Countdown to Senjutsu. 17 albums in 17 days.

Michalis

Trooper
BNW is the best album the ve made since Seventh Son imo. I was 18 and i was so fuc... thrilled with it cause of Bruce and Adrian return. There is not a song in this being among the top 15 songs of Maiden but on the other hand all songs are almost great. No fillers in this one. Wicker Man and Fallen Angel are great short rockers. Mercenary is nice too though a bit repetative chorus. Ghost of the Navigator, Blood Brothers and Nomad are the best songs in the album with great melodies. BNW, Dream of Mirrors and Thin Line are also good songs in their progressive side. You know how great band you are when you make an album with Ootsp and Mercenary being the weakest songs. 9/10 for me.
 

Patrick92

Educated Fool
Day 12 finished! Brave New World

Back with a bang. And an easy 5/5 for me. The album that got me into Iron Maiden. Love everything about it. The cover, prodcution, the songs. And Bruce and Adrian back was the best thing that could happen to Maiden at this time.
And that we got Rock In Rio after this, just wow. Best live concert from them imo.
The Nomad might also be one of their most underrated songs. Love it.

Amazing to me, how much was at stake with this album. After the 90's downfall, and with Bruce back. Their age and where metal was at this time. It could have gone really, really bad. But they delivered and showed such growth. No nostalgia act, no cashing in. Just new, great music. That makes me very happy.

My rating at this point.
1. Seventh Son 5/5
2. Piece of Mind 5/5
3. Brave New World 5/5
4. Powerslave 5/5
5. Beast 4,5/5
6. Somwhere In Time 4/5
7. Iron Maiden 3,5/5
8. Killers 3/5
9. Prayer 2,5/5
10. Fear 2,5/5
11. Virtual 2/5
12. X Factor 1,5/5
 

Black Bart

Ancient Mariner
If The X Factor was suited to teenage goths, this must've been squarely aimed at the preteens. It sounds incredibly lightweight.
About the repetition, I think Steve was trying to create a heavy metal version of the trance dance culture that was around at the time. I wasn't really up on it, but a favorite computer game of the era, Wipeout!, used this type of music as a soundtrack.
Interesting thoughts. I guess it has paid off eventually because the audience at concerts seems to have got younger around that time (this is probably not the only factor though).

Blaze wasn't the right singer for Maiden. Especially since they had a massive back catalogue of songs Blaze couldn't hit the notes on.
Let's say that the standard E tuning wasn't right for Blaze-fronted Maiden. ;)

This is a very uneven album.
Virtual Uneven? :D
 

Randalf

Ancient Mariner
It could have gone really, really bad. But they delivered and showed such growth. No nostalgia act, no cashing in. Just new, great music. That makes me very happy.
--
11. Virtual 2/5
12. X Factor 1,5/5

And to think that there were four songs that originate from the VXI period... :p

But yeah, proper production and a lot better performance, along with some writing input by the returning members really makes a huge difference. I agree that it's a great album!
 

Patrick92

Educated Fool
And to think that there were four songs that originate from the VXI period... :p

But yeah, proper production and a lot better performance, along with some writing input by the returning members really makes a huge difference. I agree that it's a great album!
Yeah I know. They could still write great music at that time :lol:
 

Spaldy

Ancient Mariner
Thoughts on BNW.

