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on 1 June 2016
Maiden, Maiden, Maiden, after the less than successful No Prayer for the Dying record in 1990, Harris and the boys needed to step up their game for the succeeding release, and so they did, it's no Powerslave but it's definitely on it's way

Track 1: Be Quick or be Dead - Low-Fi done right, one of Maiden's fastest and most aggressive tracks they've ever recorded, Murray and Gers cement a vast improvement from No Prayer, and Bruce showcases what he can really do with his throat, rather than the phoned in sound of No Prayer, Be Quick or be Dead is a superb opening track

Track 2: From Here to Eternity - Like Holy Smoke and Hooks in You, From Here to Eternity never takes itself deadly serious, and allows for another fun romp, with Maiden clearly becoming more comfortable with this style, it actually feels like Maiden, not a tribute band as No Prayer often did, a fun song which showcases some superlative range from the whole band

Track 3: Afraid to Shoot Strangers - If only it could last, an interesting intro doesn't go anywhere, musically the track often feels tired, rather than slow and contemplative as it is clearly attempting, Bruce sounds as if he hasn't slept in days, and it's almost pointless, McBrain provides some nice drumming but like the vocals, Murray and Gers seem uninspired

Track 4: Fear is the Key - Heavier, Intriguing, a decent track that perpetuates the strongest moments from No Prayer with some much more personal lyrics, delivered with much more ferocity than Strangers, one that feels surprisingly emotional, especially with the Dickinson penned line 'nobody cares till someone famous died' about his late friend, Freddie Mercury

Track 5: Childhood's End - Some mesmerising bridges can't save a song which feels like a missed opportunity, almost as if the concept was misplaced, Harris is superlative on the Bass as usual, and there is some enjoyable riffage towards the mid-section, not much to write home about

Track 6: Wasting Love - Another track to join the likes of Strange World in the bevy of Maiden tracks that go severely under appreciated, a ballad in the style of Children of the Damned with a much more personal touch, themes of Relationships, Moving on, and of course Love itself are wound up in some intricate guitar work by Murray and Gers, all compliment Dickinson's Vocals which show off some impressive range in one track, one that deserves much more attention, don't be put off by the title, a hidden killer

Track 7: The Fugitive - A track that feels heavy and volatile, much better and more interesting than filler like Public Enema Number One, yet stilling falling under that category for feeling as though it is sadly uninspired

Track 8: Chains of Misery - A fantastic under appreciated track, drenched in reverb, cheesy 90's metal at it's finest, short storytelling keeps the lyrics interesting, the way the lyrics weave in and out of the Riffs is reminiscent of Saxon

Track 9: The Apparition - Possibly the worst of the album, perpetually pointless and feels like useless filler, there isn't much to say, it is strangely reminiscent of No Prayer, feeling unnecessarily restrained, the guitar solo by Gers showcases his talent but is over too soon to redeem the track

Track 10: Judas be my Guide - One of the albums Highlights, fast frantic riffs from Murray and Gers compliment Dickinson's aggressive tones throughout, a Chrous that is as catchy as it is cheesy, one to not overlook

Track 11: Weekend Warrior - Genuinely a perplexing track, whereas Dickinson's vocals are impressive and Harris' bass work also adds value, it is ultimately forgettable, guitar work goes in one ear and out the other, a chorus that is cheesy without even being fun, a mediocre track

Track 12: Fear of the Dark - Ending on arguably it's strongest note, Fear of the Dark is a fan favourite, and a live staple, remaining a consistent member of setlists even up till the Book of Souls tour and presumably far beyond 2016, beginning slow and forboding, Fear of the Dark is potentially one of Maiden's strongest live moments, emphasising crowd interactions and ramping up the production on the studio release as the twin guitars solidify that Murray and Gers are capable of creating one hell of a Twin layered riff without Smith which is carried on throughout the song to marvellous effect

In the end, Fear of the Dark is low-fi Maiden done right, they fit their style into the production while keeping it small, and is a marked improvement from the disappointing No Prayer for the Dying, only being let down by instances of filler, yet containing some Truly excellent tracks in Be Quick or be Dead and the title track itself, but now with Bruce embarking on a solo career, what will become of Maiden?
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on 23 March 2017
A lot of people say "No prayer for the dying" released in 1990 was the last gasp of genius and that "Fear of the dark" was rubbish and Bruce Dickinson left shortly afterwards. True Bruce Dickinson left the band for a while after this album. But it's actually the other way around. This album was a lot better than "No prayer for the dying". I'm not saying the song writing is at the incredible standard circa '82-'86, but it is more than passable. All the people who say this is terrible (and I've read a lot of reviews on metal webzines), I just have one question. Do you really hate this Iron Maiden album,? Or was you too busy prasing Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley? Was you too busy ignoring rock and metal because it wasn't the in thing any more? More often than not that is the conclusion I come to with (most) individuals, because musically and sonically a lot of these songs could have come out in 1987 and no one would have complained. But they came out in 1992. Half the record buying collective would spend the next ten years with their heads up their ass until they would see the light again.

