A Matter of Life and Death: individual album judgement by yours truly

srfc

Ancient Mariner
An excellent album, the strength of which can possibly be gauged from the fact that my least favourite song on it is probably a lot of people's favourite.

Listening to the new remaster and it sounds excellent, loads of things low in the mix that I've never heard before, backing vocals, synths even guitar parts, although I am using Steve's Headphones for the first time too, so not sure whether it's the mastering or the headphones or a little of both.

"you're lying on your death bed now, but what did you bring to the table"

Different World: 9
These Colours Don't Run: 9
Brighter than a Thousand Suns: 10
The Pilgrim: 9
The Longest Day: 10
Out of the Shadows: 10
The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg: 10
For the Greater Good of God: 8
Lord of Light: 10
The Legacy: 10
 

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
An excellent album, the strength of which can possibly be gauged from the fact that my least favourite song on it is probably a lot of people's favourite.

Listening to the new remaster and it sounds excellent, loads of things low in the mix that I've never heard before, backing vocals, synths even guitar parts, although I am using Steve's Headphones for the first time too, so not sure whether it's the mastering or the headphones or a little of both.

"you're lying on your death bed now, but what did you bring to the table"

Different World: 9
These Colours Don't Run: 9
Brighter than a Thousand Suns: 10
The Pilgrim: 9
The Longest Day: 10
Out of the Shadows: 10
The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg: 10
For the Greater Good of God: 8
Lord of Light: 10
The Legacy: 10

A fantastic album. Top 5 Maiden material for yours truly, right after The Number of the Beast, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, Piece of Mind and Powerslave.
 
My 3rd favorite Maiden Album (Behind SIT and POM)

Different World: 9
These Colours Don't Run: 9
Brighter than a Thousand Suns: 10
The Pilgrim: 10
The Longest Day: 10
Out of the Shadows: 7
The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg: 10
For the Greater Good of God: 8.5
Lord of Light: 10
The Legacy: 10

Average 9.35
 

JudasMyGuide

Ancient Mariner
Update:

Different World 8/10 (best Maiden solo ever and I'm not even an h fan)
These Colours Don't Run 9/10
Brighter Than A Thousand Suns 10/10
The Pilgrim 8/10
The Longest Day 10/10
Out Of The Shadows 7/10
The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg 8/10
For The Greater Good Of God 10/10
Lord Of Light 9/10
The Legacy 10/10

Overall: 8,9
 
He could have meant "Changing your musical style to crack the USA market". :lol:



Maiden's guitar harmonies come from Wishbone Ash, which predated Judas Priest by some years.

On a side note, Wishbone Ash's "Argus" is one of the best albums of all time.

The Allman Brothers were doing dual guitar harmonies before either Wishbone Ash or Thin Lizzy
 

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
View attachment 12858

Same about Boston (also great guitar harmonies and similar slick style to 80's Maiden NOTB onwards). Just because 'Arry picks and names only the properly obscure and/or "respectable" bands from the Isles doesn't mean he wasn't influenced by other things.

Wishbone Ash can be hardly considered an obscure band...

Anyway, I’d rather believe what Steve says were his influences than what a fan might think were his influences.
 
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Zare

Uniformly distributed hostility
Yea I find it hard to believe Steve wasn’t listening to Allman Brothers.

I first heard of Allman Brothers a decade ago when I started seeing lists of best guitar players on the Internet. All the past years hanging out and in shows with hundreds of different people when I used to go out and was a part of the local "alternative circle", no-one ever mentioned them nor have I ever heard them played anywhere nor have I ever heard the name "Duane Allman" coming out of any of the older guys who were in the music academy, and those names they'd mention I would semi-religiously check out. There was a world of players outside metal, from all ages, that I first picked up from them, such as Paco de Lucia, Jan Akermaan, Takanaka, and so on.

Allman Brothers are mostly popular in U.S. There's a good chance that Steve never heard anything from them.
 

