June 16, 2024

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England’s legendary IRON MAIDEN have dropped the double album “Book Of Souls” in 2015, and let me say that it is awesome to hear these blokes deliver yet another classic in a long career of releasing some of the most epic records in heavy metal history. I have been listening to this band and going to Maiden concerts since I was eleven years old, over thirty years ago. If you have never seen them perform on the stage before, they are undoubtedly one of the greatest live bands in rock. Lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson has battled cancer over the past year, along with the simple fact that he and his mates are getting up there in their years. Does a group whose members average sixty years old have anything left? I truly didn’t know what to expect with this release, due to the fact that Maiden has not put out anything since 2010’s “The Final Frontier”. I was just hoping they did something at least halfway as good as “Number Of The Beast” or “Piece Of Mind”, two early masterpieces that schooled me as a child on what metal music is all about… or even “Powerslave” and “Seventh Son…” for that matter. Clocking in at ninety plus minutes in length, I was just praying “Book Of Souls” was not going to be a major snorefest and make me lose interest in them once and for all.

Right out the gate, I was unbelievably floored by the absolute power metal brillance on the first few cuts. “If Eternity Should Fail” will have you in its rocking grip, only to next be slapped hard by the jamming “Speed Of Light” and “The Great Unknown”. Drummer Nicko McBrain anchors it all down with his powerful bashing. The guitar soloing is on another level, thanks to Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers. For decades these dudes have been laying down the law on how to incorporate killer shredding into a song. Bassist Steve Harris on the four string Fender P Bass is the genius behind the bottom end and songwriting. His steady as ‘Eddie’ finger-picking provides that kick ass, ‘bouncy’ feel to the music that was there when I first fell in love with Maiden as a young kid. Next up is the hard charging “The Red and the Black”, my personal favorite tune “When the River Runs Deep”, and the stellar title track “The Book of Souls”.

The English metal juggarnaut keeps the gusto rolling with “Death or Glory”, “Shadows of the Valley”, and” Tears of a Clown”, never once failing to keep my interest. The album comes to an end with the final two tracks “The Man of Sorrows ” and the longest Maiden song ever “Empire of the Clouds”. I feel any old school Maiden fan will definitely be missing out if you did not give this album your full attention, and the younger kids who maybe aren’t as familiar that give it a spin will most certainly come to respect these incredible musicians.


IRON MAIDEN – “The Book Of Souls” (CD)

(Parlophone, Sanctuary/2015)

Disc one

1. If Eternity Should Fail
2. Speed of Light
3. The Great Unknown
4. The Red and the Black
5. When the River Runs Deep
6. The Book of Souls

Disc two

1. Death or Glory
2. Shadows of the Valley
3. Tears of a Clown
4. The Man of Sorrows
5. Empire of the Clouds