Empire Of The Clouds

Discussion in 'The Book of Souls' started by SinisterMinisterX, Aug 22, 2015.


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

  1. 10

  2. 9

  3. 8

  4. 7

  5. 6

  6. 5

    0 vote(s)
  7. 4

  8. 3

  9. 2

    0 vote(s)
  10. 1

    0 vote(s)
  1. Number 6

    Number 6 Ancient Mariner

    Good point on Maiden's closing tracks. I 100% agree, and I think Maiden succeed most of the time. For me, there are very few closing tracks which were "disappointing", to some degree (but that's not to say they are bad songs in any way). "Iron Maiden" (it works wonders as a show closer, but for a studio album it just felt underwhelming), "Drifter" and "The Unbeliever" come to mind. "Only the Good Die Young" might be the band's best album closer yet (even though my favorite Maiden song is actually "Rime of the Ancient Mariner").

    Well, all in all, "Empire" is a nice closer, too. Since it was ultimately made a part of The Book of Souls' track listing, there wouldn't be another track to fit as a closer. (Maybe, just maybe "The Red and the Black", but while I feel it does belong on the album, it wouldn't be very fulfilling to close the album with it.) It's just that, musically, it's such a drastic departure from the material on the rest of the album that it feels disjointed.
  2. Diesel 11

    Diesel 11 As you scream into the web of silence...

    That's true, but then again, Journeyman is also a vastly different song than the rest on Dance of Death and I think it's great song and closer as well. I think it boils down to a matter of what an individual person hears at the end of the day.

    EDIT: Also don't forget to vote for this song, gotta shoot it straight to #1 in the rankings! :D
  3. Number 6

    Number 6 Ancient Mariner

    Already cast my vote. 10. :D

    As for "Journeyman", that's a good point. But, I don't know why, in the context of the whole Dance of Death album, it felt right to use it as a closer. It was a very experimental record, Maiden were testing all sorts of different things (a writing credit from Nicko, double bass pedal in "Face In the Sand", a more classical approach to the general songwriting, so why not make an acoustic track?). As a result, it was a bit inconsistent. The Book of Souls was a very focused and therefore very consistent record, so, in the context of the whole album, "Empire" felt a little bit off.
    Diesel 11 likes this.
  4. Diesel 11

    Diesel 11 As you scream into the web of silence...

    Oh, I didn't notice your name when I checked who voted. Coolio!

    That's also a good point. Like I said, I guess when I comes down to it it depends on the listener. So long as we agree it's great. :D
    Number 6 likes this.
  5. MarcoHietalaIM

    MarcoHietalaIM Trooper

    Epic ballad, maybe the first of it's kind by Maiden. At first I thought like critics that this is the standout track of the album. Now my opinion has changed.

    If you cut the other epics The Book of Souls and The Red and the Black out of the album and listen to it as whole without them, then The Empire of the Clouds is very out of place in the album.

    It has by far the longest guitar sections of their catalogue, but they are very basic, not complex at all. It has some ideas that work every now and then, like catchy riffs, but they are overlong and not fast. Orchestra is a nice addition and Nicko shines on drums, that is something that I can't deny.

    However, this work could have been a half of its lenght and still be repeative.
  6. Number 6

    Number 6 Ancient Mariner

    Already made a few posts about "Empire", but those were more focused on how the song fits within the record than on the song itself. So that's what I'm here to tell you about: on its own, "Empire of the Clouds" is a flawless masterpiece. It really drags you along on a very touching and intense journey, making you feel every bit of fear and sadness surrounding the tragic story of the R101. Each and every second of the song works beautifully to create a unique kind of atmosphere that makes it all feel like a movie score. The first part (retelling the first moments of the monumental aircraft) is the most touching, highlighting the sadness of the future repercussions underlined by the contrasting happiness of those moments. Once the desperation of realising certain death hits, the song becomes chaotic; the repeated morse code S.O.S. messages add a nice touch to the transition. The final minutes of the song, depicting the destruction and plummeting of the zeppelin, take a more sinister and suspenseful tone before returning to the initial motif. The calm after the storm, finishing off the song perfectly. "Empire of the Clouds" is one of the best songs Maiden's ever written, even though I don't really like it on the album. Still, it shines through, serving as yet another stellar addition to the band's collection of extended epics. 10!
    Black Bart and Diesel 11 like this.
  7. Christoffer

    Christoffer Nomad

    I don't get the praise, i think the song is not interesting enough to justify an 18 minute running length.
    harrisdevot, Magnus and CycleMotion like this.
  8. GiovaOfficial

