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Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls review



Reviewer:
8.9

999 users:
8.19
Band: Iron Maiden
Album: The Book Of Souls
Release date: September 2015


Disc I
01. If Eternity Should Fail
02. Speed Of Light
03. The Great Unknown
04. The Red And The Black
05. When The River Runs Deep
06. The Book Of Souls

Disc II
01. Death Or Glory
02. Shadows Of The Valley
03. Tears Of A Clown
04. The Man Of Sorrows
05. Empire Of The Clouds


The cat is out of the bag - Iron Maiden dropped their 16th Studio Album today. Opus - such an overused word, and while other bands affectionately call their latest effort just that, the Brits literally delivered one with The Book Of Souls.

I don't care if you are a fan of the band or just call yourself a regular metalhead, there is no way one can make a judgement with just one listen on what Iron Maiden just hurled at us. With a running time of over 92-minutes this, first in their discography, double album is not a sprint to the finish line but rather a marathon with highs and (some) lows.

After the (in my opinion overall rather disappointing) The Final Frontier it took five long years for Iron Maiden to take another stab at (re)earning the right to hold the heavy metal scepter high. If they did or not will be in the eye of the beholder, but one thing is for sure, The Book Of Souls will go down in history as the 'Most Anticipated Album Of 2015' and I bet will top tons 'Best Of 2015' lists.

No doubt, the 'elitists' will try to compare the album to their back catalogue, but let's be honest here, there will never be another The Number Of The Beast, Powerslave or Seventh Son for that matter, those times are gone. Take it or leave it, but, at least for me, Iron Maiden proved with The Book Of Souls that they still have what it takes without sounding stagnant.

While "If Eternity Should Fail" was originally written by Bruce for a new solo album, it makes for a great opener and although it doesn't hint on the direction of The Book Of Souls, it intrigues with a rather catchy chorus. A nice mid-tempo start before going into the somewhat 'meat' with "Speed Of Light"; also released as the first single. Would the album deserve to go into details about each and every song on it? Yes, but this would make for a very long read. We all know the guys in Iron Maiden can play their instruments and Bruce can sing; no need to nitpick about how they do this on here. Rest assured, the trademark galloping sound with rotating guitar solos and crushing bass lines ARE present, and Bruce has not lost his ability to 'break glass' when called for.

Granted, some songs are überlong, but I don't hold this against them. In the past, people were bitching about Harris's writing style but since the new album has compositions from not mainly him (and Adrian Smith), it has a somewhat mishmash of styles; progressive at times, but also familiar at others. Hence, "The Red And The Black"; an over 13 minute titan where everyone goes to work during the solo sections and the first "ohohohohoh, ohohohohoh" sing-along presents itself 2 minutes in. Can't wait to hear this one live!

Disc 1 ends with the title track and while the song does drag on after a while, it does showcase Bruce in all his (vocal) glory and despite the fact that some of the riffs, chorus, solos do remind me of older Iron Maiden material, it is by far not the strongest piece on the album. And here I am actually glad that they decided to add another disc to The Book Of Souls since otherwise it would have gone down as a half-assed attempt to sway the critics.

On part two of the album, Iron Maiden dug deep into their 'souls' and delivered a diverse assortment of 'ear-candy'. With "Death Or Glory", one of the few shorter songs on the album, the band continues full steam ahead; fast, fun, maybe a bit on the modern side? While "Shadows Of The Valley" seems like recycled material from years past, I really dig it; old habits don't die I guess. And the slower paced "Tears Of A Clown", a homage to the late Robin Williams, did grow on me and my verdict for the ballad'ish "The Man Of Sorrows" is well, the song is ok, but the album closer is what grabbed my interest even after the first listen.

"Empire Of The Clouds", a massive 18 minute long musical journey, not only is (now) the longest song in Iron Maiden's history, it also showcases Bruce Dickinson talent on the piano. Don't dismiss this song due to its lengths; give it a couple chances and you will discover on just how awesome and dare I say epic, this song really is.

So, did Iron Maiden deliver a masterpiece with The Book Of Souls? Hard to tell. There is so much going on in the album and the opinions will vastly differ. I for one am glad that the band did not throw in the towel and rest on their laurels, but rather show the world, and maybe themselves, that there is still plenty of Iron Maiden spirit present for years to come.

Long live Eddie!





