Empire Of The Clouds

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

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When I was listening to it yesterday for the first time, I was devastated. This song turned out to be such a letdown...

The intro is great. The melody is beautiful and the majority of parts with vocals are cool. They could build an 8 or 9 minute song around it and it would be very strong. Now... The whole middle part is what I have a problem with. I don't think it's good composing... These guitar parts are boring, overstretched and shockingly uninspired. It has no density. There's just no material here for an 18 minute song, which makes it sound forced. Plus, the reuse of The Legacy riff is outrageous (just like Wasted Years in Shadows of the Valley, but that's a whole nother topic). Maiden tried too much to be as orchestral and cinematic as possible in this song. I would say they just don't feel it, but come on... They've already done proper epics, so I don't know what happened with their taste here. The majority of this song is not epic, it just tries to be bombastic beyond limits. The parts like 6:57, 12:55 or 14:24 are cringeworthy... So cheesy. What the hell. Maiden quite often balanced on the verge of kitsch, but this time, man... They crossed the line.

Fake orchestra sounds so fucking bad. It's so terrible I cringed every time I heard a "cello" or some "horns". The guy didn't even use legato patches - it's fucking 2015, you can do better than that with virtual instruments, man... For God's sake, I think they could easily afford recording real instruments... But I guess they wanted to do it quick. Piano sounds fine at the beginning, but it's unnecessary later on... They have three bloody guitars, and there is no problem with them covering all these lines. The piano doesn't work well when the whole band is playing.

Bruce, I love you man, but this was a mistake.

I'm so mad right now :/ No offence to all the people who liked it. I don't know, maybe this criticism is a bit excessive, but right now I'm a seriously disappointed man.
Most people would disagree with that.
Dude, caps.

Also, really? After everything you had said about Maiden, I would have bet money on you hating Empire. I should have.

Well it is too late now ain't it??? I forgot all we need to do is praise Maiden.
Maiden's other "down in flames" songs are straight rockers, one of them a true classic (Aces High) and one more forgettable (Tailgunner). This song, hate it or love it, will go down in history as one of the most special songs Maiden ever did.

To begin with: When it comes to pure story-telling lyrics, I must say Bruce does it better than Steve. TTAL and AtG are more or less listing a lot of stuff, and the lyrics for Rime were basically written by Coleridge. This one is real poetry.

The music? The piano build-up is well done, and I must say I like all the piano parts in here. There are also several cool guitar passages, although maybe the mid-part is a bit stretched out considering that it isn't based on that many different riffs (and one riff is very similar to The Legacy). But with the tempo changes it never becomes boring. I think the more up-tempo parts in the middle reflect the story well. The airship is on fire ffs!

The singing is possibly Bruce's best on the album, you can hear how much he wanted to do this song. I must say, I'm impressed.

As for the fact we'll probably never get it live: I think it was never meant to. This was something Bruce wanted to do, the band liked the idea, and they created something that some fans will find magic and others will skip. I'm close to being in the "magic" camp. This is a song I'll listen to a lot in the weeks to come.
Listened to it for the first time a half hour ago. First impressions are as follows.. ..nothing really stood out for me except Adrian's solo. Mind you by 'nothing stood out' I don't imply a negative feeling or judgement, just that at first listen nothing really grabbed me but the Adrian solo. It will be interesting to see how my appreciation for the song progresses as time goes on. Will post in the near future again to reflect that.
This melody sounds nice on piano only. Didn't work on guitar somewhat...

When I first heard it I thought, that's very simple but beautiful, why haven't I wrote that on the guitar. Then I played it on guitar and its loses its feel. Note choice and phrasing is a bit too plain
As much as this song is praised, I don't think it's among the very best of the album. There are great moments and ideas but the entirety feels disconnected. The change at 6:57 just appears out of thin air although the guitar melody that follows is very nice. So is everything else, individually - the vocals, the drums, the piano etc. It's an epic alright, just not the epic because of its unnatural flow in certain parts.
I know Bruce is a big VdGG fan. I wonder if A plague of lighthouse keepers somehow inspired him on this song.

Very obvious that Hammils vocals has inspired Bruce in general however, especially how he's phrasing the words.
This is still a song that is tough to rate. I will probably change opinion on this particular song several times. One thing fore certain though, its a very special song, and Im glad they did it. Its not my favorite right now but there are a lot of good stuff in it, I just have to melt this 18 min piece for a month or so I think. Parts of it reminds me of Savatage actually.
After four careful listens, I still don’t know what I think about the song. The piano is nice (and it wasn’t such a shock - not on this album anyway) and there are absolutely gorgeous parts, like the one at (I think) 7:15 into the song. Or maybe I’m just easily impressed. I still don’t remember much, though. Janick definitely should have had a solo there somewhere. It’s definitely good, probably great and possibly amazing, but it’s too early to tell. I think it’s gonna be a grower.

However, I don’t think it’ll be played live and I don’t think it should be. I just don’t see it fitting in a Maiden concert and the song is way too…”studio atmospheric” heavy, IMHO, to really kill live, just like Isle of Avalon was. Considering the band ain't too wild about playing AtG live...
As soon as you hear the first piano notes you know your listening to a classic. I can see music shops having a sign in the piano section in the future "No Empire of the Clouds"
It's a true ballad — not a rock ballad, but a tale put to music.

spot on. the phrasing of the lyrics is brilliant as well it's like something a folk band would do. I can see a bearded old man in the corner of a dark boozer, with a few pints of guinness on board, bellowing out the verses unaccompanied