Zare

Uniformly distributed hostility
View attachment 12858

Same about Boston (also great guitar harmonies and similar slick style to 80's Maiden NOTB onwards). Just because 'Arry picks and names only the properly obscure and/or "respectable" bands from the Isles doesn't mean he wasn't influenced by other things.

It's all rock and roll. If you hear the similarity, it might not be the influence, but just the rock and roll in both examples.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I first heard of Allman Brothers a decade ago when I started seeing lists of best guitar players on the Internet. All the past years hanging out and in shows with hundreds of different people when I used to go out and was a part of the local "alternative circle", no-one ever mentioned them nor have I ever heard them played anywhere nor have I ever heard the name "Duane Allman" coming out of any of the older guys who were in the music academy, and those names they'd mention I would semi-religiously check out. There was a world of players outside metal, from all ages, that I first picked up from them, such as Paco de Lucia, Jan Akermaan, Takanaka, and so on.

Allman Brothers are mostly popular in U.S. There's a good chance that Steve never heard anything from them.
I sure think he heard music from them. They had some world wide hits. But influenced? That goes further. I don't think their music had that prominent use of guitar harmonies and the style of the band may not have been appealing enough to Steve to call them an influence.
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
IRON MAIDEN - A Matter Of Life And Death (2020 re-listening):

1- Different World:
Maiden's 14th album opener goes straight to the point from the get go: simple, fast, adrenaline filled and focused. The verses sound really engaging and finds the band mixing superbly radio friendly melodies with some heaviness and drama. The pre-chorus though... oh man, this 2 voiced jingle like passage is perhaps the poppiest thing Maiden has ever done. But even that ends up working wonders while highlighting even more the immensely epic chorus that follows. This thing sounds huge with Bruce pulling out an hell of a performance, carrying this section to an whole new level. The bridge's harmonies are flawless and so are the solos. This is indeed a great way to start a record: energetic and bearing a really positive message, although we're about to find out that almost the remainder of the album tone goes down a whole different direction, 8/10

2- These Colors Don't Run:
Starting with a sequence of excellent sections in the form of both somewhat brooding intro and verses (great drumming on the latter), the true nature of this record is revealed: a somber war based album filled with dramatic, prog like, heavy as hell lengthy tunes. I mean it's not "The X Factor" somber like but contrary to the heroic takes on war such as The Trooper or Aces High, A Matter Of Life And Death approaches the subject as the awful reality it truly is. And These Colors Don't Run is precisely under that scope: the scenario of worried familiars seeing soldiers go to war on a foreign land, the way this harsh reality repeats itself generation after generation is really portrayed in the flesh. So, after both state of the art intro and verses, the pre-chorus is also truly intense, portraying the delusions of what people think to be the heroic nature of a cruel reality, and makes way to an epic chorus. Here Bruce's voice shows the immense output power this man can still achieve at almost 50 years of age. While the solos are a bit by the numbers, the syncopated bridge is absolutely gorgeous, the guitar harmony is really good and the overdone choir somehow sounds quite powerful and dire this time. To sum it up this is a tremendous track in every possible aspect. 10/10

3- Brighter Than A Thousand Suns:
Now this song is even darker and heavier than the previous and structure wise has some really interesting details. Being a huge knock on the creation and detonation of something so horribly destructive as nuclear weapons, the intro of this monster is really tense. Clicking at a 7 by 4 time signature this is also the base structure of the verses but with some absolutely crushing riffs added (it reminds me of the build of some Tool tracks). Bruce's voice sounds amazingly placed creating an even more complex build and once again Nicko truly destroys everything on this one. The bridge is much straight forward as the song returns to your normal 4 by 4, but still it's powerful as fuck with Bruce pulling some jaw dropping vocals and Steve delivering some sweet bass variations. After repeating the verse/ bridge combination the song comes to a soft yet tense section with clean guitars and soft vocals going on a crescendo as the title of the track is evoked, like if the moment of releasing the bomb is growing nearer and nearer until it finally happens: the band enters full steam ahead as what we can call the the chorus explodes and it all assumes the tragic outcome the crescendo anticipated. Adrian's absolutely gorgeous solo is placed upon this section and then the song goes absolutely uptempo, once again portraying the catastrophic aftermath of a possible nuclear war musically in perfect fashion. Another excellent bridge is added with an equally great solo by Janick. It then repeats the expected verse/ bridge/ crescendo/ chorus/ outro sequence keeping the structure of this immensely brilliant epic and dark tune solid as steel. 9.25/10

