@Madmax Wow nice review! I enjoyed reading it and agree with most of your takes on this masterpiece of an album.
Natalie said:So after letting the album mull around for a week or so I've noticed a progression in my opinion of the album and of the songs in general. For the songs specifically, I've noticed that the 2nd half of the album has gotten alot more listens than the first half. This may be because I felt I needed more listens to even start 'getting' the epics, but I feel more as if this album really is defined by these long songs. They have the most interesting/deep lyrics, and they have the more interesting music (in terms of complexity, number of melodies, etc). In particular, Isle of Avalon, Starblind, The Man Who Would Be King, and When the Wild Wind Blows have gotten alot of plays. Coming Home is perhaps the only exception, it has gotten quite a few plays but still less than any of these other long songs. So in terms of standing 'the test of time' at least for me, I can start to see that the four mentioned epics are probably going to make it and find their place in a 'best of Maiden' playlist.
Now onto the album as a whole. I still feel as if there is an imbalance between the first half and the second half, almost as if the first 5 songs are just one long intro to the second 5 songs, or as if these are really two different albums. Another thing is Bruce's voice. I love Bruce and all that, but I think it would be a heavy amount of denial to say he's on top form. He sounds downright strained on some of those high notes, I'm thinking Mother of Mercy and The Talisman especially. Of course he's not getting any younger, but I think this is the responsibility of the producer to get a few better takes. As struck me at first about this album, the lyrics are still very strong, on every song, even the one's I dislike musically like The Alchemist. I don't think I can place the album yet next to the others, it needs a bit more time, but right now I think it is a very strong album as a whole, not one of them has a filler vibe to it (unlike on Dance of Death), and it is more enjoyable to listen to than AMOLAD not because that album was bad, but because it was darker, somehow more depressing, and a bit limiting in its war theme. Perhaps that's why Mother of Mercy falls a bit flat to me, it's almost as if Maiden have flogged that horse to death. Right now it looks as if its slotting in somewhere under Brave New World and above The X Factor. I'll give it more time but if I had to rate it I'd say an 8/10 for now.
LordMaiden said:It is un-fucking-real how the melodies in this album grow and grow in my head. I have listened to this thing non-stop and as I mentioned in a previous post, my mind can't decide what tune it wants to play. It jumps from Starblind to Isle of Avalon. Then it remembers The Talisman. Seconds later, I go to my mp3 player and decide to listen to Coming Home because I can't get that out of my head either.