Why A Matter Of Life and Death is Iron Maidens best album

RTC

Libera et impera!
From what I remember, it had the same problems as I have with Dream of Mirrors. I am simply not fond of the starting few minutes and it becomes tedious. The song starts to redeem itself at the end to balance it out as an average song.

It's not godawful, but I just cannot get into it as much as the other tracks.
 

Painkiller

Prowler
On its own, A Matter of Life and Death is a decent metal album, but I honestly think that it's yet another flop for Iron Maiden. Too many boring moments that drag on for too long to make a lasting impression. It's your opinion that it's their "best", but I'd say that you have to remind yourself of the strengths of the first seven Iron Maiden albums before jumping to such dramatic conclusions.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Meh. I've listened to every Maiden album enough times to decide that AMOLAD is only second to Piece of Mind. I can like what I want. :D
 

Perun

Περούν Παντοκράτωρ
Staff member
Painkiller, I think most people here have heard all Maiden albums more times than you could possibly count. I know I have. And I still conclude that AMOLAD is one of their very best.
 

RTC

Libera et impera!
While I don't necessarily agree, I can see where he's coming from. A couple of the tracks are intended to be epics and yet come off as pretty average. Even FTGGOG, a very good song, seems to be coming off as trying to be an awe-inspiring masterpiece, when to be honest, it's not quite at that mark.
 

Stardust

Mr. Blue Sky
I have stated many times before that I'm not a huge fan of this album. The songs are good, yes but they all seem identical except for a few. Okay, let me tell you my thoughts on each song.

Different World opens the album with a blast. It's one of the better songs on the album. The chorus is gold, the riffs are good, overall, just a great song.

These Colours Don't Run is slightly worse, due to the fact that it's yet another war-themed song. It's not bad, but not the best on the album. That honor goes to...

Brighter Than A Thousand Suns. Yeah, this is one of the three lengthy epics on the album and this one deserves it's 8:44 minute length. By far the best song on here. That middle section: FREAKING AMAZING!

The Pilgrim is not bad nor is it good. It's a song that has both good parts and bad parts. This is a hard song to describe, let's just move on.

The Longest Day is yet another war-themed song. The gloomy atmosphere of the verses gives the song a point. Another point goes to the chorus, even though it's so freaking repetitive! However it loses a point due to the lackluster instrumental section.

Out Of The Shadows feels like a ripoff of Prodigal Son from Killers, and that's not a good thing. Prodigal Son was a decent song on Killers but Out Of The Shadows just isn't as good. It doesn't really click for me.

The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg is far better. It's easily the second best song on the album. The lyrics are very interesting and the melodies are good. Unfortunaly, it's here all the good stuff dies because the next song is...

For The Greater Good Of God. And it's really freaking boring. At a staggering nine and a half minutes, this song is the longest song on the album. But it's so boring that it lulls me to sleep.

Lord Of Light is even worse, being very unmemorable and even more boring than FTGGOG. It's freaking unbelievable that the next song is even more terrible than this one.

The Legacy is by far my least favorite on the album and one of the bottom ten for me. I can't say very much more about this song.

And that's my thoughts on the fan favorite. Decent but becomes too same-y after Out Of The Shadows.

Oh and don't even get me started on Dance Of Death!
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
It took a long, long time for For the Greater Good of God to click with me. I used to think it was very long and boring, but now I see it for the masterpiece it is. Yes, Steve clearly wrote it because he thinks he has to write the longest song on each album alone these days. But in the end, I'm pretty okay with that, because Steve's solo compositions tend to be superb.
 

SinisterMinisterX

Illuminatus
Staff member
Yes, Steve clearly wrote it because he thinks he has to write the longest song on each album alone these days.

Erm ... Steve has written the longest song on every album. Not just "these days". (Gers co-wrote "Dream of Mirrors" and "Dance of Death", the rest 100% Harris.)
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Yes, I am aware. It is more notable now, however, because it is also the only song he writes alone on albums in the post-reunion era. All songs, except Steve's epics, have co-authors.
 

Cosmiceddie

Back From The Edge
Even FTGGOG, a very good song, seems to be coming off as trying to be an awe-inspiring masterpiece, when to be honest, it's not quite at that mark.

I beg to differ. To me, 'For The Greater Good Of God' is beyond inspiring.
 

RTC

Libera et impera!
I beg to differ. To me, 'For The Greater Good Of God' is beyond inspiring.

Don't get me wrong, it's one of the best songs on the album, but there's just something about it that I can't quite put my finger on that suggests it's really trying hard to be the Hallowed or Rime of the album, and perhaps even surpass it.

For an analogy, it's like a cricket player trying to hit a six, but hitting a four instead. It's still a very good play, but it's not quite as good as they tried to make it.
 

