Discussion in 'The Book of Souls' started by SinisterMinisterX, Aug 22, 2015.
Along with EOTC, it's one of Maiden's best songs of all time.
I really don't have a problem with the guitar matching the vocals or the instrumental. My biggest issue with this song is that it feels disjointed. As mckingdog says on the previous page, it's like Steve took everything that he thought was good or effective in a Maiden song and piled it into one song. It's like he tried to create the ultimate Maiden song, and got this impressive but mixed bag, or 'glorious mess' as mckindog calls it. Any wonder that he congratulated Bruce on 'outdoing' him with Empire if he sweated blood in a deliberate attempt to create an epic, only to see Bruce write a grander one effortlessly and straight from the heart.
I can't help but think that expectations didn't help this song. I could be wrong, but I think when we saw that Steve matched Rime in terms of length we were all expecting something really epic in scope. I know I did and was a bit thrown off at what we got at first.
I really don't think Steve intended it to be that way, I think he just continued to write riff after riff without much thought for how long the song would be until after the fact. The almost rushed feeling of the ending also makes me think that at some point he did notice the length and decided he didn't want it to go on too long.
I think its place on the album also suggests that it wasn't really intended as an "epic". Normally an epic like Rime would be last or at least more toward the end, or the end of Disc 1 like the title track. It's in a very odd position on the album that makes it feel less like the centerpiece epic (the way TBOS and Empire do) and more like "just another song". That said, it's 13 minutes of my favorite band jamming out and I can enjoy that. It is disjointed but I enjoy each individual part as it is. If I want the epic nature of Rime, they gave us two other songs for that.
I don't think it is possible to express in mere words alone, how much I love The red and the black. It's a supurb song, my favourite of all time. The "disjointed" nature of it, adds to the appeal so much more. I think many of us have some issues with the fact the Iron Maiden follow some kind of "done before" formula many times. e.g. Quiet intro, verse, chorus (with simple sentence repeated over and over), verse, chorus, repeat of intro as outro. Well IM have been around for decades, they have done over 150 songs.
Doing something different is something I am hoping for. I love the intertwining of the different aspects of this song, I love the instrumental section, the plethora of riffs and melodies. The song is fantastic. I don't think it makes sense to worry about whether this is a mash up of several song ideas, chucked together and jumbled up. It works really well in my opinion. It is wholy enjoyable.
The thing about Maiden is that they do dabble in progressive aspects, but they also keep the song real, rocking and enjoyable rather than off onto some long boring meandering creature that many "progressive" band create. If you don't like guitars then perhaps you might find the instrumental section boring, IDK, but being a guitar and Maiden nut, this instrumental section is something I've been looking forward to for quite some time.
I also love Starblind and Lord of light for some of the same reasons, the off-kilter nature makes it interesting, but it's still a song I can really get into and just enjoy.
I really think TRATB is streaks ahead of EOTC. EOTC is a very simple, but enjoyable song. It's different for Maiden, but really not something ground breakingly spectacular (IMO).
Harris was obviously being modest. He was never going to go to the media and claim his epic to be better than Bruce's. Just like when Bruce goes to the media and claims Nicko's performance to be the highlight, he's never going to say that the man of the match was himself.
4. Maiden's worst song ever to appear on an album.
It's worse than The Apparition?
There are not even in the same league. Empire is quite interesting, but has very few great moments. Not so interesting riffs are repeated, and, surprisingly (but it's the same thing with Eternity - apart the fantastic chorus), the vocal melodies are not really great. My interest in that song has reached its peak between the 5th and 10th listining. Since then, it's far from being the highlight of an album that contains many more interesting songs. I see Harry's song, on the other hand, as a masterpiece, interesting from start to finish, driving and powerful. I don't view the supposed lack of variety in the chords as a weakness: it helps the song to keep its unity despite the great variety of musical themes. And when Steve stated that Bruce had overdone him, he was obviously thinking in terms of length.
I almost wish there were no lyrics on this. The instrumental section of this track is incredible, one of the most amazing things Iron Maiden has put together, and it gives me shivers every time. This song is better live in every way. I'm torn between 9 and 10. 10 because I fucking loved it live. 9 because it is flawed, say what you will about it. I flipped a coin and it says 9/10.
This song is hit and miss. For the most part I sit and listen with a smile so big it would have gone around my head if I didn't have ears. The weak parts are the second and third singing parts (black jack king, and the reeeeeeeeeeeeed and the blaaaaaaaack). I'm not a big fan of the woah-part either. But Maiden didn't write an instrumental part this good since Seventh Son.
