The Book Of Souls 2015
Bruce Dickinson : Vocals, Piano
Dave Murray: Guitar
Adrian Smith: Guitar
Janick Gers : Guitar
Steve Harris : Bass, Keyboards
Nicko McBrain : Percussion
1: If Eternity Should Fail (Dickinson)
A long introduction starts things off, but comes in with a solid groove after. A mid paced tempo keeps me locked in for the ride. The song has good verse, and decent choruses, but the magic really happens when a nice solo section around the 5 minute mark lets loose. This is not a bad song, but ends it with a very odd spoken dialogue that was really unnecessary, theatrical effect was all it was meant for I assume.
2: Speed of light ( Smith , Dickinson)
No long intro like before gets right down to it. This song has more of that classic Maiden feel to it, even though it is not a fast paced song. It has a cool solo section where the guys rotate a few bars each. This is a fun song to listen to. It has all the elements you want from an Iron maiden song, it has dizzying guitar work, and rock solid drumming. The verses are spot on, and the chorus is contagious. This song is not only a great song to listen to, it’s a fun song also, enjoyable really.
3: The Great Unknown ( Smith, Harris)
This song starts out with a slower feel, similar to how fear of the dark starts out with that melodic guitar intro and softly sung lyrics. The rest of the band comes in, and the song really begins to take shape. It has a mid-paced feel to it, and thankfully Bruce can still hit those highs. The song is a very fundamental song in that it is not breaking barriers until the solo section begins.
4: The Red and The Black ( Harris)
The song starts out with a nice bass intro for a few bars, and the song begins full steam. It has that iron Maiden “gallop” rhythm that you notice in songs like the trooper, however this song is a much slower tempo than the classics. The rhythm is absolutely solid, and Bruce nails the verses down. It has that “whoa” type of chorus that allows all concert goers to get in on the fun when they play live shows. In my honest opinion, I could easily see this song being a fan favorite at live shows.
5: When The River Runs Deep ( Smith, Harris)
It begins with a nice guitar riff, and has a more upbeat tempo to it. The intro for this song would be more appreciated in a live setting, the verses, and the chorus are undeniably catchy, with a good build to this song. The song has moments where it seems to slow down, slightly, but it picks right back up every time, especially going into the guitar solo which is on point. Not a bad song by any means.
6: The Book of Souls ( Gers, Harris)
This song starts out with an acoustic guitar playing a light melody, then the rest of the band joins in. It has a slower, and a symphonic sound to it. The verses follow the tempo and energy, however the song doesn’t grab my attention until the pre chorus. With this song I had to replay it a few times to get the full effect. ¾ of the way when the tempo picks up it got a bit more interesting. This song does not disappoint, the guitar solos are great. This song requires you to make it past the halfway mark to get so much more out of the song. I recommend if you are tempted to skip this song, do yourself the favor and wait. If you make it through the track completely and don’t like it, then at least you gave it a chance.
7: Death or Glory ( Smith, Dickinson)
The way it starts out, with the short intro that rolls right into the rhythm. I am enjoying this song very much on first play. This song has a more upbeat feel to it, very catchy, this so far is my favorite track off the album. The verses, are rock solid, and the chorus is fun and catchy. Nothing over the top about this song, they used a winning formula for the writing of this song. The solo section is great, I love it, and this song is a hit in my opinion.
8: Shadows of the Valley ( Gers, Harris)
This song starts out with a light pattern on a closed high hat, and some finger working on the guitars. Bruce joins in with vocals progressing along with Nicko’s drums. The first verse is almost as catchy as some choruses, it is simple to follow along to. The chorus is infectious, you can’t help but sing along to the song. If this song doesn’t have you tapping your foot, or tapping on something, playing air drums or air guitar you have missed the boat. The guitar soloing is great, something I have always enjoyed about Iron Maiden is the guitar solos. They are very powerful solos, without going over the top. They are never too flashy, but are not lacklustre either. This is a great song, a very worthwhile listen.
9: Tears of a Clown ( Smith, Harris)
This song, has a great feel to it, strong lyrics, solid verses, catchy pre chorus, and a chorus that will leave you singing along within its first play. It does seem like they have slowed down a bit in their years, but they don’t lose anything by slowing down. In fact I would say it gave them a chance to focus on making this album a stellar addition to the Iron Maiden catalog. I needed to play this song more than once just to get the big picture of what the song had to offer. It’s a solid addition to the album.
10: The Man of Sorrows ( Murray, Harris)
Great intro with the guitar, very melodic and peaceful. It maintains the melodic feel for two minutes, when it picks right up in tempo and intensity. The song almost changes its whole dimension by that time, and both the first half and the second half of the song are great, in their own way very enjoyable. I find myself wanting the melodic first half to be longer, and also the same for the energetic anthem like second half.
11: Empire of the Clouds ( Dickinson)
This song, is a long melodic ballad, written about the 1930 R101 airship crash resulting in mass loss of life aboard the airship. This song we hear Bruce not only singing but playing the piano as well. This is a great song, a powerful song written very well. It almost connects the listener to the day the R101 crashed. The first half of the song is a slower melodic tune, with mostly Bruce and the piano, with guitars accompanying pleasantly without over shadowing anything. By the second half, the song picks up in tempo, with quite a few bars of guitar soloing, and we can hear synthesizers. It seems to give you that chaotic “danger, danger” feel. Maybe it was written to replicate that sense of panic the crew members must have felt. This is an absolutely great song to sit and listen to.
I really enjoy this album, it has all of the classic characteristics of an Iron Maiden album, and seems to have focused much more on the music quality. If Iron Maiden called it a day and hung up their “Irons” they did so with a great album. I suggest to give this album a few plays, before forming any opinion. The first thing you will notice is the band has slowed down a bit, none of the songs are as energetic as say The Trooper, or Aces high. They don’t sacrifice anything for the fact that they have slowed down, because all of the songs still have the great guitar riffs, and solos. The band seems to have spent more time focusing on the music and wanting to deliver an album that does not have any tracks that you would choose to skip. The hardest part with listening to this album is finding the time to just listen to the songs in order non-stop without interruption to fully enjoy The Book of Souls in its entirety. Its a great album, and worth the purchase.