So near, yet so far

I find this to be a very frustrating Maiden album. Blaze had made an extremely promising start as their vocalist on X-Factor and on this album, it seemed like the band were more successfully writing for Blaze's voice. Most of the songs were really good, and overall the album benefited from a return to more upbeat songs mixed in with slower material. There is an awful lot to like here, yet the album somehow manages to take all of these positives and create a surprisingly weak album.

The problem with this album is simple; most of the songs are just too long. I don't mean long like an epic song, because Maiden are great at those. These sound like songs that have been written to be much shorter and then padded out with endless, unnecessary and boring repetition. There are far too many songs on this album where I start listening to them thinking 'This is really good' and then halfway through I start to lose the will to live. They should have just written one or two more songs rather than padding out the album with what's here and destroying some really good songs.