4- The Pilgrim:
I'll start by pointing the only minus on the song because other than that I have nothing but good things to write about it: what is that harmony doing at the beginning and end of the track? Not that it's bad (IMO it's quite nice it's really well done) but it has zero to do with the rest of the song! Well, now let's see the good stuff: although much lighter in sonority this portrait of the 17th century arrival of the English pilgrims to the Americas has some truly good passages: the fast tempo verses are engaging, the pre-chorus' guitar harmonies are top and the chorus (that somewhat reminds 2 Minutes To Midnight's main riff) is also ok. The bridge's atmosphere reminds me one of Maiden's worst tracks (Fear is The Key) but much better penned and rounded, and it works really well to counter balance the overall fast pace of the rest of the song. Overall a really good song and I'd probably rate it higher if it wasn't placed in such an amazing album. Plus its more cheered up melodies are the complete antithesis of the majority of the record. Nevertheless a great song without shadow of doubt. 7.5/10

5- The Longest Day:
Inspired by one of the most decisive dates of the previous century (the so called "D Day" when the allied forces invaded the north of occupied France causing the first of many decisive blows on the nazi occupation), this song is understandably so built in crescendos and anticipation. The softest section keeps us on the edge of our seats in a crescendo, as the antecipation rises and we can feel the growing fear of the man who are about to disembark at what the lyrics describe as "hell's gate". And speaking of such the lyrics are really in the flesh top tier material: tense and depictive of this day's nightmares and the music is built to truly highlight them. The pre-chorus melody seems to scream "suffering" as the soldiers finally see themselves on the open among the carnage and it's truly impressive how the ambience is achieved in full (plus Bruce does a great job here). And so is the somewhat heroic chorus that reminds them that even so it's crucial to keep pushing through, for the nazi danger must be defeated by all means. So, The Longest Day is a another one of those songs that marries song dynamics and structure perfectly, which are traits of great compositions. Plus the instrumental bridges and solos are absolutely stunning (music wise my favorite passage on the song). But, although liking the tune the melodies on the chorus and crescendo (unlike the excellent pre-chorus) fail a bit to click with me. Don't get me wrong: they're quite good and once again must say they absolutely accomplish to harness the ambiance of the subject. But I can't explain. I like them but not as much as the majority of the rest of the melodies on the album. Nevertheless this is yet another epic tune really well put together, that fits the album's theme and atmosphere as a glove and features truly impressive passages to say the least. 7.75/10

6- Out Of The Shadows:
Why do these guys keep doing this to me? I mean... what the hell have those first 25 seconds doing there? What do they have to do with the rest of the song? Hell, at least The Pilgrim's start was a good guitar harmony while this is is really poor. Nevertheless, as the track keeps going it reveals itself to be a gorgeous calm song with a beautiful and powerful chorus. Ok, the verses kinda reminds us of a mix between The Chemical Wedding and Children Of The Damned but overall this thing is really something, filled with great guitar licks and solos. And while both its lyrics (quite cryptic although I believe they deal with blessing that is life) and soundscape are once again a bit out of place when compared with the overall grim nature of the record, I truly enjoy this song and its strong and enchanting melodies. 7.75/10

