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Brave New World

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★★★★½
(534 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • Throughout the ’90s, many music snobs had claimed that classic heavy metal was officially dead – and Iron Maiden were one of the bands that was always mentioned in those remarks. Who could blame them? The band was putting out mediocre material in the wake of Bruce Dickinson’s departure, and most of the so-called “metal” that was being released around that time was watered-down, poser, commercial nonsense. However, in 1999, Dickinson decided to rejoin Maiden after a six-year absence, and guitarist Adrian Smith (who played on two of Bruce’s solo albums)came along for the ride as well. With the revamped line-up, which now included three guitar players (Smith, along with Dave Murray and the ever underrated Janick Gers), the new 21st century Maiden went on a short reunion tour and headed to the studio afterwards.The result is the aptly titled BRAVE NEW WORLD, an album that brought good ol’ classic, melodic, epic, no-holds-barred heavy metal back to the masses. While the band’s trademark galloping sound is as fearsome as ever, this is also the band’s most experimental release to date, and the most complex since SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON. You would think that with three guitarists in the band it would be a disaster, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. You get the best of all worlds on here. From the heavy punch of Murray, to the melodic instinct of Smith, and to the technical flash of Gers, all three players get the job done. Steve Harris’ rapid-fire bass playing is just as sharp as ever, and Nicko pounds the skins like a madman while also showing that his playing has matured since he first joined the band back in 1983. The real standout, however, is Bruce himself. He sounds better than ever on this release. This is definitely his crowning achievement as a vocalist, combining the rougher style of his solo albums with the classic “Air Raid Siren” style of Maiden’s golden era. A tour de force performance.With 10 songs topping 67 minutes, there is not a wasted track on here, making this Maiden’s most consistent album ever. “The Wicker Man,” “The Mercenary,” and “The Fallen Angel” are pounding riff-heavy rockers in the IM tradition. Short, fast, and to the point with awesome choruses. Both the title track and “The Thin Line Between Love and Hate” show that Maiden is maturing and that heavy rock can be emotional if done right. “Blood Brothers” is the most unique thing they’ve done. It’s mostly bass and keyboard-heavy, with stunning orchestrations and great solos to complement the arrangement. “Dream of Mirrors” is a masterpiece and probably the band’s best epic. It’s mostly slow, but stay with it – it’s that good. Bruce’s vocals are incredible, the chorus is so powerful, the lyrics are brilliant, and the escalating musicianship (leading to a furious time change around the 5:47 mark) is nerve-wracking. Nine minutes never went by so fast.I think I’ve said enough. This is just an amazing accomplishment from a band that proved it still has staying power. Maiden is in the studio now recording their new album which should be out in this summer. If it’s anywhere near as good as BRAVE NEW WORLD, the music world is safely secure.

    Posted on December 10, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • PERFECTION. This is the first word that comes into my mind every time i listen to this masterpiece. Everyone up to the release of this album either considered Maiden to be a thing of the past or dead. But here they come to prove everyone wrong. Bruce performs like he did in his previous solo records (Accident of birth, Chemical wedding etc) Murray, smith and gers sound amazing together, haris brilliant as ever and finally after the seventh son Mcbrain demonstrates his talent. All the songs are so powerfull that makes it really hard to pick up a favorite one. Ghost of the navigator, fallen angel, the nomad and out of the silent planet are definately some of the best ever written my the band while the thin line between love & hate is something they haven’t done before with amazing vocals and a vast number of guitars in the end of the song (like savatage do sometimes). Fan or not of Iron Maiden don’t miss this one. Up The Irons….

    Posted on December 10, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • THE BAND: Steve Harris (bass/keyboards), Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar), Nicko McBrain (drums), Janick Gers (guitar).

    THE DISC: (2000) 10 tracks clocking in at 67 minutes. The disc contains a 14-page booklet with band pictures, lyrics and thank you’s. Recorded at Guillaume Tell Studios in Paris, France. Bassist Steve Harris once again is the creative force behind the album – co-producing and writing or co-writing each of the 10 songs. Each of the other band members (except McBrain) contribute in the writing of at least one song as well.

