Top positive review
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Iron Maiden go epic and prog and shows every band that came after them how it's done. A classic.
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.