7- The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg:
A brief reference to the internet charade the band created around this fictional character and his haunted and tortured life. Great record promotion strategy but it's a pity they never gave it a proper answer afterwards. With that put aside, this is easily the darkest song you'll find here and would fit 100% into The X Factor grim mood. Starting with a broody long spine chilling intro Bruce's baritone and the array of guitar harmonies and finger picking melodies give this section one hell of an atmosphere untill a guitar slide unleahes the megalithic stomping monster that is this tune. The basic riff is heavy as heavy can get and the guitar pulls give it one heck of an edge. But it's the truly epic and anguished filled chorus (with Bruce's tortured vocal line underlining that aspect) that consolidates the fact this is top tier material. Meanwhile Nicko is simply dominating! The details this guy lands here and there are an absolute feast. And the song doesn't relent: It then heads to another brute of a riff that unfolds in a superb guitar harmony as a pompous bridge is used as support for an absolutely gorgeous solo by Mr. Murray. And what have we got once the chorus and a brief reprise of the intro close the track? I'll tell what we've got: an utterly epic, grim and stunningly well composed smashing heavy song. One the tracks in Maiden's career where the band managed to achieve a better mix of these 4 aspects and that alone speaks volumes on its excellence. 9.5/10

8- For The Greater Good Of God:
I won't take long speaking about this already by now absolute classic. Dealing with the abuses and horrors fanatic religious do, this thing is epic Maiden at its best. Lyrics? Stunning. Intro? Gorgeous. Verses? The perfect extension of the intro. Pre-chorus? Absolutely heartfelt and intense. Chorus? The best part of a song only made of flawless sections. Bridges and soloing section? An exquisite mix of rumbling power and top tier melody. So, to make things easier I believe the only thing I'd change here is I'd put one of the verses and pre chorus after the solos, since it perhaps takes a too much time to get to the first chorus. But on the other hand the repetition perhaps serves as a barrage of arguments on how atrocities in the name of religion must stop. And when a song is comprised of such marvelous parts that fit so well altogether and with the message this is a minor detail. Masterpiece. 10/10

9- Lord Of Light:
Dealing with man's often being biased to evil doings (here in the form of the well known rebel angel Lucifer) this is another track where I detect lots of Bruce's writing since I believe it would fit 100% nicely in both The Chemical Wedding or Accident Of Birth. The intro is really intriguing and when it goes full throtle it also reminds me a bit of Brighter Than A Thousand Suns' fast section, in part due to the truly great vocal performance. The guitar melodies placed inbetween the verses is also atonishing and the chorus is also ok but the fact that the voice gets much more contained kind of steals the apotheotic flavor of it. As for the next fingerpicking calm part and the way it explodes to the aggressive passage and soloing sections it's flawless with another brutal display of Nicko's godlike form in this record. So there you have it: yet another tune with crazy high quality in what seems to be a common thread on this album. 8/10

10- The Legacy:
To close the album Maiden went truly epic sticking to the war theme once again. The song starts with a kinda medieval acoustic guitar fingerpicking line upon which Bruce sings gently a creepy lullaby about chemical experiments on soldiers and the lasting effects of those atrocities. The song continues in acoustic clean variations (all of them absolutely gorgeous) till the distorted guitars start peaking in like trumpets announcing the unavoidable boom. And when this explodes it reveals a "Sabbathesque" huge riff that is (interrupted here and there by a state of the art clean bridge backed up masterfully by keyboards) as it flows in a monster of a chorus. This thing is pompous as it gets with Bruce's doubled vocals enhancing that effect. The next section is also a bit into Sabbath's alley (this time uptempo) and is the perfect place for lay some soloing action. The way the same riff is then used to build a sweet guitar harmonizer is as obvious as well achieved and so is Bruce's doubled vocal part. The band finishes the song making full use of the guitar trio and returning to the acoustic part as an epilogue. Showing all members firing at all cylinders this track is huge in all aspects. Full of epic grandeur it makes you travel through the narrative: it is able of making you feel both the unease of the first part of the lyrics and the beacon of hope the last lines leave us with. Another monument to end the album with. 9/10