    COMMENTS: Most of what Iron Maiden put out in the 1990’s was horrid, so I came apon this album with hesitation. Exit Blaze Bailey, re-enter Bruce Dickinson. Seeing the original line-up from the 1980’s back in tact (plus Gers), I decided to absolutely chance it… having only been kept alive on Dickinson’s solo work throughout the 90’s. “Brave New World” (BNW) is a pleasant surprise. Gone are the bass and guitar synth’s that were present on “Somewhere In Time” and “7th Son”… BNW features voice, drums, driving guitars, and an occasional stroke on the keyboard. This is easily their best studio album in 12 years (7th Son…), maybe more. Bruce Dickinson is back and sounds great. Although I do miss his high piercing vocals (like on the classic “Where Eagles Dare”)- and I really didn’t hear it until the last song (“Thin Line Between Love & Hate”). I have a slight problem with the title of the last song – an Iron Maiden tune with the word “Love” in it? It just doesn’t sound right. The band sounds very tight on “Brave New World”. They have obviously taken their time to do things write on this album. Nicko sounds like he has a new drum kit. The snare drum sounds a bit higher pitched than normal. That’s okay tho, it sounds good. Track 1 “The Wicker Man” is one of those classic “2 Minutes to Midnight” type songs, fast from the get-go. The title track has a nice slow intro and then the rest of the band kicks it up a notch. Track 4, “Blood Brothers” has a Jethro Tullesque feel to it (no problem). “The Mercenary” and “The Fallen Angel” are the hardest rocking tunes on the disc – and they kick some seious tail. “The Nomad” is a marathon of a song at just over 9 minutes. I like it’s irregular guitar chords and story line. The album ends with “The Thin Line Between Love & Hate” – this song has it all… It’s fast, it’s slow, Bruce is all over the place (a good thing) and the song has a great melody. At the very end you’ll hear one of the band say “I missed it”. If any of them missed something, I don’t know what it is. The song is a strong one – the whole album is STRONG. “Brave New World” gets my vote for best metal album of the year in 2000, and ‘Comeback Artist’ of the year as well. Up the Irons! Great disc.

    Posted on December 10, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • For most MAIDEN fans this album has been an eight-year wait. Vocalist Bruce Dickinson returns to the band, as does guitarist Adrian Smith, and both make their presences felt on BRAVE NEW WORLD. As much as most fans expected (or hoped) BNW to be a return to the POWERSLAVE and PIECE OF MIND style, it only gets part of the way there. BNW takes from the style of VIRTUAL XI (and, to a lesser degree, THE X FACTOR) just as much as POWERSLAVE and PIECE OF MIND, giving it a more progressive feel than early to mid 80’s era MAIDEN had. Heavier than either of the last two studio albums, BRAVE NEW WORLD will satisfy most MAIDEN fans, but might leave those who did not like SEVENTH SON a little cold. The album gives occasional nods to late 90’s style hard music, but make no mistake, this is an IRON MAIDEN album, and an uncompromising one at that. BNW is filled with A LOT of tempo changes, mood changes, dynamic changes, stylistic changes, etc, and features 4 songs over seven minutes in length (and three more over six minutes long). Some riffs are even reminiscent of their KILLERS era material. But is it good? Oh, HELL YEAH! …(And it grows on you. A lot.)

    Posted on December 10, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Sing this to the tune of the chorus in Ghost of the Navigator:Take my heart and set it free, Cast Kid Rock into the sea. Manson is a skank, Korn should walk the plank, Let the sharks feast on Britney.Keelhaul Limp Bizkit today, Flog ‘N Sync without delay. The Spice Girls are wh0res, Chain them to the oars, And send the ship far, far away.THE CASE FOR MUSICAL JUSTICE IN THIS WORLD: The general reaction to this album is overwhelmingly positive, with a decidedly small presence of people who think that a band is as good as dead after three albums and that the new stuff can never touch the old (any band that has been around for more than two years has idiot fans like that).THE CASE AGAINST MUSICAL JUSTICE IN THIS WORLD: In the USA, this CD was released on the same day as Kid Rock’s “History of Rock”. Anyone care to guess which CD was bought by merchants and consumers in obscene quantities with its own in-store display while the other was nonchalantly crammed into the bin with all of the artist’s previous releases?I think the Case Against carries more weight than the Case For. Alas, the war against musical incompetence is being fought by far too few.Brave New World is an incredibly solid release. Iron Maiden could probably have made a killing in sales to the sheeplike by adopting that astoundingly obnoxious rap-with-guitars sound that people can’t seem to get enough of these days. Instead, they turned out ten true-to-form tracks reminiscent of the material on Somewhere In Time and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (all hail 9-minute songs). The Wicker Man is the hit single, The Nomad and Dream of Mirrors are the epics, and Ghost of the Navigator is the song that single-handedly renewed my will to live in a world upon which the musically inferior (in both skill and taste) are dominant. If Korn and their ilk ever form their own independent nation, raise a massive army of clueless MTV junkies, and conquer the Earth, I shall simply lock myself in a windowless underground room and play Ghost of the Navigator until I die of dehydration, rather than pulling a Cobain.If you’re already a Maiden fan, chances are you already own this CD. If you’re not a Maiden fan, then chances are I’m not going to convert you. So instead, I merely say:1. Up the Irons, and2. Join the War Against Musical Incompetence (W.A.M.I.) if you don’t want your children and your children’s children to grow up listening to what somebody else wants them to listen to (as of yet there is no official War Against Somebody Else, but I’m working on it).

    Posted on December 10, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now