A return to form

After some time away from the band, Bruce was refreshed and ready to return. Maiden had experienced some lean years, so Bruce's returned also seemed like the best way to rekindle the magic. All of this is understandable, but it wouldn't necessarily bring success as all they would be doing was reforming the lineup of the catastrophic NPFTD and FOTD albums. A crucial ingredient was missing and to his credit, Bruce recognized this. Adrian also rejoining became a condition of Bruce rejoining and after a bit of discussion, the best 5-piece Metal band in the world became the best 6-piece. I was ambivalent about keeping Janick at the time but now I think it was the right call. As a guitarist, I just don't rate him as highly as Dave or Adrian, but he does bring added dynamism to the band on stage and he's a very good songwriter.

Listening to BNW for the first time was like welcoming home an old friend. This was the Iron Maiden I fell in love with in 1980 and they were immediately back on form. When I listen to Maiden now, I often jump from SSOASS to BNW and it feels absolutely right to do so. Every song here is strong and show all of the characteristics that make a great Maiden song, but here there is also an added dimension. Having to incorporate three guitars not only creates a thicker sound, it also creates a more complex sound with multiple harmonies that adds extra layers to the music that weren't possible previously.

I was so impressed with this album that I returned to seeing them live and they didn't disappoint. Clearly I wasn't alone because I saw them at the same venue I had seen them for Bruce's farewell tour, but this time, instead of half the Glasgow Arena being curtained off, this time it was packed to capacity. This is a very special album for me, simply because it meant so much to have my favourite band back, so it will always have a special place in my heart. Nevertheless, even without this emotional attachment, this is still a very strong album and sparked the start of a second iconic era in the band's history.
Just never got this album. Surely better than the 2 Blaze albums but that was not a hard task to begin with. Then again I do not see NPFTD or FOTD as bad albums. If anything the sound of the album seemed unbalanced to me and the songs seemed rushed and the choruses...oh God the choruses. I can of course appreciate what it did for the band. All in all I think that people were too hyped with B and H returning and that is what was important at the time.