I'm writing this review, not as a Maiden devotee, but as a recent convert. I managed to get to 40 years of age without owning a Maiden album, thinking they were too over the top, and preferring 'classic' rock such as Led Zep, Tull and so on. Oh my, I have been missing out BIG TIME. Perhaps strangely for some, I chose to get into Maiden by way of their more recent output, one day coming across their latest album, The Final Frontier and instantly liking it. This album, A Matter of Life and Death, is often considered one of their best, or at least the best of the last 10 years. I can see why. The musicianship is superb - it sounds like the band were just on fire when recording this album and it all gels together superbly - the drumming is complex, fast, masterful, the guitar work just perfect. And let's not forget Bruce's vocals - varied and powerful - very, very good. As I listened to each track I thought, oh wow, this is great, there must be a duffer coming up soon. Nope, each track is great - I can't believe how many great riffs they came up with on this album. I can understand why some say it's dark - after all, it's about war, including the nuclear variety, but the songs have majesty and power and the musicianship makes me smile, even if the themes are very dark. To me, this is as good as metal or hard rock gets - forget Metallica, nu-metal, prog-metal - this album kicks those groups and genres into touch. Brilliant. I'm struggling to find anything negative to say about this album. The songs are epic sounding, and I suppose if you like short, sharp 4-minute rock songs you are going to be in for a shock. But if you like long, epic tracks with great musicianship and thought-provoking lyrics, then do listen to this album. Seriously, I am a big Rush fan, and you don't get better lyrics and musicianship than Rush, but with this album I think Maiden match the Canadian trio on both scores.