Brave New World: individual album judgement by yours truly

The Wicker Man - 9.5/10
Ghost Of The Navigator - 8.5/10
Brave New World - 9.5/10
Blood Brothers - 9/10
The Mercenary - 7/10
Dream Of Mirrors - 7.5/10
The Fallen Angel - 7.5/10
The Nomad - 7/10
Out Of The Silent Planet - 8.5/10
The Thin Line Between Love And Hate - 9/10

Overall: 83/100

Great album. In my humble opinion, not as amazing as A Matter of Life and Death, but on par with The Book of Souls as second best from the reunion era and, thankfully, miles better than anything they released during the 90s.

I am going to give it another spin today to celebrate that it is nearly 20 years old. :)
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Good! :D

P.S. Let me guess the name of the song... Brave New Opinion?
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The Wicker Man - 7
Ghost of the Navigator - 8
Brave New World - 8
Blood Brothers - 8
The Mercenary - 6
Dream of Mirrors - 7
The Fallen Angel - 7
The Nomad - 6
Out of the Silent Planet - 7
The Thin Line Between Love and Hate - 6
IRON MAIDEN - BRAVE NEW WORLD (re-listening 2020)

1- The Wicker Man:
This was the advance single and the very first song I've ever listened from the album, and although I love it I never managed get over two facts to this very day. The first one is the blatant Running Wild Priest's guitar riff rip off of on the verses. The second is a version of the song that is older than the final cut - I found it on Youtube and it's called The Wicker Man (Rare US Promo Version) - where there are some more vocal lines added to the chorus. And if it's true the damn refrain is already great as it is this version is even better! I can't really understand why the band ommitted those vocal lines on the final cut other than it would be harder to reproduce live. But either recurring to Adrian who was back in the band and is a decent singer or by sampling it's a shame those vocal lines didn't make it to the final version. Other than that, and since I somehow "learned to live with it", this is an immensely energetic heavy metal song: strong verses, decent bridge, great chorus and one hell of a final section ideal to sing along when played live. Bruce is on really good shape and so is the rest of the band especially Nicko with his fast one pedal work on the chorus. Even with those recurring issues this ends up being a truly great song. 8.75/10

2- Ghost Of The Navigator:
The first epic track from Brave New World has a really interesting start: the clean guitar intro is really nice and the crescendo really works as well (kinda reminding me of Moonchild's vibe as it gains balance). The next riff once again somewhat sounds familiar. In this case it reminds me of Randy's line in I Don't Know but at least this time it's just a mere resemblance. The verses are built upon this heavy and oppressive line while the lyrics sound like a poor man's Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (yet being solid enough). A really cool section follows, featuring some great rhythm and lead guitars that somehow reminds me of Somewhere In Time's vibe while Bruce delivers another excellent vocal line. But what comes next is completely disruptive... The song's chorus seems to come out of nowhere having nothing to do with the previous section. Plus, although not being bad per se, lacks intensity when compared with every section up till now. And something similar happens with the uptempo bridge based upon the song's calm intro: it has nothing to do with the chorus, the lead guitar/ vocal melody mimicking is irritating and it also makes a poor bridge when returning to the main riff (the crescendo on the beginning is there for a reason). Then the whole structure repeats, the main verse serves as base for the soloing and an ok-ish guitar harmonizer (that also seems to have some difficulties while connecting with the previous section) leads the track to its last chorus. Overall I can't help but feel Ghost Of The Navigator suffers a bit from what I call "patchwork syndrome". Of course there are some great passages here but some of them seem so forced and out of the blue that it kinda downgrades the value of composition a bit. 7.25/10

3- Brave New World:
Starting with an incredibly beautiful melody, it's almost impossible not being captivated by the album's title track from the get go. Everything here works so well and is so beautiful as a whole I don't even care Bruce's excellent voice line is once again mimicking one of the guitars. The whole thing then masterfully flows into full crescendo with that typical Maiden powerful syncopation mode as Bruce's voice amazing tone rises, taking the previous melody into its obvious yet absolutely fitting raise in intensity. But for the second time in a row in this record, a completely alien body lands on the middle of a song making a gruesome splash. What the hell has that chorus to do with the previous section? And man... IMO this sounds pretty vulgar especially when we come from such a state of the art beginning. So, after several - too much - repetitions we return to the previous melody but this time in straight uptempo, something that hurts its intensity and drama. And not only does this section does not match well with the chorus on its inception, the return to the main riff also sounds forced. As for the following 3 minutes and a half the song is nothing but the repetition of both this patterns (with the only variation being a brief harmony after the solos). Really? This song's structure is like a dog chasing his own tail in an obesessive replay uptempo mode. And is living proof that it takes more than an excellent melody to create a good song. It's a great example of either structuring laziness or rushed work upon a base that had everything to turn out into an excellent song can ruin its outcome. Mr. Huxley surelly deserved a better built adaptation of his work. 6.5/10

