Brave New World: individual album judgement by yours truly


Ancient Mariner
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. :)


Ancient Mariner
I don’t respect
Your opin-i-on
I don’t respect
Your opin-i-on
I do not respect
Your opinion
I do not respect
Your opinion
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


Ancient Mariner
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 loive it I never managed get over two facts to this very day. The first one is the blatant rip off of Priest's Running Wild guitar riff on the verses. The second is a version that is older than the official one I found in Youtube 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 damned thing is already great as it is this version is even better! I can't really understand why the band committed those 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 simply a shame those vocal lines didn't make it to the final cut. Other than that, and since I somehow "learned to live with this", 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 of Moonchild's vibe as it gains balance). The next riff once again somewhat 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. A really cool section follows, featuring some great rhythm and lead guitars that somehow reminds me of Somewhere In Time's vibes while Bruce delivers another excellent vocal line. But what comes next is completely disruptive... The song's chorus seems to come out of nowhere and has nothing to do with the previous section. Plus, although not being bad, lacks fire when compared with the previous ones. 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 soft voice line is once again mimicking one of the guitars. It then goes full crescendo mode into your typical Maiden powerful syncopation with Bruce's voice amazing tone rising, taking the previous melody into its obvious yet absolutely fitting raise in intensity. But for the second time ina 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 makes it lose a tad bit of his intensity and drama. And not only did this section didn't 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 a 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 obessessive replay uptempo mode. And is living proof that it takes more than an excellent melody to create a good song as well as 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 it. Mr. Huxley 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 simmilar signatures with Afraid To Shoot Strangers). Of course, besides Harris' simple yet well thought bass line that serves as the support of the whole tune, Nicko's work is out the charts, the guitar melodies are simply beautiful, and Bruce pulls a pristine performance on this one both when he goes tenor and baritone. Plus the keyboard work 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 shines is when it recycles Prowler's guitar lines. Yup, this time every single section fits great with its vicinity and since it's an uptempo chugging tune that kinda disguises the absolute lack of imagination on his writing. But in all honesty this stuff is absolutely non appealing. 6/10

6- Dream Of Mirrors:
And once this song starts we're presented with yet another out of nowhere section, this time 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 fingerpicking based inflection into an equally awesome soothing calm part where all the tension seems to disappear just to return 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 after an awful start this thing really had something to amaze me with. As it returns to the main verses and repeats the last scheme I guess the boys will do a couple a solos and close the book. Well... 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 they'll use this part for the soloing and call it a day. But no... wait! Surprise! It's the obessessive replay uptempo mode kicking in again! And this time focused in the track's chorus. Then we have yet another unnecessary guitar harmony mimicked by some "oh oh oh's" (only then followed by the solo) and to close the whole thing why not repeating the chorus some more times, uh? Really, it puzzles me how musicians who can structure masterfuly long and intricate masterpieces can screw up this bad. This song has some great sections but also at least 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, but never to this mess of 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 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, thhe song has that rumbling Piece Of Mind flavor, 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. But, although sounding great I already had that ambiance in astronomically absurd quality in To Tame A Land. So while these sections really hold their quality patterns in a respectable way 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. 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 lmost the same song... shameful, just shameful Mr. Hariis and Murray. 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 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 stunning 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 an heavy yet melodic blueprint Maiden track. And a real good one. 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 straighth forward power chords, that harmonizer effect on Bruce's voice sounds stellar. And if the verses are nothing far fetched but really joyful so is the syncopated drum pattern on the pre-chorus contrasting with the power chords. 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 higher note does wonders here. The chorus is basically the same structure with different notes. But man, Bruce goes bananas here. 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) and we return to the initial riff that is used as platform for an ecellent 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 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, with various simple yet gorgeous sections that work perfectly with eachother (unlike several of the previous songs in this album) followed by a soothing epilogue and a superb track to close the record with. 9/10

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 the ones I really love rested me assure that Maiden were far from turning into another 80's nostalgia album. And I was damned right! 7/10
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