Your Maiden blasphemy

Yes — but, that speaks to the quality of Bruce’s two albums and not the lack of quality from Maiden’s career. I maintain that The Chemical Wedding is my favorite album ever, but Maiden have quite a few records that also belong in the S Tier of music.
That was my point - despite how brilliant much of Maiden's catalogue is, the fact that I'd still rate those two Bruce solo albums above much of it shows how fantastic both records are.

If only Maiden could hire Roy Z for production duties.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Roy Z would’ve immediately gotten into an argument with Steve Harris and walked off the project, possibly taking Bruce with him. It would’ve created a bunch of unnecessary rifts and at the end of the day you would still get something close to what BNW sounds like. Kevin Shirley was a compromise choice. Bruce and Adrian get their way in terms of having a producer, but they get someone who works well with Steve Harris’ preference for a raw live sound. It’s the best decision they could’ve made.

Also, I vastly prefer the sound of Brave New World to the polished but sterile sound of Angel of Retribution, which was a Roy Z production.
 

Edington

Let's Get Volatile
Angel of Retribution also has a very thick, somewhat muddy guitar sound on some tracks, I don't know if it's more the production or just Glenn and KK's choice of guitar tones (I'm inclined to say it's a production choice as Accident of Birth is the same), but a similar sound would've been a disaster with Maiden's three guitarists.
 

Black Abyss Babe

Quantum weather butterfly
They said they rejected the idea because they didn't want Maiden to end up sounding like a Bruce solo project. As they are fond of reminding us, producers fall into two broad categories: one creates the sound and generally interferes a lot, the other captures the sound the band already has and gets that sound down onto the record. Martin Birch was chosen for being in the latter category (and indeed setting the standard there) and they regard Kevin Shirley as Birch's natural successor. Roy Z leans much more towards the former category and, as @Mosh points out, would be highly likely to fall out with Steve very early on in the proceedings. I doubt there would be much meeting of the minds :S
 

Gk1

Here I sit in a serenade of glory!
Ok, no matter if we like the production or not just try to shuffle Bruce's songs with Roy and with Maiden. The difference in quality and loudness is jaw dropping.
 
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Ruflux

Ancient Mariner
Personally I've never felt that the Roy Z produced Dickinson albums are particularly stunning sound-wise. Miles ahead of 90s and reunion era Maiden, sure, but not crazy good. Solid rock production. Weirdly enough despite me rating the Skunkworks album way lower than AoB or TCW, I find that it's the best-sounding Bruce solo record. It's bright but powerful and everything just sounds great. Roy Z's albums sound more muddy and undefined, although that's also down to the more "metal" guitar sounds, admittedly.
 
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Magnus

Pica Serdica
They should have got Nocturno Culto to produce The X Factor.
And overdub the vocals while on it.
And add some guitars, too.
 

Randalf

Ancient Mariner
Roy Z's albums sound more muddy and undefined, although that's also down to the more "metal" guitar sounds, admittedly.

Yeah, I think they sound very good and the production really works with the kind of music Bruce did with him, but for Maiden... no, I think there's certain charm and personality in their - stubborn as it is - way of doing this. Roy Z would admittedly make their records sound a bit heavier and probably a bit tighter, but I believe they'd lose of that originality and certain unpolished beauty that puts them sonically apart from so many other acts out there. To generalize a little bit, so much of the modern rock & metal sounds (productionwise) quite similar... stuffed and clinical. Maiden, whatever faults and problems there is in their approach to recording, sound very different from most of the other acts and there's (to me, anyway) something quite refreshing in it, as unpolished and muddy as they (admittedly) sound too.

That being said, I think The Chemical Wedding still sounds amazing. There's certain muddiness in it, but it's... somehow very dynamical and doesn't needlessly bury anything underneath it. The guitar sound in that album is dark, heavy and massive, but it sort of... gives room. One of the best examples of that is The Alchemist, where especially the instrumental break and final choruses have unbelievable dynamic transitions and all... There's quite a lot of going on, but it doesn't get messy. It's massive, yet very clear and Bruce's voice sort of plays in perfect harmony with the other elements. I'd like to see some of that in Maiden to.

In other words, while I definitely agree with your main point and really love the production of Skunkworks, I think The Alchemist is one of the most beautifully constructed and mixed pieces when talking about any records where Bruce is involved.
 

