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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 2 April 2007
And God it's good! Not just good, it's flippin' awesome! As a die-hard Maiden fan from Powerslave - Fear of the Dark, I lost interest after Bruce left. I tried out the Blaze material (was a Wolfsbane fan back in the day), but couldn't get into it. Brave New World and Dance of Death were excellent, but not enough to draw me back into my frenzied old state! A Matter of Life and Death is a whole different beast. I bought it last week after reading the wealth of reviews here. I had to hear the album that some claim is better than 7th Son (my favourite album). While I can't be sure of that bold statement (THAT album is, after all a legend for many of us), I will say that it is better than all of the others! (Deep breath!) Ok, so most of the others had legendary songs on them but the consistency of this album makes it a winner (every song on 7th Son was excellent too). I have listened to this album over and over more than 10 times in the past four or five days. I have also listened to individual tracks when I have had a spare minute or 8!! I can't find a poor track and love listening to the whole CD. I can't believe it, having lost interest in "long" songs years ago. The truth is, these songs just do not feel long, even at 8-9 mins I'm not bored. I am a Maiden fan again!! Well and truly!! Just wish I'd bought this before the tour coz I NEED to see them again!! Still evolving and re-inventing (as reviewed above) this has got to be the coup that no other band approaching middle-age has EVER pulled off! It makes me feel 16 again and my sons (1 and 6 years old) move to it like maniacs. It may grow on me to be their best ever, we'll see! UP THE IRONS!!
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on 29 July 2006
When 'Brave New world' was released, the majority of people claimed it to be Maiden's best work since 'Seventh Son'..same again with 'Dance Of Death' in 2003. Now here we are in 2006 with their latest opus - A Matter Of Life And Death...and do you know what, this really is their best work since 'Seventh Son'. In fact, i'd go further and say that it is every bit the equal of the 1988 concept album. Whilst the two records are very different musically, they do share a common trait that very few other Iron Maiden albums have enjoyed - absolutely no filler tracks. AMOLAD is jam packed with 10 songs that are so brilliant, you'll be struggling to pick out clear favourites after the first couple of spins.

The album kicks off perfectly with the one-two punch of the 'Different Worlds' (infectiously melodic) and 'These Colours Don't Run' (semi-epic yet pure grandiose Maiden) - both of which are certain to be a part of their live set when they tour later this year. Following that is another tune that's a good contender for a live appearance - the utterly sensational 'Brighter Than A Thousand Suns'. This is one of several multi-layered epics on the album that will have you discovering new things with each subsequent listen - brilliant Maiden, simply brilliant. Other standout songs worthy of note (to be fair they are all 'standout' tracks) - 'The Longest Day' (Harris excels on bass here), 'Out Of The Shadows'(beautifully melancholic)..and 'The Pilgrim' & 'The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg' that have Maiden getting all riffy on us.

A Matter Of Life And Death isn't just a step-up from BNW & DOD, it's in a completely different league. It's almost as if the band were just teasing us on the previous two records, hinting a truly great things but not quite delivering. Well here they are with one of the greatest records they've ever made. This is what we've all been waiting for - Iron Maiden firing on all cylinders...and isn't it just a spectale to behold.
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on 3 November 2015
I just can;t believe this record is so good - I'm catching up on all the recent maiden albums ive missed (was constant fan up to about late 90s). Brave New World is as good as much of their early stuff and A Matter Of Life And Death is too. So far only Final Frontier has been a little bit of an under performance form these amazing guys.

On this record their are some back breaking riffs = none more so than Brighter Than A Thousand Suns - simply epic - but what about For THe Greater Good Of God - that is one special special piece of writing.....so relevant now and beautifully sung - sending shivers down my spine like Iron maiden do when at their very best. Some great moments - memorable ones on just about every track help to make this the last record in the 10 best EVER from Maiden....just a brilliant band.........

Anyway MAIDEN TOP ALBUMS EVER that you should check out if you are a newbie.....

