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Mediocre - 35%

Zodijackyl, September 24th, 2012

It is common for a band-oriented musician's solo work to set up everything around them for their performance to be the focal point of the album. Maybe Steve Harris noticed that most of the recent talk about Kyuss has been their bassist(s) and assumed that a guy who could pull of the intro to "100ยบ" for ten minutes and a vocalist that doesn't really fit the band would be a good supporting cast to make everyone talk about the bassist. More likely, he wanted to try out all of the hard rock styles of the last two decades without tainting the name of Iron Maiden.

The album seems to transition through three sections - stuck on the wah padel worse than a Kirk Hammett solo while the vocalist sounds like John Garcia, arpeggio-heavy hard rock with vocals that sound like a non-dynamic Russell Allen, and the radio rock songs that earn the term in a negative way. The last track is a ballad that makes you wait over four minutes for it to get to the heavy part, then the album ends without it getting heavy. I can see why Harris would want to try out these styles, and I'm thankful that he knew that this was side-project material.

What about the bass playing? Mike Portnoy once said that he thinks a good drummer is one who is in a good band, not a drummer who is the showiest. The same thing can be said of the bassist here. His style is perfect for Iron Maiden, but even if it's similar on this album, it just sucks because the music around it is not good. The style of the music doesn't frame the bass playing well either - a power trio format playing something like Manilla Road's "Metal" would be a great way to show that a solid bassist could drive the music, but he does that enough in his main band. This is the album where he can explore what music is like without the familiar comforts of killer riffs and dual guitar leads, a great vocalist, or even Blaze Bayley.

If any of these songs came on the radio, I'd probably change the station.