4- Blood Brothers:
Here Maiden brings something new to the table. Alternating 6 by 4 with 4 by 4 signatures the band creates a waltz like bounce that surprisingly ends up being one of the band's better achieved and composed songs in the album. I point out that because it's far from Maiden's usual structure (although they have already pulled a great song in similar signatures with Afraid To Shoot Strangers). Besides Harris' simple yet well thought bass line that serves as the cornerstone of the whole tune, Nicko's work is out the charts, the guitar melodies are simply beautiful, and Bruce pulls a pristine performance both when he goes tenor and baritone. The keyboards work also complements the atmosphere brilliantly. The lyrics are truly emotional and what to say of the folk influenced section at middle of the track followed by that masterpiece of a solo by Janick? And when it returns to the last go on the chorus that second voice even gives more edge and sentiment. Absolutely gorgeous, intense tune that is another one that really works wonders live. 8.5/10

5- The Mercenary:
Lyrics are basic, riff is generic, pre-chorus is boring and the only part the chorus really stands out is when it recycles Prowler's guitar melody. This time every single section fits necelly with its vicinity and since it's an uptempo chugging tune that kinda disguises the absolute lack of imagination. Listenable but in all honesty this has filler written all over it (and to think the band dished the second single to play this on the majority of the tour dates just puzzles me). 6.25/10

6- Dream Of Mirrors:
As Dream Of Mirrors kicks off we face one of the most discombobulated and ridiculous intros the band has ever made. Really folks... what is this? It then goes to a guitar melody that wouldn't sound slightly out of place on a bullfight. You know where it sounds completely out of place? In a Maiden album. This mess of a start finally finds some stability in a decent soft yet unsettling melody upon which Bruce's delivers an equally calm register. It then makes a simple yet superb based inflection into a soothing part where all the tension seems to disappear and returns to the previous section with a more intense guitar line. And all of the sudden there's the expected boom as Nicko's drums along with the distorted guitars give the song punch at perfect timing, serving as a booster to a really good and addictive, radio friendly chorus. Well, seems like this tune really had something to amaze me with as I'm really enjoying what I'm listening to after that disaster of a start. So, as the song returns to the main verses and repeats the last scheme I guess the boys will do a couple a solos and close the book on this one. Mmmmm... not quite. The song then goes to a uptempo section with Bruce delivering an harsher singing, followed by a decent guitar harmony and yeah, perhaps NOW they'll use this part for the soloing and call it a day. But no... unfortunatelly they didn't. Because surprise! It's the obesessive replay uptempo mode kicking in again! And this time focused in the track's chorus followed by yet another unnecessary guitar harmony mimicked by some "oh oh oh's" (only then comes the solo). And to close the whole thing why not repeating the chorus some more times, uh? Really, it puzzles me how crafted musicians who can structure masterfully long and intricate masterpieces can screw up this bad: 3 minutes of either garbage, unnecessary repetitions or filler sections. If they had the work to trim it I would surely give it a much higher note (since there are truly great stuff here) but never to this mess of a presentation. 6.25/10

7- The Fallen Angel:
I must admit that for many years I really disliked this track but in the last couple of years it kinda grew on me. I think it was mainly because of the rushed way Bruce sang the verses and especially the somewhat corny folkish melody on the chorus. And while I'm not completely sold on both, fact is the chorus started to sound way less corny and while not being state of the art Bruce's verse singing stoped bothering me. Other than that the pre-chorus is really good, the song has that rumbling Piece Of Mind pace, the soloing is really enjoyable and the stop go before the last chorus also fits in a wonderful way. Hey... far from top tier material but still really enjoyable. 7.25/10

