When it comes to living legends in our scene, they do not get much greater than Iron Maiden. For over three decades they’ve released classic album after classic album and have put on some of the greatest live shows this world has ever seen. With the release of The Book Of Souls coming this week, the excitement around the first record in five years is at an all-time high, and let me tell you this, it delivers on all levels and more. Just when you thought there was nothing else that Iron Maiden could bring to the table, they have created another masterpiece that will leave fans everywhere completely breathless.
If you want to understand the massive sound of this album, the opening track sets the tone brilliantly. “If Eternity Should Fail” clocks in at over eight minutes, but it goes by so quick that you completely forget about time. From the eerie intro to Bruce Dickinson‘s impactful vocals to the onslaught of classic riffs, it features everything you’ve ever loved about this band but takes it to a whole new level. Songs like “Speed of Light,” “The Great Unknown,” “Death or Glory” and “Tears Of A Clown” remind you of where this band came from, with a powerful throwback to their early New Wave of British Heavy Metal years. That said, the songs have a fresh new vibe that will not only keep the band relevant for years to come, but connect the old and new fans unlike every before. While these tracks are exceptional in every way, the massive anthems on this record are what will truly leave your jaw on the ground.
“The Red and the Black” is the only track written solely by Steve Harris, but he proves once again that he is one of the greatest songwriters of our time. In just under 14 minutes, this track features an amazing energy of rhythm, a seamless flow that only he could ever think of, and their ever-popular gang vocals hint that this will be a live fixture in the future. This is one that all fans will be dying to scream their hearts out to just like the title track. “The Book Of Souls” is 10 minutes of Iron Maiden at their finest. Dickinson sounds as strong as ever, the band is flying high on all cylinders, and it’s a true statement of their sound, their passion and their perfection.
Just when you thought they couldn’t possibly outdo themselves anymore, the final song, “Empire of the Clouds,” will leave fans talking for years to come. In over 18 minutes you get a beautiful piano intro, you get Dickinson nailing every note, you get the solos, you get Steve‘s bass loud in your ears, and you get more goosebumps than your body has ever been capable of making. This song is simply a masterpiece. There’s no other way to say it. It’s a track that’s hard to put into words, and although I’ve heard it 20 times now, I am still not able to process the entire composition for what it is. For that, Iron Maiden has once again proved me wrong, proved why they are living legends, and proved that we should appreciate every note we’ve ever heard from the guys, from the past until now.
With The Book Of Souls, Iron Maiden have not only written one of the best albums of the year but one of the best albums I’ve heard in over a decade. Their playing has never sounded better, Bruce is still superhuman, and the rhythm section still knows how to drive this band to a new energetic level after three decades in the scene. I’ve listened to this album over 20 times since I received it, and quite honestly, I don’t know when I’ll ever stop listening to it. As I said before, it’s a masterpiece. The excellence of Iron Maiden is shown once again, and for that, I can only bow down and scream “Up The Irons” to the sky!
The Book Of Souls is out September 4 via Parlophone Records. Pre-order it today!
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):