The Alchemist

How good is The Alchemist on a scale of 1-10?

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Before this album came out I knew this - if Janick Gers (co)writes the song, I know I won't be disapointed. This album proved that and after great first 4 songs on TFF I wouldn't mind if this one went down the drain. TFF beat out my expectation realy early and even at that stage (hearing only 2 singles, first 4 songs on the album, that is) I knew I will like this album more than previous (AMOLAD). But Gers/Harris collaboration always delivers and when Bruce joined on this one it only gave more spice to already great short rocker song.

After the intro and up-tempo verses there comes a bridge which could actually be chorus and then "actual" chorus, and then bridge to 2nd chorus that could also be chorus and then... Does it matter?! I'm not musically educated, I don't know to discern bridge from chorus on this one, haven't got a clue who is Dr. Dee - but I love it all! What I love about Maiden is their smart yet simple melody making and they crammed so much melody into this chorus-fest that I enjoy it 6 years later. I still don't know what's it all about frozen queen and Edward Kelly and so on but it didn't hindered me to occasionaly scream "Strange Aaaaaalchemy!!!" at the job that I was working at that time. And that, to some people, is what is music all about in a nutshell - enjoy it, love it, sing it. Just like this song.
Fantastic track, catchy, enjoyable, awesome riffs, fun solos. The magus I am Dr. Dee, and this is my house!

I've not scored these types of track highly but I must admit I absolutely love this and am gutted they never played it live. I like the retro harmony intro and then it launches it to full throttle. Think it might be one of the most fun album tracks they've done and the "Dr Dee" chorus is just brilliant.


The fastest song on the album is The Alchemist, a fun Janick rocker. It is the most classic Maiden track here, sounding like something that could have been on Piece of Mind or Powerslave. Bruce has a vocal workout as the key keeps rising and Janick turns in a blistering solo. The lyrics are a bit odd (as they tend to be), telling the story of a famous British mathematician corrupted by his magical beliefs and a poor choice of friendships. Strong melodies, a driving beat, and a great chorus round out the track. The abrupt ending is great. It makes me glad that Maiden chose to try some simpler songs on this album, even if they aren’t perfect.
Really nice rocker, feels like a mix between Be Quick Or Be Dead and The Wicker Man. Debating between a low 8 or a strong 7, but I'll go with the 7 for now and switch it to 8 later if it grows on me a little bit more. Still, nice fun song.
This was such an obvious choice for a live track that it was really disappointing that they didn't play it. The chorus is the best part of this song, and a great sing-along one that would sound gigantic with an audience (just imagine a whole stadium yelling out "STRANGE ALCHEMY"). Apart from that, it's a really good short song and a really great offering from Janick. It's a pretty simple song in structure, but it brings back some of old Maiden in spectacular fashion, and the lyrics are just brilliant. It's very catchy as a whole, and it's quite surprising that it never saw a single release. Really, really good song. 8.
I always thought Bruce's song "Meltdown" from Skunkworks could be about Steve Harris, with the "you and your twisted convictions" line and everything.

But that's the beauty of it really, all those multiple meanings.

Meltdown is about some people who dumped Bruce after he had left Maiden and did some hurtful things.
A decent uptempo lead kicks off an OK verse. The pre-chorus is better, but Bruce's voice is dry and strained there. Chorus 1 is reasonably catchy, but chorus 2 is a bit weaker, folding quickly back into chorus 1 with some nice harmonized accompaniment. The production sounds a bit muffled here as well.

Another round of verse through the choruses and we cut to a pretty good but sloppy solo followed by a nice harmonized section that leads back into chorus 1 before a quick wrap-up.

Another song that's pretty good, but with some really noticeable weaknesses. And it can't hold a candle to Bruce's solo song of the same name. 6/10.
Great melodic riff opens this great short rocker. Fast tempo song with great verses, pre-chorus and chorus. Janick's solo is one of his best and Nicko's drumming is just awesome. The triple-lead guitar harmony is vintage Maiden!. Really enjoyable song. 8/10
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An atypical riff opens up "The Alchemist" and I can't say I like it much. Everything else here is enjoyable, including those choruses. Still, this isn't quite Maiden's finest song, and if we're comparing it to the Bruce song, then it falls flat as well. But it's enjoyable enough to be above average for me. Something I can get into when it comes on. 6
Not sure I've ever commented on this song. When TFF first came out, the opening/title track and this were my least favorite songs. However, the years have been very kind to this one. I can't really articulate why I like it so much. It's not even particularly catchy but is still a huge ear worm for me. It actually reminds me of the song Iron Maiden in the sense that it seems the guitars are going one tempo, and the bass/drums another. Both songs have this almost "lazy" melody going over the course of the song, but the drums and bass are just thundering and crashing along underneath like they're playing to a different tune. It really is incredible.

I'd give this a solid 9/10. TFF overall is Maiden's most underrated effort since the reunion, but for me it is right next to BoS as my fave reunion album.
Edward Kelly or Kelly, also known as Edward Talbot, was an English self-proclaimed psychic who collaborated with the scholar John Dee in his metaphysical research. In addition to his "ability" to summon spirits or angels with a crystal ball, which Dee valued so much, Kelly also claimed to possess the secret of turning metals into gold. He became the object of legends and rumors shortly after his death. His impressive biography and the relatively bad opinion of English-speaking historians about him (mainly because of his relationship with Dee) have made him a model for the image of the charlatan-alchemist.
Maybe due to the lack of many faster songs....I got a new appreciation of this song. Although it has too many sequencial parts and Bruce never shuts up, it is quite fun to play on guitar. The harmonies although simple they are AT LEAST HARMONIES for a change. Nice one. It took me around 10 years to like it.