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Get us on The Time Machine, we need to bring Martin Birch back - 35%

Trexx, September 13th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, Digital, Parlophone

Let's get started with the obvious, the production is awful. Particularly on most of the first half, for a band that says the debut album isn't produced great they sure don't mind the state that this album is in here.

I got a bit excited for the first track Senjutsu when I heard the keyboard, but that excitement was only a mere second before I realized it was buried in the mix. Same applies for Stratego which WOULD be rated higher if not for being the worst produced song on the album. The Writing On The Wall is where the production "improves", meaning it's more tolerable on the ears but still is strikingly not very good. This track also possesses a tendency that is present through most of this album, it repeats the chorus way too much and could easily be made into a shorter track. Again Shirly with no control of this band. The rest of side one apart from the side closing track isn't worth mentioning, bland but not unbearable.

The last track of side one and the first of side two are my favorite songs here, The Time Machine and my favorite track Darkest Hour. The synths on most of the first half of the albums got repetitive quick with little change, for these few tracks they greatly improve the atmosphere. Darkest Hour is possibly my favorite due to it sounding VERY similar to the Bruce solo track Tears Of The Dragon, it's too bad Bruce didn't keep it to himself for a solo record. After that prepare to nap HARD, because 3 more tracks to go over ten minutes is what you'll be getting.

The Parchment is the worst track on here and maybe my least favorite Maiden track of all time. It 100% has everything that is wrong with modern Maiden. From being the LONGEST track at 12 minutes, to having everyone perform a guitar solo that turns into white noise, and to top it all off lyrical sections that repeat over and over again. This truly hurt to sit through, and the other 2 tracks that share it's long run time don't get much better.

This is a huge disappointment. I really enjoy parts of the sound displayed on this album but the lazy excuse of production and song length kills any hope this album had. Going for a 3.5 rating despite feeling way to generous with that rating, I'd gladly relisten with a remix of this record but until then this will be yet another let down from one of my favorite band's of all time.

Highlights:
Darkest Hour
Stratego (Despite it's awful production)
The Time Machine

Lowlights:
Death of the Celts
Hell On Earth
The Parchment