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renaissance realised - 98%

extremesymphony, August 10th, 2011

This is truely the best of Bruce. The songwriting is just terrific and to the point. Lyrically this album has some sort of concept based on alchemy. Many of the tracks follow the concept and we see the lyrics being written just to the point for the concept. The lyrics are superb, mystical and the production just brings out the mystic feeling out of the songs. The sound of the album is much heavier compared to his previous albums or his work in Maiden.

The individual performances are just superb. The main highlight of the album is Bruce as expected. His voice is just magical in this album. He sounds wicked and possesed on tracks like Book of Thel or Killing Floor but also sounds melodic in the softer songs like Jerusalem and Gates of Urizen. Adrian Smith is also in a lethal form. Along with Roy Z he forms the guitar unit on this album. The guitar work on this record is just brilliant. The drums played by David Ingraham are also fantastic especially the little drum solo in Book of Thel.

Among the individual songs, Book of Thel is the best song off the album. It is also the longest and the most aggressive song on the album. Bruce sounds really possesed on this song. Jerusalem is one of the softer songs on the album. It starts almost as a ballad but gets on heavier. The title track is also great. It is midpaced but the mysterious mystic feeling that it manages to create is just fantastic. The chorus is really brilliant. The Alchemist is another highlight. It is also midpaced, and like the title track, it also has a mystic feel to it. Incidently, towards the end, this song very beautifully merges in the chorus of the title track. King in Crimson, Machine Men, Trumpets of Jericho, The Tower, The Gates Of Urizen all are great songs. Killing Floor is an aggressive track, but after some time it sounds quite boring, just like a Number of the Beast.

This album easily crushes away any of the Bruce's earlier outputs and that includes his entire career in Maiden also, yes this is even better than a Powerslave or Somewhere In Time. All the elements work well and flow in together to deliver a well organised and expertly planned output. At the end of the songs Bruce adds spoken parts which to the best of my knowledge are the works by William Blake. It sounds cool and very fitting considering the concept of the album. The atmosphere and the strange aura which surrounds the album is another standout point. We are transported to completely another world of alchemy and poetry. Concluding, this album is a must have for any Iron Maiden or Bruce Dickinson fan, so don't hesitate to buy it.