Written on 04.09.2015 by Admin
Former boss lady. Now just a professional concertgoer... dangerously armed with a camera!

Guest review by
tominator
Rating:
9.5
After The Final Frontier we had to wait five years for this album. But does The Book Of Souls deliver a great experience?

Read more ››
published 03.01.2017 | Comments (9)


Comments page 2 / 3

Comments: 61   Visited by: 975 users
07.09.2015 - 01:51
metaalerik

Written by Guest on 06.09.2015 at 22:43

Written by Daniell on 06.09.2015 at 18:19

Some people, actually most people, can express their own opinion without sounding patronizing and condescending.

And most people don't get offended by such types of comment and don't demand that people change their presentation as a result. Not everyone though it seems.


You guys look cute together.

For some reason, I can not decide yet if its their best since Brave New World, or if it's even worse than The Final Frontier... After reading the review, I guess it's woth it to give it a few more spins and find out.
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07.09.2015 - 07:28
Leifur

Written by Vikcen on 05.09.2015 at 14:52

Written by deadone on 05.09.2015 at 02:07



... especially the rather boring and pointless 5 minute instrumental section on Red and Black.




It is a real shame that you can't enjoy that.



Probably one of the best parts of the album
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07.09.2015 - 09:38
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by deadone on 07.09.2015 at 02:18

It's certainly not a spectacular roller coaster ride of duelling guitars and ear shredding solos or massive riffs or brooding atmosphere or whatever.

It is everything you said above, minus the brooding atmosphere.
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07.09.2015 - 10:18
Vikcen
Metálico
Written by Leifur on 07.09.2015 at 07:28

Written by Vikcen on 05.09.2015 at 14:52

Written by deadone on 05.09.2015 at 02:07



... especially the rather boring and pointless 5 minute instrumental section on Red and Black.




It is a real shame that you can't enjoy that.



Probably one of the best parts of the album


Yes, without any doubt. A real enjoyment of Metal
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07.09.2015 - 15:21
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by deadone on 07.09.2015 at 09:50

I heare mindless meanderings without any energy or intensity or interesting bits.

Your opinion is your own, and you're entitled to it. I have no problem with it, no matter how different it is from mine.
But calling Iron Maiden's music "mindless" is preposterous...
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07.09.2015 - 15:34
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
"Mindless" to me is exactly right. It's almost as though no thought has been put into connecting the instrumentation together to make something interesting. Even past albums, which I personally haven't enjoyed, I can tell that effort and energy has been put into constructing the songs, but here that feeling is not present at all.
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07.09.2015 - 22:31
Dorian75

Book of souls i believe for sure that is their best effort with brave new world in the last 25 years. After 10 complete listenings its outstanding. Any comparison with dance of death i consider it as a joke. DOD was a fourth track album with plenty of silly songs. Besides the killer tracks as DOD , Face in the sand, Montségur, Paschendale the rest of the songs was the definition of bubble gum without taste ( wildest dreams, rainmaker, gates of tomorrow, new frontier) for Christ's shake. Journeyman and age of innocence were ...so good that none remembers them so far!!!
Book of souls is full of epic, atmospheric, a little bit dark feeling, with greatness and energy. If eternity should fail, and the great unknown is in the highest level of feeling and attitude. The red and the black is a killer for live shows, and the self titled song BOS is a master epic track. Even the small ones , where the river runs deep and death of glory are miles better than the half of the entire DOD album. The second cd is truly excellent.
Final Frontier was something that didn't work at all. Many good ideas here and there but...... there was a great lack of almost everything.
I have to confess that i belong to the minority which considers A matter of life and death as a much better album of Dance of Death.
For the great majority of us out there Book of souls is an album to be remembered in the years to come.
Time is not turning back, we know that. The Golden era 1980-1988 can not be repeated again. Yes Maiden have many cliches in the way they do their songs, they have many repetitive melodies playing them again and again while they just changing the scale during the repetition. Yes in many songs Bruce the Great sings like he is trying to catch up with the bus in the bus station. Ok we never said that everything is perfect.
We know all these and we get along with them. The point is that in Book Of Souls everything is in it's best possible version even the negative ones, especially after the huge disappointment of Final Frontier
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08.09.2015 - 09:21
Athropos
Burning inside
I somehow get the feeling that it sounds more like a Dickinson solo album rather than a Maiden album. But I have no problem with that, it's a good album with enough solid songs, I like it.
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08.09.2015 - 11:27
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by deadone on 08.09.2015 at 02:08

Iron Maiden is my favourite band but I'm not going to approach the band with blinkers on. They do occassionally drop the ball.


