The Book of Souls: General album discussion


Lord of the Riddermark
I don't get the hate for River. It has the catchiest verse melody and it has this cool, hard rock feeling... A short Maiden song done completely right. I just can't wrap my head around how so many people like DoG and hate River. It's an utterly alien thought to me. :D


General of the Dark Army
Staff member
I find the character of the album changes on the second disc. To me, the Disc 1 songs are very much the core identity of the album, they all have a particular feel to them. Disc 2 I do like, but it seems like the Disc 2 songs don't have as much in common with each other overall, or are in an order that isn't too flattering to individual songs other than Empire. I do think they've been put in that order for a reason, but you have two energetic songs, two slower, more emotional songs, and then it's a case of clearing the stage for Bruce's masterpiece. Man of Sorrows in particular loses out, I think, by coming after Tears of a Clown, and gets forgotten about by the time Empire of the Clouds is midway.

Starting Disc 2 with two livelier songs was quite impressive on first listen, with a gap between the two discs. It's almost like they felt obliged to do another opener, and then followed it up with an energetic second track (not unlike the idea of IESF followed by Speed of Light) to prove the point that they've managed to create a full-on album throughout. That left them with no choice but to do two calmer songs back to back. I suspect they didn't want anything too bold right before Empire, because that is meant to stand out as grandiose and theatrical, so they put an understated one there, which didn't do Man of Sorrows any favours, and means there's a comparatively sedate section to Disc 2. Rumour has it that there was other material that could have been recorded, but whether that didn't make the grade or just didn't fit we might not find out until the next album!

It definitely feels like there's more gravity to the first disc.


Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
I think disc 2 would have benefitted from one more song. Maybe another epic. I'm slightly disappointed that we didn't get any Adrian epics this time.


Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Yea, I like that too. That's also probably partly why the vinyl sounds so good. Less data filling up the sides = higher audio quality.


Ancient Mariner
This is not going to be a popular post, but I feel very strongly about something, so I am gonna get it out.

As I earlier told (long before the album was done): when people are so stuck on Maiden reunion sound of the last three/four records, it can be a problem for them when Maiden is (finally) trying out something else.

People who dislike the second disc have limited ideas of how they think/feel how Iron Maiden should sound (or have a limited Maiden taste). Rude remark? Well sorry, but I honestly think that the last three songs are some of the most original pieces of music this band has written in a long time. Some people out here don't get that, but that's due to their own colour of taste/expectations.

And I'd never let a position(!) of a song be in my way of my listening pleasure. A song has enough own qualities to (dis)like.
I don't have trouble with a couple of (relatively) calmer songs in a row anyway. Especially not when they belong to the three best (and certainly most original and deep) of the record. And the solos in Tears and Sorrows rule so f**king much (very emotional, haunting solos). How on earth can you people ignore these highlights? What do you want then? Shit solos? No solos? A song consisting of two chords with 12 melodies on it? How simple do you want it?
By the way, Death or Glory is also pretty original. Definitely that beat. Besides, it has superb solos and vocals.

While I like a lot of stuff on several disc 1 songs, I can also see (and admit!) that compared to the second, the first disc has much more of the following going on:
unoriginality, repetitiveness, recycling and crap vocals.
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clap hands
I agree with you about some people having limited taste in what Maiden "should" play, Foro, but saying the first disc is unoriginal and full of "crap vocals" is pretty harsh. I'd argue that the first three songs on Disc 1 are just as interesting as the last three on Disc 2. And while Tears of a Clown doesn't sound like a traditional Maiden song, I wouldn't call it particularly original.

Empire of the Clouds, however, is the most brilliantly boundary-pushing song Maiden have ever done and I think it's inclusion is what taints people's entire opinion of Disc 2 (for those who dislike it).


clap hands
Didn't say full of crap vocals.

Tears is original for Maiden.

Ok, a bit of a misquote, but I think the intent was there. The only "crap" vocal I hear on the whole is the verses of River.

Tears is different for Maiden, but could easily be a Bruce solo song. Thus, I think the term "original" is a bit confusing.


My ranking:

1. The Book of Souls
2. The red and the black
3. Death or Glory
4. Tears of a clown
5. The great unknown
6. Empire of the Clouds
7. If eternity should fail
8. When the river runs deep
9. The man of sorrows
10. Speed of light
11. Shadows of the Valley

Actually its like:

1. The book of souls
2. The red and the black
3. The book of souls
4. The red and the black
5. The book of souls
6. The red and the black
7. Death or glory
8. The book of souls
9. The red and the black
10. Tears of a clown
11. The great unknown


Educated Fool
Empire of the Clouds, however, is the most brilliantly boundary-pushing song Maiden have ever done and I think it's inclusion is what taints people's entire opinion of Disc 2 (for those who dislike it).
I like Empire of the Clouds.
I'm not a fan of DoG though and I really think disc 2 gets bogged down with two slow ballads back to back with tears of a clown and man of sorrow, if there were just one ballad on the whole album, I think I might take it as something special. But with two, they seem to drag each other down. I actually quite hate it when either one of these songs comes up in my play list.

So that leaves only two good songs from the second disc.
Shadows of the Valley and Empire of the Clouds.

While disc 1 has 6 good songs out of 6.


Lord of the Riddermark
I agree, it has a slower tempo, it's a tragedy of sorts and it creates such atmosphere it's really hard for me not to think about it as a "ballad". Yes, it has a drive and power, but some ballads do.