It does seem that many people whether fans or not, don’t like this album. It does seem this way because some of the songs are weak. There is no point in masking the truth. I find it hard to enjoy The Apparition and Weekend Warrior. Wasting Love and From Here to Enternity lack in areas too, but if you took those away you’d have a killer album. But as they are there you may be wondering why I gave Fear of the Dark five stars. Frankly no album or even song is perfect, there’s always somehting that’s annoying. Then fans don’t like the album because of Janick being in the band (it’s BS), but don’t get me started on that. He’s a great guitarist. Anyhow, the album opens with the riveting Be Quick Or Be Dead. Great Guitars and sounds good live too. From Here To Eternity, lyrics aren’t that imaginative, but Steve deserves to have a little slack. My Second Favorite Song is Afraid to Shoot Strangers. Written by Steve, its about the souls who fought in the Gulf war. The beginning is so subtle; its a gentle guitar tune that explodes into a inferno of percussion. Then at the end, it winds down back to the same guitar tune. It’s terrific. Fear is the Key is tolerable and has a good beat. Childhood’s end is my third second favorite song. Great lyrics. Wasting Love has intersting drums if you listen closely. The Fugitive is my third first favorite song. It’s about a fugitive (DUH!). It has a distinctive chorus and great bass playing. Chains of Misery is has a kind of swing beat to it that’s somehow pleasing to listen to.The Apparition is incredibly irritating. There’s a heavy whack on the snare drum and obnoxious guitar filling between it for almost the whole song. Judas Be My Guide is a welcome change. The chorus of this song is probably the best one on the album. Weekend Warrior is so surprisingly grotesque that I would have had to write Parental Discretion Advised as the title or the first sentence of the is review. And finally, we have the album titled song. I’ll start by saying all the songs on this album could “be real bad” besides the last one but I’d still get for Fear of the Dark. (Actually I’d probably just get the single). This song however is totally, completely, there’s no other word for it, Kick-”butt”!There’s a mass of commotion to start it off, but then, like Afraid to Shoot Strangers, it goes quiet with the humming guitar. Then it launches itself into a whirling tornado of music and lyrics. This song is unbelievable. It quiets down at the end again and then fades out. What a song!! I urge you to look for a live edition of it too, because I am sure this one was written to be played onstage! It will knock your socks off I swear to God. In short, this album desererves a lot more respect than its receiving.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
I am Maiden’s #1 fan, so believe me when I say this: DO NOT listen to the bad reviews for this album. Ignore the critics and the so-called metal fans who call it weak. It is, quite simply, one of Maiden’s top five best ever, and easily the most underrated metal album of all time.
Ah yes, FEAR OF THE DARK. The last album with Bruce Dickinson. It followed NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING, which got disastrous reviews but was actually very good. This is definitely Maiden’s most unique and intriguing album. Nine of the songs are awesome, only three are average.
BE QUICK OR BE DEAD: The heaviest, most aggressive album opener they ever made (although “Moonchild” will always be the greatest). Borderline thrash metal, with it’s earth-shaking riff and Bruce’s nasty vocals. I love it when he sings in that snarling tone. This tune rips out of your speakers like a stampede of angry rhinos! Metallica – eat your hearts out.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY: How awesome is that chorus?! Those chants are simply killer! Classic metal.
AFRAID TO SHOOT STRANGERS: Masterpiece. The first half of the song is a ballad, in which Bruce proves that he really can sing softer stuff when he wants to. A very hypnotic vocal melody. Then, it changes gears and a wonderful guitar riff comes in, followed by a crushing riff and some insane soloing. Then it reverts back to it’s original mellow form. Excellent song.
FEAR IS THE KEY: One of my top five favorite Maiden songs ever. For the life of me, I cannot understand why everyone puts down this song. I don’t get it. The pounding riff, the fascinating vocal melody, the part where it changes tempo in the middle, etc. Aw God, it’s incredible. It’s really more along the lines of Rainbow or someone like that. My favorite song on the album.
CHILDHOOD’S END: Perhaps the most unique song they ever recorded. That drum beat is tops, complemented by a rather haunting synth riff. And again, a killer vocal melody here. These guys were really on their game when they wrote this stuff!!
WASTING LOVE: Until Bruce comes in with the vocals, it sounds like just another cheesy metal ballad. But Bruce really saves it from becoming that. He gives a wonderful performance here, one of his best.
THE FUGITIVE: Aw man, that’s gotta be the heaviest riff they ever came up with. Definitely. Wall-shaking stuff here! I love the chorus, and those guitar runs at 3:49 are absolutely mesmerizing. Whether it was Dave or Janick, I don’t know, but it absolutely kills.
CHAINS OF MISERY: Like “From Here To Eternity”, this one has a chanted chorus that will stick in your brain forever. I still can’t get it out of my head.
THE APPARITION: Uh, not that great. Maybe their weakest song ever.
JUDAS BE MY GUIDE: Nothing special.
WEEKEND WARRIOR: Nothing special.
FEAR OF THE DARK: Now we’re cookin’! Regarded by fans as one of their greatest songs, and I fully agree. The beggining is very moody, with Bruce giving an almost creepy vocal performance before a devastating riff comes in and it starts to rock like you wouldn’t believe! That riff just might be my favorite of all time. It positively kicks ass!! And it ends the same way it began, with a very eerie atmosphere.