  • My gods, this is the comeback album to end all comeback albums
  • Kevin Shirley's production is the business. It's the best they've sounded since SSOASS.
  • The band have fire in their bellies. They sound rejuvenated
  • Being the reunion album it's clear EMI gave them a huge budget. Top tier producer, expensive Parisian studio, an orchestra etc. And it shows
  • TWM is a monster of an opener. A true anthem
  • GOTN has a shockingly awesome main riff
  • BNW is a top tier title track
  • Blood Brothers, like TWM is an anthem and a gold standard classic. The celtic melodies are gorgeous
  • The Mercenary is a solid rocker
  • DOM should be played more live. It's one of the best epics of the reunion era
  • TFA, while the weakest track is also a solid rocker with one heck of a chuggy riffs
  • The Nomad doesn't deserve the hate. I love the eastern vibes and even the dreamy, swirly midsection (even if it was plagiarised)
  • OOTSP could do without the naff synth intro but that aside is a great galloping rocker
  • TTLBLAH is a perfect album closer. The chorus is beautifully done and Bruce's vocal performance is outstanding. I don't even hate the slow outro which I understand some people dislike
When BNW released I was a burgeoning Maiden fan. I had most of their albums by then and was lucky enough to see them on the VXI tour and Bruce's comeback in Paris (Ed Hunter). I just started college and remember hearing TWM for the first time at a metal club and being blown away. I bought BNW on release day and clearly remember the excitement. It felt like an event. I must have spun the CD a hundred times. It's still my favourite of the reunion era. And I saw them on the BNW tour three times. London (Earl's Court), Glasgow (SECC) and London again (Clive Burr benefit show). And as mentioned above, this album spawned RIR which in my opinion is their apex live album. BNW is probably my 2nd favourite Maiden album after SSOASS. A masterpiece.
 

Abas

Jester with no tears
I have only one word to describe this album: Triumphant. It's one of the most triumphant albums I have heard in my life. This breathes life and vigor. Much like Spaldy, this is my favourite album in the reunion era. By far. This album is perfect proof that the best kind of music is the one that is timeless. If this sounds as fresh and energetic listening to it in 2021, I can't even begin to imagine how it was listening to it in 2000 when it was released. This album is on the top echelon for me. There is only one song in this album for me that isn't at least an A class song.

Have Iron Maiden done a more triumphant opener than The Wicker Man?
They manage to take a turn to something else without going astray in The Wicker Man.
The anthemic feel of what makes Iron Maiden stand out so well continue with Brave New World.
The middle part with the celtic melody in Blood Brothers is one of their absolute top moments.
The Mercenary is a good middle track and a pallet cleanser in this album.
Dream of Mirrors is a perfect combination of abstract lyrics and great music.
The Fallen Angel is the only dip in the album.
What really makes The Nomad is that tribute to Beckett in the middle of the song. The arrangements of this sound cinematic and scenic.
Out of the Silent Planet is a good rocker and I love that guitar melody after the choruses.
The Thin Line Between Love and Hate is a tidal wave of emotions. There is nothing in this song that isn't emotional.

Among the easiest five stars I have ever given anything.
 
I started going this process late as I saw the thread well after it had started. No matter! As of this morning, I've listened to everything through Fear of the Dark, and I hope to be caught up to Brave New World by the end of the day. Regardless, I have thoughts about the 9 albums I've listened to so far:

