Yeah I'd actually agree with all of that. He's definitely straining on the loud high notes. Although I personally feel that the raw emotion he manages to get across makes up for a lot of the technical issues present.
Not only the higher notes strain, but so much of that song is taken up with his theatrical storytelling/British Pathé newsreel voice. I love it, and it fits the song beautifully, but it doesn't demonstrate the heights of his vocal ability.
I struggle to isolate just a couple of lines from anything. Most of Jerusalem is pretty magical. "Let it rain
Let it rain
Tears of blood fall out of the sky"
Two songs that jump to mind straight away, although they're not covering all of Bruce's vocal scope either, are Moonchild and Infinite Dreams. I love what he puts into those. He uses a different vocal style for the Devil character in Moonchild and throws loads of dramatic effect into it. Infinite Dreams is more his 'normal' voice for the beleagured human character, and has such passion in it.
I'm quite fond of the passion he throws into Ghost of the Navigator too: "I steer between the crashing rocks, the sirens call my name
Lash my hands onto the helm, blood surging with the strain"
Soooo many to choose from, so it's more like a matter of what comes to mind first... Also, the technical aspect isn't necessarily something that makes "the best sung" line for me personally. It's the emotion, delivery and melody.
"Left to all our golden sons" and so on from The Legacy.
I don't like EotC, but I have to admit "Dreams live on" at the end is very powerful.
The chorus of Book of Thel might be my favourite, though. Especially the last one with "By the dawning of the dead" repetition.
But yeah, there are dozens of examples that would deserve a mention.
He nailed Purgatory in his career's starting stages.
"Please take me away, take me away, so far away"
I think the early 80's live version of that song along with the Killers audition represent the most raw, heavy plus angry catalogue that Iron Maiden ever performed. Purgatory especially is very fast, aggressive and contains proper screams, in consequence Bruce managed to "steal" that track from Paul in no time.
This is probably one of the first recordings when he went from the NPFTD/FOTD raspy voice back to more polished approach that he is known for today. While this version of TOTD is not so good instrumentally as the Z/Smith/Casillas/Ingram version, it is probably one of his top performances vocaly.
''I'm coming back
I will return
And I'll possess your body and I'll make you burn
I have the fire
I have the force
I have the power to make my evil take its course''
''The killing fields, the grinding wheels crushed by equilibrium
Separate lives no more disguise, no more second chances
Haggard wisdom spitting out the bitter taste of hate
I accuse you before you know the crime it's all too late
Before you know the crime it's all too late''
''Help me. Help me to find my true
Self without seeing the future
Save me, save me from torturing
Myself even within my dreams
There's got to be just more to it than this
Or tell me why do we exist
I'd like to think that when I die
I'd get a chance another time
And to return and live again
Reincarnate, play the game
Again and again and again.''
''Covered in sinners and dripping with guilt,
Making you money from slime and from filth...
Parading your bellies in ivory towers,
Investing our lives in your schemes and your powers''
Why can't we treat our fellow man
With more respect and a shake of their hands
But anger and loathing is rife
The death on all sides is
becoming a way of life''
I've posted my favourites already on page 1 of this thread, but...
I've gotta say, this part in When The Wild Wind Blows is also amazing and showcases Bruce with something different than his usual vocal highlights.
"Can't believe all the lying, all the screams are denying that the moments of truth have begun
Can't you see it on the TV? Don't believe them in the least bit, now the days of our ending have begun..."