails still having the punch and power they once had, to the bad end of overly-rhythmic, phoned-in guitar riffing and the same lack of original ideas that's plagued the band. When the band is on, they're on, as evidenced by the stronger "The Fallen Angel" and "Dream of Mirrors", but they also fall flat on their faces with clunkers like "The Wicker Man" and "Out of the Silent Planet"...essentially it starts strong (outside of "Wicker Man") and slowly fades into oblivion by the album's conclusion.
So all in all this didn't quite live up to its original expectations for me, nor did it really change my mind about the IRON MAIDEN world. Unfortunate, I'll admit...but to each his/her own, and this still slated the hunger of all MAIDENites the world over. Sorry guys, I tried.