    GiovaOfficial Powerslave

    What a song to end on (for now). At first I didn’t really like it, but it has really grown on me recently. Maybe I hadn’t listened to it enough, since it is a very complex song that deserves attention to every detail. Being an 18 minute song, it will never be as perfect as a track like Powerslave, but that’s not really saying much. I think there are flaws even on ROTAM and that’s my second favourite Maiden song, if not just my second favourite song in general.
    Bruce’s performance is absolutely incredible, like the lyrics written by him. The composition isn’t perfect but still great, you can really hear Bruce’s dedication to making a memorable song. Adrian’s solo captures the storm, just like the one on Rime beautifully recreates the rain. The “dreams live on” climax is very emotional and it’s the perfect coronation of this song, before the haunting finale. The only annoying thing for me are the SOS drums that slow the song down and feel quite unnecessary after the first time.
    Overall, I don’think it’s their best track ever, but it’s certainly the most unique and it probably deserves to scrape into the top 10. 10/10 of course
    Diesel 11 likes this.
  9. Stardust

    Stardust A Blue Sector Mirage

    The most impressive curveball Maiden has ever done and an instant attention-grabber right from the song length, the title and just how very different it is. It's so disconnected from everything they've done up to this point (except for perhaps Journeyman, but that one kinda failed) and it stands out for those reasons. There's only one part of this song where the familiar songwriting tricks of Maiden make their presence known and that's in the instrumental sections and the following fast verses. Everything else doesn't really feel like Maiden, but more or less a Bruce Dickinson solo song disguised as Maiden.

    So, is it fair to call this one of the best Iron Maiden songs? I wouldn't really say so, but this is still a masterclass work of songwriting in its own right. The lyrics, which I'm sure everyone's mentioned, are some of the best Bruce's ever written and the song certainly seems written around them. Because the structure is wholly dictated by the lyrics which is certainly a feat since they pull it off with such ease. However, I do agree that some parts do go on a bit long. There are certain guitar riffs (yes, that one) which seem to repeat just a few too many times. They're memorable for that reason and they're not bad riffs, but you do kinda want back to the much more dynamic musicality of the parts before and after this guitar-heavy middle. Yeah, I do consider this middle bit the weak link of the song. Bruce sounds remarkably strained in the fast verses here, something worth noting since his performance is freaking incredible otherwise. It's a bit disappointing, since the middle is where all the disaster is happening. The solos are not particular to my liking either.

    But the rest of the song is just perfect. The last few minutes, in particular, are some of the best music I've ever heard, not just by Maiden. It truly feels like you've come to the end of a very lengthy journey (fitting, considering the 18 minute length) and you leave feeling very satisfied.

    Unfortunately, this is NOT a song I would use to introduce people to Maiden with. Again, it's so very different from everything else in the catalogue that it can be slightly jarring going from this to other usually-considered amazing songs. Like the title track of the same album Empire is on. I like that one more, because it's a Iron Maiden song. This really isn't. And it does hurt the album, because as Diesel pointed out, it feels like the entire album before Empire is just foreplay. This steals the attention away from every other song on the album. Everyone's first listenings of this album must have been "Yeah, this album is pretty great so far, but I'm really looking forward to hearing that final one". And since it's the final one, it's the one to leave the lasting impression as well. And since it's such a show stealer, you will probably only think of it and not some of the others. The Red and The Black, despite being 13 minutes, is a prime example of this. There are only two songs on the album, which I think gets even remotely near the same amount of attention and hype as this one, and that's Bruce's own If Eternity Should Fail and the title track.

    And really, that's just a bit disappointing. Still, even with those issues, this is an easy 10/10.
    Number 6, Diesel 11 and terrell39 like this.
  10. Diesel 11

    Diesel 11 As you scream into the web of silence...

    I agree to an extent. If you're trying to introduce someone just getting into metal to Maiden, then yeah, I wouldn't play it. However, if you're trying to introduce people to Maiden who dislike metal then it's perfect (so long as they're okay with the runtime). My mom hates metal, and while she didn't care for the heavier moments she did enjoy the softer parts.
  11. Stardust

    Stardust A Blue Sector Mirage

    The thing is, as I said, it's so different from their usual stuff that it could be jarring to then hear one of their classic songs because the styles are so radically different.
    Diesel 11 likes this.
  12. ChrisDeBurgh

    ChrisDeBurgh Prowler

    "And in a country churchyard, laid head to the mast" is a clear reference to the Chris de Burgh's 1977 classic "In a Country Churchyard".
  13. ChrisDeBurgh

    ChrisDeBurgh Prowler

    Wish they'd got a competent pianist in for this track.
    Magnus likes this.
  14. Magnus

    Magnus Sing the dark song

    Couldn't find the zero.
  15. Diesel 11

    Diesel 11 As you scream into the web of silence...

    Yeah, there's definitely something wrong with this poll. I couldn't find the 11.
    Number 6 likes this.
  16. Number 6

    Number 6 Ancient Mariner

    "Rime"'s missing that, too.
    Diesel 11 likes this.
  17. Number 6

    Number 6 Ancient Mariner

    Just curious. What were they? "Run to the Hills", and?
  18. Diesel 11

    Diesel 11 As you scream into the web of silence...

    Wasted Years.
    Number 6 likes this.
  19. Gk1

    Gk1 Ancient Mariner

    And this is how Bruce copied Steve for all the wrong reasons.
  20. Shmoolikipod

    Shmoolikipod Nomad

    Boom, the marathon ends... And on the best song :yey:Love every second of it!!!
    Diesel 11 likes this.

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