Black Bart

Ancient Mariner
The guitar sound in that album is dark, heavy and massive, but it sort of... gives room.
They got it by putting some bass strings on their guitars. I doubt that Dave and Janick would be that adventurous... or that Steve would let them do it.
 
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Ruflux

Ancient Mariner
They got it by putting some bass strings on their guitars. I doubt that Dave and Janick would be that adventurous... or that Steve would let them do it.
Honestly, I have a feeling that if Dave and Janick were to show up one day with heavy gauge strings on their guitars, Steve would likely just grumble and accept it and try to have Shirley deal with the overlapping frequencies at the mixing stage. It's not like he threw a fit over Mother of Mercy for example, even if that is the most basic of alternate tunings you can get on a guitar.

That said, I'm not sure how accurate that anecdote even is. I thought they only used bass strings for King in Crimson and Trumpets of Jericho due to way low tunings that necessitated the use of bridge wires for strings?
 

Black Abyss Babe

Quantum weather butterfly
I'm not sure how accurate that anecdote even is. I thought they only used bass strings for King in Crimson and Trumpets of Jericho due to way low tunings that necessitated the use of bridge wires for strings?
Bruce's own words on this particular phenomenon:

"Some of the songs on this album have what we call The Molossian Guitar. A Molossian is this ridiculous dog which weighs about two hundred pounds. It's a fucking monster! Our guitar tech got given one by a friend to look after, and it wrecked his car. It totally ruined the suspension because it was so big, then it ate half the car from the inside out. He moved out of his house in the end because his wife was going to divorce him over this dog! So when we came up with this guitar sound we called it The Molossian Guitar. We took the D sting off a bass guitar and put that as the E string on a normal guitar and started with that, tuning the other strings in proportion. this guitar was just a fucking monster! At first Roy and Adrian were getting terrible hand pains because the strings were so heavy, but the sound...! We put it through an old Laney valve amp or something and it blew the roof off! People would walk into our rehearsal studio going, 'What is that sound?!' That's how our guitar sounds, mate. 'Yeah, what pedal is it?' No pedals. Straight into the amp. 'WOW!' It was absolutley ridiculous. It has low end, it has everything, and it just expands the sound enormously."

https://mariseb0.tripod.com/interviews/bd_terrorizer_98.htm
 

Edington

Let's Get Volatile
Bruce's own words on this particular phenomenon:

"Some of the songs on this album have what we call The Molossian Guitar. A Molossian is this ridiculous dog which weighs about two hundred pounds. It's a fucking monster! Our guitar tech got given one by a friend to look after, and it wrecked his car. It totally ruined the suspension because it was so big, then it ate half the car from the inside out. He moved out of his house in the end because his wife was going to divorce him over this dog! So when we came up with this guitar sound we called it The Molossian Guitar. We took the D sting off a bass guitar and put that as the E string on a normal guitar and started with that, tuning the other strings in proportion. this guitar was just a fucking monster! At first Roy and Adrian were getting terrible hand pains because the strings were so heavy, but the sound...! We put it through an old Laney valve amp or something and it blew the roof off! People would walk into our rehearsal studio going, 'What is that sound?!' That's how our guitar sounds, mate. 'Yeah, what pedal is it?' No pedals. Straight into the amp. 'WOW!' It was absolutley ridiculous. It has low end, it has everything, and it just expands the sound enormously."

https://mariseb0.tripod.com/interviews/bd_terrorizer_98.htm

Today I learned something. Thanks for sharing that, that was a great read. :bigsmile:

Although I can't help but wonder, I'm assuming they used bass strings because they didn't have a seven string/baritone guitar available, or would a bass string have a different tone to an equal-size guitar string?
 

R@inmaker

Educated Fool
Bring Your Daughter To The (Mark) Slaughter is easily the most poignant, contemplative, and thoughtfully political satire song in the last 31 years. Not just in metal but in ANY genre.

Wasted Years is such a colossally boring, insipid, tedious play to the "power ballad" fad that Maiden so desperately yearned to be a part of but couldn't quite elevate their craft to.
 

MindlessPieces

Educated Fool
Blazes first three solo records are better than Dickinsons
I have no interest in listening to Blaze albums, but I agree that Tattooed millionair was a bit of a shitfest apart from Sun of a gun, Gypsie road, Zulu lulu and No Lies. Especially Sun of a gun. Balls to picasso as a whole was more serious that Tattooed but didn't have the highlights of tattooed.
Skunkworks is a really good album though, very enjoyable. Not much in the metal genre, but very enjoyable.
 
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