PS: 8.67/10 points song average


Wow! Now this is what I call expectation exceding! For a band of this calibre, with several classic albums made to achieve such a level in its 14th record, 26 years after their debut is really something! It really stands tall as hell in quality and IMO even tops slightly a couple of classics. So much that during the ensuing tour the album was played in its entirity. Once again Kevin's production is merely ok. Oh and please stop picking on the cover and graphic direction of the album: it's great, especially after what happened with Dance Of Death. BTW I'll edit al my reviews with a brief nod to each cover. The band is absolutely fantastic performance and composition wise but Nicko really exceded himself (on the positive side) a handful of times on this one. I don't know about you but AMOLAD for me is totally on pair with Maiden's golden age stuff. Brilliant! 8.5/10
 
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IRON MAIDEN - A Matter Of Life And Death (2020 re-listening):

1- Different World:
Maiden's 14th album opener goes straight to the point from the get go: simple, fast, adrenaline filled and focused. The verses sound really engaging and finds the band mixing superbly radio friendly melodies with some heaviness and drama. The pre-chorus though... oh man, this 2 voiced jingle like passage is perhaps the poppiest thing Maiden has ever done. But even that ends up working wonders while highlighting even more the immensely epic chorus that follows. This thing sounds huge with Bruce pulling out an hell of a performance, carrying this section to an whole new level. The bridge's harmonies are flawless and so are the solos. This is indeed a great way to start a record: energetic and bearing a really positive message, although we're about to find out that almost the remainder of the album tone goes down a whole different direction, 8.25/10

2- These Colors Don't Run:
Starting with a sequence of excellent sections in the form of both somewhat brooding intro and verses (great drumming on the latter), the true nature of this record is revealed: a somber war based album filled with dramatic, prog like, heavy as hell lengthy tunes. I mean it's not "The X Factor" somber like but contrary to the heroic takes on war such as The Trooper or Aces High, A Matter Of Life And Death approaches the subject as the awful reality it truly is. And These Colors Don't Run is precisely under that scope: the scenario of worried familiars seeing soldiers go to war on a foreign land, the way this harsh reality repeats itself generation after generation is really portrayed in the flesh. So, after both state of the art intro and verses, the pre-chorus is also truly intense, portraying the delusions of what people think to be the heroic nature of a cruel reality, and makes way to an epic chorus. Here Bruce's voice shows the immense output power this man can still achieve at almost 50 years of age. While the solos are a bit meh, the syncopated bridge is absolutely gorgeous, the guitar harmony is really good and the overdone choir somehow sounds quite powerful and dire this time. To sum it up this is an excellent track in every possible aspect. 9.5/10

3- Brighter Than A Thousand Suns:
Now this song is even darker and heavier than the previous and structure wise has some really interesting details. Being a huge knock on the creation and detonation of something so horribly destructive as nuclear weapons, the intro of this monster is really tense. Clicking at a 7 by 4 time signature this is also the base structure of the verses but with some absolutely crushing riffs added (it reminds me of the build of some Tool tracks). Bruce's voice sounds amazingly placed creating an even more complex build and once again Nicko truly destroys everything on this one. The bridge is much straight forward as the song returns to your normal 4 by 4, but still it's powerful as fuck with Bruce pulling some jaw dropping vocals and Steve delivering some sweet bass variations. After repeating the verse/ bridge combination the song comes to a soft yet tense section with clean guitars and soft vocals going on a crescendo as the title of the track is evoked, like if the moment of releasing the bomb is growing nearer and nearer until it finally happens: the band enters full steam ahead as what we can call the the chorus explodes and it all assumes the tragic outcome the crescendo anticipated. Adrian's absolutely gorgeous solo is placed upon this section and then the song goes absolutely uptempo, once again portraying the catastrophic aftermath of a possible nuclear war musically in perfect fashion. Another excellent bridge is added with an equally great solo by Janick. It then repeats the expected verse/ bridge/ crescendo/ chorus/ outro sequence keeping the structure of this immensely brilliant epic and dark tune solid as steel. 9.25/10