All in all, this album is definitely on par with any of their earlier ones, no matter what anyone says. Trust me. Buy it now.
For some reason, this album has a lot of negative stigma attached to it, and I have no idea why. No, it doesn’t sound like Maiden’s awesome 80’s efforts (“Piece Of Mind”, “Powerslave”, etc). It’s a pretty big change in style, but it’s still pretty damn good (and even better where you compare it to Maiden’s last release, the average “No Prayer For The Dying”.
First off, let me say what’s bad about this album: Bruce, man, what happened to your voice? It’s not anywhere as odd as it was on “No Prayer”, but really, it doesn’t sound as if Bruce was trying as hard here as he was on previous albums. Also, there are a few filler tracks here, such as “Fear Is The Key” and “Weekend Warrior”, that kind of take away from the album. “But,” you say, “you can skip over the tracks you don’t like!” To which I reply, that’s true… but this is IRON MAIDEN we’re talking about here! If it had been any other band, this would probably be a 5-star effort. But I hold Maiden up to a far higher standard than most other bands, and having filler on a Maiden album is simply unacceptable. Period.
Then why did I give this album four stars? Because there’s much to enjoy here as well. “Be Quick Or Be Dead” is one of my favorite Maiden opening tracks, “Afraid To Shoot Strangers” is a beautiful ballad that I definitely enjoy, and “Childhood’s End”, “The Fugitive”, “The Apparition”, and “Judas Be My Guide” are all catchy, enjoyable tracks. And, of course, there’s the awesome title track, which is, to this day, one of my favorite Maiden songs, hands down. Most of the people who trash the album even like this song.
So, yes, there’s lots for Maiden fans to enjoy here, but it’s not of the band’s greatest albums. If you’re new to the band, i’d recommend that you start elsewhere (probably with their mid-80’s albums), but once you’ve picked up a few Maiden records, then come back here and buy this one as well. If you’re already into Maiden but are hesitant to buy this album, I say download a few of the better tracks (and make sure you get the title track), and see if you like what you hear.
Fear Of The Dark is not a bad album, or the disaster many think it is. I think this album came off as bad because the band was wiped out from the 80’s, a decade where they released 9 albums and toured constantly without a break, save for a few months. Bruce Dickinson shows the strain of this far more than any of the band members; his powerful howl has been reduced to a raspy gruff not worthy of his name. However, many of the songs here are great. Be quick or be dead, afraid to shoot strangers, the title cut, judas be my guide, childhoods end, and from here to eternity are great. Fear is the key, wasting love, the fugitive, and chains of misery are so-so tracks. they are good enough to be Maiden, but fear is the key and chains of misery should have been b-sides. Then FOTD would have been great. The album is mostly ruined by its worst tracks, the apparition and weekend warrior, which are truly horrid. They are not even worthy of being b-sides, they should have been scrapped at the start. Of course the record company wanted more tracks, and these were forced on, ruining the album. Ok-thats enough. The point is Maiden fans need this but newcomers to the band should get their other albums first.
It’s interesting, most people seem to think that Iron Maiden went into an artistic decline in the 90’s, but no one seems to talk to much about why, other than that they don’t like Blaze. Still, before Blaze showed up this band had become pretty different from the classic Iron Maiden, even if they still were the same basic subgenre. Here they started to move in the semi-epic, pseudo-prog metal direction that has defined their style ever since. It’s certainly not as far as they would go in later albums, but that’s definitely the direction they’re heading. This album also has a bit more of a hard rock flavor to it, which is pretty weird. Overall it’s pretty good, but with probably only 1 legitimately great song, and too many tracks. (If a metal album has over 10 tracks it almost certainly has too many.)
‘Fear of the Dark’ is the legitimately great track, and it is indeed awesome. A nice memorable, galloping epic well worthy of being named with all their other great epics. ‘Be Quick Or Be Dead’ is a solid speed metal number. Not their best thing, but solid. ‘From Here to Eternity’, ‘Chains of Misery’ and ‘Weekend Warrior’ are all lighter, hard rock-ish rockers. None of them is bad, particularly ‘Weekend Warrior’, which is very catchy, but they’re all a bit cheesy and certainly not up to IM’s standards. The album has a weird stretch of semi-epics and ballads stretching from tracks 3 thru 6. (This is the part of the album which particularly displays their evolution) ‘Afraid to Shoot Strangers’ and ‘Childhood’s End’ are the best of them, and are very good, if generally pretty low-key. ‘Wasting Love’ is the purest ballad, and it’s pretty decent, if not remarkable. An effective chorus. ‘Fear is the Key’ is the darkest one, rather reminiscent of what you’d hear on ‘The X Factor’. Not great, but sufficiently interesting, and different. ‘The Fugitive’ is one of your more classic Maiden songs, stylistically, except that it is really quite grating, with a very irritating chorus. ‘The Apparition’ is a little bland, not too aggravating but not of much particular interest. ‘Judas Be My Guide’ is a highpoint, the strongest track other than the title track. A very nice epic chorus.
Overall very little of what you’ll hear on this album is bad, but it is almost uniformly a cut below classic Maiden.(And you pretty much never heard anything bad on the first 7 Maiden albums) Still, it’s worth owning.