Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IRON MAIDEN: The Book of Souls (2015)

   As most of you know, Iron Maiden is one of the greatest and most popular heavy metal bands since the '80's. During their very long musical career, they released some albums that can be characterised as the "cornerstones" of Heavy Metal. But all that happened a long, long time ago. 
  Speaking for myself, I believe that the last decent album the band released was 'Somewhere in Time' in 1986. As for their last really good album, (always in my opinion), it was 'Powerslave' which was released in 1984. (Here I should mention, that after 'Somewhere in Time' I stopped following the band and its releases).
  Despite all that, here I am now in 2015, writing a post about their new album 'The Book of Souls'.
  First of all, I would like to make clear that this post is not a "review". I am just going to write my personal thoughts on the album.
  So, what we got here is the most ambitious album Iron Maiden ever recorded since the start of their career in the late '70's. It is a double CD including 11 songs, and has a total running time of almost 90 minutes. I listened to the whole album a few times so far, and my first impression is that it will not be very much appreciated by the - hardcore - fans of the band.
  In 'The Book of Souls' Iron Maiden are trying a big turn in their style and sound, reaching towards Progressive Metal for good! So far, the only really 'Prog Metal' song the band ever recorded was the really amazing 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' from the album 'Powerslave'. And now, almost 3 decades after 'Powerslave', Iron Maiden are trying a general approach to Progressive Metal, which is very interesting and mature, to say the least.
 Here I will give you a small example: Let's say, that a few years ago somebody would tell you that Iron Maiden will record an album on which they will include piano and violin in their songs. Most probably you would think that he's crazy, right? But as they say, never say never!
  Let's start now with the album's first impression: Taking a look at the songs for the first time, you will be surely surprised by their length. There are 3 songs over 10 minutes long, with the longest one being the 'Empire of the Clouds' which is maybe the album's highlight. As for the song's duration, is no less than 18.00 minutes! On the other hand, the shortest song has a running time of 5.00 minutes, and it is 'Tears of the Clown' written for the actor Robin Williams who commited suicide in 2014, as you probably have heard of.
  I wrote before that the devoted fans of the band will not appreciate this album very much, and I stand by it. Because everything sounds different here in comparison with the band's previous albums. Yes, the killer and "catchy" guitar riffs are still here in some ocassions, but the general pace is slower, the compositions are more complex by far, and there is no obvious "hit" song. Nothing like 'The Trooper', or 'Fear of the Dark' for example.
As far as I heard, the album's first (and probably last) single is 'Speed of Light', which I didn't like if I want  to be honest.
 For me, the highlights of the album are the songs 'The Red & the Black' (13.30), Tears of a Clown (5.00) and of course the epic 'Empire of the Clouds' which is based on the 1930 R101 airplane crash.
 Concluding this, I should mention that 'The Book of Souls' is an interesting album, which will need more than 3-4 listens in order to be appreciated.
                        My rating would be 3.00 out of 5.00 stars.
Clicking on the following link you will be diverted to Youtube in order to listen to 'Empire of the Clouds'
                                  Thank you for reading. :-)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM3eDlbqJUc