4- The Pilgrim:
I'll start by pointing the only minus on the song because other than that I have nothing but good things to write about it: what is that harmony doing at the beginning and end of the track? Not that it's bad (IMO it's quite nice it's really well done) but it has zero to do with the rest of the song! Well, now let's see the good stuff: although much lighter in sonority this portrait of the 17th century arrival of the English pilgrims to the Americas has some truly good passages: the fast tempo verses are engaging, the pre-chorus' guitar harmonies are top and the chorus (that somewhat reminds 2 Minutes To Midnight's main riff) is also ok. The bridge's atmosphere reminds me one of Maiden's worst tracks (Fear is The Key) but much better penned and rounded, and it works really well to counter balance the overall fast pace of the rest of the song. Overall a really good song and I'd probably rate it higher if it wasn't placed in such an amazing album. Plus its more cheered up melodies are the complete antithesis of the majority of the record. Nevertheless a great song without shadow of doubt. 7.5/10

5- The Longest Day:
Inspired by one of the most decisive dates of the previous century (the so called "D Day" when the allied forces invaded the north of occupied France causing the first of many decisive blows on the nazi occupation), this song is understandably so built in crescendos and anticipation. The softest section keeps us on the edge of our seats in a crescendo, as the antecipation rises and we can feel the growing fear of the man who are about to disembark at what the lyrics describe as "hell's gate". And speaking of such the lyrics are really in the flesh top tier material: tense and depictive of this day's nightmares and the music is built to truly highlight them. The pre-chorus melody seems to scream "suffering" as the soldiers finally see themselves on the open among the carnage and it's truly impressive how the ambience is achieved in full (plus Bruce does a great job here). And so is the somewhat heroic chorus that reminds them that even so it's crucial to keep pushing through, for the nazi danger must be defeated by all means. So, The Longest Day is a another one of those songs that marries song dynamics and structure perfectly, which are traits of great compositions. Plus the instrumental bridges and solos are absolutely stunning (music wise my favorite passage on the song). But, although liking the tune the melodies on the chorus and crescendo (unlike the excellent pre-chorus) fail a bit to click with me. Don't get me wrong: they're quite good and once again must say they absolutely accomplish to harness the ambiance of the subject. But I can't explain. I like them but not as much as the majority of the rest of the melodies on the album. Nevertheless this is yet another epic tune really well put together, that fits the album's theme and atmosphere as a glove and features truly impressive passages to say the least. 7.75/10

6- Out Of The Shadows:
Why do these guys keep doing this to me? I mean... what the hell have those first 25 seconds doing there? What do they have to do with the rest of the song? Hell, at least The Pilgrim's start was a good guitar harmony while this is is really poor. Nevertheless, as the track keeps going it reveals itself to be a gorgeous calm song with a beautiful and powerful chorus. Ok, the verses kinda reminds us of a mix between The Chemical Wedding and Children Of The Damned but overall this thing is really something, filled with great guitar licks and solos. And while both its lyrics (quite cryptic although I believe they deal with blessing that is life) and soundscape are once again a bit out of place when compared with the overall grim nature of the record, I truly enjoy this song and its strong and enchanting melodies. 7.75/10

7- The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg:
A brief reference to the internet charade the band created around this fictional character and his haunted and tortured life. Great record promotion strategy but it's a pity they never gave it a proper answer afterwards. With that put aside, this is easily the darkest song you'll find here and would fit 100% into The X Factor grim mood. Starting with a broody long spine chilling intro Bruce's baritone and the array of guitar harmonies and finger picking melodies give this section one hell of an atmosphere untill a guitar slide unleahes the megalithic stomping monster that is this tune. The basic riff is heavy as heavy can get and the guitar pulls give it one heck of an edge. But it's the truly epic and anguished filled chorus (with Bruce's tortured vocal line underlining that aspect) that consolidates the fact this is top tier material. Meanwhile Nicko is simply dominating! The detsild this guy lands here and there are an absolute feast. And the song doesn't relent: It then heads to another brute of a riff that unfolds in a superb guitar harmony as a pompous bridge is used as support for an absolutely gorgeous solo by Mr. Murray. And what have we got once the chorus and a brief reprise of the intro close the track? I'll tell what we've got: an utterly epic, grim and stunningly well composed smashing heavy song. One the tracks in Maiden's career where the band managed to achieve a better mix of these 4 aspects and that alone speaks volumes on its excellence. 9.5/10