1 The Number of The Beast (THE ALBUM)
2 The Book Of Souls (almost THE ALBUM - but BEAST has the history)
3 Piece Of Mind (a REVELATION - contains my new fave tracks ever)
4 Seventh Son of the Seventh Son (one of the strongest full of classics)
5 Somewhere in Time (full of catchy choruses - some of the best lyrics of all the albums)
6 Fear Of The Dark (The last of the iconic records from their first peak years - now is their new peak era of course.....)
7 Powerslave (love it but love the above more!)
8 Iron Maiden (whilst outside the top few - some all time brilliant tracks and I like the production on this record despite its rep as poorly mixed - I think it really works and it takes you back - Strange World is a fave- it all is!!)
9 Brave New World ( - its really good and may move up the chart - but just look up form here...its a pretty steep climb for any album to get in there.......love out of the silent planet..the talisman....the wicker man is a great opener..)
10 A Matter Of Life And Death (outstanding spine shivering moments - Iron Maiden being topical and slamming the riffs down!)
11 The Final Frontier (But for the three sloppy, unrefined tracks in the middle of this album, we would have a stronger classic all round record.....Ive yet to listen to the albums inbetween this and brave new world but i get the impression this may have needed more fine tuning......)

So - onto the last of newest - Dance of Death.......I may even give the X albums a much needed proper listen soon.........

PLEASE GIG IN UK NEXT YEAR GUYS.......
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VINE VOICEon 30 November 2010
After a come back which no-one honestly expected, Maiden had nothing left to prove; fans, critics, and band members were happy. Rather than stopping, taking it easy, or releasing a half hearted attempt the band would unleash what is possibly their most critically popular album maybe overshadowing the once insurmountable Number Of The Beast. The album went number 1 throughout the world and set a new benchmark for metal. The music, lyrics, imagery, tone, are all pure, classic Maiden but with a modern , darker, more world weary flavour. Not strictly a concept album we have the usually debates on war, life, religion but never before have the band sounded so vicious, vibrant, and vital- these songs need to be heard. It was the band's longest album at the time- no 3 minute pop jobs here, and every song is a masterpiece of thoughtful construction and ingenuity. Thankfully the guitars are as fast as ever, the melodies and choruses still as strong, while Bruce is singing with a more strained, scratchy voice and still reaching the peaks.

`Different World' opens with a familiar voice before a blistering riff kicks things off. This was one of the singles from the album and as has been the recent tradition features a fast pace, is heavily melodic, and is accompanied by a nutty, animated video. In many ways it sets out the major themes of the album, begging all the different people of the world to embrace and understand their differences instead of destroying each other. This is as light as the album gets as the rest has a much darker tone, but this is as ferocious as everything else- they like to get their point across by stomping so hard on your head that it leaves an imprint.

`These Colours Don't Run' introduces the more sombre and very dark nature of the album, with softer, building riffs which merge into heavier, quicker central sections. War and pride are key here as the lyrics discuss youngsters going off to fight for a war full of love for their country, knowing that they will probably die but not realizing that those who send them will never care for or understand their sacrifice. Dickinson sounds as strong as ever, the chorus is huge, and there are some excellent guitar parts. The stand out here, as it is for much of the album is the rhythm section, including all the backing music which stretch the songs to over 5 minutes and prevent them becoming anything less than urgent and vibrant.

`Brighter Than 1000 Suns' has one of the band's best riffs, starting quietly then blasting your face off and continuing through various sections of the track. The verses are full of threat, the lyrics are cutting and effective, and the chorus is as explosive as anything they have recorded. This track perhaps more than any other shows how rejuvenated the band are. We then move into a slower section, before some vitriolic soloing and a classic gallop section. It does however have the terrible `E=MC2, you can relate' lyric. Everything else is perfection.

`The Pilgrim' slows the pace marginally for a few seconds and then we get another high paced commercial style track. It is short, dark, and to the point although they manage to squeeze in varying phases and sections. It has an Eastern feel thanks to the riffs but it can easily be forgotten under the considerable weight of the album's epics.

`The Longest Day' brings us back to the quiet, ominous introductions. We get swirling riffs and low vocals which gradually get more forceful. The song builds continuously for the first couple of minutes as the lyrics get increasingly grim and angry until the darkness breaks with a chorus. This is the stuff of stadiums and was written surely in the hope that the audience would shriek along. The themes are obviously once again based around war (D-Day in particular) and in typically Maiden fashion the name is taken from a classic film. Suffice to say the playing is flawless and inspired.

`Out Of The Shadows' harkens back to earlier moody Maiden tracks like Stranger World. The pace is slow, we have soft guitars and steady vocals with the occasional electric blast in the background. The chorus tries to be epic but it lacks the melodic quality of the other tracks. This is probably the weakest song here.

