Iron Maiden The Book of Souls: Album Review

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Iron Maiden fans never seem to have anything to worry about: this band is the most consistent bands on earth. Released on 4 September 2015, The Book of Souls is as melodic, heavy, glam and groovy as Iron Maiden ever has been.

This album, the first Iron Maiden record in five years, once again reaffirms the group’s permanent spot in the heavy metal scene. This little gem saves a special surprise for fans though: the longest Iron Maiden song ever recorded, Empire of The Clouds, finishes at the 18-minute mark, providing a formidable outro to the album. This track also features vocalist Bruce Dickinson on the piano for the first time.

Iron Maiden The Book of Souls

Photo: By Andy5190 at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Probably the only difference between The Book of Souls and the previous Maiden records is the fact that the newest album was a product of creative improvisation and spontaneous songwriting and arrangement. While the previous albums took several weeks to pen down, rehearse and record, The Book of Souls was recorded in a matter of hours, according to bassist Steve Harris.

 Like most of the band’s previous work, The Book of Souls primarily focuses on life and death, destruction and war, mortality and the soul. If Eternity Should Fail and The Great Unknown speak of matter of life and death, while Tears of a Clown and The Man of Sorrows melt the steeliest hearts with words of melancholy, pain and sadness.

Tears of a Clown is particularly melancholic, speaking of Robin Williams’ depression and suicide in 2014 and almost acting as a farewell from Iron Maiden members to him. A simple song, yet so intimate and realistic, this song has one of the best lyrics among the songs in the set.

 

The Book of Souls was made for the most part rather spontaneously in the studio, giving it a live concert-like feel. If Eternity Should Fail gives a flawlessly grand and catchy opening to the album, much like the first warm-up song in a great Iron Maiden concert that gets all the Maiden fanatics head-banging. Speed of Light follows suit with an irresistibly groovy feel, similar to the famed Two Minutes To Midnight and Aces High. The Great Unknown is a little bit slower with a more nostalgic feel, only to be followed by heavier and more aggressive songs like Where The River Runs Deep and The Book of Souls.

Empire of The Clouds is truly a pleasant surprise, featuring Dickinson’s piano playing for the first time. Starting with a mellow, nostalgia-triggering glass piano and cello intro, the track builds up gradually and develops into a full-blown metal masterpiece. Dickinson’s melodic vocals, McBrain’s marching band-like drum rolls, and the resounding piano creates an almost dream-like atmosphere before the furious music reminds you it is a metal land you’re in.

With that, The Book of Souls concludes with an 18-minute long celebration of glam and metal, leaving you thinking “What was that I just heard? Damn isn’t it good!”

 

Final words

You simply can never get too much of Iron Maiden. The beasts are only getting better, and The Book of Souls was a proof that they are still rocking stronger than ever. Beware, ya metal heads, of the music of the Beast!

 Iron Maiden The Book of Souls

Track list

  1. If Eternity Should Fail
  2. Speed of Light
  3. The Great Unknown
  4. The Red and The Black
  5. When The River Runs Deep
  6. The Book of Souls
  7. Death or Glory
  8. Shadows of The Valley
  9. Tears of A Clown
  10. The Man of Sorrows
  11. Empire of The Clouds

 

Written by Gin

Gin specializes in writing about heavy metal music. She is also a guitarist and recording artist. Gin works with and promotes Ableton Live. You can check out Gin’s music on her website below.

Gin’s Official Website

 

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