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Ouch. - 20%

Nightcrawler, August 11th, 2003

Wow, does this suck or what? After the awesome Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, you'd think that they'd put out something good. Instead, they put out the worst piece of shit in their entire career. On this album, the songwriting just went to hell. The songs come off as really forced and generic, and nothing really works. This is evident right from the opening song Tail Gunner- a balls-out rocker that has no balls. The opening riff is too simplistic, and the production makes it way too clean and harmless for it's own good. The verses are too happy, and the chorus is dead cool but really fucking repetitive- "Climb into the sky, never wonder why" x 4. It really gets old.
Many of the songs give a vibe of lack of inspiration, in that they all seem to be trying to recreate old classics instead of creating new and fresh heavy metal. The previously mentioned Tail Gunner sounds like a really weak Aces High clone, the lead-based title track which speeds up later on is what Infinite Dreams would be if it sucked goat balls. The so-called 'epic' Mother Russia is weak as all fucking hell, and one of the worst Maiden songs ever. The keyboards that give the impression of some huge melodic backing choir were already used in a much better way on the Seventh Son title track, and the whole song seems really watered out. They just suddenly forgot how to write really good songs.

Musically, the album is more riff-based than the previous two- construction-wise pretty similar to The Number of the Beast, only much simpler, and completely lacking a sense of punch or decent riffwork. The leads are also over-happy and give a watered-out feeling for the most part, most notably in the title track, which I believe is the worst Iron Maiden song of all time. What must also be mentioned is the completely atrocious opening riff to Holy Smoke- I can't describe the godawfulness of it. It's really fucking horrible.
But, one thing that you can always count on when it comes down to Iron Maiden is that you get some really fucking good soloing. Cause that's the only thing that the album doesn't fuck up. We get some awesome solos in pretty much all of the tracks, with Holy Smoke standing out on that point. But good solos can't save this album; it'd take alot more to redeem this steaming pile of goo. I thought it was impossible to have this huge amount of bad songs on the same Iron Maiden album. Fates Warning- the supposedly introspective lyrics are just really fucking generic and dull, the vocals go nowhere and the chorus bores me to death. The Assassin actually has one cool melodic riff coming in at about 0:22, but aside from that it's just over-atmospheric and a failed attempt of making something dark. Hooks In You has that catchy 80's styled intro riff but then gets really fucking generic, boring and completely forgettable. Tail Gunner, Holy Smoke, Run Silent Run Deep, it all sucks.

Fact remains though, that there is one real fucking classic on the album, which totally kicks the shit out of anything else on the album. Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the song rules. One of the most wicked sex songs ever, with that incredibly catchy chorus, the devastating midpaced basslines, the badass solo and the atmospheric "aahaah" middle part with that sinister melodic riff underneath it. Yes, that song fucking rocks.
But, with Bring Your Daughter being the one and only exception, this album infinitely sucks goat balls, and has no place at all in the Maiden discography.