Tuesday, 20 September 2011

CD Review: Brave New World, by Iron Maiden (2000)

New decade, new century, Bruce Dickinson back on vocals, Adrian Smith back on guitar, a bold experiment to go with three guitarists. Iron Maiden push a massive reset button and launch into a Brave New World and a major rejuvenated phase of their career.

The lyrics are prone to excessive repetition and overt descriptiveness, the in-song transitions are often clunky, and some tracks are assembled from old left-over pieces from the classic Maiden era. There are also a few too many "whoa-ohhh-ohhh" segments that really only ever work in live performances with a younger audience.

But Dickinson never sounded better, the three-guitarist configuration works surprisingly well, and Maiden find and then scale some impressive new peaks. With seven of the ten tracks clocking in at over six minutes, the band take their time to construct elaborate, thoughtful and complex compositions.

Opener The Wicker Man has become the signature song of Maiden's new era, the rousing "Your time will come" chorus surfing the simplest of riffs to glory. Brave New World similarly aces the chorus: while the rest of the song is bland, when Dickinson launches into "A brave new world" with McBrain pounding out the most classic Maiden beat, the Iron just smolders.

Blood Brothers is more of a guitarist showcase, Maiden beginning what would become increasingly more common and generally successful excursions on their modern albums to explore folk metal territory. At the 4:20 mark the main guitar theme kicks in courtesy of Janick Gers, instantly transporting Blood Brothers to inspirational fog-shrouded moors.

And Maiden then land a pulverizing blow of greatness with The Nomad, an eastern-tinged, hypnotizing epic with Dickinson delivering devastating vocals from the top of the highest sand dune while the band behind him mesmerize the palm trees at the oasis with spellbinding melodies.

Brave New World is Maiden's forceful statement of intent to remain relevant in a whole new millennium.


Bruce Dickinson - Vocals
Dave Murray - Guitars
Adrian Smith - Guitars
Janick Gers - Guitars
Steve Harris - Bass, Keyboards
Nicko McBrain - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. The Wicker Man -9
2. Ghost Of The Navigator - 7
3. Brave New World - 9
4. Blood Brothers - 9
5. The Mercenary - 7
6. Dream Of Mirrors - 7
7. The Fallen Angel - 7
8. The Nomad - 10
9. Out Of The Silent Planet - 7
10. The Thin Line Between Love and Hate - 6

Average: 7.80

Produced by Kevin Shirley.
Engineered and Mixed by Kevin Shirley. Mastered by George Marino.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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