SIT: individual album judgement by yours truly

KidInTheDark666

What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
I've noticed that. But I very rarely give songs a 10/10 rating, as I've explained multiple times before. Basically, if an album gets over 85% it's fucking fantastic.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
SOMEWHERE IN TIME (1986)

1. Caught Somewhere In Time - 10/10
In a year when thrash metal has taken the world by storm, Maiden come up with the bright idea not to go heavier, but to make their music more ‘80s than it already is. The title track is the perfect way to bridge the listener into the new style, and features a highly underrated instrumental section to boot.

2. Wasted Years - 9/10
The single synthless song, this one actually feels a bit too light, but makes up for most of that with a jaw-dropping riff.

3. Sea Of Madness - 8/10
Unfortunately a song that once did more for me than it does now. Some brilliant bits, like the melodies and bridge, aren’t quite enough to push it up with the others.

4. Heaven Can Wait - 10/10
Everything from the opening to the rising bridge and heavenly choir is absolutely perfect. No wonder it’s a popular live number.

5. The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner - 10/10
An absolute gem, featuring some of the band’s best guitar melodies.

6. Stranger In A Strange Land - 9/10
Most of the song is great, but the chorus doesn’t quite push it over the top. The solo is also not as mindblowing as many argue, but it’s still good.

7. Deja Vu - 10/10
Bruce takes a different approach with the verses, but it works and he lets it all rip in that tremendous chorus.

8. Alexander The Great - 10/10
How do you top Rime? Simple: you don’t. For this closing number, Steve wrote what may at first seem like a standard track about a figurehead or history, but stuffed it full of some of the band’s best work as musicians to make it work perfectly. Best song on the album and I hope they play it live.

A grand way to follow up Powerslave and proof that the band wasn’t afraid to evolve.

Rating: 95%
 

Poteitos

Prowler
My ratings:

Caught Somewhere in Time: 10
Wasted Years: 9
Sea of Madness: 7,5
Heaven Can Wait: 7
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner: 8,5
Stranger in a Strange Land: 7,5
Deja-Vu: 8
Alexander the Great: 8

Somewhere in Time - 8,2
 

Randalf

Ancient Mariner
Ah, Somewhere in Time. All-time classic with one of their best-ever album covers and for many still the best album they've ever done. Something that is, arguably more than any other Maiden record, a product of it's time, yet still timeless. Not too many songs from the record have been featured in the live set over time, so the album also has rather strong cult status attached to it. While it's brilliancy is acknowledged and agreed thorough the fanbase, it's superiority is definitely more debatable issue.

There aren't many Maiden album openers as meandering yet still tight as Caught Somewhere in Time. While the vocal lines and Bruce's delivery are good, it is the instrumental work - beautifully outlined by Martin Birch's production; the meandering guitars deliver some brilliant melodies and Nicko gives his kit some serious beating. Wasted Years and Sea of Madness represent the more straightforward direction and are both classics on their own right - Wasted Years more so, since it's definitely one of the bands hits, though not quite there with The Trooper, Run to the Hills and whatnot. It's catchy chorus, beautiful melodies and lyrics that really hit you both on the record and out there in a concert really make the song very special and if one should decide a bunch of songs to close their final concert, Wasted Years would be more than appropriate for that job. Both Wasted Years and Sea of Madness also represent Adrian Smith's huge songwriting contribution on this particular record, along with - likewise a true classic - Stranger in a Strange Land. Of the three, only Wasted Years has received any notable concert presence since the Somewhere on Tour, but Sea of Madness is another song that could work fairly well in a concert too, since it's one of the few songs in the record that doesn't rely quite that heavily on the production and signature sound of the record. That being said, it's the Stranger in a Strange Land which setlist omission might very well be the saddest one, since the guitar solo by Smith would be worth half the ticket price alone.

Wasted Years has been almost a semi-staple setlist pick after the glorious return of Smith and Dickinson, but it was actually Heaven Can Wait that was the Somewhere in Time song to with on every Maiden tour between 1986-1998. It's funny chorus, somewhat light atmosphere and impressive sing-along part in the middle made it a very effective live song, but given it's lenght and structure, there's actually not that much happening. A decent song that has managed to remain as an "almost-classic" thanks to it's huge setlist presence in the past, but we're definitely not talking about their strongest songs from that particular period. Looking at the running order, it's rather good way to close side A of the vinly though!

