The monsters of heavy metal music Iron Maiden celebrate their 40th anniversary of true metal career with the 16th studio album "The Book Of Souls". Apparently, the years lasted from their previous release seemed to be not only hard, because of Bruce Dickinson`s health problems, however highly productive. Yearned for favorite business, the musicians release the first in the band’s history double album with total duration of 92 minutes. The peak chronometry makes record the longest in Maiden`s discography.
The rockers have started work on "The Book Of Souls" yet in 2013, when fans learned about the album for the first time. The curing of Dickinson`s cancer was really severe and took a lot of time, nevertheless the result was successful. After returning to the old studio in France, the band with special enthusiasm continued recording and, according to the musicians, it was really pleasant and easy work. The release of "The Book Of Souls" took place on the 4th of September via Parlophone label.
The tracklist consists of two CD with six and five compositions:
- If Eternity Should Fail
- Speed Of Light
- The Great Unknown
- The Red And The Black
- When The River Runs Deep
- The Book Of Souls
- Death Or Glory
- Shadows Of The Valley
- Tears Of A Clown
- The Man Of Sorrows
- Empire Of The Clouds
The result of 92 minutes duration is a bit strange as for the 40-years experienced pioneers of New Wave of British Heavy Metal. However, the musicians did their best. The metalheads collected all their inspiration and recorded the album with their best musical qualities. The songs show their unique character, but keep harmony between themselves. And that is why the record is listened to lightly and ease. "The Book Of Souls" is impressive with the pressure of unrestrained young energy.
The first CD will please you with a classical Iron Maiden`s sound. Here you can find everything that is liked by true heavy metal fans. After keyboard entry, remonding the legends of Ancient Egypt, the headliner "If Eternity Should Fail" opens very strong motive with saturated sounds of instruments and, of course, branded vocals and guitar solo played in unison. For the first time after 1984, Bruce Dickinson has become the author of the song. The next compositions definitely should be entered in a list of the album’s best tracks.
For instance, "Speed Of Light" does not reach the speed like its name, but at the same time, catch you with glib rhythm and cheeky solo. This crazy track with Dickinson`s high vocals will carry you away to the epicenter of zombie apocalypse and mad drive. The fourth song "The Red And The Black" is ideal way to shake the multitudes of fans, although it is slightly overlong (13 minutes last). There is true heavy metal atmosphere, alive solo and guitar riffs that sound in unison. The first part is finished by strong and pretty skilful "When The River Runs Deep" and gloomy "The Book Of Souls" with its bellicose tone and no less gloomy solo.
The second part of "The Book Of Souls" is not so brisk and deep as the first one, there is no cheerful spirit and mischievous mood traits. And if the second CD was released separately from the first one, it would even become rather monotonous. Noteworthy is a quick, but rather simple "Death Of Glory" and more dramatic and atmospheric "Tears Of Clown" on the CD 2. As for another tracks, there is an impression that the band has started the work with double CD and realized all its genuine creative impulse in the first part, however, the second part was recorded with more or less good ideas. So it happened to "Empire Of The Clouds", which final song lasts 18 minutes. This is an entire suite, play of emotions that contains lyrical piano notes and rather effective guitar riffs. However, better a little fire to warm us, than a great one to burn us. The record is oversaturated with the same type of keyboard solos and transitions from the lyrics to the moments of inspiration. Even so, "Empire Of The Clouds" deserves your attention as a composition the authorship of which is completely belongs to Bruce Dickinson. For the first time in Iron Maiden`s history the frontman sang accompanying himself on piano.
In general, the album is not so bad. The musicians are full of energy and inspiration. Soon, the fans will be able to estimate tracks of "The Book Of Souls" alive. According to the preliminary plans, Iron Maiden goes on a big tour in 2016. The metallers consider that their vocalist will be fully recovered from illness till that time and they will go on the world stage with renewed vigour.
By Yuri Somov