8- The Nomad:
All I can say is I feel betrayed on this one. I mean, the middle eastern melodies, excellent drumming and soloing in between mingled with state of the art singing are on point. And yes... although I already had that ambiance in astronomically absurd quality in To Tame A Land these sections really hold their quality patterns in a respectable way. Just to point out that it always sounded like a lesser achieved Dune (and that's not a critique - quite the opposite... just saying there are levels to this). But the absolute zenith that was the heart of this 9 minute epic was its absolutely gorgeous middle section... just wow! And several years later I come to the conclusion this is an absolute plagiarism. Hell at least The Wicker Man adds a different termination. In this case it's almost every damn note (shame on you Mr. Harris and Mr. Murray.... shame on you). So yeah... thanks for ruining this once excellent song for me and forcing me to be extra aware of "similarities" on the following records. Also thanks for forcing me to give such a great sounding track such a low rating. 7/10

9- Out Of The Silent Planet:
The second single out of Brave New World starts with some really cool guitar lead followed by a astonishing calm melody, making us believe we're on to some sort of semi acoustic track but a brutal rumble cuts the atmosphere making us understand we were listening to a intro, while it propels us into a really heavy yet melodic blueprint Maiden track. And a real good one dare I say. Great verses, the passage for the refrain is really state of the art and so is the chorus itself. The way the intro's melody is used after the second chorus and at the end is simply masterful and fits the song's melody perfectly, unlike the soloing section that seems to fall out of nowhere once again. Fortunately it's short in legth and once again we're back in the both excellent chorus and subsequent bridge as the track comes to an end with the same guitar lead it started with. Exciting song that deserved being played live more during the tour. 8.25/10

10- The Thin Line Between Love And Hate:
The band left a treat for us to close its reunion album. After a strong initial riff this heavy rocker gets going and although it's based on really straight forward mid paced power chords, that harmonizer effect on Bruce's voice sounds stellar. And if the verses are nothing far fetched but really joyful the syncopated drum pattern on the pre-chorus contrasting with the power chords also has that solid, intense feel to it like something's about to erupt. Bruce's harmonized vocals sure does contributes to enfatize it but curiously it's the more basic element here that makes all the difference: that repeated guitar higher note does wonders here. And finally it happens: while the chorus is basically the same structure with different notes Bruce goes bananas here propelling this section to a whole new level. This is without shadow of doubt the most jaw dropping chorus line this man pulls out on this record: the strength, the tone, the range... it's absolutely spine chilling. And the lyrics on this part are epic as epic can get. A brief solo makes a cool bridge to return to the main riff, the structure is repeated (but this time another brief solo makes way before the refrain). Then the band returns to the initial riff that is used as platform for an excellent solo, giving way to a calm section of strumming guitars upon which an utterly gorgeous lead is played. And so the song seems to be heading to its terminus (and would be perfectly briliant if it was so) but the boys extend it a bit more. Now if this was made in the middle of the album it would tarnish the whole tune a bit. But since it's calm and soothing section upon which melodies and solos are placed it sounds as a proper epilogue not much to the song itself but to the entire album. Bruce sings in full tenor the title of the song replacing the guitar mellody as the last notes of the song are heard. So there you have it: a stong, epic and emotional track, built upon an array of simple yet gorgeous sections that work perfectly with each other (unlike several of the previous songs in this album) followed by a soothing epilogue to the album. A superb track to close the record with. 9/10

PS: 7.5/10 points song average

Classic lineup reunion albums always bring great excitement and people sometimes tend to get carried away. And although Bruce and Adrian's presence is felt and is a huge upgrade, this is an uneven album and to a certain extent even overrated among the younger fanbase. It's a mix of exceptionaly well composed and exciting tunes with others that, while featuring great passages seem to lack a lot of refinement on the composition department. In that regard it's obvious some songs were completed much earlier than others that sometimes even end up sounding like they were assembled in a hurry. Plus the presence of a handful of absolutely WTF sections and some "casual similitudes" in some riffs doesn't help the record's final rating. Nevertheless there's a fair amount of great tunes here and the band seems like they have regained lots of enthusiasm when compared with the previous record. The production, while not being state of the art is decent and also way better than the one on its predecessor. The cover is really deatiled yet a bit stagnant but works nicely. And although I might not like some of the tracks here that much I couldn't deny one thing: the ones I really loved rested me assure that Maiden were far from turning into another 80's nostalgia album. And I was damn right! 7/10
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After listening to TXF and VXI recently the first thing that jumped out at me was how busier the drumming was on BNW, and how filled out the body of songs felt with the 3 guitars. For example, the "wilderness house of pain" verse of BNW isn't musically too different from the verses of Educated Fool or Fortunes of War but sounds monstrous compared to them.

The opening 4 tracks and last 2 are perfect 10/10 tracks, but the album drops a bit in the middle. Mercenary and Fallen Angel are fine tracks but not at the high level of those other 6.