I've always loved the intro of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, the melody is just pure percetion. The rest of the song doesn't quite live up to it though, but my love for it has been somewhat re-kindled recently. Everything works just fine, but the chorus, as good as it is, doesn't quite exlode to your face the way you'd probably want and overall, the song is rather stuffed yet still not particularly exciting given it's lenght. That is not to say that there's really anything wrong with it either, but here you can sort of see what Bruce meant when he described Somewhere in Time as more of a transitional album before Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, the latter being the proper culmination of the elements that come into play with SIT.

Deja-Vu is a typical "Murray-oddity" of this record and damn good one, actually! The beautiful guitar work and interesting vocal melodies and arrangements carry the song and it's actually very well balanced piece. Alexander the Great is a song that has become sort of a Maiden-meme among the fans, highlighted by it's cult status that the band created by not playing it live and Bruce teasing with it year after another. As a song, it's your typical Steve Harris epic that somehow manages to step into various songwriting pitfalls, whether it's about the lyrics and their pacing or vocal lines and walking it off just fine. It's something that you wouldn't really want to try yourself or recommend to any musician, but Steve just manages to do it time after another. Granted, Alexander the Great is far from being my favourite Maiden songs or even Steve's efforts, but as history-book narration as the lyrics are, the instrumental section is indeed a work of music-gods and while I do prefer various other songs, performances and even setlist fantasies over Alexander the Great in any form, there's just something very, very special in that final "ALEXANDER THE GREAT... HE DIED OFFEVER IN BABYLOOOOON" and I believe there's a part in every Maiden fan that wants to hear Bruce doing it properly live.

So, what are we left with?

Somewhere in Time is a brilliant record on it's own right, but also rather stuffed for it's runtime - which also underlines the adventurous nature of the record though. There's some brilliant musical ideas, absolutely outstanding musicianship and brilliant bunch of quality song that have some "career-highlight" parts from probably all of the band members expect Bruce, who does fairly great job and carries the songs, but isn't quite exceeding any of his previous or upcoming efforts. However, the use of it's brilliant, more "sophisticated" elements and song structure in general doesn't quite reach the same epic yet compact nature that it's successor - in my opinion - manages to do. The world of Somewhere in Time is a very unique package, starting with beautiful cover art and futuristic sound and beautifully roaring synth-empowered guitars. It's a Maiden record that I genuinely love, but at the same time I don't find myself loving and craving it quite as deeply as one or two other Maiden records. A brilliant album that is, in any case.

Somewhere in Time is actually one of the most satisfying and filling Maiden records, for it's a real blast when you listen to it; if one wants some Maiden, Somewhere in Time definitely satisfies that kind of a hunger and leaves you with a happy grin and some shivers, thanks to that brilliant last melodies and vocal lines in Alexander the Great, but I'd say that the ride is just a tad bit bumpy at times... then again, maybe it just adds the flavour?

Previous scores:

Killers: around 7.5
The Number of the Beast:
around 8
Piece of Mind:
around 9 or even above?
Powerslave: Another 9? I just hate 1-10 and how hard it is to properly score these masterpieces.. :D

Somewhere in Time: 9 (?)
 
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MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
2019 relisten thoughts on Somewhere In Time...

  • The music is just astounding. Some of their best. The tones, the riffs, the bass playing is all awesome. The songs, however, are some of Steve's most boneheaded attempts and lyric writing and melodic vocal structure. The lack of Bruce's songwriting is felt hard. There's just no cohesion to the vocal lines on any of the Harris-penned tracks and the choruses are just plain repetitive and boring (yes, this coming from the Brave New World fanboy).
  • “Heaven can way-ay-ait!” might be one of the most grating, boring pieces of vocal work in the Maiden catalog. Same goes for the verses which are just rushed and silly sounding. Speaking of silly sounding, the lyrics and vocal melodies in TLOTLDR are trash. Deja-Vu is a great Murray barnburner (minus the pointless intro), but again, the Harris lyrics are quite silly.
  • But again, the music is wonderful. The guitars and riff changes in the title track, TLOTLDR and Alexander are just beautiful. Fluid, heavy, interesting...masterful stuff.
  • Without Adrian Smith this album would be in their top 3 most disjointed recordings ever. The pure completeness and songwriting prowess of Wasted Years and Stranger elevate SIT. Stranger is a Top 10 song with a vibe found in literally no other Maiden song in history. That said, Sea of Madness is a bit of a mess, but mostly because some of the vocal melodies are a bit pedestrian.
  • Speaking of Adrian: his solos are pure gold throughout. Dave's playing is nice, but you could tell that H really hit a creative, compositional peak around these years.
  • Alexander the Great is a musical masterpiece and, again, I want to know who wrote what. It’s credited to only Harris, but are you actually telling me he wrote all those amazing guitar melodies and harmonies that make the song what it is, or did he just write the backing chords underneath? Anyway, stupid lyrics keep it from being a top tier track.
There is something magical about this album and it’s all in the production and mood. The guitar pedal choices are interesting and add nice layers, but unfortunately the songwriting just isn’t there. Bruce’s performance sounds a little forced, as well, which is no shock considering Steve didn’t want to use his material. The sheer power of the instrumentals keep this album from having a truly terrible song, which I guess counts for quite a bit.

