It has been said in reviews that this is the power ballad of the album. I'm so glad Maiden started doing those with Wasting Love and then continued with Blood Brothers and one of every album since and I can't wait to hear another!
Actually, I take that back. Children Of The Damned would be what I consider Maiden's first power ballad, but then we didn't get anymore until WL unless you sort of count the first half of No Prayer's title track.
Of course, Empire shows the band has guts because of its length, and important piano role, but The Man of Sorrows is certainly trying to hit new ground as well. Even for Maiden standards this song has some unusual changes. Also chord changes. It starts calm as Tears of a Clown and when it gets heavier, the music in a verse (if it is a verse) suddenly modulates to a lower(!) tone, a bit of a threatening twist, going to darker atmosphere. The song has, as its predecessor and its follow-up, lots of sensitive playing, lots of feel, especially at the end in which the individual guitarists can be heard so distinctly. Also in the end, Nicko plays some subtle stuff, in a more loose, almost jazzy/soul/proggy kind of style, e.g. alternating his hi-hat speed to double time.
It can be said this song is a collage of several different things but I think it works excellent. Absolutely for me a highlight of the album, because it proves that Maiden dares to hit new ground. By the way, if someone noticed that I haven't talked about Bruce's singing for a while.... don't fear! It means he's great since the title track, non-stop.
Unusual solo order as well: D / D / A / J / D
Awesome surprise, i was listening with another fan and we almost cried in the intro, lot of feelings, i was in a internal conflict thinking if it was going to win me over evil that men do, wasting love, tears of the dragon.
This song had huge potential to be one of the band's absolute classic songs, but is held back from being one by a couple of niggling frustrating flaws. Dave's intro solo, the ballad verses, and the chorus are just amazing, but the song as a whole, doesn't flow as well as it should. The heavier part that kicks in at 1:55 is too plain, and lacking the dynamic spike required to keep up the high quality of the sections which preceded it. The 2nd issue I have with the song, is it's really crying out for a stunning, and melodically emotive solo later in the song. When I heard Janick coming in after the final chorus, I was hoping that was going to be it, but instead, it was anti-climactic, due to a dull rhythm part which is also reminiscent of the one used to back H's solo in the song. Davey's awesome intro solo is unfortunately not matched by any of the other solos, which harms the dynamics of the song.
This song could have been worked on to make it a true classic, and elements of it are wonderful, but the lack of dynamic flow throughout the whole song brings it down a notch from where it could have ended up. It's far from being a bad song, and is in fact very good, but it could easily have been something special, and the fact it falls just short of being that is a source of frustration for me.
The ballad parts are classic Dave Murray, and his intro solo is awesome. I think perhaps this song would have worked better had the balladic feel been kept throughout, like "Out Of The Shadows". I also think the off the cuff spontaneous songwriting employed for most of the album only really hurt this song. That kind of songwriting is great for more adventurous, progressive works, but less so for simpler compositions. I feel a more controlled, pre-meditated songwriting approach would have resulted in a more cohesive number. As it is, it's still very much an enjoyable song, but it could have been so much more than that.