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The disappointing follow-up - 75%

raZe, July 28th, 2002

After the first album was released, the fans quickly screamed for another one. Somehow it seems Iron Maiden rushed out this album, as it's nowhere as good as the debut. The main problem is that many of the songs are difficult to remember, so the album becomes sort of a blur. I admit it now, I must listen to each song as I review them. On a good note, though, the sound has improved from the debut, while it still has some way to go before it's perfect.

The first track here is 'The Ides of March'. It's an instrumental, and really an intro to the rest of the album, as it's only a minute and a half long. But that doesn't get in the way of it's remarkable quality. It's without doubt the best intro on any record yet. Then it's show time, as 'Wrathchild' begins. It's an extremely good song, aggressive and a memorable chorus. Track number three is what I think is the best song on display here: 'Murders In the Rue Morgue' is a fast rocker with a deceivingly slow opening, and it's simply a testament to Maiden's incredible song writing skills. So far 'Killers' has all the quality the debut contains. But from song number four it goes a bit downhill. The name of the track is 'Another Life', and though it's cool, it's impossible to remember the damn song. It's fast and relatively simple, and worth hearing, but that's it. After that little setback comes 'Genghis Khan', another instrumental. It's a bit hard to memorize that as well, but it's an incredible track, with a haunting leadguitar twin solo in the middle. What you notice with the next track, 'Innocent Exile', is that Steve Harris' bass is even more present on this album. 'Innocent Exile' starts with a bass intro, and that's quite uncommon in any band. Except for that, there's little to say about this track. It's cool, but again it doesn't stand out in any way. It seems a good word for this album is "anonymous".

Now the album gets an uplift with 'Killers'. The title track is a great one, and especially the drums are impressive. An interesting fact is that the guitars are a bit ugly, something Maiden's not exactly known for. Luckily, it's only this song. As with most other songs, it's hardly easy to remember, but it's as it is with the movie 'Raging Bull'. I seldom want to see it, but when I first do, it's incredible from start to finish. Well, so this album isn't incredible from start to finish, but it's always better than I remember it as. Track number eight is 'Prodigal Son'. It's this album's answer to 'Remember Tomorrow' and 'Strange World', if not quite as good. Surprisingly, it's sticks in your mind from day one, a rather unusual thing on 'Killers'. So comes 'Purgatory'. It's an okay song only, but with a very cool middle section. Again, it's fast and furious, as many songs on this album, but fast and furious doesn't equal good quality, now does it. All in all, a rather pointless song. Track number ten is named 'Twilight Zone'. Okay, but nothing more. This is what most people would call a filler. Gruesome to say that about any Maiden song, but it's true. 'Drifter' is the very last song, thank God, for the second half on this album leaves something to be desired. This doesn't impress me at all. It could have been the worst song of them all, if it weren't for a nice middle section, where the song calms down. Also the drums are a bit better then average.

So, we have come to the end. It's a mixed album, where the memorable tracks are few and far between. If it had been any other classic heavy metal band, this album would have been enough, but Maiden can do much better than this. It's a cool record to listen to, but when the final track ends, it's as if you feel empty inside, because you can't remember much about it at all. I know this record is for someone their favourite Maiden album, but I just can't see why. So, it may seem that Maiden are one-hit wonders; one great album, and that's it. But that couldn't be further from the truth. A year on, Maiden would conquer the world with their third album, and be proclaimed Satanists at the same time. 6..6..6...