Iron Maiden does not do things on a small scale. They do things in their own time and own way. Why? Because they’re Iron Maiden and they bloody well can.
I love Iron Maiden. I grew up in the glory days of the 80’s. I did a book report on Ancient Greece based solely of Alexander the Great from “Somewhere in Time”. Yes, I am a fan boy and don’t shy away from that fact.
So when Book of Souls came out I was sceptical like most of us, will it be as good as their older stuff. I didn’t get into their last album, Final Frontier. Although I will... one day.
Book of Souls is Iron Maiden’s first double album which is awesome, spanning their career it’s a cool touch, although a little gimmicky but it sucked me in.
Book of Souls is based on the Mayan people and the introduction and first song reflects that. “If Eternity should fail” is a tale of the Mayan calendar when the world goes dark and everything ends, just like it was supposed to in 2012... spooky. This song has the typical, lovable Maiden gallop from the band. Bruce’s vocals are as powerful as they have ever been, making it more special because of all of the medical battles he’s face in recent times.
Speed of Light seemed a little cheesy from first listen but the more I listened to it the better it got, now it sits quite comfortably with the other songs on Book of Souls. The more I listen to Book of Souls the better it gets; songs like “The Red and the Black” have a huge sound which spoils Maiden fans. Opening and ending the song is a classic sounding bass lines from the master Steve Harris. The melody and chorus will be a sing along classic that will sit in their live set list quite easily as “Fear of the Dark”... bold words but if you doubt, just listen.
A really nice tribute to a comedy legend comes in the form of “Tears of a Clown”. Based on the life of the late Robin Williams. There are lots of the harmonies and sing along songs parts that I love,.“Shadow of the Valley” has a guitar sound that reminds me of the “Somewhere in Time” era... cool as.
The gallop is here on display on the Book of Souls. The Maiden guitar melodies and all the things that make Iron Maiden the leader that they are, it’s all here.
Iron Maiden are masters of the long songs and this album is no different. The thing is they suck you in and doesn’t seem that long. “Empires of the Clouds” is the longest song the band has ever written (to date) another history lesson to kids in the making. This time based on the R101 the British Air ship, the flag ship of the Empire. When built in 1929 it was the largest flying craft in the world (223 metres in length). The song details the life of this magnificent machine and the tragedy that befell it. The song is 18:05 in length but for those who take the time to listen to it will be rewards, it’s a brilliantly composed song and done in true Maiden style.
For those who haven’t heard Book of Souls and stuck in the 80’s era, please, give it a chance. It’s a great Maiden record. Will it stand the test of time of all the albums we love.