New rating - 8.2/10
 

Edington

Let's Get Volatile
Alexander the Great... I want to know who wrote what. It’s credited to only Harris, but are you actually telling me he wrote all those amazing guitar melodies and harmonies that make the song what it is, or did he just write the backing chords underneath?

I don't see why he couldn't have. They're quite a major part of the song so I feel like he'd have credited H or Bruce or whoever if they had written them.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
I don't see why he couldn't have. They're quite a major part of the song so I feel like he'd have credited H or Bruce or whoever if they had written them.

He certainly could have, I just think they sound a little more like Adrian or Dave's writing structure than Steve's.
 

Arturo_J

Prowler
Caugh somewhere in Time - 7
Wasted Years - 10
Sea of Madness - 5
Heaven Can Wait - 6
The Lonlinnes - 5
Strange in a Strange Land - 9
Deja Vu - 7
Alexander the Great - 9
 
Bloody Brilliant. My absolute Favorite Maiden Album. And probably always will be.

1. Sea of Madness 10/10
2. Stranger in a Strange Land 10/10
3. Alexander the Great 10/10
4. Caught Somewhere in Time 10/10
5. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner 10/10

6. Deja-Vu 9.5/10

7. Wasted Years 9/10

8. Heaven Can Wait 8/10


Somewhere in Time album score: 9.56
 

Murder of Rue Morgue

Educated Fool
I premise that this is my favourite Iron Maiden album and among my favourites overall
  1. Caught Somewhere in Time 9 - killer opener, 7-and-a-half minutes of merciless galloping, throws you perfeclty into the mood of the album
  2. Wasted Years 8.5 - cool radio hit
  3. Sea of Madness 8/9 - great song, would have worked good as a single from a live record
  4. Heaven Can Wait 7 - the weak link of the album, interesting how Steve wrote a 7 minutes song out of an elementary riff
  5. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner 9 - suffers from Steve's logorrhea, for the rest this is a masterpiece
  6. Stranger in a Strange Land 9 - -0.5 because I don't like songs which end fading away, but it contains H's best solo
  7. Dejà-Vu 8.5 - alongside with Fates Warning, Judas Be My Guide and Rainmaker it makes a poker of incredibly underrated songs by Dave Murray
  8. Alexander the Great 9 - logorrhea strikes back, but again the song in itself is great
Overall: Iron Maiden/10
 
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JudasMyGuide

The resident saudade aficionado
Update:

Caught Somewhere In Time 8/10
Wasted Years 9/10
Sea Of Madness 10/10
Heaven Can Wait 6/10
The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner 9/10
Stranger In A Strange Land 8/10
Deja Vu 8/10
Alexander The Great 9/10

Overall: 8,4, higher than both Powerslave and TXF which I both love more. This individual rating is fishy... <_<
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
IRON MAIDEN - SOMEWHERE IN TIME (2020 re-listening):

1- Caught Somewhere In Time:
The opening track from maiden's 6th studio album starts with a bang. Not a full speed/ break down the door entrance but a mood building and exquisite one in its near perfect intro. Great guitar harmonies, that progessively gain bounce thanks to a great march like drum line by Mr. McBrain while something really new rears its head: synth undertones. And I believe undertones is the correct term here: unlike what many bands during the 80's did, maiden placed the synths on the background of the mix and instead of mischaracterizing the band's typical sound, this new element made it even richer. All of the sudden everything goes warp speed and you're dragged into a vortex of state of the art guitar harmonies.Then Bruce starts to sing and man... although during the ensuing world tour he kinda fell somewhat short singing this tunes, in the studio recording the already excellent voice of the band seems like it suffered an upgrade. The timbre and strength on the "TIIIIIME is always on my side" section is so intense it may cause malfunctions to cardiac devices. And what is that abusive display of tone reach on the chorus???? Did this guy bought himself a third lung? Ridiculous. The bridge before the solos is simply brutal with Mr. Harris taking the spotlight while the following solos are two of the best ones in the band's catalogue (especially the second by Mr. Smith). I have little more than this to say.... absolutely fantastic. 10/10

