Countdown to Senjutsu. 17 albums in 17 days.

____no5

The Angel Of The Odd
I bought both. I liked the tin case more, but I see what you mean. It wouldn't feel the same if I only had that one.
 

R@inmaker

Educated Fool
It was remastered in 2015.

NO! Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope.

Keep Rick "clipping sounds great" Rubin as far away from Maiden as possible. Put him on Mars.
Okay let me clarify - Rick Rubin during his South of Heaven and Danzig 4 era work. Those albums have a really nice punchy yet analogy sound to them while still be well-delineated and not muddied (like Seasons In The Abyss say). Yes, he is deaf (lol) and there is clipping on those albums but pretty much every modern Maiden album (except BNW) has copious amounts of clipping/unwanted distortion due to them (inc. Kevin) all being deaf also!!!
 

chaosapiant

Ancient Marinade
If something is supposedly never mastered how do you remaster it
I think you're being facetious, but in case not, every album you've ever heard is mastered. The act of putting the music to disc is part of the mastering process. So unless you're listening to the audio in the studio, it's mastered. During this pressing process is when producer's do other shit like EQ, volume leveling, etc. So in the case of AMOLAD, it was just pressed straight to disc. It can still be technically called a remaster as it's been pressed to disc again.

But I've seen your audiophile posts, I know you know all this. :D
 

R@inmaker

Educated Fool
all that's true but the reality is that Steve listened to the rough mixes in the studio and said, "hey, that sounds good!" and like george lucas with star wars prequels, nobody had the balls to say, "no not really...it's flat as hell...let's have a mastering engineer take a look". which is why you pay for a mastering engineer...they have the very best non-studio monitor (which suck) speakers and gear to HEAR EVERYTHING. and then do a final mix/master from there. steve's lone weakness is that he think he can hear just fine and he can't lol. anyway, is the 2015 "master/remaster" any good? is actually worth getting?
 
The Final Frontier

I have a weird relationship with this album. It’s the last album I’ve never listened to all the way through (well, Senjutsu is too, but give it a couple days). The songs I have heard are either good or underwhelming. It’s also my least favorite album-cover Eddie.

I actually like the Satellite 15 intro, but I don’t love it as an intro to the album. The Final Frontier section is just okay. It’s probably my least favorite opening song of the reunion era. At least Wildest Dreams is short.

El Dorado is a really good song. I wish it would’ve been the opener.

Mother of Mercy is okay. It’s a very wordy song that’s hard to follow. There’s some really interesting guitar parts though.

I honestly forgot how much I liked Coming Home. It’s a very emotional song.

Bruce’s voice sounds hoarse on The Alchemist. It’s just an okay song.

Isle of Avalon is very ethereal and proggy. It’s got some cool stuff happening. Starblind is okay, but it just sounds very bitter toward religion without the usual creativity. I think other Maiden songs have handled the topic a little better.

My opinion on The Talisman has changed this time through. Originally, I wasn’t a fan. Now I’m quite impressed by it. It probably has the best story in the lyrics.

The Man Who Would Be King is okay. It’s got some interesting musical/arrangement stuff.
When the Wild Wind Blows is my favorite on the album. It sounds like the most inspired songwriting on the entire album.

This album is certainly not a bad album. It’s got a lot of good, creative moments. But it just has very little to elevate it above “really good” for me.
 

Spaldy

Ancient Mariner
Thoughts on TFF.

  • The production is a step down from AMOLAD. Too dry.
  • The cover is a bit stupid looking but at least it's competent.
  • S15 sounds like it was done on Adrian's laptop (it was)
  • TFF isn't the most exciting opener. Too mid paced. Still a good song.
  • El Dorado starts off well with a nice gallop but can't seem to find a chorus
  • MOM has some really interesting riffs but kind of gets boring
  • Coming Home is a legit classic and the best song on the album
  • The Alchemist could have been on Powerslave. A solid, fast rocker that Maiden don't do anymore. It should have opened the album
  • IOA is the first prog song on the album. I wish they played this live
  • Starblind is better than I remember but the mid part lets it down slightly
  • The Talisman is a really good epic and Bruce soars on the chorus. It's just a shame it takes 6 minutes to get there.
  • TMWWBK is the weakest song and frankly, quite boring. The band sound uninspired
  • WTWWB is a pretty good closer and somewhat emotional. It needs more focus though
Overall I rank this above DOD in the reunion canon but not by much. It doesn't contain the highs of Paschendale but it doesn't have the lows of Age of Innocence. It's a mid-tier reunion album. Nowhere near the glory of BNW or AMOLAD.

