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Majestic! and the last of the true classics - 99%

morbert, May 21st, 2008

Now here’s a Maiden album that is way up there with Powerslave and Number Of The Beast. This album once again was a step forward in terms of production but the lyrics were also a lot better than on the previous “Somewhere in Time” album. On this album Dickinson and Murray provided some material again, making this album slightly more varied than SIT already was.

I will continue this review by immediately pointing out an underrated all time Maiden classic. We’re talking “The Prophecy” here, a Murray-Harris tune. The song has some similarities with the earlier Still Life (Piece Of Mind, 1983) but is an improved version of the concept. The melodies on this song are some of the best on this album and the song as a whole an a pinnacle of heavy metal beauty. This is a song I have always found to be worthy of being in the regular live set and should be on every compilation. Yes, I feel that strong about this song. The best song with Murray in the credits.

Another personal fave (and fortunately also a general fan-fave) is opener “Moonchild” which probably is the heaviest and fastest song Smith and Dickinson wrote together for Maiden. This song is worthy of the Aces High-The Trooper legacy and the ultimate opener on the album.

I had some troubles with “Infinite Dreams” over the years because of the slick guitars on the intro and the feeling this song was too much of a third version of Remember Tomorrow and Revelations. The song however grew on me over the years and has become a timeless classic power ballad because of the brilliant way the vocal lines progress and the easiness of the time changes throughout the song.

The epic master piece, the title track, has a lot of similarities with Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. The song is somewhat slower and darker but also has a lengthy laid back middle section with an eerie atmosphere and spoken words. Apart from that comparison the song is brilliant with an excelling Dickinson on vocals and great use of keyboards without getting cheesy.

“The Evil That Men Do” and “The Clairvoyant” are two singles that are catchy but never cheesy. They are two compact songs from which the first is based more around riffs and the second about on. On both songs Dickinson gives an outstanding performance. “Only the Good Die Young” could have easily have been a single as well, balancing between the speed and heaviness of Moonchild and the catchiness of The Evil That Men Do the song is another hidden gem on the album.

Leaves us with ‘that’ song. The very commercial sounding and over-catchy “Can I Play With Madness”. This song couldn’t have come as a surprise since it only takes the success formula of “Wasted Years” a step further. It is a metalized rock song with catchy chorus and flashy guitars but mostly it is a good Maiden song.

So you see, there are no bad songs here, making this one of the best Maiden albums ever. Also the artwork was sheer beauty (even though it featured Eddie). The colours, the concept. And once again a broader sound.