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An honest and grounded hard rock party record - 80%

kluseba, March 4th, 2012

After the release of many legendary progressive heavy metal records with his main band Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson decided to stick back to his roots and to release a more grounded and honest hard rock and heavy metal album which would become his first solo output "Tattooed Millionaire". The songs are very catchy and much easier to understand and appreciate than the epic tracks of his main band and this first output is essentially a feel good party record. It's the ideal music you want to hear on a sunny Saturday morning when you hit the open road with a motorcycle to meet with some friends in a pub and play some rounds of pool billiard. The album has a very cool and relaxed attitude at some points but also some very personal lyrics and some parts that criticize the society and the stereotypical tough rocker image.

The album kicks off with an excellent power ballad which is "Son Of A Gun", easily one of the best tracks on the entire release. The title track has a cool hard rock vibe and aggressive lyrics and shouts that give us a hint on the forthcoming and often criticized Iron Maiden release "No Prayer For The Dying". The fact that Steve Harris liked the track "Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter" that Bruce Dickinson originally wrote with his solo band for the soundtrack of "Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child" so much that he would use it for Iron Maiden shows that Bruce Dickinson had a big influence on the changes of style that would occur within the band. He also brought the guitar player from his solo band, a certain Janick Gers, in the band to replace Adrian Smith who had just quit the band to try some more or rather less successful and convincing solo experiments. If you like "No Prayer For The Dying", you will also like this record but I personally even prefer this solo release as it has a constant flow, many great ideas that fit well together and a very intimate atmosphere in tracks such as the personal melodic rock masterpiece "Born In '58" hidden between the rebellious rock anthems that make me think of bands such as Aerosmith, Def Leppard or Free.

Towards the end of the record, Bruce Dickinson gets even a little bit more experimental with some crossover funk sounds reminding me of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as in "Lickin' The Gun" or the slightly experimental "Zulu Lulu". The Mott The Hoople cover "All The Young Dudes" perfectly fits to these songs and the overall musical attitude of this record and this is one if not the best version of the song I have heard so far. The closing "No Lies" surprises with discordant guitar sounds but goes slightly nowhere and is one of the weakest tracks on this enjoyable record.

In the end, this is a down to earth easy listening hard rock record. It's nothing groundbreaking or innovating but it's a pleasure to listen to this energizing and cool music. At the time, this music was a good way for Bruce Dickinson to catalyze his creativity and his very personal tastes and it's a refreshing alternative to the music Iron Maiden made in the years before even if both styles are not comparable and nothing would ever reach the high quality of heavy metal milestones such as "Powerslave" or "Somewhere In Time". Anybody who really likes hard rock and simple heavy metal music should check this album out but a true Iron Maiden fan and even someone who admires the voice of Bruce Dickinson could have some starting troubles with this record and should check his later solo records such as "Accident Of Birth" or "The Chemical Wedding" out before he gets down to this rather simple kind of music.