A fantastic, spellbinding epic! Starts off with a haunting acoustic intro before going into a thundering riff which might be the closest I've heard Iron Maiden get to doom metal. Bruce Dickinson is at the peak of his powers throughout the song but especially during the chorus, which just sends shivers down the spine. The last half of the song is also amazing as the band goes into full throttle and does not let up until near the end, which reprises the acoustic introduction. This song gets better every time I listen to it. 9.5/10 (which I'll round up to a 10)
Fantastic song! My second-favorite on the album. Very captivating and intense, the main riff is quite possibly the heaviest on the album and it's very agressive. The background orchestral arrangements work particularly well here, evoking a creepy, spellbinding atmosphere that perfectly mirrors the lyrics. The chorus is also very memorable and one of the album's best. Such an epic song deserves no less than a 10.
The Gers-Harris duo strikes again, with yet another incredible epic. Captivating from start to finish, both heavy and uplifting, amazing lyrics and an outstanding vocal performance by Bruce. At this point I’m pretty sure I haven’t been very consistent with my ratings, but I feel like a 10 is deserved here.
The moment this song ended on my first listen through the album I just knew it was going to be one of my all time favourite Maiden songs. Even now, long after the new album hype has worn off, this sits very comfortably as my third favourite Maiden track. I remember being surprised and maybe a little disappointed that the acoustic intro didn't have a vocal line over top like The Legacy or The Talisman, but it really doesn't need it. It's a funny little part - kind of eerie and nothing fancy, yet I think it sets the mood nicely.
Bang. Kicking things off with a very powerful, lumbering guitar riff (with some very nice harmonizing going on, wasn't expecting that on such a heavy riff) then going into some very dramatic verses. I'm completely on board, as Bruce begins to sing I can see the Mayan temples and pyramids standing before me. Another repeat of the opening riff and another captivating verse and we come to the bridge.
By power day and night and death he ruled them, The sky and Earth and the fires too...
This section is a great example of how the guitar/vocal melody mirroring each other can be very effective and it builds up to the chorus so well...even if it does remind me of the Muppets Christmas Carol (It's in the singing of a street corner choir...)
Was I nervous about Steve "adding choruses" to this? A little, but in hindsight... why? This chorus is incredible, easily the best on the album and one of the best Maiden have ever come out with. PROPHECY OF SKY GOOOOODS! Bruce is putting everything he's got into those lines and the way the strings complement his vocals take them to another level. It's also nice that there is some variation in the lyrics, rather than just repeating itself twice.
It's a shame that the bridge guitar melody doesn't get a moment to shine by itself without the vocals... Oh, it does. Glorious. The breakdown is phenomenal - the embodiment of the "Destruction begins..." lyric as a truly apocalyptic mood takes hold. Now we're off! Totally changing gear into the second half of the track, yet it doesn't feel out of place or too weird a shift at all, this is a totally natural progression from the first half of the song. Great guitar harmonies here. I find this section somewhat.. bittersweet? Both quite uplifting and with sort of "finality" to it. All Three Amigos play some incredible solos, Adrian in particular, this is one of his best ever and the way he carries on soloing underneath the final harmony section is a brilliant touch.
One thing I did notice on The Book of Souls album is how suddenly a lot of songs seem to end, likely down to them being written and recorded in the studio. It doesn't always work, giving a sort of "Eh, close enough" feeling. Not here though, the ending is still quite sudden but it is at the perfect point, ensuring that the song doesn't drag on or overstay it's welcome. Now the acoustic intro returns, beautifully tying two very different halves of one song together.
Gers/Harris is deadly combination. Ten out of ten, no questions about it.
Hey, listen, it's "The Talisman"! No, it's just Janick doing the only acoustic bit he knows for the third album in a row, I guess. At least it still sounds good.
This kicks into an eastern march that trades off a couple times with a decent synthy verse before breaking into a bright pre-chorus and an even brighter chorus. Bruce strains to hit a number of the higher notes throughout, unfortunately.
Another round of verse through chorus, and we return to the eastern lead and an instrumental version of the pre-chorus before kicking into a driving interlude that borrows a little too heavily from "Montsegur". An excellent solo gives way to an excellent vocal bridge, followed by a great harmonized section.
Another round of driving interlude and vocal bridge, and we get a great solo followed by an excellent one, then some gorgeous harmonized guitars and solo fills building beautifully to the final title vocal. The song should have ended on that awesome moment, but they couldn't help themselves and had to do an acoustic intro reprise afterward. (Steve's X Factor disease is alive and well, it seems...)
Self-plagiarism aside, the second half of the song is absolutely brilliant, and is probably the best work Janick has had any hand in writing. The first half of the song is merely quite good, and suffers from some vocal straining in places.
On balance, this one is still special enough to round up to a 9/10.
For the longest time, "The Book of Souls" did absolutely nothing for me. An overrated epic, I thought. But now... It opens with a cool little acoustic intro before suddenly crash into heaviness with a bang. A great couple of verses with a great Bruce performance lead to a good pre-chorus and an even better chorus. The lyrics to this song verge on the wacky, but they're somehow still really, really good and fit the song so well that it doesn't matter. The change-up into faster territory is really nice, and this is one of Nicko's best performances, IMO. Like "The Talisman", this one is higher in my rankings than it's ever been, but unlike "The Talisman", I'm unafraid to give it full marks, because there's nothing wrong here at all, and it's just a really awesome song. 10
This is the jewel of the album. Again shows the tendency of Steve to end the songs just the same way as it starts. Janick/Steve is a brutally good combination! The song sounds epic and mystic. Great lyrics. I really like that the cymbals are used a lot. The acoustic intro is amazing (it sets the atmosphere of the song really well). Heavy but at the same time melodic riff. I really like Steve's bass playing. The verses and the pre-chorus are awesome too. The fast part of the song with the great solos is epic. Bruce sounds better than ever on this song, especially during epic chorus. Janick shines through the whole song with his melodic guitar harmonies. Nicko adds a nice climax with his gong just before the fast riff comes. Overall this song is a future classic... one of the best reunion era songs and epics. I love when an epic song has two distinctive parts (slow and fast).