Only TBOS to go!
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
The Final Frontier
Everything about this record almost gets there. The album cover almost gets there. The proggy songwriting almost gets there. The performances almost get there. I think, despite giving a lot of songs on this record pretty high marks, it might be my least favorite reunion record. True enough, the lows on DOD are far lower (except for the embarrassingly poor The Man Who Would Be King), but the low points here are only low because of sloppy decision-making or writing. Why did they open it with a computer demo? It's sloppy and a bad decision. Why did they not cut the opening track into two separate tracks? A sloppy, bad decision. Why didn't they sequence the album in a way that wasn't a ton of momentum followed by a metric ton of weighty prog epics? Sloppy, bad decisions again. Why didn't Bruce do more takes so that he didn't sound like he was running out of air and space throughout half the album? Sloppy.

The Final Frontier might be one of Bruce's worst performances, in my book. As usual, when he hits he hits hard as hell, as in the exceptional Coming Home and Where The Wild Wind Blows, but his voice is so strained on Mother of Mercy, El Dorado, Starblind, et al. His performance on The Talisman is so irksome and shrill to me that it knocks down what would otherwise be a perfect tune. I love The Alchemist and the charms of Avalon, Starblind, and Talisman earn them high, but certainly not perfect marks. Adrian Smith has a great run of guitar solos here, and on the previous record, proving that his peak came far later in life than Dave or Janick's when it comes to lead guitar playing. Nicko, per usual, sounds great. Steve is Steve and Steve should've had a better head on his shoulders for editing this (and next) time around.
 

Abas

Jester with no tears
Edit: I forgot to ramble about Coming Home!

Much like DJMayes, this too was the first album I was anticipating as a new Iron Maiden fan. I remember having joined this forum that same year and reading about spoofs/leaks/whatnot almost like we are doing today. There was a bogus rumour about IM#15 being called The Majesty of Gaia. To this day, I can't listen to this album without thinking about one of the bogus tracks that sounded hilarious: Murky Space Race (Murray/Harris).

Some 30 second samples from each track had also leaked prior to the album. I guess that they were preview tracks for web download based stores, or something. I remember getting goosebumps and a tear in my eye when I heard a sample of that guitar intro to When the Wild Wind Blows.

But some eleven years later, I think that I can look back at this album and describe it with one word: Unique.

Satellite 15... The Final Frontier is one of my favourite opening tracks from this current era. Sure, the intro reeks of NPC - but I can get behind it if only the idea behind the song. I like the melodies and the simple storytelling of this simple song. It is however not an opening track that sets the tone for the rest of the album.

As much as there was an idea to end the opening track with a breakdown that continues breaking down the intro of El Dorado, it morphs to something with enough of an identity of its own to sound detached from whence it came, so to say. More lyricism than singing to this one. But I like the symbolisms and the storytelling of this.

I remember being appalled at the ear sore that is Mother of Mercy. This is a The Assassin level bad of chorus. It led to me avoiding this track altogether. It has to be the first time in several years that I listen to this. The chorus is still an ear sore. But as far as everything else about this track goes, it's far, far, far, far better than I remember it. Shame about that chorus, though.

Coming Home is a lovely song on all levels. If anyone If someone would have described me as a sentimental fuck, it would have been accurate. An excellent choice of a song when it comes to... well, travel home. I often kick off my travels to my home town with this song.

The Alchemist is a track that I sometime forget exists. But it's not a track I would describe as bad, for that matter.