Listened to this song so many times and still can't make a decision about how I feel about it. There's just a ridiculous amount going on. It's epic in scope but possibly suffers in a subjective sense- it contains too many of the Maiden hallmarks I'm not thrilled with. Guitar/vocals matching melodies, straining vocals, whoa whoas, underwhelming lyrics. But then there's a great, ballsy rhythm section, lovely light and shade, tempo pickups and great solos. I'm thinking it will work better live.
The origin of the lyrics is the roman The Red and the Black?
Actually, almost every Maiden album has had at least song that doesn't follow that type of formula. The Phantom Of The Opera, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Revelations, To Tame A Land, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Infinite Dreams, No Prayer For The Dying, Afraid To Shoot Strangers, The Thin Line Between Love And Hate, Dance Of Death, Paschendale, The Legacy, and When The Wild Wind Blows. And then there are songs like Seventh Son, Dream Of Mirrors, and Book Of Souls that start with a verse-chorus style and then go into a completely different second half. Even songs such as Alexander The Great, Sign Of The Cross, and The Clansman have long middle parts that do some different things. So if anything, fans should expect to get a longer song that doesn't have that "done before" style to it.
Revisiting the song repeatedly over the last year or so I get the feeling that it shows the main problems of Maiden today. To be more precise it shows why it is so good that we have H and Bruce to save the day (album).
I am really getting sick of the "vocals struggle to follow the guitar line" pattern in Steve's songs. Then again we don't have a harmony in the whole song, just octave doubling - for lack of a better term.
On the other hand we get a very repetitive song structure. It feels as if Maiden never played the song as a whole before recording it. So we end up with different parts that might sound OK on their own but seem out of place once put together. The arrangement is really poor.
Thank God for some of the other songs in the album. IMO songs like Speed of light , When the river Runs deep, Tears of a clown, save the day for me.
GK1 nails it. Parts of TRATB are so enjoyable, that I feel bad about the overall view of the song I have. It is my least favorite of the reunion era. It is a scrap bucket. With some very shiny gold bits mixed in with rusty broken parts.
This track is a bit frustrating for me. It has so many good melodies and ideas, but its to drawn out and unfocused. If this 13 min track were lets say 8 minutes it would had been so hard hitting, but it doesn't deserves to be as long as Rime of the ancient mariner, especially with two other 10 min + songs on the album.
Apart from the arrangement, its good. melodies and beautiful, and you truly get lost (in a good way) in the instrumental section with the beautiful riffs and solos. The songs also mixes some major harmonies in witrh the usual minor melodies, making it lighter and more upbeat which is nice for a change.
Could have been a 9 with better arrangement, but at its current form its a ...
This song should be half the length. Ridiculous, they don't know when to stop sometimes
The Red and The Black clocks in at 13:33 and it’s still not the longest song on this album. Steve Harris attempts to outdo himself by trying to rewrite The Angel and The Gambler but make it as epic as Rime of the Ancient Mariner. He succeeds at the first, but not the second. Riffs abound (and they’re catchy riffs) but something holds this song back from reaching the glory for which it strives. Personally, I absolutely despise the choice to have Janick playing Bruce’s vocal melody in unison on every verse. It creates a battle of identical frequencies that I feel detracts from the melody line; the song would be much better without that guiding guitar. There are brilliant parts of the song, such as the “woah-oh” chants, the “black jack king” section, and the astounding instrumental middle, but overall it’s a bit of a slog. Harris repeats sections too often and for too long, losing all sense of urgency in the movement of the piece. The solo section from 6:30-9:10, however, is truly something special. We get leads aplenty (although Murray’s is rather sloppy) and great unisons, with Smith of course leading the pack in terms of quality. The melody at 9:40 is one of Harris’ best ever. The Red and The Black is an impressive feat, but it would have benefited from slight arrangement changes and a shorter length.
When I first heard this song, I was new to Bruce's reunion era voice and didn't find it that great. Now I've grown to love it, and consider it a highlight. While, as @MrKnickerbocker stated above, the guitar and vocals playing at the same pitch sounds weird, it actually works for this song. It's a worthy song as Maiden's third longest overall. 9/10
8/10 This is not a perfect song by any means, but it's darn good. As others have stated, slight adjustments to the arrangement would benefit the song. I'm almost always entranced by the middle instrumental section.
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