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Controversial, yet amusing - 87%

deaf_rider, May 18th, 2005

After 2 albums and 7 years of extreme touring with the reunited Iron Maiden, Bruce decided to put out his sixth solo work, “Tyranny of souls”. As most of you could anticipate it is once again a solid effort in the same musical style as its latest predecessors. Bruce’s voice is in great shape and sharp riffs and guitar work is once more present thanks to his “alter-ego” Roy Z. But unfortunately when trying to compare “Tyranny…” with Bruce’s latest works, “Accident of Birth” and “The Chemical Wedding”, it somehow falls short of atmosphere, creativity and ultimately quality.

The album opens with an atmospheric introduction (“Mars Within”) followed by a killer track “Abduction”. Its “maiden-ish” structure and ravishing riff and chorus will satisfy even the most mistrustful. Then “Soul Intruders” kicks in, another uptempo, bringing in mind “Starchildren”. The third track, “Kill Devil Hill” is probably Dickinson’s view of how “Paschendale” and “Montsegur” should sound, a 5-minute epic with stunning chorus. Can’t wait to hear it live! The next track is the most interesting of the album. The tempo slows down as Roy is experimenting with acoustic guitar, keyboards and some samples and Bruce is giving us a more sensitive version of his voice that we can’t have in Maiden. The result is breathtaking and is completed with emotional lyrics about the experience of flight. “Tears of the Dragon” no. 2? Maybe even better.

Unfortunately the next four tracks are not of the same quality. “River of no return” is a plain filler, “Power of the Sun” wants to sound aggressive and in-your-face but ultimately fails to do so, while “Devil on a hog” is a soft rock tune that could have been written by Van Halen. Not bad but completely out of the album’s spirit. “Believil” is an effort to sound introvert and atmospheric but sounds narrow, flat and dull instead. Finally the self-titled track is another mid-tempo with a nice chorus, its dark approach bringing in mind “The alchemist” and “Man of sorrows”. A clever selection to close the album…if you haven’t pressed the STOP button during the previous 20 minutes of dullness, that is.

Ultimately “Tyranny of souls” is a nice album that is heard pleasantly but lacks something to be a real classic. Every fan of Bruce should enjoy this one…or at least its first half.