`The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Brigg' is the main single from the album, but because Britain is a very silly place it was ineligible for chart release (anything over 3 minutes is a big no-no). We get distant guitars playing moodily far beyond the horizon before Bruce chimes in with whispery and shadowy vocals. At around two minutes the main part of the song begins, with progressing crushing chords. The lyrics follow the death and reincarnation of a soldier and are amongst the best story based ones that the band has written. Naturally we get a few shifts in pace and focus before the track ends.

`For The Greater Good Of God' is the longest track on the album (by one second) and has yet another sublimely dark introductory riff. This makes way for an extraordinary opening section with wonderful melodies and lyrics. The guitars are never far behind and once they come in we're throwing ourselves off the walls. Another epic chorus pre-empts kicking the walls in. Soon we have massive string sections adding to the overall epic feel and you get the sense that Maiden are the biggest band in the world and want everyone to know it.

`Lord Of Light' is another one which opens softly- the band clearly know they are on to a winner with this format as it never gets tired thanks to the power of their invention. The opening melodies are played at a quiet level but are then repeated at full tilt and with Dickinson straining himself as much as possible. The chorus is not as strong as others but does a good job of changing the pace and tone of the song. We then move back to the same tone as the introduction for the last half of the song, with the odd loud part interspersed.

`The Legacy' has an acoustic introduction with a string section which reminds me instantly of The Four Tops (and others) Reach Out I'll Be There. This goes on for over three minutes before the band go all out at creating another ear destroying monster. Unfortunately the pace never really picks up and it feels like a Blaze era song with a stop start up down rhythm. The melodies get strong as the song goes on, but it is the acoustics and strings which make this so good.

Maiden show no signs of slowing down, giving up, losing their gift, or losing touch with the scene. This could well be their most accomplished album and it has won them a tonne of accolades. Touching on themes of War is not new, not even new for Maiden but rarely have they or any other band captured the fear, disbelief, and anger that a person or nation can feel. Each song here is incredibly complex which may turn away casual or new listeners, but hardened fans and anyone with a true love for music should be awed by this achievement.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 27 September 2010
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.
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on 29 July 2006
When 'Brave New world' was released, the majority of people claimed it to be Maiden's best work since 'Seventh Son'..same again with 'Dance Of Death' in 2003. Now here we are in 2006 with their latest opus - A Matter Of Life And Death...and do you know what, this really is their best work since 'Seventh Son'. In fact, i'd go further and say that it is every bit the equal of the 1988 concept album. Whilst the two records are very different musically, they do share a common trait that very few other Iron Maiden albums have enjoyed - absolutely no filler tracks. AMOLAD is jam packed with 10 songs that are so brilliant, you'll be struggling to pick out clear favourites after the first couple of spins.

The album kicks off perfectly with the one-two punch of the 'Different Worlds' (infectiously melodic) and 'These Colours Don't Run' (semi-epic yet pure grandiose Maiden) - both of which are certain to be a part of their live set when they tour later this year. Following that is another tune that's a good contender for a live appearance - the utterly sensational 'Brighter Than A Thousand Suns'. This is one of several multi-layered epics on the album that will have you discovering new things with each subsequent listen - brilliant Maiden, simply brilliant. Other standout songs worthy of note (to be fair they are all 'standout' tracks) - 'The Longest Day' (Harris excels on bass here), 'Out Of The Shadows'(beautifully melancholic)..and 'The Pilgrim' & 'The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg' that have Maiden getting all riffy on us.