The two highlights of this album are Remember Tomorrow and Phantom of the Opera. Both are very mature songs, considering how raw the band was at the time. The latter definitely benefits the most from Bruce and Nicko, imo. The rest of the songs are all pretty decent, with most being good rock songs, Charlotte the Harlot being the weakest of the bunch. Transylvania is a great instrumental and Strange World is okay and reminds me of early Rush meets NWOBHM. Solid debut album
Not as strong as the debut and I honestly rarely listen to it. That said, The Ides of March is a solid instrumental to start the album. It seems like a lot of build up for…
Wrathchild, which is a freaking powerhouse of a track on Killers. It’s overplayed now, but it’s a great start to this album. The run from MITRM to Ghengish Khan is good (I don’t mind Another Life), but Innocent Exile is… what it is. I have no real thoughts about Innocent Exile, which says a lot. Killers is great, and Purgatory is very cool. The other two are meh.
in-VAY-ders is an okay intro to Bruce Dickinson. It’s cheesy, but musically I dig the solo section. Children of the Damned is a 10/10 great song. I didn’t appreciate it enough when I saw Maiden on the BOS tour because I wasn’t as heavily into the band, and now I’m very happy to have witnessed this deep cut in person. The remaining run of songs is fantastic, even with Gangland being a bit of a drop off. I also added Total Eclipse to this rotation because I like it. Great album.
Where Eagles Dare is a great intro to Nicko and the classic line up. The run of songs from WED to Still Life is one of the best in the band’s history. All of these songs can be categorized as either great or perfect. Listening through the whole thing, I don’t mind Quest For Fire, all though it is the weakest, cheesiest song of the album. Sun and Steel is a nice gallop, a very good song. To Tame a Land is good, but just sort of ends. It felt like they could have made something more special out of it.
Aces High and 2MTM are classics for a reason. They’re both so good. The middle group of songs aren’t really that bad. Losfer Words is a good instrumental, Flash of the Blade rocks, and The Duellists surprises me every time I hear it. Back in the Village is crazy fast and an interesting song. None of these turned out to be all time great/classic Maiden songs, but they're far from weak songs. Powerslave and Rime of the Ancient Mariner are both perfect examples of Bruce Dickinson’s and Steve Harris’s song writing capabilities, respectively. While the meat of this album is composed of the first and last two songs, the dressing is still a vital part of this album. It’s my go-to album if someone wants to get into Maiden.
This album isn’t as good as Powerslave or SSOASS, but it is a very good album. Wasted Years, SIASL, and Alexander the Great are the top 3 songs, in no particular order. CSIT, Sea of Madness, and Heaven Can Wait are the middle group of very good but not quite great tracks. TLOTLDR and Deja Vu are songs which are good, just require me to be in a mood for them. The latter 5 songs can alternate positions for me. As a whole, this is a consistent album from a band which was clearly tired from the World Slavery Tour. I like it a lot. It also has one of my favorite Eddies.
What a great album. What a great collection of songs. I’m constantly amazed at it. I’m proud to have my vinyl copy signed by Steve Harris himself. The only weak spots might be The Prophecy and the Clairvoyant, but even still: these are being compared to a great collection of songs. Despite minor flaws, this is close to a perfect album. It’s also the end of one of the best run of albums a band has ever had from NOTB to SSOASS. Even then, you can argue that this great run started with the debut.
I don’t like this album. It is mostly a bunch of average songs with very little standing out. In fact, I decided not to even try to individually go into the songs because so few are worth it. Bruce sounds like he’s trying to be Axl Rose at times, and the band almost seems like they’re trying to be AC/DC when that is not where their strengths are. This album is proof that bands shouldn’t try to “go back to their roots.” Unless the band is The Beatles writing the Let It Be album, it doesn’t work. The production is rightfully maligned. It makes average songs worse to listen to. Despite all this negativity, I actually don’t mind Tailgunner, Holy Smoke, and the title track. They’re good, fun songs which would generally work well on other Maiden albums. The only other slightly redeeming song is BYDTTS, and even then I get why they haven’t touched this album since 2003.
If No Prayer is a bunch of average songs, this album is a series of highs and lows. Be Quick Or Be Dead and Judas My Guide are really good. Afraid to Shoot Strangers is great. The title track is a perfect Maiden song. Everything else ranges from average (such as Childhood’s End) to just bad (Weekend Warrior). Finally, while not as bad as Hooks In You, From Here To Eternity is proof that the “Charlotte the harlot” series should have ended in 1982. Decent chorus though. I’m grateful the production has improved though. It made a big difference over NPFTD. in terms of tolerating the weaker songs.

I'm going to finish reviewing the remaining albums I need to catch up on in a follow-up post, but first I want to show off my only Iron Maiden vinyl (until my copy of Senjutsu arrives).

I had it signed when I briefly met Steve Harris after a British Lion concert in January 2020. That's what the second, grainy photo is. I was too starstruck to share any meaningful conversation with him, but I'm glad I had the opportunity regardless. If I get another chance, I might try to say something of more value than "I'm a big fan, I really enjoyed the show." :D
 

chaosapiant

Ancient Marinade
I love BNW and was floored when BNW was released. I was 20 when this album came out and drove my then-wife crazy by listening to it constantly. Nomad was/is my favorite song on the album and I still love it. Today, while I still love this album, I think their later reunion albums have surpassed it. Also, and I've said this multiple times, this album always felt like the true sequel to Virtual XI. Better produced and better sung and Adrian is here, but the song writing feels so strongly like stuff from Virtual XI that I almost always listen to these albums back to back. It's a more confident sounding album, but still a strong continuation of that sound. Which is not an insult. Virtual XI is a fantastic album.
 

