Saturday, 7 December 2013

CD Review: Accident Of Birth, by Bruce Dickinson (1997)

Bruce Dickinson's fourth solo album finds him in top vocal form, and inching ever closer to full-on Iron Maiden-inspired heavy metal. Filled to the brim with 12 quality tracks, Accident Of Birth is packed with power riffs, tight melodies, clever compositions and dynamite delivery.

The addition of Adrian Smith to complement Roy Z. adds a discernible buzz to the dual guitar work, and Accident Of Birth makes a strong claim for being one of the best albums that Iron Maiden never recorded.

The title song Accident Of Birth stands out as the best track, a fairly brilliant chugging and stuttering guitar line laying the foundation for aggressive vocals, while the riffs go off and explore things that begin to sound like polished melodic death metal structures.

And there is plenty of other good material to discover. The album starts with a bang, Freak a thumping high-tempo inaugural explosion similar to the many high energy openers that graced the better Maiden albums. Darkside Of Aquarius is a bit too long for its own good, but contains some of the most Maidenesque interludes, the guitars of Roy Z. and Adrian Smith building some compelling harmonics. Road To Hell is compact and driven by more turbocharged guitar work, although Bruce's lyrics do spill into ultra-repetitive territory.

Man Of Sorrows is one of many power ballads, and what it lacks in originality it makes up for in sheer all-in dedication to the cause. The Magician does descend into oooh-oh-oooooh-WA!-oh vocals, but not before breaking several speed limits with a simple but effective melody. Welcome To The Pit is drenched in sex, and finds an appropriately dark descent into the dangerous corners of sleaze.

The album ends with two quite different ballads. Omega a sprawling epic that builds to a symphonic climax, while Arc Of Space is much more intimate, mostly Bruce and an acoustic guitar, his vocals soaring in an uplifting spiritual love poem. It's a poignant end to one of the best heavy metal albums of the 1990s.


Bruce Dickinson - Vocals
Adrian Smith - Guitar
Roy Z - Guitar
Eddie Casillas - Bass
David Ingraham - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Freak - 9
2. Toltec 7 Arrival - n/a (short track)
3. Starchildren - 7
4. Taking The Queen - 7
5. Darkside Of Aquarius - 8
6. Road To Hell - 8
7. Man Of Sorrows - 8
8. Accident Of Birth - 10
9. The Magician - 9
10. Welcome To The Pit - 8
11. Omega - 9
12. Arc Of Space - 10

Average: 8.45

Produced by Roy Z.
Mixed and Engineered by Stan Katayama, Joe Floyd, and Roy Z.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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