At least they are trying something different. Having the album split in two CDs is something that can work in favor of the specific song. I trust Bruce did a good job. However some reviews hint that it is a bit too long. We'll see. It is that no matter how good it would be, I would never have the time to go through all of it unless I decide to book some time.
This epic album closer starts calmly with Bruce on the piano. He plays a memorable tune (also on kazoo on the flight to Cardiff!) shining in its simplicity. Not saying that it's per se easy to play, but it's a strong, not too complicated or too fast melody that certainly stays in your head. What we get is a magnificent build-up. He adds his voice, and all others join in an individual manner. A feast for the ears. Some guitars accentuate, or filling notes around it, others play more harmonical together with Bruce. Harris plays a wonderful bass pattern and Nicko does a kind of marching rhythm on his snare drum. The band takes everything out of it, as much as they can. I did not feel it was cacaphonic. A lot of stuff happens, but it is nice to focus on single motives, or you can just switch to the whole sum. And there are more motives, nothing gets too lengthy. Wonderful melodies follow.
The chorus is very good, and all the words in the song are as well. They portray a vivid picture, like memories of a witness, in chronological order. After the melodic -let's say catchy part- stops we get to the crash, where Bruce plays a very fast motive in a very different modus. Bruce told us that Nicko was important in helping to create a special sound, trying to make the sound of going down and crashing in the ground (sorry I forgot how he did that, I think it was with some sort of a bow string, perhaps on a gong or something). Later the song gets wilder, with every musical instrument repeating their parts while Nicko does stuff that sound like a drum solo. Pretty cool and quite exciting. There's also another Montségur-style riffing and if I remember well, there are two guitar solos: D / A.
I am not describing this all in order but one of the highlights was a part with a complex time signature. First Nicko holds back while the others have started it, and then he suddenly joins making a great grooving rhythm out of it. If I have to be honest, in an earlier song, I think it was The Red and the Black, Nicko's drumming lacked somewhat in a certain part. It kind of had the speed of DLTTEOAS but he left out a lot of bassdrums, doing mainly his thing on ride cymbal and snare drum. I thought it was a bit odd. I thought that if this was played in 2000, he e.g. might have drummed more in the vein of the fast, heavy part in Ghost of the Navigator. But.... in this song Nicko makes up for it! Inventive and cool rhythmic playing!