MindlessPieces

Educated Fool
Thoughts on BNW.
  • The Nomad doesn't deserve the hate. I love the eastern vibes and even the dreamy, swirly midsection (even if it was plagiarised)
It has some similarities, could have been an influence, especially since the members of Maiden used to listed to Beckett, but I wouldn't call it plagiarism.
 
I'm almost caught up! Time for the Blaze Albums:

The X Factor:
This is actually my first time ever listening to the whole album in one go. I’ve heard most of the songs individually, but some I’ve never tried to listen to.

I have to be honest, only the first three songs, Judgment of Heaven, and 2 AM caught my attention. The production didn’t help. The long bass intro on Blood On The World's Hands was cool though.
All in all, this was not the best intro to the Blaze Bayley era. Sign of the Cross is an all time great song though, one of my top 20 Maiden songs.
It was much better and heavier live on the Legacy of the Beast 2019 tour though.


Virtual XI:
Well, I surprisingly like this more than I’d expected. Again, this is an album I've never made my way through at once.

The production is a little better than The X Factor, but not great. Futureal and Lightning Strikes Twice are solid. The Clansman is another all time great, and
Like SOTC, it was much better and heavier live on the Legacy of the Beast 2019 tour.

As for the rest: When Two Worlds Collide was okay. It was cool hearing Blaze sing harmony with himself on The Educated Fool.
The first half of DLTTEOAS is alright but repetitive. The fast section is… well, to put it nicely the drumming reminds me of this
with that weird happy country feel
“Como Estais Amigos” is actually really good. All in all, I like this album. Except for one thing:

The Angel and the Gambler. What the heck. Why didn’t they keep it way shorter, like 5 minutes max? I can see a scenario when people look back on this song fondly and say “remember that one time when Maiden tried to be The Who? Good little rock song.” Instead they made it ten minutes for no reason. They really shot themselves in the foot with that one.

On to Brave New World!
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
I can see a scenario when people look back on this song fondly and say “remember that one time when Maiden tried to be The Who? Good little rock song.”
I actually think that it wouldn’t be nearly as memorable then. Like it or not, people still talk of it today. A lot of the songs on the album are mentioned in passing as an after thought. DLTTEOAS has as much repetition but wasn’t released as a single. It’s a case of ‘any publicity is good publicity’. It’s a famous piece of the Maiden story whether think positively of it or poorly. And for a good number of people, discovering that it’s not nearly as bad as the majority say (and even kinda catchy) makes it that bit more special. Also the 25 minute version is bes—
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
Day 13!

Dance of Death is the single most underrated album in the entire discography. This album is fantastic. There's a huge amount of variety, with some amazing standout tracks and a ton of nice surprises underneath the surface.

The title track and Paschendale are the two obvious ones. For me, these are the best songs the band released since Fear of the Dark, and are both top 10 songs, easily. I probably slightly prefer the former, because of the amazing solo. Face In The Sand is another personal highlight; a gloriously atmospheric song that sits just outside my top 10.

We still have an albums worth to discuss, and it would be a pretty good album without the aforementioned songs! No More Lies is a fantastic song that gets a bad rep for a repetitive chorus. I think Age of Innocence is also a really fun song thats become a meme for its subject matter.

I've spoken mostly about the longer songs so far, but there's a ton of variety and some great shorter songs, too. Rainmaker speaks for itself, but Montsegur is another standout with a great riff and instrumental section. I like Wildest Dreams a lot too. It's a fun, upbeat song that slightly reminds me of a lot of 80s driving songs.