Is there any more proggy and atmospheric track Isle of Avalon in their catalogue? I don't think so. Even 11 years later, I do not understand the lyrics or the themes of this song at all. It is completely lost on me. But then again, I love getting lost in the nuances in the instrumental parts of this song. The vocal lines to "Fertility mother Goddess..." part is an absolute joy to listen to. I also like how the music gets sharper for each time that part is repeated.

I like how sci-fi and spirituality was combined in Starblind. The overall tone in this song is very unique. I haven't heard anything else in their catalogue that sounds remotely close to the overall tone of this song. I haven't listened to Senjutsu even after it has leaked. We're only 24 hours to go to release day. Besides, I have anticipated kicking off the weekend with Senjutsu and some new gear. This time, I'm here for the ride and not for the destination.

The Talisman contains excellent storytelling and excellent vocals. The last verse is the cherry on the top of this creamy song. Live After Death is talked about a lot. Rock in Rio is talked about a lot. It's a shame that it seems as if En Vivo has fallen between the tracks of their vast live material.

The Man Who Would Be King has one of the best outros in their catalogue. Like El Dorado, it's more lyricism than singing. But that intro is just too sweet.

When the Wild Wind Blows - absolute top tier track both in this current era, and overall in their discography. That lovely guitar tune that evolves into the melody of the singing and is musically bombastic all throughout. I love the story, I love the execution of the story, and I love the twist at the end. I love the music, I love the execution of the music, and I love how it ends like it began. This is definitely one song that are amongst the first one to pop into my mind if someone would say "Hey, name your absolute favourite Iron Maiden tracks:"

There are many little things in this album that compares to nothing that they did before or after The Final Frontier. While not among top favourite album for me, it rests comfortably in the upper mid-tier.
 
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R@inmaker

Educated Fool
I honestly visit TFF less than just about any other Maiden album except for maybe the debut. I really wanted to like the album and played it a lot back in 2010/11 but it just never caught on. Coming Home is really solid and reminded me how I wish Maiden did more "power pop" songs like this (Rainmaker, Different World, Wasted Years, etc.) but just too many long-winded "epics" for me. Same problem with TBOS. I like economy unless the long song is doing something really interesting. Long intros just don't count as interesting in my book. That said, I need to go back and listen to this thing (except Satellite 15/El Dorado - why??? what is the point of these ???) - I suspect I'll find some new perspective and enjoy it more. Some day! 5.5/10 for me. And since we're in the vicinity: BNW - 10/10, DOD - 7.5/10, AMOLAD - 8.5/10
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
Album 16! Perhaps slightly early (just past midnight here) but I'm not sure about the time to do it tomorrow proper.

The Book Of Souls is currently my favourite Maiden album, and I've felt that way since shortly after release. It's main competition is Seventh Son, which is more consistent but doesn't hit the same highs for me.

I've gone on a bit about this album, so I'll put it in spoiler tags:

You know a song is good when you are singing along the first time you ever hear it, but that's what If Eternity Should Fail does. The necropolis bit could be cut out, but otherwise this is a fantastic song and it's a testament to the album that it doesn't even make my top 5.

Speed of Light is another good song, better live and which fits in really nicely in the album. Perhaps it's an unpopular opinion but the more cowbell, the better.

The Great Unknown is a monster of a song, reminiscent of BTATS and TROBB but with a chorus that puts both to shame. That's actually one of the big disappointments of this album - the chorus is far too good to not be played again, and it would've been a significant improvement over the anticlimax we got instead.

The Red And The Black might be the most Steve Harris song ever wrote. Everything anyone has ever said about one of his songs is here - the intros/outros, the whoas, the gallops, the guitars following the verses, the slightly...verbose lyrics. It's a lot to love or to hate, depending on your perspective. Fortunately I fall on the side of loving it, and it was very good live too.

When The River Runs Deep is a cool little song. The fast paced verse into mid paced chorus is a cool little reversal, and the pacing/phrasing has always made me think of Age of Innocence (which for me, isn't a bad thing). Shout outs to the instrumental section, too!

The title track is, in no uncertain terms, a masterpiece. Brutally heavy and yet beautifully melodic, with a great chorus and stunning instrumental outros. I used to underrate this, but I've come around.