2- Wasted Years:
Opening lead? As simple as ingenious. Verses? Simply addictive. Chorus? One of the band's best ever. Solos? Flawless. Bass and drums? Working like a Swiss clock. Voice? Once again immaculate. Easy listening? A lot. Epic sounding? Also. Lyrics? Top notch. Features lots of smart composition details to rediscover? You bet. Sentimental value? ABSOLUTELY. Easily one of my favorite Maiden tracks ever. 10/10

3- Sea Of Madness:
We take a huge leap in style from the radio friendly melodies of Wasted years to the rumbling heaviness of this beast and from the get go one can notice that Nicko and Steve are hell bent on leaving us in awe. Dave and Adrian's aggressive approach also contributes a lot to this dense metal anthem. The pre-chorus is pompous as it can get and by now I'm sure Bruce's breathing morphology is different from the rest of humanity. Plus that calm bridge is another moment of absolute perfection (did you notice the word perfect is being used a lot? It will be used a lot more, I assure you). Another mind blowing song and by now the cynic/ pessimist in me starts to take over and thinks "ok... With this spree of fantastic tunes I know a couple of fillers are just around the corner". Are they? 9.5/10

4- Heaven Can Wait:
A synth humming along with a engaging bass line and some mysterious soloing stutter mark the first sconds of Heaven Can Wait until Nicko's snare disrupts the stillness and gives the signal for all hell to break lose full speed ahead. And you bet this thing drags you towards its center like a magnet! Bruce's lightning fast singing fits 100% the pace of the song only reinforcing the intensity and tension on this out of body adventure. And although the chorus' vocal line is absolutely repetitive all the other instruments do a stellar work of keeping you afloat above your body (especially the guitar melodies and once again the smart use of synths). And this time Mr. Murray's solo really shines and sticks to the theme with its labyrinth like nature only to flow into one of Maiden's best sections ever. Undeniably one of the most epic moments ever penned by the band this masterpiece bridge features Bruce showing once again his godlike form when the tone goes up and the man simply nails it WITHOUT FALSETTO! Fucking wow! And while by now every single Maiden fan has already listened or sang along (at home or at the shows) to the "oh oh oh" chorus, fact is it complements the previous part perfectly and enforces that "near the light tunnel unto final judgement" moment of the lyrics in a stellar fashion before the main character is pulled back to this earth. To sum it up, although tarnished quite a bit by overplaying, this is yet another monster of a song and an absolute classic. 10/10

5- The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner:
Unlike many others I consider this song to be on pair with the best tracks on this record. But, besides every single section being (once again) perfect, Not only that: I really think it's one of Maidens' best compositions ever. There's one aspect in particular this song achieves like no other in Somewhere In Time: portraying a state of mind and all its variations, both musically or lyric wise. For starts the intro is simply gorgeous and conveys a great sense of anticipation. Then the race starts and emotions run wild. And wild is a feeble word to describe Bruce's vocal performance here. Along with Aces High this is probably my favorite Maiden track when it comes to singing. Even the more basic line here - the drums - is absolutely on point: mechanical, like a painful metronome the runner must endure through mental and physical attrition and preserverance. Then comes the chorus and every time I listen to Bruce's pristine performance here it gives me goosebumps such is the level of difficulty yet the accuracy and sentiment this man lends to this section. Not to speak of the bridge before the solo... another state of the art vocal display (that "push myself ON" especially is one of Bruce's most jaw dropping lines I've ever heard). Not content with all this we are immediately propelled into yet another one of Maiden's best solos courtesy of Mr. Smith (dwelling a bit into what would soon be called Power Metal). Seriously, as I said in another re-listening commentary: a great composition is the one that completely surrounds you with the ambiance or situation it's intended to. And not only does this song achieves that in a flawless way, the preformance and composition are on masterpiece level. 10/10

