The Book of Souls: General album discussion

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
What Roy Version? As far as I remember Roy had nothing to do with this song. Bruce wrote all of it and demoed it to Steve. Unless you mean a possible recorded version with production from Roy? Not sure that exists.
I believe the comment was in relation to Bruce saying he plans on recording it still for his next solo album, which I really hope is the case If Eternity Should Fail is my favourite TBOS track
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Yeah it was supposed to be a concept album with IESF as the opening and title track.
 

chaosapiant

Ancient Marinade
Yeah it was supposed to be a concept album with IESF as the opening and title track.
Oh yea, I know that part. I know about the solo album, it was a Bruce track, Steve liked it, etc etc. I just wasn't aware or had read that Bruce still intended to use the song on his own album after Maiden had their way with it.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Oh yea, I know that part. I know about the solo album, it was a Bruce track, Steve liked it, etc etc. I just wasn't aware or had read that Bruce still intended to use the song on his own album after Maiden had their way with it.
Yeah he’s been talking about it for years. Just never released anything.
 

srfc

Ancient Mariner
Listening to the CD now for the first time since probably the album came out, as I downloaded a rip of the vinyl almost immediately, and have almost exclusively listened to that since. But this CD master doesn't sound much different, not sure why I developed such an aversion to it when I first got it,

I have posted my opinions on the tracks before in their own threads, so I'll just cut and paste them in here, and maybe add some extra comments if I feel the need

Disc 1

If Eternity Should Fail - Fantastic song, portentous intro and outro, straight forward hook heavy verses and chorus, plus an interesting change of pace middle instrumental section without a guitar solo 10/10 [new comment - I feel this track is set up to run into The Writing on the Wall at a live gig, I was always sure that it was Janick playing the acoustic at the end but it's clear from TWOTW that it was Adrian, exactly the same feel]

Speed of Light - Classic Maiden single fodder, very Deep Purple-esque from Bruce with a trademark Gillan scream and pun-tastic lyrics, (not particular and single particle, fantastic word play). The pre-chorus guitar melody getting a stand alone reprise after the solos is the highlight. 10/10

The Great Unknown - this is brilliant, love the outro when it sneaks back in to just deliver a single line of lyrics, it reminds me of Won't get fooled again 10/10

The Green and the White
- The instrumental 6 minutes is flawless. However, I'm not a huge fan of the bass solo, the tongue twister lyrics or reprising the "woah oh-ohs" at the end, it would have been better to end with a bang a la SSOASS. However the good parts are so good it gets an 8 [new comment - I'll bump this up to a 9 these days]

When the River Runs Deep - Kind of a filler track but with way more good ideas than your average filler track. 8/10

The Book of Souls - Just phenomenal. Main riff has loads of subtle variations during the repetitions that if you'ld blink you'ld miss them, i.e. bass changing octaves, guitar harmonies. Top quality vocal performance (Ascending the throne wearing feathers and shells), and love the aggressive rhythm section during the tempo change. 10/10

Disc 2

Death or Glory
- Another great Maiden single (ok it didn't get a physical release but it would have if it had have been released 10 years earlier), I suspect we might hear this live again. Love the relentless rhythm section in this song, and it's good fun. Slide guitar solo is a touch of genius. 10/10

Shadows of the Valley - The album's hidden gem. They either played all the other 10/10 tracks live or released them as a single so you might be mistaken for thinking this song isn't up to much. You'ld be wrong. Nice intro that changes into a heads down rhythm section for the main verses. The section that goes Janick blackmore style solo, classic maiden melody, H playing a bluesy solo over that melody (WTF! he does this in the red and black too, I love this new development) and then the verse "Into the valley of death fear no evil" may be the best secion on the entire album. 10/10

Tears of a Clown - I like this, it could easily work as a pop song if it hadn't been played by Maiden, but the maiden live raw sound gives it a bit of an edge. 8/10

The Man of Sorrows - This is the weakest track on the album. It's a collection of several different sections that don't really fit together. The intro solo, then verse, then heavier verse are all awesome, but the change to "Now we need to know the truth now" has an awkward rhythm where the arse drops out of the song completely. The rest of the sections are ok but don't really fit together, and the outro is brilliant. 7/10 [new comment - I should have emphasised the brilliance of the outro a bit more, definitely a vibe I'd like to see Maiden return to]

Empire of the Clouds - Very obviously the best song and highlight of the album, and one of the very, very top Maiden songs ever. I stand over all the earlier quotes I have in this thread.*One thing I haven't mentioned yet is the whole 6 minutes plus instrumental section starting from the SOS call, that completely paints a picture of the storm and crash of the airship without uttering a single word. 10/10 obviously.

