Since the moment that a new Iron Maiden was announced, the whole metal world went on expectation and anxiety mode. It was the re-assurance that this band was moving forward after singer Bruce Dickinson beat cancer, because at the end of the day ‘Iron Maiden can’t be stop‘. yes a song line that became the embodiment of Bruce‘s victory, The Book Of Souls is another form of this machine we call Iron Maiden, and the power they hold within the heavy metal world. The Book Of Souls can be praised, criticized, hated, and bring out any other feelings that you might or might not have towards the album, but the fact that you listen to it, think of it, and took the time to come up with a response to it, this means that this band called your attention whether because you like the band, you feel neutral about it or just to prove a contrary point. But, what we can’t deny is the power that those two words – Iron Maiden– have over the metal world. Even on the eve of its release many bands, artists, and other fan bases praised the album on social media, and prove their loyalty to one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time.
Going into the album, there are some things to consider at the time to talk about The Book Of Souls, and that is that in some parts they broke away from the style the band created with The Final Frontier. If you listen to songs like The Book Of Souls or If Eternity Should Fail, there is a lot of similar elements that reminiscence the Powerslave era. So the classic Maiden sound becomes present on this record, along with the thrilling galloping and the change of tempos from slow to fast and vice versa.
Songs like Speed Of Light bring back the style the band has worked on since The Dance Of Death, also you will find those elements on The Great Unknown, which carries this great build up moments and the classic guitars on it are so melancholic yet so powerful. The Red And The Black, which marries perfectly both styles, the early and the modern Maiden into a single song. Now, Speed Of Light is a great song, but I find Bruce‘s vocals lost among the music, and a bit lower than the rest of the band for some reason.
When The River Runs Deep is a more of a bluesy/rock and roll song with a lot of clashing guitars and epic guitar solos, then we have Tears Of A Clown and Empire Of Clouds which both have interesting twists and turns, but they sound more like a Bruce Dickinson‘s solo songs, they are different from Maiden, yet that is what makes then so fresh and different, specially Empire Of Clouds with that great piano section at the beginning. Both of those song are a bit more calm than the rest of the album though. Shadows Of The Valley and Death Or Glory have a more progressive sound and are more in touch with the modern Maiden sound, but then again if you listen carefully there is a lot of more classic Maiden sound between lines.
Even though, this album has some continuation to The Final Frontier album, I can say The Book Of Souls is a merging point for the classic and modern sound of Maiden. it also brings back elements from Bruce’s solo career that I have not seen on a Maiden record before.
5 out of 5 Rating:
1. “If Eternity Should Fail” (Dickinson) 8:28
2. “Speed of Light” (Smith/ Dickinson) 5:01
3. “The Great Unknown” (Smith/ Harris) 6:37
4. “The Red and the Black” (Harris) 13:33
5. “When the River Runs Deep” (Smith/ Harris) 5:52
6. “The Book of Souls” (Gers/ Harris) 10:27
7. “Death or Glory” (Smith/ Dickinson) 5:13
8. “Shadows of the Valley” (Gers/ Harris) 7:32
9. “Tears of a Clown” (Smith/ Harris) 4:59
10. “The Man of Sorrows” (Murray/ Harris) 6:28
11. “Empire of the Clouds” (Dickinson) 18:01
Genre: Heavy Metal
Record Label: BMG
Playing Time: 92 minutes
Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals, piano on “Empire of the Clouds”
Dave Murray – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar
Janick Gers – guitar
Steve Harris – bass, keyboards, co-producer
Nicko McBrain – drums