Of course they do, but not this time.
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11.09.2015 - 14:15
Daniell
_爱情_
I like it how all those diehard Maiden fans say nothing about the review, because the rating is high
If it was lower, this thread would be 8 pages long...
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11.09.2015 - 17:19
Iceland_Norway

I'm running to buy this new Album cuz it's Badass.
----
Føroyar mítt land

Tú alfagra land mítt

Føroyar mín Móðir
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12.09.2015 - 17:58
metalbrat

Bought it after reading your review here in MS and was greatly disappointed. I am a big fan of them and one of the few from my country who have seen them performing live. I repeatedly heard it 10 times but couldn't find anything new or better from their earlier albums..
----
In the beginning I was made of clay. Then I bit the apple and they changed me to metal 🤘
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15.09.2015 - 21:29
GT
Coffee!!
Musicwise I like it... a lot actually. But I do not like Bruce's vocals on most songs. To me they sound forced as if the pitch is too high for him. it makes it sound like his voice is tired.
----


Dreams are made so we don't get bored when we sleep
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15.09.2015 - 21:36
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Listened to it a couple of times again today... it is average music targeted at average people, just like the new Slayer album.
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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15.09.2015 - 21:50
Cynic Metalhead
Nasha Vich Paisa
One thing about this album I like how "Empire Of The Clouds" was recorded. Nicely crafted.

Rest is just satisfactory. As I said, songs were developing into closing chapters of "Iron Maiden".
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16.09.2015 - 11:09
Vikcen
Metálico
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 15.09.2015 at 21:36

Listened to it a couple of times again today... it is average music targeted at average people, just like the new Slayer album.


You are average.
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16.09.2015 - 16:13
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 15.09.2015 at 21:36

Listened to it a couple of times again today... it is average music targeted at average people, just like the new Slayer album.


I've known you for over 10 years now, but I have a problem understading you here. Am I average, because I like this album? Do you feel above/below average because you don't? Does liking/disliking an album make one a better/worse person?
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20.09.2015 - 19:40
Dr. Strawberry

Written by Daniell on 16.09.2015 at 16:13

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 15.09.2015 at 21:36

Listened to it a couple of times again today... it is average music targeted at average people, just like the new Slayer album.


I've known you for over 10 years now, but I have a problem understading you here. Am I average, because I like this album? Do you feel above/below average because you don't? Does liking/disliking an album make one a better/worse person?


Marcel is right !
YES, I have to say that your music taste is average (or even bad taste) if you like this album but there is nothing to do with your personality.
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20.09.2015 - 23:45
danielleV

Great cover art; i recently painted one for a french fan.
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Hardrock-Artworks the place to order painted leather!
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21.09.2015 - 18:04
Eye-Licker

Bland and uninspired instrumentation mixed with vocals ranging from decent to painfully awful.

worst big release this year? probably. no one should care too much about my opinion as i've never liked power/heavy metal, but even within its genre this is embarrassing.
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21.09.2015 - 19:19
Dr. Strawberry

Recent releases from Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Helloween, Slayer... all just terribly fuck up, their heydays are over, face it ! Go and dig out their old real things and stop pretending their potentials are endlessly flowing.
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21.09.2015 - 21:59
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by Dr. Strawberry on 21.09.2015 at 19:19

Recent releases from Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Helloween, Slayer... all just terribly fuck up, their heydays are over, face it ! Go and dig out their old real things and stop pretending their potentials are endlessly flowing.


JP is good, latest Halloween is good, but Slayer should stop exist
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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22.09.2015 - 06:06
IH8Hipsters

Stop all the hating guys. If you are true fans of a band you stick with them through thick and thin. This Maiden album is not bad IMO. Again you are entitled to your opinion, but I think it's a little exaggerated and I do not agree with the last few commenters. I like the new Slayer album, I love the new Maiden album I think it's excellent. The last Priest album I really didn't like though. I've never cared for Halloween much so. However, the last Primal Fear album was really good IMO. I would mention them before Helloween when it comes to power metal stalwarts.
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22.09.2015 - 10:14
Vikcen
Metálico
Written by danielleV on 20.09.2015 at 23:45

Great cover art; i recently painted one for a french fan.


