The Time Machine

Poto

Ancient Mariner
Since Maiden stopped releasing best of albums Janick decided to release a best of song. Quite creative in a way. The title even tells us we are taking a journey through Maiden's discography. We get stuff from The X Factor all the way to The Book of Souls, and it's bloody great for the most part. Nice song.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Man, Janick is such a great writer. "The Time Machine" is incredibly derivative of his previous work with the band, but everything is presented in a new way to make it feel like we've never heard it before. The intro is straight-up "The Talisman", yet with more and more listens I don't even hear the similarities all that much anymore. What the intro lyrics have to do with the rest of the song no one knows; Steve got a little too cryptic for his own good here, but that's alright. The gloriousness of this fucking song makes up for whatever the fuck he's doing lyrically.

Okay, to be fair, these lyrics are actually really good. "Have I ever told you about my time machine?" is a great intro line. "Stand among the steeples, stand upon the walls," is a killer image. "Open your heart and I'll open your soul," is another awesome one. There's a lot of killer lyrics in this thing. The only issue is that Steve said like four times he was gonna tell us about his journeys and then never does, preferring to stay in the abstract. But I almost admire that impish approach, it feels like an eccentric scientist who keeps whetting our appetites with his tales and then instead of actually telling us about them, he brings us to them in his fucking time machine.

And that's what Janick does with this song. The change-up after the second chorus is where our journey really begins, in a passage that's a sped-up version of "The Book of Souls", yet again, sounds brand new because of the presentation. The keys have this soaring feel to them, and the boys even throw in a fucking jig that makes me want to keep up and jump around. I really hope they stick with the idea to play the full album live, because god do I wanna hear all these songs come to life in the live arena. This song sounds like it was built for the stage.

I also love the way the chorus changes in the different contexts it's in. It's always folksy, but feels more like a wink in the first section compared to its full-blown anthemic eruption in part two. Given certain reviews talked it up a lot, I was really underwhelmed by the chorus when I first heard the song, but it really is so good that it continued to grow on me to where I now love the hell out of it.

After the third chorus we're also treated to a great solo section. H plays some leads as the music under him feels like a proggy whirling of motors as the time machine gets ready to take us to new sights. Two of our stops appear when Dave and Janick hit us with a couple of great solos, both of them incredibly delivered in a piece that reminds me of "Ghost of the Navigator". Then we get another verse and chorus before the song steps off of the gas, the time machine winds down, and all falls to silence as we leave the old scientist's den with another outro that has nothing to do with the rest of the song but also works in the way that only Maiden can make these things work.

This song is a fucking powerhouse. Yet another triumph in an album full of them. If at first listen this one seems to feel like shit we've already heard before, further spins help embrace that to the point where everything feels natural and fresh. But it's also nice to get nods to the past. Regardless, "The Time Machine" is a fucking BANGER and among my favorites from the whole damn album. If we ended things here we'd already have a killer record, but luckily there's still a second CD to go. Maiden deliver, again, and again, and again. I gave them my heart and they opened my soul. 10/10
 

Jer

Abysmal display of mental decay
Janick recycles the openings of “The Talisman” and “The Book Of Souls” yet again for this song. Bruce’s soft vocal works nicely here. This eventually cuts into a folk-infused rhythm for the verse, which has a nice melody but some odd vocal harmonies. This breaks into a nice melodic chorus.

Another round of verse and chorus with a nice vocal crescendo, then a quick breakdown leads into a by-the-numbers guitar lead over the usual gallop to drive a great verse 2. Another heavy but folky interlude leads back to the chorus, then a chunky riff underpins some electric noodling before breaking into a strong pair of solos. Another round of verse 2 and the chorus leads to a more subdued interlude and a brief reprise of the opening vocal to end the song.

While there is certainly some post-consumer recycled content in this song, large swaths of it are great, and the final product feels like more than the sum of its parts. I think I can comfortably round this one up to an 8/10.
 
This is a good song beginning to end and at certain points it's glorious (in my opinion) but on some subconscious level I'm left feeling a bit frustrated that for a song at 7:10 I didn't get enough of my favorite part.

I have no problems with the acoustic intro buildup - The Talisman is brilliant, I enjoy the intro to Lost in Lost World, and Hell on Earth is challenging HBTN for my favorite IM song.

Having said that, I LOVE the parts of this song from 1:10 - 3:00 (according to the youtube version). (verse? chorus? not sure) I don't understand why they never circled back to that? I can just imagine the live audience reaction to that section would be a thrill.
 
6:16 - 6:35 is my favourite part. I wish it would be a little longer.
Just based on your post I went back and listened to the song again with a particular focus on that section, my reaction:
  • I agree, I wish that section repeated with perhaps a bit of subtle embellishment (I'm thinking The Great Unknown as a basis of comparison).
  • I wish the song ended there. I'm guessing they felt that they needed to wrap up the narrative with the additional vocals, however from a musical perspective I felt that section would have made a more satisfying closer.
 
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