* Those earlier quotes I mentioned were:

As soon as you hear the first piano notes you know you're listening to a classic. I can see music shops having a sign in the piano section in the future "No Empire of the Clouds"

spot on. the phrasing of the lyrics is brilliant as well it's like something a folk band would do. I can see a bearded old man in the corner of a dark boozer, with a few pints of guinness on board, bellowing out the verses unaccompanied

Early in the thread people were arguing about the climax of the track etc. if it's not "to the moon and the stars, now what have we done, oh the dreamers may die, but the dreams live on" then I don't know what it is. [new comment - love the roar before Dave's solo:lol:]

Enjoyed listening to every second of this album, it doesn't feel overlong to me or anything like it.
 

Maturin

Sköldpadda
I love "The Red and the Woah". One of the best Maiden-songs ever. Even though the instrumental section goes on forever I never want it to stop.

I listen again.

Also, "The Book of Souls". Even though it starts a bit too slow for my taste, the tempo change midway is the best thing ever. Dave's solo and then Bruce...

Other great songs are "Death or Glory" and "Tears of a Clown" but still haven't gotten into "The Great Unknown" and "The River Runs Deep".
 
This may be a controversial opinion, but I really didn't like The Book of Souls. It wasn't that it was an awful album by any means, not like NPFTD, which was a really awful album, it's more that it left me deflated and disappointed. The main reason I don't like this album wasn't even the band's fault in all likelihood, because it was Bruce's voice. He had sounded too strained on many of the songs on the previous album, but on this album it was even worse. Some of the sections on some of the songs are painful to listen to. I understand that his cancer inevitably had an impact on his voice, but if that was the case, they should have delayed the album until such time as Bruce could do himself justice. At the time, I assumed that had it been the cancer, they would have done this so I concluded that his voice was simply deteriorating with age. Senjutsu would seem to suggest I was wrong in this assumption, so it must have been cancer, but the fact remains that the band ended up releasing an album where Bruce's voice sounds incredibly strained.

The other disappointment for me is that Adrian is my favourite guitarist, favourite Maiden songwriter, and he was very heavily involved in this album, yet I find a lot of the songs to be pretty average. Speed of Light is a great track, but nothing else really stands out as being in any way special. Like Quest for Fire, I can't quite forgive lyrics that say 'climb like a monkey', which is a shame because other than those unfortunate lyrics, that one is quite a good song. The other song that stands out to me is Empire of the Clouds, but unfortunately, it stands out for all the wrong reasons. This is probably another controversial point of view, but I find Empire of the Clouds far too long, overly self-indulgent and sounds more like a narrative with a musical background than an actual song, which is a pity as I like quite a few of the individual musical components. I've tried listening to this song quite a few times but I rarely make it to the end before becoming bored. The rest of the songs on the album are far from poor, but they're also nothing special. Remarkably, despite being disappointed in the fact they recorded the album while Bruce's voice was clearly damaged and finding many of the songs quite average, I still prefer this album to NPFTD, FOTD and possibly Virtual XI. Unfortunately, the rest of Iron Maiden's discography is far to strong for Book of Souls to rate much higher in my opinion.
 
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Yax

Ancient Mariner
I do agree, for the most part. TBOS is a bottom third or quarter album for me. While he does sound strained at times, I don't agree that they should have delayed the album. He sings well, but the top end isn't always there so the prudent approach would be to rewrite some of the vocal melodies.

I've brought up EoTC's self indulgence and length several times as well. It is a song with great potential, brought down by over extended, uninteresting and unvaried instrumental sections.
 
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I do agree, for the most part. TBOS is a bottom third or quarter album for me. While he does sound strained at times, I don't agree that they should have delayed the album. He sings well, but the top end isn't always there so the prudent approach would be to rewrite some of the vocal melodies.

I've brought upp EoTC's self indulgence and length several times as well. It is a song with great potential, brought down by over extended, uninteresting and unvaried instrumental sections.
I would agree that the other option would be to rewrite the songs to better cater to Bruce's voice, or possibly just tune down so that he wasn't having to push his voice as much. That would help to a degree, but even with that adjustment, it's just not a great Maiden album.
 
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