Death or Glory is just fun, guys. Maybe it shouldn't be, given the subject matter, but it's just hard not to bop to this song. I loved that they leaned into it live; it ended up as one of my favourites as a result.

Shadows Of The Valley is, perhaps, the single biggest reason I rate this album so much more highly than many others. A lot of you really don't seem to like it! But for me, it's one of the best songs on the album. Despite its length it's a fun, fast paced affair, and the "into the valley of death" section is the absolute best moment on this album, and one of the finest they've ever produced.

Tears of a Clown is a phenomenal song, and I'm so glad I got to hear it live during the first leg. It's simply gorgeous, with some magical delivery by Bruce and the best guitar solo on the album.

The Man Of Sorrows is probably the weak link in the second disc for me, but to be fair to it, that's some crazy competition! It's a slightly strange track, without the obvious hooks some of the other tracks have, but it's got some stellar vocals and interesting guitar work.

What can I say about Empire of the Clouds? This track is an experience. It feels about half of the 18 minute duration. It's completely out of character for Maiden, yet unmistakeably them. I love it, and it might still be my favourite Maiden song.

I love this album, front to finish. It coincided with my first live show, so I've got a lot of really positive memories about the album. So many of my favourite tracks come from here, and none of the ones I consider duds do. Maybe I view it with rose tinted glasses, but hey - if you're gonna have one album as your favourite, it may as well be the longest one!
 

Zare

Uniformly distributed hostility
This album's ambition overshadows it. It was created in the most hyped Iron Maiden period in the history of the band. Their energy was high and they've set to make a successor to the hugely sucessful, prog-oriented A Matter Of Life and Death, however this one is only partially rooted in the 2006 effort. Meanwhile, Somewhere Back in Time tour happened, a huge milestone, where they effortlessly recreated the oomph and enjoyment of their mid 80s 1st peak - the next album would inevitably get influenced by it. The first single is a straightforward metal track and a Grammy winner nonetheless.

Although it contains two progressive metal tracks bona fides, and a full blown proggy epic, these songs do not steer the direction of songwriting into AMOLAD+ territory. They stand out, but they don't display a clear direction.

The albums production does some favours for the shorter tracks, but it gets in the way of prog ones. The richer guitar arrangements became very muddy. On the flipside, the album isn't known for it's rockers. The album is slightly half-arsed throughout, from sequencing, to production and even Dickinson's vocal performance.

In the end we're left wondering what would it sound like if Starblind and Avalon had production that fits them like a glove and Dickinson that's actually having a good day, because let's face it, The Alchemist is a clinical definition of 'a filler', while the El Dorado/TFF/Coming Home, although above average Maiden tracks, are nothing to be raving about nor something that can be the foundation of a record.

I'd be willing to look over Satellite 15, if it led to a twists and turns record. But it leads into a decent group of shorter tracks which are very raw metal/rock style. It simply doesn't fit.

I still appreciate the energy of this album more than anything reunion bar AMOLAD (Senjutsu won't be taken into account for 6 months at least, no spoilers here). I feel the band still had drive for stomping metal tracks and even a greater ambition for prog excursions, but somehow weren't on the same page. All stars did not align this time.
 

R@inmaker

Educated Fool
i'm just venting a bit here but i honestly don't understand how anyone can like El Dorado (and Wildest Dreams for that matter) ??? it's just dissonant, a-tonal, noisy, a-melodic...what am i missing??? rhetorical questions here lol. i'd take Weekend Warrior over those two 10 times out of 10 :shred:
 
The Book of Souls.
Like the R101, a shiny edifice of Titanic proportions that's full of hot air, promises the earth then lets you down.
Some tracks start well but fall apart halfway(Eternity, Book, Unknown). Others never get off the ground.
The last time I played Empire was on 45rpm. Still bored, I was going to try 78(The Squeakquel) but naah.

I'm not listening to this today as I played it recently and still disliked it.
It's at the bottom of my list with VXI. I like Dave's musical Sorrows, Speed's alright and Clown's okayish, but they won't send us into a headbanging frenzy.

Senjutsu's singles sound much better.
 
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