Empire Of The Clouds

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

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Ancient Mariner
Back on topic.. After a few listens, it's seems like a very strong song. Bruce seems very eager to tell this story. The singing is excellent. Still not my favourite on the album, but that's a testament to Iron Maiden's talent and determination. They have nothing more to prove, but they continue to create great music.


Insect of Terror
Staff member
It's had handful of listens now, gave the entire album a bit of a rest yesterday, and the melody is stuck in my head. This bodes well for it's longevity.
Still don't know what to think of this one. Sounds like some pieces fit well. Like the ensemble in parts. It just seems like certain parts repeat too much. Could have been shorter & not so drawn out. Hearing Bruce at the podcast in NYC last night, he said they actually chopped 3 minutes off it. it was over 20 minutes in length originally.


General of the Dark Army
Staff member
I'll have to listen to that interview. I remember him saying they chopped stuff *out* of it, but I didn't think he meant they'd cut it in length


Educated Fool
The most original song on the album by far. Bruce made a great job and the music starts beautifully with the piano, the violins and the cellos. I feel like I'm floating in the sky when I listen to the Empire of The Clouds.


Official Lyrics:

To ride the storm to an empire of the clouds
To ride the storm they climbed
Aboard their silver ghost
To ride the storm to a kingdom that will come
To ride the storm and damn the rest... Oblivion
Royalty and dignitaries brandy and cigars
Grey lady giant of the skies
You hold them in your arms
The millionth chance they laughed
To take down his majesty’s craft
To India they say magic carpet float away
An October fateful day...

Mist is in the trees
Stone sweats with the dew
The morning sunrise red before the blue
Hanging at the mast
Waiting for command
His majesty’s airship
The R101

She’s the biggest vessel built by man
A giant of the skies
For all you unbelievers
The Titanic fits inside
Drum roll tight her canvas skin
Silvered in the sun
Never tested with the fury
With the beating yet to come
The fury yet to come

In the gathering gloom
The storm rising in the west
The coxswain stared
Into the plunging weather glass

We must go now
We must take our chance with fate
We must go now
For a politician, he can’t be late

The airship crew awake for thirty
Hours at full stretch
But the ship is in their backbone
Every sinew every inch
She never flew at full speed
A trial never done
Her fragile outer cover
Her achilles would become
An achilles yet to come

Sailors of the sky
A hardened breed
Loyal to the king and an airship creed
The engines drum
The telegraph sounds
Release the cords
That bind us to the ground
Said the coxswain “Sir she’s heavy“
“She’ll never make this flight“
Said the captain “damn the cargo“
“We’ll be on our way tonight“
Groundlings cheered in wonder
As she backed off from the mast
Baptizing them her water
From the ballast fore and aft
Now she slips into our past

Fighting the wind as it rolls you
Feeling the diesels that push you along
Watching the channel below you
Lower and lower into the night
Lights are passing below you
Northern France asleep in their beds
Storm is raging around you
A million to one that’s what he said

Reaper standing beside her
With his scythe cuts to the bone
Panic to make a decision
Experienced men asleep in their graves
Her cover is ripped and she’s drowning
Rain is flooding into the hull
Bleeding to death and she’s falling
Lifting gas is draining away

“We’re down lads“ came the cry
Bow plunging from the sky
Three thousand horses silent
As the ship began to die
The flares to guide her path
Ignited at the last
The empire of the clouds
Just ashes in our past
Just ashes at the last

Here lie their dreams
As I stand in the sun
On the ground where they built
And the engines did run
To the moon and the stars
Now what have we done
Oh the dreamers may die
But the dreams live on

Dreams live on
Dreams live on...

Now a shadow on a hill
The angel of the east
The empire of the clouds
May rest in peace
And in a country churchyard
Laid head to the mast
Eight and forty souls
Who came to die in France


i'd have expected this one to be a more polarizing, love/hate affair for me, but it's just middling. i don't skip it or anything, and it's nice as a journey, but i don't see myself returning to it a lot in the future.


Ancient Mariner
It is a bit repetitive. But that's not my main gripe. While it is a nice composition, it would have been complete if it had a real riff and drum based climax (like Mariner does). Instead, the climax is based on the solos section and it's a little bit underwhelming. That's no storm, it's an autumn rain...


Barbed Wire Hen
The climax for me would be the singing section following the solos ("Fighting the wind as it rolls you...")
And there is a riff between the verses with "broken" rhythm that nicely depicts the sudden gusts of wind


Ancient Mariner
The climax for me would be the singing section following the solos ("Fighting the wind as it rolls you...")
And there is a riff between the verses with "broken" rhythm that nicely depicts the sudden gusts of wind
The fact that each one has to clarify what the climax is for himself is proof that there's no climax.


General of the Dark Army
Staff member
The dramatic part is in the middle, it ends softly, not unlike When the Wild Wind Blows.