Saturday, 5 March 2011

CD Review: Somewhere In Time, by Iron Maiden (1986)

And all of a sudden, Iron Maiden fall off the creative cliff. After reeling off five terrific albums in a row, the sixth finally falls flat, and Somewhere In Time suffers terribly in comparison with its predecessors. Now the stories sound forced; the music and the lyrics seem bolted together with rusted nails in a grimy workshop; the ideas run dry; and even the pictures of the band in the CD booklet are flaccid. A creative malaise has suddenly taken over, and the band would struggle mightily to shake it off on many albums to come.

Two tracks out of eight survive with some credit and retain the Maiden spirit. Caught Somewhere In Time creates a unique vibe, benefiting from menacing Dickinson vocals singularly driving a catchy chorus. Deja-Vu seamlessly delivers the typical Maiden punch and engaging guitar work from Murray and Smith, without the forced fat that afflicts the rest of the album.

Alexander The Great, at over eight minutes, enjoys some moments, but struggles for cohesion. The rest of the album is, by Maiden standards, quite disappointing. Wasted Years and Heaven Can Wait remained concert staples for decades, perhaps because they are relatively undemanding to play and can satisfy the easily influenced. The Loneliness Of The Distance Runner best captures just how dry the creative well was when it came to finding topics for new songs.

Somewhere In Time confirmed the unwanted truth that Iron Maiden were human, and that every creative streak, no matter how brilliant, has to come to an end.


Bruce Dickinson - Vocals
Dave Murray - Guitars
Adrian Smith - Guitars
Steve Harris - Bass
Nicko McBrain - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Caught Somewhere In Time - 9
2. Wasted Years - 7
3. Sea Of Madness - 6
4. Heaven Can Wait - 7
5. The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner - 7
6. Stranger In A Strange Land - 7
7. Deja-Vu - 9
8. Alexander The Great - 8

Average: 7.50

Produced, Engineered and Mixed by Martin Birch.
Mastered by George Marino.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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