8- For The Greater Good Of God:
I won't take long speaking about this already by now absolute classic. Dealing with the abuses and horrors fanatic religious do, this thing is epic Maiden at its best. Lyrics? Stunning. Intro? Gorgeous. Verses? The perfect extension of the intro. Pre-chorus? Absolutely heartfelt and intense. Chorus? The best part of a song only made of flawless sections. Bridges and soloing section? An exquisite mix of rumbling power and top tier melody. So, to make things easier I believe the only thing I'd change here is I'd put one of the verses and pre chorus after the solos, since it perhaps takes a too much time to get to the first chorus. But on the other hand the repetition perhaps serves as a barrage of arguments on how atrocities in the name of religion must stop. And when a song is comprised of such marvelous parts that fit so well altogether and with the message this is a minor detail. Masterpiece. 10/10

9- Lord Of Light:
Dealing with man's often being biased to evil doings (here in the form of the well known rebel angel Lucifer) this is another track where I detect lots of Bruce's writing since I believe it would fit 100% nicely in both The Chemical Wedding or Accident Of Birth. The intro is really intriguing and when it goes full throtle it also reminds me a bit of Brighter Than A Thousand Suns' fast section, in part due to the truly great vocal performance. The guitar melodies placed inbetween the verses is also atonishing and the chorus is also ok but the fact that the voice gets much more contained kind of steals the apotheotic flavor of it. As for the next fingerpicking calm part and the way it explodes to the aggressive passage and soloing sections it's flawless with another brutal display of Nicko's godlike form in this record. So there you have it: yet another tune with crazy high quality in what seems to be a common thread on this album. 8/10

11- The Legacy:
To close the album Maiden went truly epic sticking to the war theme once again. The song starts with a kinda medieval acoustic guitar fingerpicking line upon which Bruce sings gently a creepy lullaby about chemical experiments on soldiers and the lasting effects of those atrocities. The song continues in acoustic clean variations (all of them absolutely gorgeous) till the distorted guitars start peaking in like trumpets announcing the unavoidable boom. And when this explodes it reveals a "Sabbathesque" huge riff that is (interrupted here and there by a state of the art clean bridge backed up masterfully by keyboards) as it flows in a monster of a chorus. This thing is pompous as it gets with Bruce's doubled vocals enhancing that effect. The next section is also a bit into Sabbath's alley (this time uptempo) and is the perfect place for lay some soloing action. The way the same riff is then used to build a sweet guitar harmonizer is as obvious as well achieved and so is Bruce's doubled vocal part. The band finishes the song making full use of the guitar trio and returning to the acoustic part as an epilogue. Showing all members firing at all cylinders this track is huge in all aspects. Full of epic grandeur it makes you travel through the narrative: it is able of making you feel both the unease of the first part of the lyrics and the beacon of hope the last lines leave us with. Another monument to end the album with. 9/10

Wow! Now this is what I call expectation exceding! For a band of this calibre, with several classic albums made to achieve such a level in its 14th record, 26 years after their debut is really something! It really stands tall as hell in quality and IMO even tops slightly a couple of classics. So much that the during the ensuing tour the album was played in its entirity. Once again Kevin's production is merely ok. Oh and please stop picking on the cover and graphic direction of the album: it's great, especially after what happened with Dance Of Death. BTW I'll edit al my reviews with a brief nod to each cover. The band is absolutely fantastic performance and composition wise but Nicko really exceded himself (on the positive side) a handful of times on this one. I don't know about you but AMOLAD for me is totally on pair with Maiden's golden age stuff. Brilliant! 8.5/10

