A building intro that breaks into Gregorian chanting opens up Maiden's tenth album. It's a drastically different opener to everything they've released before it, but my god, is it brilliant. A bass lead and the voice of Maiden's new singer take centerstage before drumbeats and slow moving guitars and keyboard start intensifying the action. Finally the song just explodes into a heavy, plodding piece with Blaze showcasing how great his voice fits Maiden's new style. The verses are very typical Steve Harris but they work great, and the lyrics are an awesome look at someone awaiting the Inquisition. The chorus is simply but effective, and the long instrumental piece is amazing. It starts out chugging along, then has some more chanting over bass, then gets back to heaviness, leading to a fantastic couple of solos from Dave and Janick, before winding down and returning to the chorus before bowing out with a final stanza delivered by Blaze. This song is a masterpiece, an epic to rival everything Maiden have done up to this point. The production isn't technically 'great', but I love it anyway, because it gives the song a much bigger sound than otherwise. "Sign of the Cross" is the most atypical opener ever, but fuck me if it's not also an incredible way to start an album of this caliber. 10
This is an epic by all means. Great dramatic intro, awesome verses and a wonderful chorus. Very good drumming from Nicko. The two twin-lead guitar harmonies after the quiet middle part are highlights of the whole song - one of the best harmonies from Maiden!. Great solos (especially Dave's one with the tapping). The song is full of fantastic melodies and tempo changes. Live, the song is even greater. One of the best songs from the Blaze era. A classic !