"Be quick or be dead" could have easily fitted on "Powerslave", Another favourite although a bit of a slow burner is "Afraid to shoot strangers" but once it does get going boy is it worth it. "Wasting love" is one of Maiden's best ballads ever!!! I think this actually has a lot more emotion than their ballads from the early 80's such as "Prodigal son" or "Children of the damned". This is an epic love song people! "The fugitive" again another cracker, another of which they STILL play live. And of course you have the absolutely epic title track "Fear of the dark" itself. Again this shows Maiden were still writing epic heavy metal ballads in 1992. 1992 people!!! Where were half of you at man? Listening to Rage Against The Machine or The Stone Temple Pilots most likely...
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on 15 March 2011
Having been an avid Maiden, Motorhead, AC/DC and Gillan fan back in the glory days of NWOBHM, I was a little late in adding this to my collection. I was always put off buying it because of some of the negative reviews it received, that it was Bruce's last album and that maybe, his heart wasn't in it any more. It was also the last album to be produced by the legendary Martin Birch and the first Maiden album cover not to feature a Derek Riggs design. How wrong was I! This album ranks up there as one of their best efforts.

This album has not been out of the player for about a week now! It has all the Maiden characteristics that has made them Rock Gods for the last 30 years. The album sees the emergence of Janick Gers as a strong writing force within the band, co writing no less than 5 songs, as this was his 2nd album as co lead guitarist. Released in 1992, it contains the two hit singles 'Be Quick Or Be Dead' a No.2 smash which focused its attention on several political scandals taking place at the time of its release, including the Robert Maxwell banking scandal, European stock market crashes, and the BCCI case and 'From Here To Eternity' which reached No.21 and is the fourth and most recent song in the ongoing saga of 'Charlotte the Harlot'

It's an experimental album also with several tracks being 'not the norm'. 'Fear Is The Key' is superb, another Dickinson/Gers composition certainly has a Deep Purple feel to it and Bruce sounds uncannily like Gillan and even screams a traditional Ian Gillan scream. If I didn't know any different I certainly would have thought it was a Gillan song as it borrows slightly from 'Bluesy Blue Sea' a song written by Gers/Gillan 10 years earlier in 1982 from the album 'Magic'. 'Wasting Love' is also different as it remains the band's only slow power ballad and is another Dickinson/Gers song which to me has more Gers/Gillan influences in it as it has similarities to 'Men Of War' from 'Double Trouble' and 'If I Sing Softly' from 'Future Shock' which Janick didn't even play on! I'm certainly not complaining though, as I loved those songs.

Of course a Maiden album wouldn't be one without brilliant Steve Harris compositions, there's 4 of them on here. 'Afraid To Shoot Strangers' was a political song with it's feet firmly in the Gulf War and is classic Maiden pure and simple. 'The Fugitive' is hard and heavy as you would come to expect. 'Childhood's End' is a slight departure for Steve, not as head down trust in the Lord approach as usual and usues keyboards to good effect. 'Fear Of The Dark' is the now customary album finale classic in the same mould as 'Hallowed Be Thy Name''Rime Of The Ancient Mariner''To Tame A Land' etc. The track became a 'live' favourite with band and fans alike. I don't like to forget Dave Murray who has been here since day 1 and his 2 co penned songs 'Chains Of Misery' and 'Judas Be My Guide' are typical 'old' Maiden sounding and are by no means 'fillers'.

So, there you go, a great album of great songs, a worthy way for Martin, Derek and Bruce to bow out of the Maiden bandwaggon and certainly in my Top 3 of Maiden albums. Obviously Bruce returned with the superb 'Brave New World' 8 years later. I'm really glad that I made my acquaintance with this record, as it has become a firm favourite. Buy It!
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VINE VOICEon 19 October 2010
With their ninth album Iron Maiden continued experimenting and searching for a new sound whilst trying to retain the style which made them huge. Their previous album had been a let down financially, critically, and a few fans turned their backs. A new generation had moved onto grunge while an older generation had possibly moved on from metal. It seemed like Maiden needed to get this one right and to credit them they not only had the usual Harris compositions but included some ballads and more political songs from Dickinson and recently new guitarist Gers. We can see this as a sign to move the band into new areas to give themselves for ambition to create and continue, but for the most part this did not work and too many songs are tired, stale, and average. Dickinson would leave soon after this, and it looked like it could be the end.

