Empire Of The Clouds

How good is Empire of the Clouds on a scale of 1-10?


  • Total voters
    115
  • Poll closed .

Brigantium

General of the Dark Army
Staff member
I think so, yes.
ScPkeku.png

This pretty much sums up this song for me.

We must go now
For the pug-on-water, he can't be late
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
This song gives me chills. At no point in the 20-something times I've listened to it thus far has it ever felt like 18 minutes have gone by. I honestly think it may be the strongest song they've ever written.

The vocal buildup to the super happy "let's take off" riff (Janick?) at 7:18 is captivating; I want to listen to every word Bruce says, and I'm not usually a fan of "story" songs because I find them boring. But with this song, every sinew of the music fits the picture Bruce is trying to paint with the lyrics.

I'm not sure why they've repeated The Legacy riff so many times on this album, but at 9:12 (Adrian?) it definitely fits the song, especially when the groove sets in.

Who is playing the riff at 10:33? Janick? That's a really cool hybrid rhythm/lead part, and I love when Bruce wails over it later.

Adrian's solo is amazing. At first I thought it was Janick, but reconsidered when it wasn't sloppy enough. But H's solo really recreates the tension of danger about to strike.

The riff at 12:55 is quite different for Maiden, with the timing and the odd "evil" note in there. It's even a stranger feel when the groove kicks in, but this fits perfectly with the airship in imminent danger.

The creepy piano at 14:24 sounds really weird, but it does create an image of the ship falling while the "balloon" part disintegrates into the wind (which I know isn't what happened, but whatever). The climax at 16:06 is haunting, and it's even better when Bruce starts wailing about dreams. I wish he would've held that note at 16:33 out a lot longer, but it's cool nonetheless.

The final verse sends shivers down (or is it up?) my spine. Maiden has done this type of ending countless times before, especially in the reunion era, but it is far more effective here for two reasons - the haunting piano, and because it follows 17 minutes of amazing music. That's a long song, and the last few minutes make it even better. Many people, at 16 minutes into a song, would just want the damned thing to be over.

Does anyone know how the guitarists are panned on this song? I'm going to assume it's Dave, Janick, Adrian from left to right, correct?
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
The panning is not the same all the time. I came to that conclusion by listening to their styles/tone/touch/etc.

I figured this out by playing the CD with headphones (please do the same while reading on). The times belong with the vid below:

7.18: Janick (in middle)
8.35: Janick (in middle)
9.12: Adrian starts in right channel (while Janick ends previous riff in mid channel)
9.20: Janick joins in middle
Dave plays rhythm all the time during these parts (left channel).

Who is playing the riff at 10:33?
I think that is unmistakingly Adrian. Think of e.g. The Wicker Man click here.
Here H has switched to the mid channel and Janick to the right.

After the first 10.33 riff, they continue with the 9.12 riff and can you hear the difference? Janick does the shorter and more consequent (in length) notes and Adrian lays more in certain notes than in others, typical for his style. Here that happens in the middle while @ 9.12 that happens on the right side.
 
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Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
Thanks, Forostar. I don't know how you can figure that stuff out - you've got a better ear for tone than I do! But I thought that riff at 10:33 sounded more like Adrian's style than Janick's; it's too punchy and chunky and palm muted for the latter, if you know what I mean.

I've always liked figuring out who plays what part, ever since Ghost of the Navigator where Adrian plays that sweet riff with the pick squeals in the pre-chorus. Over the years I've come to the conclusion that if a riff sounds bad ass, it's probably Adrian playing it.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
After the 10.33 riff, they continue with the 9.12 riff and can you hear the difference? Janick does the shorter and imo more consequent short notes and Adrian lays more in certain notes than in others, typically for his style. Here that happens in the middle while @ 9.12 that happens on the right side.

I do hear the difference; Adrian is hitting the accent notes (every 3rd note) a bit harder, and his tone is slightly chunkier than Janick's. I actually can't think of any specific moment in the reunion era where Janick is singled out as being the ONLY one playing a punchy rhythm riff, simply because I don't think his tone is suited for it. It's too "flimsy" for me, although I admit it sounds great doing lead riffs like the one at 7:18 in EOTC.

Adrian is easier to distinguish from the other two due to his style, in both solos and riffs. But getting Dave's and Janick's parts mixed up? That's like a full-time job for me!
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
No, these were the horses the airship crashed on.

Sarcasm doesn't work well on the Internet.

In retrospect I suppose it's obvious but it's not a case of me having a different interpretation, just that I didn't get what the lyric was talking about at all the first few times.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
@Detective Beauregard
We're going a bit off topic here but you know what I do not find easy? Who does that melody under Bruce's vocals (during several parts) in The Red and the Black.
At first I thought it was Janick all the time but later I thought of Dave, especially during the Green Manalishi rhythm parts (you know: before we get into the instrumental and The Reeeeed and the Blaaaack parts). The way the guitarist ends every line with some slide of the finger (not sure how to explain it), sounded a bit more like Dave. I like how the guitar continues longer than Bruce. They are not doing the same, at all.
 

Kaos

Invader
Next Maiden Album will be called Majesty of Gaia with the closing epic: The end of the Dino Empire, which will be so long it will take a whole CD to fit!
 

Kaos

Invader
Anyway after a number of listens ..I have come to the conclusion that this not a song Im all that impressed with. In parts its cool but it doesnt work for 18 min imo. One of the least good tracks on album for me. 7/10 It can still grow though.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
@Detective Beauregard
We're going a bit off topic here but you know what I do not find easy? Who does that melody under Bruce's vocals (during several parts) in The Red and the Black.
At first I thought it was Janick all the time but later I thought of Dave, especially during the Green Manalishi rhythm parts (you know: before we get into the instrumental and The Reeeeed and the Blaaaack parts). The way the guitarist ends every line with some slide of the finger (not sure how to explain it), sounded a bit more like Dave. I like how the guitar continues longer than Bruce. They are not doing the same, at all.

Your guess is as good as mine! I think the first two verses is Janick. The "woah oh" riff between these verses sounds like Dave or Adrian. The third and fourth verses is definitely not the same guitarist as the first two; I'd go with Dave. Doesn't sound like Adrian to me.

Maybe it's just me, but doesn't Adrian usually take a back seat on the Harris epics?

Who plays the chorus theme at 4:58? The riff at 6:30 sounds like Dave. But my biggest question is who is playing the pirate riff at 9:40... sounds like Janick in the high octave, Dave in the lower one, and Adrian on rhythm. Agree?

Edit: Should we move this to the TRATB thread?
 

Durango

Invader
I love the song, but as some have mentionned, they missed a huge opportunity here. I'm usually not always a big fan a brass instruments, cello and orchestral arrangement in metal. It often feel forced to have some kind of lame epic-ish feel. However here, come on, it was perfect and they severely undermixed it : Around 11 min, they have brass and all that stuff that really could have been a climax in the song. It could have been massive and quite frankly it sounds awesome to me, but it's completely lost in the mixing and you can barely hear it. Well, you hear it for a few seconds and they it continue but it's even more discrete. People in this thread complain about the lack of climax in the song, but it could have been otherwise easily.

Jeeebus Bruce, I feel like you missed something here. A real orcherstra, blasting that at full volume, and here it is !
 
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