The three songs I've not mentioned are Journeyman, Gates of Tomorrow, and New Frontier. The former is very experimental, and how I feel about it really depends on my mood. The latter two are more straightforward filler, but in the nicest way. I never fire up the album specifically to listen to them, but I always enjoy them when they come on.

Best album since SSOASS, easily.
 
Dance of Death.
I remember going into HMV Norwich and buying the pic disc and cd on the day. A year later I got the DVD-A, but today I'm playing the cd.
Charlotte and Eddie: A love story. I continuously underestimate this album, a pivotal record in the discography. It's taken almost 18 years for me to bring it into focus(“All our past years..”).

As with BNW, I enjoy all tracks. Nitpicking, it get a little weak in the middle, but still good.
Paschendale is a first class epic, an absolute monster, the three solos perfectly describing the scene with Dave's optimism, H's realization and eventually Janick's fatality.
Rainmaker and Montsegur are huge too. I love the speed increase on the title track.
I have commented on the slightly muddy sound in the past but it seems okay today.

The photos are beautiful. I like the cover.
I may have to rank this higher.
 

Patrick92

Educated Fool
Day 13! Dance of Death

Very underrated album imo. The five first songs are 5/5 and equal to Brave New World. The title track is one of their finest songs and Montsegur is so fucking heavy. And God I love No More Lies. Great stuff.
Then it kinda goes down, unfortunately. Imo this album should have been shorter, they should have left off a few songs. Becasue now some get lost on the album. Paschendale is amazing, maybe their best war song imo. I really like Journeyman. But im not as sure about Gates of Tomorrow, New Frontier, Face in the Sand and Age of Innocence. They got some good parts, but that is 4 kinda meh songs imo. So two good easily go and it would be better.

I like that the album is a bit more experimental then Brave New World and not the same. The band goes forward. And it works.

But Gates of Tomorrow and Age of Innocence could have been left off and the album would have benefited from it. And then maybe New Frontier and Face in the Sand would have shined a bit more.
A tracklist like:
1. Wildest Dreams
2. Rainmaker
3. No More Lies
4. Montsegur
5. Dance of Death
6. New Frontier
7. Paschendale
8. Face in the Sand
9. Journeyman

Ill give it 3,7/5. Just under Somewhere In Time. Cut those two songs I mentioned and I would have given it a 4/5
 

Michalis

Trooper
I remember this leaking a few days prior to its release, i was in Plymouth University when the songs started coming out one after the other. It was insane. We already knew of the two first singles. Rainmaker was obviously better than Wildest Dreams. I was really excited with No More Lies but it didnt stay as high in the pass of time cause of the repetitive chorus. Dance of death and Paschendale are classics. Face in the Sand and Journeyman are hidden gems imo. Age of Innocence, Montsegur and New Frontier are not bad. I was not very keen on GoT. I still dont get why people were so mad with the cover :) . 8/10 for me.
 
I finally caught up last night, so here are my thoughts on Brave New World.

The Wicker Man shows us Iron Maiden are back. It’s also one of my favorite solos from H.
The first 4 songs are an incredible run. I love all of those songs, especially Blood Brothers. It’s another one of those songs I wish I had appreciated a little more when I saw the BOS tour, but I’m still glad I witnessed it.
The Mercenary is okay. It’s not one of my favorites, but when listening through, it’s the only logical choice to follow Blood Brothers. It makes sense to the album.

Dream of Mirrors is a great reminder of why Janick was kept. Very good song. It also definitely reminds me of Virtual XI in its writing, which just proves that Blaze just wasn’t the right fit for this band. And that isn’t an attack on Blaze. Bruce’s performance just lifts this type of song.

TFA and OOTSP are fantastic, underrated, heavy rocker type songs. Janick’s solo on the former is insane.
Nomad is okay. Never noticed how the synth fades into OOTSP
TTLBLAH is a great closer.

All in all, Brave New World is a great album. It sounds great from a production standpoint, and the band is absolutely on fire. It’s one of their best.
 
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