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Iron Maiden: Book of Souls review

by Trina Ausbon, Entertainment Editor

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Album: Book of Souls

Record Label: Parlophone

Release Date: September 4, 2015

Rating- 10/10

Iron-Maiden-The-Book-of-Souls-2015

It has been five years since Iron Maiden released The Final Frontier and since then, speculation on whether or not we’ll see another Iron Maiden album had manifested; however, the band released their sixteenth studio album Book of Souls on Sept. 4. At longer than 90 minutes, it is the band’s lengthiest album and includes the longest track they’ve ever released.

Earlier this year, lead singer Bruce Dickinson was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on his tongue, but against all odds, the band released a fantastic double-album of eleven infectious tracks, one of the finest albums since “Brave New World.”

The album takes a quick start with “If Eternity Should Fail” which could possibly be the band’s strongest opening track since “Moonchild” in 1988. The song begins with a ghostly synthesizer which is followed by Dickinson’s commanding vocals then slams into a catchy upbeat tune that only Maiden can apply.

Next comes the band’s current leading single “Speed of Light.” This track contains Deep Purple influences and si-fi lyrics that make up a classic and catchy 80’s metal-like sound. The lead vocals seem to struggle in this song; however, the man is 57 years old and still sounds better than musicians half his age.

“The Great Unknown” and “The Red and Black” is followed with a heavier tone and theoretical vocals. “The Red and the Black” is written by Steve Harris and is 14 minutes of interwoven rhythms and hard hitting riffs. