Saturday, 12 March 2011

CD Review: Fear Of The Dark, by Iron Maiden (1992)

The seamless, smooth transitions of the past are replaced by bone-jarring, teeth grinding discontinuities that almost always sound forced together with rusted screws. On Fear Of The Dark Iron Maiden try hard, and remain true to their principles, but what used to be effortless is now a back-breaking chore.

However, even in their wilderness years Iron Maiden could produce some solid metal. Fear Of The Dark is far from Maiden's glory days in terms of overall quality; but it still contains some notable gems.

The album is bookended by the two best tracks. Be Quick Or Be Dead is an energetic gallop of an opener, Dickinson's short sharp vocals matching Murray and Gers as they move through a dizzying number of head-snapping harmonic pace changes. The CD closes with title track and concert favourite Fear Of The Dark, excellent live and still great on the album.

In between, Afraid To Shoot Strangers has a unique almost whispered Dickinson vocal, and an astounding guitar solo passage; but the meshing between the instrumental passage and the rest of the song is awkward. Chains of Misery is a solid, typical Maiden track with an interesting tone, challenging staccato guitar work and a pleasing vibe.

The rest of the tracks, and with 12 selections there are many of them, are generally functional but exhibiting the noticeable panic of a band desperately attempting to squeeze new colours from the same crayon.


Bruce Dickinson - Vocals
Dave Murray - Guitar
Janick Gers - Guitar
Steve Harris - Bass
Nicko McBrain - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Be Quick Or Be Dead - 9
2. From Here To Eternity - 7
3. Afraid To Shoot Strangers - 8
4. Fear Is The Key - 7
5. Childhood's End - 7
6. Wasting Love - 7
7. The Fugitive - 6
8. Chains Of Misery - 8
9. The Apparition - 6
10. Judas Be My Guide - 7
11. Weekend Warrior - 5
12. Fear Of The Dark - 9

Average: 7.17

Produced and Mixed by Martin Birch and Steve Harris.
Engineered by Martin Birch.

All Ace Black Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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