Cosmiceddie

Back From The Edge
Don't get me wrong, it's one of the best songs on the album, but there's just something about it that I can't quite put my finger on that suggests it's really trying hard to be the Hallowed or Rime of the album, and perhaps even surpass it.

Fair enough, yet to me, 'For The Greater Good Of God' does surpass both 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' and 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner' and every other 'epic', to boot.
 

Ariana

Black-and-white leopard
Don't get me wrong, it's one of the best songs on the album, but there's just something about it that I can't quite put my finger on that suggests it's really trying hard to be the Hallowed or Rime of the album, and perhaps even surpass it.

I don't see it that way. First of all, the position of the song on the album suggests that FTGGOG is not intended to be the cherry on top the way Hallowed and Rime are. In fact, I'd never thought of it as trying to be Hallowed until now. Secondly, I totally fail to notice anything forced about it. It sounds perfectly crafted to me, so yes: to me it is an awe-inspiring masterpiece.
 
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SinisterMinisterX

Illuminatus
Staff member
Don't get me wrong, it's one of the best songs on the album, but there's just something about it that I can't quite put my finger on that suggests it's really trying hard to be the Hallowed or Rime of the album, and perhaps even surpass it.

It could be your own expectation that the longest song on a Maiden album should compare to those epics. In most cases the comparision is reasonable: look at the list of longest songs before this album. Phantom, Hallowed, TTAL, Rime, ATG, 7th Son, SotC, Clansman, Dream, Dance ... that's damn close to a greatest hits list. The last time we had a longest song that wasn't a great song? Mother Russia. The Harris epic is a tradition, right?

So when the album delivers a Harris epic, we as fans want to place that burden there. "This is gonna be the awesome album centerpiece, right?" And most of the time, that assumption has paid off. AMOLAD is a case where the epic didn't deliver in the same way. Why do we say "Steve tried and failed?" He didn't fail, of course. He just didn't meet your expectations.

I say this as someone who was also disappointed with FTGGOG ... until I stopped expecting FTGGOG to be the next Hallowed. When I let my expectations go, when I took the album as it is rather than as a comparison to my fantasy, I suddenly found that FTGGOG was no longer substandard.
 
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RTC

Libera et impera!
I don't see it that way. First of all, the position of the song on the album suggests that FTGGOG is not intended to be the cherry on top the way Hallowed and Rime are. Secondly, I totally fail to notice anything forced about it. It sounds perfectly crafted to me, so yes: to me it is an awe-inspiring masterpiece.

First point is a good point, but it's the song most people turn to as THE epic from that album as opposed to The Legacy, which never really gets talked about. And to be honest, FTGGOG deserves to be talked about, because it's a very strong song, and I believe in my top 40.

Second point is really a matter of preference; I feel the same way about CSIT and Paschendale, and a few other songs are very much in contention too.

@SMX: I wouldn't say I'm disappointed with it, because I still enjoy it a lot. In fact, I wouldn't call it overrated either because I think I enjoy it about the same amount as a large chunk of other people (great but not a masterpiece). It just comes across as trying to be an A+ track, when it really only satisfies the criteria for a A-/B+ for me personally, which is still great for the record.
 

Ariana

Black-and-white leopard
It just comes across as trying to be an A+ track, when it really only satisfies the criteria for a A-/B+ for me personally, which is still great for the record.

But that's my problem with what you're saying, actually. It's one thing to say that you don't find it perfect/great/a masterpiece, but it's a completely different argument if you say "trying to be an A+ song." Who's trying too hard - Steve? Did you even care to let him know what your A+ criteria were?
 

RTC

Libera et impera!
But that's my problem with what you're saying, actually. It's one thing to say that you don't find it perfect/great/a masterpiece, but it's a completely different argument if you say "trying to be an A+ song." Who's trying too hard - Steve? Did you even care to let him know what your A+ criteria were?

As I've said, it's hard to justify why it comes across that way. If I were to hazard a guess, it's that the song collapses under its own weight a little. The song comes off as THE juggernaut of the album, and the one that will leave the biggest impression on you. And yes, it leaves a big impression on me, and it's a satisfying song. The problem is, I had more fun with a couple of other songs in the album that don't quite have the epic properties that FTGGOG gives off.
 

Painkiller

Prowler
Painkiller, I think most people here have heard all Maiden albums more times than you could possibly count. I know I have. And I still conclude that AMOLAD is one of their very best.
I'm sure that many people here are the Iron Maiden fans that they say they are, but it's still worth reminding the high level of standards that the band set in the 1980s. When a band with such a remarkable discography releases a rather lackluster album, I'd think it'd be foolish to act as if it's one of their "best" releases to date.

Of course, everyone has an opinion, and don't assume that I'm trying to change anyone. Just stating that more people should try to be more objective in their album reviews and such.
 
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