Brave New World's production - Maiden's cleanest?

nuno_c

A hollow universe in space
I've been listening to BNW a lot lately, and the production sounds very clean to my ears. Do you think it's Maiden's cleanest? And, also, do you think it's too clean for Maiden?

I'm not necessarily against clean productions, especially if we consider that this band never really had, at least the way i see it, a "dirty" production, but either way is this album too clean for Maiden? And, at last, do you think the album benefits from it's production, too clean or not?
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Of the non Birch albums? Definitely. Compared to Birch stuff, probably not. It's still up there, but it's a bit rough around the edges I think. Especially in rhythm guitar land.
 

2Mins

Educated Fool
To my ears, Powerslave is the cleanest-sounding album, but BNW is the cleanest Shirley album. The X Factor is another clean-sounding one.

I love the sound of the Shirley albums, and BNW sounds great. Book of Souls may be my favourite sounding album of all. Clean vs dirty is an interesting distinction, but I think there's a lot more to whether an album sounds good or not.
 

nuno_c

A hollow universe in space
To my ears, Powerslave is the cleanest-sounding album, but BNW is the cleanest Shirley album. The X Factor is another clean-sounding one.

I love the sound of the Shirley albums, and BNW sounds great. Book of Souls may be my favourite sounding album of all. Clean vs dirty is an interesting distinction, but I think there's a lot more to whether an album sounds good or not.
Interesting. i never thought of Powerslave as the cleanest one
 

Srogyy

Ancient Mariner
It all depends on the definition of 'clean'. I would say that AMoLaD, although dark, is the cleanest among Shirley's albums, because it's the least processed. Due to the same reason TXF is also very clean, but it doesn't mean the sound is perfect. All in all, I don't think Maiden has ever gone for 'dirty' production in studio.
 

Jamie Laszlo

Invader
BNW is the glossiest sounding Maiden album, IMO. Glossy can also mean clean, I suppose. Powerslave, to my ears, is one of the edgiest, roughest sounding albums they produced. It almost has a grim, dirty 2000s “stoner rock” sound.
 

nuno_c

A hollow universe in space
In my opinion Maiden always had/has a pretty clean sound, and to my ears they benefit from it, but i don't know, there's just something about BNW's production that stands out for me as being cleaner than the other albums, i guess... It's hard to explain, really.

Do you know if there was anything particularly different Kevin did on that album? I mean, TBOS was recorded at the same studio and yet sounds totally different...
 

Poto

Ancient Mariner
I was never a big fan of the production on BNW. It's decent, but too clean (if that's the right word). I would have wanted it to be more rough, not like DOD, but a bit rougher.. I think the songs improve A LOT live. The Rock in Rio versions of the songs sound much better IMO.
 

Maturin

Sköldpadda
I think that Brave New World is the best produced album. I can't say I like Martin Birch's production style. But cleanest? First you'd have to explain "cleanest" (in what way?) - I'm sure some will think of how well it appears to be played, some will think of how well the instruments sits in the mix, and others still will think of how clear each element in the mix is. Let me give you an example of the last - there could be an album where every mistake is clearly audible, making the whole record sound really bad because the production failed it's first and really only important task - to make the recording sound good.

I think Brave New World is an example of a record made of lots of really quite messy parts that fits together to give a very slick impression as a whole because of great production - really, the tempos are really shaky due to the live recording, and there's a lot of effects covering up and blurring of unclean guitarplaying, lots of harmonies and backing vocals that covers up less than stellar impressions in the main vocal track etc. It's extremely hard to hear what each instrument plays individually compared to many other records. It's the whole that sounds clean. Typical 2000's metal production.

The Book of Souls is it's polar opposite - it's a record which sounds really rough around the edges because of far fewer cover-ups with effects processing, EQ, and extra harmonies. All the instruments are really quite clear in the mix - but as a complete opposite to Brave New World, it makes some parts sound hell of a rough around the edges. Compare the guitar melody with vocals over in "The Red and the Black" to the guitar melody that follows the vocals in "Brave New World" and this comparison should hit home.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Semantics is what we're talking here. I personally think BNW is the best sounding record the band has ever produced and I wish they'd stick to that formula. I love that they are going for energy and raw power on the newer albums, but I don't feel like BNW has any less power because it uses multi-tracks, dubs, etc. It's Maiden's punchiest and heaviest sounding record, though I don't find the mixing particularly "clean". It's definitely polished, which I love.

@Maturin is right on the money - BNW may have some flaws in performance, but you don't hear them as obvious mistakes. Maybe I'm crazy, but if I'm paying for a metal album, I would like it to be a little more polished than a live performance.

NOTB has pristine clean production to my ears.....Everything is crystal clear.

Indeed. It has the 80's metal production and mix where you can hear every instrument very clearly, yet it all sounds great together.

I get why some people may say that, but to me AMOLAD is not exactly "cleaner", just not mastered. Maybe "purer" sounding is the word, dunno :p

Exactly.
 

Sth2112

Educated Fool
Of the non Birch albums? Definitely. Compared to Birch stuff, probably not. It's still up there, but it's a bit rough around the edges I think. Especially in rhythm guitar land.
Agree. I think 7th got the cleanest production
 
For me AMOLAD is cleanest and somehow sterile but I like it a lot.

BNW is polished and very modern sounding with truly "happy" positive vibe.
 

JudasMyGuide

The resident reactionary
Like I have said many times before, I know jacksh*t about production, but cleanest or not, I really love the sound of BNW, along with Powerslave, AMOLAD and (don't laugh) FotD. All these albums sound different and I love them all. BNW just... sounds good. TBOS is a good album, but it sounds much worse, in pretty much every aspect. And DoD is beyond awful. The only thing I know about production (actually, mastering) is the word "brickwalled" and, IMHO, DoD is the most brickwalled album this side of What's the Story Morning Glory, Death Magnetic and Californication, really. A chore to listen to, as great as it otherwise is.

So yes, in a way I would agree BNW sounds clean. :D
 

Maturin

Sköldpadda
I think Dance of Death sounds great. I'm not supposed to say that, because there's such a black or white value judgement in the loudness war - but I'm saying it anyway, because I like how it sounds, and in the larger perspective I'm saying that it's not only about dynamic range. It's about making the product sound good. That end in itself has nothing to do with what was done to achieve it. We can make broad generalisations, but in they are just that - generalisations. I have listened to very dynamic albums that I very much do not like, and I have several favourite albums which are deemed "victims" of the loudness war.

Production is personal taste & trends as much as anything. Right now, everyone seems to be recording live, releasing dry albums that sound as "real" as possible. In 10, 20 years most of these albums will be as out of taste as the overly slick 80's hair metal productions.
 
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