I'm really enjoying all of these album reviews. I don't agree with all of your points (what would be the fun in that?) but definitely appreciate the amount of thought/detail going into these.
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
I'm really enjoying all of these album reviews. I don't agree with all of your points (what would be the fun in that?) but definitely appreciate the amount of thought/detail going into these.
You don't have to agree. That's the beauty of it. Unless you hate Aces High or Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. In that case your immortal soul is at stake. :D :D :D Nah, seriously... Thanks for the compliment and enjoy Maiden. BTW sorry for the grammar errors since it's not my native tongue and sometimes lack the patience to review what I write properly.
 

srfc

Ancient Mariner
An excellent album, the strength of which can possibly be gauged from the fact that my least favourite song on it is probably a lot of people's favourite.

Listening to the new remaster and it sounds excellent, loads of things low in the mix that I've never heard before, backing vocals, synths even guitar parts, although I am using Steve's Headphones for the first time too, so not sure whether it's the mastering or the headphones or a little of both.

"you're lying on your death bed now, but what did you bring to the table"

Different World: 9
These Colours Don't Run: 9
Brighter than a Thousand Suns: 10
The Pilgrim: 9
The Longest Day: 10
Out of the Shadows: 10
The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg: 10
For the Greater Good of God: 8
Lord of Light: 10
The Legacy: 10

Not a lot to add here, this time I'm listening to the original CD on my hifi, and it sounds great as well, first time in a lone time I've listened to this one on a hi-fi as most of my listening is done in the car or on headphones if outside.

I stand by the marks I gave, possibly harsh on FTGGOG, but it's still my least favourite on the album, I think the verses are too sparse, like something from FOTD era like Childhood's End, with 3 guitars they should be filling it more, and the words aren't great either.

I think playing this live has really helped the reputation of the album, it's just a shame that we haven't heard much of it live again.
 

Murder of Rue Morgue

Educated Fool
2021 re-listening
  1. Different World: 4.5 – standard riffs, enjoyable solo, laughable lyrics
  2. These Colours Don't Run: 6/7 – great mood, -0.25 due to the pointless 'oooh oooh' section
  3. Brighter than a 1000 Suns: 7.5 – cool riffing and ideas here and there, but too long and too repetitive
  4. The Pilgrim: 5.5 – standard shorter
  5. The Longest Day: 7 – same as Brighter, etc.
  6. Out of the Shadows: 7.5 – never really liked this one, grew up tho; cool melodies
  7. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg: 6 – some good riffing and soloing happening around here, but the arpeggiated section is soporific
  8. Lord of Light: 6/7 – the umpteenth arpeggio, good Lord; the heavy section is good tho
  9. For the Greater Good of Good: 5/6 – an endless 3:3:2 crescendo leading to a boring and repetitive chorus and a good instrumental section
  10. The Legacy: 8 – love the theatrical mood of this one, the post-solo section ('We seem destined to live in fear') is awesome
Overall: 5/10
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
2021 Commentary Update:

6 - Different World
2 - These Colours Don't Run
7 - Brighter Than A Thousand Suns
3 - The Pilgrim
4 - The Longest Day
6 - Out Of The Shadows
7 - The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg
8 - For The Greater Good Of God
7 - Lord Of Light
5 - The Legacy

5.5 - Album Average
 
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Stardust

Mr. Blue Sky
2021 final statistics for the album:

Different World - 6/10
These Colours Don't Run - 6/10
Brighter Than a Thousand Suns - 10/10
The Pilgrim - 4/10
The Longest Day - 7/10
Out of the Shadows - 5/10
The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg - 7/10
For the Greater Good of God - 8/10
Lord of Light - 6/10
The Legacy - 8/10

Average album score - 6.7/10
 
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