The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg

How good is The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg

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Really wish I could make head or tail of the lyrics but it's a great song nonetheless. I love the crunchy guitars and soaring vocals. Lovely haunting intro too. Somehow needs another layer to score higher though. The heaviness is relentless as it is on A Thousand Suns but that had an extra gear which made it great

Dave's contribution to the other songs was quite uneven, but he makes up for it with this song. An absolute masterpiece, and the best song Dave ever wrote. The intro is haunting, and filled with emotion. I can imagine it was a great moment in concert. They should bring this one back for next years tour, it would fit well in with the dark theme of TBOS and the whole soul-thing.

The main riff is also one of Maiden's heaviest, and I fancy Nicko's drumming on this song. I'm no drum expert, but I love what he does. Quite straightforward, but lots of nice details. Dave delivers probably his best solo on the album.


The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg is a hulking slab of moodiness from Camp Davey about a mysterious fictitious character rumored to be everyone from the long lost Seventh Son to the original human incarnation of Eddie. This was actually the first single released from the album and is certainly an odd choice, but I suppose it proved the direction Maiden were headed with the record. It is another track dominated by Murray’s guitar and the intro is, as always with Dave songs, a mournful solo. The main riff kicks in with a heavy chord stomp reminiscent of Stranger in a Strange Land (maybe Breeg is the frozen man in the arctic?). The way Nicko pulls the rhythm and adds fills on the offbeats really enhances the song. A reverb-drenched solo by Dave caps off another stellar bridge. Should’ve called this album A Matter of Bloody Good Bridges.
Features one of the heaviest riffs from the album. An odd choice for a lead single, but a great one as it sums up the album particularly well. The intro seems to borrow a little bit from "The Evil That Men Do", but without exactly being a "copy" and being powerful enough to stand on it own. A very strong song overall. 9.
I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority here, but for me this is the best song of the album. Heavyness and great lyrics bring it home for me, paired with another great vocal performance by the man himself and a catchy riff. 10/10
This song always seemed to strike me as Iron Maiden's analog to "Enter Sandman". Slower, simpler, punchy, and unexpected. And slightly spooky.
A melancholy intro gives way to a soft, spooky verse that ends on some unexpectedly tender high notes. A brief soft interlude with some sloppy rhythm kicks into a great heavy verse with a simple but memorable riff. The chorus isn't super catchy, but still fits well, continuing to build up the pressure of the verse.

Another round of verse and chorus and we slip into a slow gallop interlude and a nice lead and harmonized callback section. A great and fitting solo follows, leading back into the chorus, a great final vocal note, and an abrupt ending with an unnecessary intro reprise afterward.

As I mentioned in my post above, this song always felt to me like Iron Maiden's analog to "Enter Sandman". I love the vibe and the stripped down feel. Greater than the sum of its parts, I have to give this one a 9/10.
This could be the most riffy Maiden have ever been. Although it is a typical example of Steve taking Daves ideas and just throwing them together, everything fits together very nicely and I love the heavier, mid-paced groove. Even the Dave Murray patented "clean intro with distorted melody on top of it" intro feels very natural. Dave gives one of his personal best solos here too.

There isn't really a whole lot else I can add, it's just a brilliant song. 9/10
The story behind this song might be better than the song itself, but this is a real powerhouse nonetheless and a big step-up from "Out of the Shadows". Opening softly with some intriguing lyrics before crashing into another one of Maiden's heaviest riffs, it features some of Bruce's best performances on the album and is a great look at PTSD... at least, that's the way I interpret it. 9
Awesome melancholic intro - Dave shines in it. Great lyrics. I really love the calm part before the start of the song. Very good heavy riff, one of the heaviest songs of Maiden. Great verses and the chorus is good too. The triple-lead guitar harmonies are awesome and Dave's solo is one of his best. The long note from Bruce at the end is superb. Some radio version cut the intro and the song becomes 5:25 minutes long - big mistake since the intro is gold. 9/10
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Re: 'The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg'

With this obsession of trying to figure out who Benjamin Breeg is, only very few people really decided to deeply look into the lyrics. It's a shame, really, because they offer more than you would think at the first glance.