Yeah, i love It too, one of the best of Iron Maiden
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22.09.2015 - 16:47
Dr. Strawberry

Written by IH8Hipsters on 22.09.2015 at 06:06

Stop all the hating guys. If you are true fans of a band you stick with them through thick and thin. This Maiden album is not bad IMO. Again you are entitled to your opinion, but I think it's a little exaggerated and I do not agree with the last few commenters. I like the new Slayer album, I love the new Maiden album I think it's excellent. The last Priest album I really didn't like though. I've never cared for Halloween much so. However, the last Primal Fear album was really good IMO. I would mention them before Helloween when it comes to power metal stalwarts.

A good declaration from a fanboy.
There is no hatred, only personal comments. I don't understand why some people always like to put things into somebody's mouth.
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22.09.2015 - 17:53
Zap

Written by IH8Hipsters on 22.09.2015 at 06:06

Stop all the hating guys. If you are true fans of a band you stick with them through thick and thin.

Uh, no. Just because I'm a fan of a band doesn't mean I'll excuse them for releasing something bad. In fact, I'll probably be even more disappointed by it than if some nobodies release something unworthwhile since I know the band can do better.
----
And the tears that we will weep today
Will all be washed away
By the tears that we will weep again tomorrow
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22.09.2015 - 18:34
Belegûr
Arise In Might!
Written by IH8Hipsters on 22.09.2015 at 06:06

Stop all the hating guys. If you are true fans of a band you stick with them through thick and thin. This Maiden album is not bad IMO. Again you are entitled to your opinion, but I think it's a little exaggerated and I do not agree with the last few commenters. I like the new Slayer album, I love the new Maiden album I think it's excellent. The last Priest album I really didn't like though. I've never cared for Halloween much so. However, the last Primal Fear album was really good IMO. I would mention them before Helloween when it comes to power metal stalwarts.


Difference between a "true fan" and a "fanboy". Automatically liking everything a band does isn't to be admired. I respect someone who says why they don't like an album more than someone who just throws the "true" nonsense around.

My opinion of course
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23.09.2015 - 02:42
Azarath
Free as a.. Fish
Written by IH8Hipsters on 22.09.2015 at 06:06

If you are true fans of a band you stick with them through thick and thin.

I actually pretty much agree with this. And to everyone else, "sticking with" a band doesn't mean you have to automatically like everything they do. You can still criticize them when they screw up.

Which they didn't do here, by the way.
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23.09.2015 - 03:07
IH8Hipsters

I'm no fanboy guys. True fan oh hell yes I am. I honestly have listened to Book of Souls 8-10 times all the way through and I really like the album. It's not as good as NOTB, Powersalve or Piece of Mind, but as good as Dance of Death and Brave New World IMO. On the Slayer front the same goes I've listened to that album all the way through about the same amount of times now and I think it's a solid album. Not Reign, South or Seasons, but pretty damn good IMO. I'd liken it to God Hates Us All, but not quite as good. Nope no fanboy here.
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25.09.2015 - 12:22
Cobrica40

First of all, i have to say I love Iron Maiden and almost everything they put out. Iron Maiden have waited 5 years to make a new album, and that's a long time to wait between albums.

I know it's impossible if you're a big band to please everyone
I personally think that Book of Souls has some great moments, but it's also sounds a bit like new Bruce Dickinson solo album (If Eternity Should Fail and Empire of the Clouds are representative example of that). Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing but IMO it's not Iron Maiden style.

Since it's release, I must've heard it 20 times all over and I must say that Speed of Light is the weakest track (I don't know why they release this song as the first single, maybe because is shorter than other songs ). Generally speaking some songs are needlessly very long and the beginning of Shadows of the Valley is very similar to Wasted years. Songs like The Red and the Black, The Book of Souls and Tears of a Clown are great.

Eddie as a painted Mayanhmmmmm, i think i love it it brings dark and magician feeling to album.

Seeing that Bruce had health issues during the making of Book of Souls and that the Final Frontier maybe lowered my expectations of what they're capable of at this point, I will say that BoS is a big suprise and excellent album. Iron Maiden's new album Book of Souls" is an album to be remembered
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