Dream of Mirrors has great bits, the chorus for instance but a number of silly bits that drag it down, the intro and the high speed chorus, and also there's just too much lyrics which means they take ages to "get to the working overtime part" as Homer might say.

Nomad is obviously the nadir of the album. Even without the stolen section (which is great, possible one of the best parts on the album), the song would still lose a lot of marks for the frankly ridiculous lyrics, Carry on Camel as Bruce described them at the time.

10: Wicker Man, Ghost of the Navigator, Brave New World, Blood Brothers, Out of the Silent Planet, The Thin Line Between Love and Hate
8: Mercenary, Fallen Angel
7: Dream of Mirrors
6: Nomad

Nothing to add to this really, bar the bass could do with a bit more bottom end. Also there's probably as many great tracks on this album than in the entirety of the 90s. Mercenary is a fairly sparse song and I can only imagine how weak it would be if it had have ended up on VXI.
The Wicker Man: 9,0
Ghost of the Navigator: 8,5
Brave New World: 9,0
Blood Brothers: 9,5
The Mercenary: 8,0
Dream of Mirrors: 9,0
The Fallen Angel: 7,5
The Nomad: 9,0 (-2,0 for the plagiarism) = 7,0
Out of the Silent Planet: 9,0
The Thin Line Between Love and Hate: 9,5

Average: 8,6
2021 re-listeninig:
  1. The Wicker Man: 6 – straight to the point, linear riffing, standard HM opener after all
  2. Ghost of the Navigator: 7/8 – nice build-up and melodies, good work on the chorus
  3. Brave New World: 7.5 – works better live, repetitive chorus (the 2nd over 3 songs)
  4. Blood Brothers: 7.5 – works WAY better live, repetitive chorus (the 3rd over 4 songs), but nice waltz-like mood
  5. The Mercenary: 5 – standard filler, nothing really memorable
  6. Dream of Mirrors: 5 – works WAY better live, repetitive chorus (the 4th over 6 songs), but has some ideas
  7. The Fallen Angel: 4.5 – clearly some discarded riffing from the Accident of Birth sessions put together
  8. The Nomad: 4 – incredibly bad structured + a totally superfluous and disgraceful plagiarism
  9. Out of the Silent Planet: 7/8 – the intro is the best thing happening in this album... but again, too much repetitions
  10. The Thin Line Between Love and Hate: 8 – best piece of the album, some of the sweetest melodies ever recorded by them
Overall: 6.5/10
The Wicker Man - 7
Ghost of the Navigator -10
Brave New World -9
Blood Brothers - 9
The Mercenary -8
Dream of Mirrors -10
The Fallen Angel- 8
The Nomad - 7
Out of the Silent Planet - 7
The Thin Line Between Love and Hate - 5

Average: 8.0
2021 final statistics for the album:

The Wicker Man - 7/10
Ghost of the Navigator - 10/10
Brave New World - 7/10
Blood Brothers - 10/10
The Mercenary - 5/10
Dream of Mirrors - 10/10
The Fallen Angel - 6/10
The Nomad - 2/10
Out of the Silent Planet - 7/10
The Thin Line Between Love and Hate - 7/10

Average song score - 7.1/10
EDIT: I did some readjustments as I decided to rank the songs against the entire catalogue with a pretty much equal distribution of ratings and here’s my final verdict:

The Wicker Man -6
Ghost of the Navigator -9
Brave New World -10
Blood Brothers -5
The Mercenary -4
Dream of Mirrors -8
The Fallen Angel -10
The Nomad -9
Out of the Silent Planet -5
The Thin Line Between Love and Hate -8

Average -7.20

This is an upper tier album and at no5 best in Maiden's catalogue for me, based on individual song polls rankings. Since songs have been ranked against the entire catalogue, anything ≥ 4 is good.

I explain the methodology for my ratings here.
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2021 Update:

7 - The Wicker Man
6 - Ghost Of The Navigator
5 - Brave New World
9 - Blood Brothers
4 - The Mercenary
7 - Dream Of Mirrors
8 - The Fallen Angel
1 - The Nomad
5 - Out Of The Silent Planet
6 - The Thin Line Between Love And Hate

5.8 - Average

A decent album but does not contain too many of my favourite songs and one of my least favourite ones. Blood Brothers is an absolute classic though and The Fallen Angel is underrated.
Average score: 8

The lows are low, but the highlights are enough to still make this one of the best moments of Maiden’s career (and one of the most important albums in Metal history).