`Be Quick Or Be Dead' much like on the previous album opens the album in top form- hopefully the band had recovered from their blip. The pace is high, the melodies are strong, and everything sounds vicious, not least Dickinson's harsher vocals and the more angry lyrics. The band sound genuinely disgusted and enraged by the political scandals which they are singing about, but of course only subtle political songwriters ever get noticed, regardless of quality. Gers and Dickinson show here that they can be a formidable writing partnership.

`From Here To Eternity' was the second single from the album and continues the Charlotte saga. It is a decent track but seems to have a terribly dated sound and some cheesy lyrics. The chorus is strong except it has that terrible 80s trend of the entire band shouting some of the lyrics in the chorus which makes me cringe every time. It is much better live.

`Fear Is The Key' opens well but soon falls apart once the vocals start. Everything sounds too plain and bare and the lyrics sound like a pop ballad from the 80s.

`Childhood's End' has a pretty good opening with nice drumming and riffs. Fear is mentioned again as the overall concept of the album, there is a nice building sensation throughout but it lacking some melodic greatness.

`Afraid To Shoot Strangers' is one of the band's first and most overt ballads, a Harris tribute to the young men sent to War and forced to kill other men in the same position. The lyrics are strong, uncharacteristically tender and thought-provoking. The music is soft with Dickinson doing a good, downbeat job, and the middle section consisting largely of a solo and refrain is powerful. The sudden shift in pace is somehow a genuine surprise, strange as it is something of a trademark for the band. This is the only song other than the title track which would survive into later tours.

`Wasting Love' is a power ballad from the band based on loveless sex. It has a brilliant riff and strong atmosphere, lots of dreary, wearing tones. The lyrics are fine but it could perhaps have worked better if it was slightly shorter.

`The Fugitive' starts okay but has a few quieter parts which don't always pay off. Mostly everything is good, there are some nice verse melodies and the chorus is fine. This is a lesser known track which is usually forgotten as it surrounded by so many other average tracks. It isn't a classic but deserves to be heard more.

`Chains Of Misery' has my pet hate- everyone shouting together in the chorus- urrgh. I just get visions of hideous hair metal bands fist pumping. There isn't much else to say about the track- some nice guitar, nothing catchy.

`The Apparition' is fairly weak and has a much softer rock sound. There aren't too many of the trademarks which made Maiden great to be found here, the melodies are non-existent and there is nothing to remember.

`Judas Be My Guide' tries to raise the quality again. It raises the pace at least and there seems to be some urgency here, as well as some melody and good drumming. The chorus is decent but lacks a real hook to stick in your memory. Another good track which should be heard more.

`Weekend Warrior' has an AC/DC feel to it with a similar rhythm and style. There is a soft/heavy dynamic throughout showing off Dickinson's vocal range and the music is fine. Again it doesn't really sound like a Maiden track and there isn't much to remember. It feels like it could the closing credits music to a Chevy Chase movie.

`Fear Of The Dark' may be the best song the band have ever written, an epic in every sense, showcasing all the best trademarks of the band, and being one of the most anticipated live songs when the band come to town. The song has a moody atmosphere and is made all the better by the fact that the lyrics are mostly nonsense. A wonderful introduction, top notch playing, excellent vocals and melodies, a huge chorus, and some of the bands best guitar moments, all ironically in one song on one of their lesser albums.