The title suggests, and a line in the lyrics support that, that the song is about reincarnation. The idea that a person or a soul dies and lives again seems ridiculous to some and very believable to others. Entire civilisations were built around this idea, and it is something that has moved humanity for almost as long as it exists.

The song introduces us to a character that, taken at face value in combination with the title, is the reincarnation of a thousand souls. This character knows that (s)he is a reincarnation and is plagued heavily with it. As the reincarnation of a thousand sinners, (s)he is haunted in his/her dreams, and the burden is a too heavy one to live with.

To me, however, there is another possible interpretation of the lyrics which, I hope, does not sound too wacky.
Most of us are, at one point in our lives, confronted with situations we feel, to say the very least, very uncomfortable with. There are situations that touch us deeply, and may as well wound us very deeply. When we are finally out of this situation, the memory may still be so unbearable that the common belief that time is a perfect healer proves to be wrong. Even years later, we look back and still feel the same pain or insecurity -to name but these two sentiments- as we did back then. Depending on how cutting the experience was, the memories return more or less frequently to haunt us, be it in our dreams or be it in situations when some sort of impulse brings us back all the memories.
With this background, let us examine this song.

The first verses are a careful introduction into the character's story. We are told of dreams and hopes, the natures of which are not specified- and can remain open to interpretation. Are the dreams literally dreams that come to the character while (s)he sleeps or are they his/her hopes mentioned in the second verse?
The things that happen may be those incidents that inflict in him/her the burden (s)he carries the rest of his/her life.

The next lines imply a terrible incident in the character's past. Most likely, the character did something terrible that put a lot of guilt on him/her; on the other hand, it is also possible that the character simply made experiences (s)he can't be held responsible for but that left deep and painful marks. It is possible, though not likely, that a person is simply confronted with a situation which is simply impossible to resolve without getting yourself or somebody else hurt; likewise, such situations can simply appear without anyone consciously or unconsciously contributing to it. Yet, in the aftermath, the "victim" of this situation can feel guilty for all the pain (s)he inflicted on him/herself and possibly on others (though the latter case often just takes place in the mind of the "victim"). -- I won't be forgiven 'til I can break free -- My sins are many, my guilt is too heavy

In other cases, a person may lose his or her dreams, which is the mildest possible case. Some see their dreams brutally slaughtered and will recover from that setback only very slowly, if ever.

The reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg, in that case, is not a literal reincarnation, but a metaphorical one. Out of the ashes of a person who lost -in this case- his dreams and hopes (which he said he'd tell you of in the song's introduction), who lost the life he was leading to that point. He started a "new life" (a term that is very overused, in my opinion) and became the reincarnation of his former self- Benjamin Breeg.
Yet, there are moments when memories of Ben Breeg's former life come back to him and haunt him still. Whatever it was that he did or that happened to him, he wants to rid himself of the memory. He is able to see things that happened in his/her past and has to live with the pressure of hiding what [he knows in order to lead a normal life. He feels he is going insane by himself, and the last part of the song is a cry for help; for someone to save [him], to bring salvation (...) to exorcise this hell. What nature this help is to be of always depends on the person looking for it.
How nice that you said it! Somehow I also understand the piece. Has Harris himself found himself in such a situation and drawn inspiration from the lyrics?
Nicko about the character of Benjamin Breeg (in 2006):

''All I know is that it’s an idea that Steve came up with, with Shaun Hutson, who is a horror writer. I think it’s an alter ego of Eddie, or a part of Eddie’s past. We wanted to keep it a bit vague and let people make up their own mind. Is it Eddie? Is it a reincarnation of some kind? Is it a brother? Is it an alter ego? It keeps you thinking, like a good thriller, see?'' -> a pretty good example of hype. :p

The story of Benjamin Briggs could have been an inspiration for the song? - He was the Captain of the merchant ship Mary Celeste, which was discovered unmanned and drifting in the Atlantic Ocean. The lifeboat was missing, yet the Mary Celeste herself was still under sail. A navigator who got lost (and became ghost of the navigator)...
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Great music overall. Lyrics and intro /outro screw it here. My sins are many and guilty too heavy I totally dislike those lyrics. The heavy riffs and solo are great though.
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Another brutally heavy song that stands out. Less adventurous than Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, but more cohesive. Is the outro really necessary though?