6- Stranger In A Strange Land:
First of all I consider SIASL to be one of Maiden's greatest compositions. Once again: excellent vocals, superb use of synths, bass and drums always tight as hell, not to speak of the guitar riffs and solos (after all this is a Smith composition). Plus it's utterly catchy, epic, has one hell of a bridge and really portraits many of the amazing new details and tendencies Somewhere In Time brought to Maiden's universe. But (perhaps due to overplaying during my teen years) every time I listen to it with the passing of the ages the least it excites me. Don't get me wrong: the song is so brilliant I still like it a lot. But unlike all the others it seems like the enthusiasm kinda fainted a bit. So although I believe is true value is around a 9.25 (and I would easily gave it some decades ago) I got to be honest with the actual moment. Perhaps the tiring effect it will pass with time. 8.5/10

7- Deja Vu:
Another unjustifiably underrated track, this Murray co-written piece starts with a state of the art guitar solo intro. And one can easily notice it is a Murray spawn since there are solos and guitar licks all over this fast track. I love the pre-chorus and the way the once again pristine vocal line perfectly marries with the solos. The chorus is a bit linear but the harmony before the verses is simply brutal and the duality on the wicked tone versus the full tenor outburst Bruce pulls on that part is also really cool. Is it the best track from this album? Nah... far from it. But is it one hell of a song? You bet! 8.5/10

8- Alexander The Great:
And we come to the last song, your usual lenghty Maiden epic. And after the the protagonist's father citation and intro, one galloping monster riff erupts filled with another set of state of the art guitar harmonies. So, by now, it's easy to come to the conclusion that there are no fillers in this record. Far from it. Every single song here is on an extremely high echelon. And this song is no different. But let me just start with the cons (since they are quite few but still affect the final outcome somehow). Remember when I said a great composition is the one that immediately throws you into the ambiance or universe it aims for music and lyric wise... Well, this track has some issues regarding that aspect. Music wise this thing is absolutely pompous and has a kind of marching feel to it. And although the intricate and absolutely amazing bridge/ solo section enhances the somewhat martial subject as well as Alexander's intelligence on other fields than military ones, there's a certain lack of harshness in it when compared with the other belicose musical pieces made by the band, a slight lack of adrenaline. It's minor but it's still there. Nevertheless what really nerfs the ambiance is the lyrics. When I listen to Where Eagles Dare, Paschendale, The Legacy, Aces High, The Trooper, Invaders or Tailgunner, the narration really throws me into the heat of the action when it happened. When I listen to Alexander's Lyrics I feel like I'm seeing a History Channel documentary at home. And that kinda sucks, since the song is absurdly great. Once again: vocals, bass, drums and guitars are absolutely perfect, the chorus is superb, the first bridge is a monster and it all has its zenith on the following bridges and solos, an excepcionally well composed and intricate section. And the synths here give such a dramatic effect. So yeah... it's a pity since I'm sure this song had the potencial to be another 10 out of 10 anthem. Nevertheless still a classic. 9/10

Bonus Stuff/ Original B' Sides:

Reach Out:
Wasted Years Maxi single was my first Maiden disc I received as a present. Although I'm not into hard rock this song is kinda decent. Really far from maiden's scope on its lyrics and majority of composition (I think the chorus - that by the way I really love - could work in a more radio friendly Maiden song). Cool as an experimentation and a B' side but overall not my kind of thing. 4.5/10

Sheriff Of Huddersfield:
And then we have THIS. Oh boy how I did laughed over the years to the sound of this Rod roast by the band! And the song itself with another vocal tightness on the verses (and lyrics, of course) would easily sound better than half of some albums I'm still about to comment. But it's a blast as it is and a fond and funny reminder of my pre teen years. 5.5/10

As a whole Somewhere In Time is my favorite album by the band, an absolute classic showing a band at its peak. Plus Maiden didn't settle and brought a lot of new elements to their universe. The obvious ones are the futuristic flavor (image and sound wise), the guitar and bass synths, but other peculiar aspect I simply adore in this album is the production. Back in 87 when I picked it, it sounded dense, droning yet definition wise accurate, a perfect mix of artificial and organic. As for the Blade Runner meets maiden universe just 4 words: best Maiden cover ever. An undeniable risk and IMO upgrade from their early too crystal clear productions of the last three studio albums (and the best one since Killers). And if nowdays it sounds a bit dated it still has tons of charm. The next album would present us an even better production and more awesome tracks but that's a story for another time. 9.25/10
 
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