After two releases which didn't live up the quality of the previous 7 it looked like Maiden were a spent force, or at least needed some time to rest and come up with a new creative direction. It is clear that on this release Dickinson seems tired and uninterested- we know that he was keen to work on solo material. Although the band were trying new things, many of their experiments were not paying off and while they were still able to create some of their most enduring songs too much here is filler. The band would enter their next phase and try to work through this lost era, but it would be a while before they got back to their best. Take the best tracks from this, the previous, and the next two releases and you would have a fine album. What we have here is one which only the most die-hard fans can truly love.
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on 18 August 2015
I bought this CD version of "Fear of the Dark" by Iron Maiden as I wanted to update my vinyl collection. I chose this version of the album because of all the extras which include loads of live band photos and two promo videos as enhanced content. If like me you bought the original release on vinyl then this is the perfect version to get to update to the CD format. In hind sight I now really love this album but when it first came out I must admit that I was a little disappointed with it. There are some great tracks on this album but for me there was something missing in the overall feel of the album, little did I know that Bruce Dickinson would leave Iron Maiden shortly after the albums tour. Although this is not my favourite Maiden album it is infinitely better than the two albums with Blaze on vocals but that is another matter entirely. Any self respecting Maiden fan will of course already own this album on one of three formats. If you are just getting into Heavy Metal music then you can't go wrong with Iron Maiden and this album is a pretty good place to start although in my humble opinion you would do better to buy the first eight albums first.
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on 23 May 2000
What an excellent album from Maiden, better than the Best Of in my opinion! Has some fantastic tracks that build up then burst into a rock delight. So powerful, yet controlled at the same time. Wonderful
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on 15 January 2000
If you've heard Maiden's last 2 albums and reached a decision that this band have always been the same ... think again . This is a brilliant album with some absolutley classic tracks that you will listen to over and over . Brilliant guitar solos and great use of dynamics , a metal classic .
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on 16 December 2011
A die-hard fan since 1988; I have decided to gradually review all their albums. I ranked them from 1 to 15. All four 1990s albums fall into the bottom five, obviously Fear of the Dark is far superior to No Prayer for the Dying and the two albums with X's in. I listened to this album again, and thought how very good it was; better than 90% of other music I hear and 99.5% of music from the 1990s, so despite being probably the 10th best album, in my opinion, I enjoyed it so much, that it deserves 5 stars still. There is little wrong with it; so many bits of songs I love. In fact Fear of the Dark itself is the only song I ever attempt to emulate with my own voice when that immortal and prophetic line is spoken "I am a man who walks alone..." Obviously I and indeed no-one can emulate Dickinson when he is at full pelt.

Just because an album is in the bottom third of the best album list, doesn't mean that it is still not brilliant musical work by what is the best band in the world of any genre. Iron Maiden have produced 12 brilliant and 3 good albums; I very much doubt any other band can boast that. Great cover work too and the one of the musical highlights of the 1990s; there are not many!?!
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on 22 July 2010
Better than 'No Prayer' but only just. The album as a whole feels tighter and all of the tracks feel like they fit with each other. Unlike their previous effort there are only a few songs that are lacking, although there is a distinct reek of despair that seems to permeate their post-Seventh Son albums.

The best tracks are 'From Here to Eternity', 'Afraid to Shoot Strangers', 'Judas Be My Guide' and the title track. Tracks 7 through 9 could have been ejected to make a better album, but they are still good when compared to some of the mediocre songs that daubed 'No Prayer...'.

The one reason why this is better (but no means even half as good as their first 7 or recent 3 - possibly 4!- albums)is because it does contain one 'classic' track. 'Fear of the Dark' is a belter of a song. It sounds and is classic Maiden remembering why they were so good. Unfortunately, the Maiden lot got far worse after Bruce left and that resulted in the odd album that followed.

If you are new to Maiden, start with 'No Prayer...' and then 'X-Factor', this and 'Virtual XI'. Once you get to the other albums, you might have been put off slightly but, by crikey, they will sound so beautiful!
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on 26 February 2007
released in 1992 and the last album before bruce left the band,we all know he returned in 1999,dont we?,fear of the dark is an album that wouldnt be the first maiden album to divide the fans,despite being a success,the album has burnt with a mixture of horror and love from maiden fans and all thats in between as well,im in the latter parts of very good and there is certainly a part of me that thinks this album has too many filling moments and for that my review is circled in the 3.5 out of 5 range.

When i first heard this album back as a young cub in 1992 i remember thinking that at first it didnt have the melodies or the chorus' of the album that came before it,i remember thinking that this was a darker album,some of that remains today of course but i think its catchier than i first gave it credit for.The albums first three tracks race through with glory and confidence,no problems there,the fourth track 'fear is the key' is a tad generic but has a bite or two in it for sure,'childhoods end is a solid track as is 'wasting love' which although a power ballad,still sounds powerful to this day,'the fugitive is decent and 'chains of misery' is a bit wasterful in its execution,and the remaining tracks until the albums rightful closer all range from good to very good,but its the final track and the title track that bring this album its place in our hearts,a real anthem that is still played to this day,an anthem that is brooding and yet uplifting.

Bruce as we know left after this,actually adrian smith left as well for seven years,but some will have you believe that bruce had to go,his voice here isnt as powerful but in many ways but not all ways of course he was missed on the next two maiden albums but if those albums arent as good then its as much to do with the songwriting of steve harris as the inclusion of blaze on vocals,but thats a seperate issue,whats worth noting is that fear of the dark is a good,if not a world class album.
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