Iron Maiden fans either love this album or hate it – there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. I’m in the camp that dislikes this album. To me it just seemed so uninspired and boring. I wasn’t looking for synths or keyboards, but I was looking for more of the same quality songwriting that the previous seven albums had in spades.
This album also marks the departure of Adrian Smith and the addition of Janick Gers. Janick’s been in the music business for years and is a very good guitarist. He did great in Gillian, Gogmagog, White Spirit, and Bruce’s first solo album, but in my opinion, he wasn’t a good fit for a technical band like Iron Maiden.
To me Adrian’s co-written song “Hooks in You” is the one of the few bright spots on the album. The other good tracks are “Tailgunner” and “No Prayer for the Dying.” The rest to me just isn’t good Iron Maiden. There’s always going to be a snag here and there for every band. This one just happens to be Iron Maiden’s snag.
I find that when an album you haven’t heard before is mercilously bashed, you tend to go into it expecting it to be some of the worst stuff you’ve ever heard. And then when you actually sit down and listen to it, you come away thinking it wasn’t half bad. But in this case, it was 1990, and I was expecting another killer album from one of my favorite bands. Instead, I found it fell far short of my expectations. Even today, while I have the album in my collection, I don’t go back to it often.