A Matter Of Life And Death isn't just a step-up from BNW & DOD, it's in a completely different league. It's almost as if the band were just teasing us on the previous two records, hinting a truly great things but not quite delivering. Well here they are with one of the greatest records they've ever made. This is what we've all been waiting for - Iron Maiden firing on all cylinders...and isn't it just a spectale to behold.
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on 18 August 2015
As a long time Maiden fan I was elated when Bruce Dickenson and Adrian Smith re-joined the band in 1999 and I am still over the moon as the quality of the music since "Brave New World" is still of the highest quality. This album is catchy, interesting and as musically relevant as any of the classic Maiden albums that preceded it. The artwork is incredible and the lyrics are as thought provoking as ever. Musically the album is top notch and Bruce's voice is stronger than ever. Every Iron Maiden fan or Metal Head absolutely needs to buy this album as it is just that good! This version of the album is the best version to buy as it includes a DVD documentary of the "Making Of" "A Matter of Life and Death" which is informative and enjoyable. I whole heartedly recommend this album to any Maiden fan or Metal Head that has yet to buy it!
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on 3 November 2014
Despite a quite horrendous run of poor albums in the 1990's and particularly the two without Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden have enjoyed a massively successful resurgence following the Millennium, spear-headed by their fantastic albums led by 'Brave New World' and backed up be the excellent 'Dance of the Dead.'
The third, post-Millennium release, 'A Matter of Life and Death' continues the trend and even tops it! Make no mistake, this is one of the bands best albums EVER, a sentiment echoed by bassist and principal songwriter Steve Harris.
My first impressions however were rather negative, as I saw the length of each track and the album totalling a whopping 72 minutes, I did feel a bit disheartened as, often, when metal albums get to that length it means a lot of filler or over used / overly repeated riffs (think Metallica's 'St. Anger' for lack of a better example). Thankfully, my negativity was misplaced, as this epic album flew by in what felt like less than half the calculated time. 10 songs averaging 7 minutes of pure prog rock / metal gold.
You can pick any song as your highlight or favourite track, and all could be justified really. There isn't a hint of weakness in any of the songs. That said, my personal favourites are : 'Different World,' 'These Colours Don't Run,' 'The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg' and 'The Legacy,' ...but it's all good!
They went for a more 'live' sounding production on this album, and whilst that may make some sceptical, they need not be, as the rawness of this album really brings this album to life and suits its epic content and the riffs perfectly.
Some argue that this is a concept album, and you can see their point. The themes of most if not all the songs are based around war (especially), religion and death/horror, but then again how many Maiden songs aren't? The band have denied this and it is not as obviously a concept album as 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' but it does come close to being that format.
Is this the best Iron Maiden ever? It's definitely up there, and is certainly one of their most consistent albums. Whilst many would say its impossible to top the band's 1980's material, I would disagree to a degree, at least in the sense I wouldn't instantly dismiss one of their newer albums because of the year it was released. Whilst classic Maiden albums such as 'Number of the Beast' and 'Piece Of Mind' and the rest of their most celebrated albums are undeniable classics, they do often lack the sheer consistency and quality of this album, and that alone is testament to how great this album is and is easily in my top 3 Maiden albums. Can't recommend it enough.
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on 17 August 2007
It must be said that Maiden have been on something of a creative roll since the return of Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith.....deservedly so! "Brave New World" and "Dance of Death", were both outstanding albums/tours and better than anything the band had done since 1988. AMOLAD, however, significantly "under-whelmed" me for a long time. I have to say that I didn't like this album when I first bought it, I initially found it to be weak in comparison with DOD. But, after absorbing it for the best part of a year, I'm converted. I find myself listening to it more and more. This is an outstandingly strong, complex, intelligent and ambitious Maiden album. It doesn't have the technical flair and instantly standout tracks of DOD/BNW but, as a whole, it is a much more cohesive work. Of course it has the trademark Maiden sound, why wouldn't it?? Maiden have been guilty of being formulaic in the past, most notably towards the end of Bruce's first tenure, but certainly not on this album. AMOLAD has more twists, turns and pace changes that the Paris to Dakar Rally. The progressive influences are getting stronger, as is the song writing and the musicianship. And how many other 30-year old bands could do a tour and get away with playing little else but their latest album in its entirety? I'd say they were in a class of one on that, which says a lot about the strength of the material and their fans. In summary, AMOALD is latest in a trilogy of outstanding Maiden albums....just give it a few spins and you'll be hooked. Nobody else in their genre or vintage is still making albums this good! Where next?
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on 29 September 2006
I was thrilled to see that Iron Maiden offered their new album as a limited edition, vinyl picture disc. I have a number of other Maiden albums on vinyl and have always thought that their crisp sounding heavy metal lended itself very well to the vinyl format. In general, this is a great album; the best of their recent offerings (post Seventh Son) in my opinion. A bit darker perhaps then other Maiden albums - almost a continuation from Dance of Death - but then again even more progressive and in-depth. Some people might not like the "non-mastered" sound of this recording though.

The 3-star rating however is also based on a number of problems with the two copies of the vinyl edition I've had the chance to listen to. It is well known that picture discs might have somewhat higher surface noise than ordinary vinyl pressings, but both versions I've listened to have had extreme surface noise to the point of actually drowning out the music in quiet parts. Also, both version have had off-center holes, resulting in "warbled" sound and distortion.

In short, love the album, shame about the vinyl edition. Hopefully, this will only apply to a small number of albums, but buyers should be aware of these problems.

Cheers.
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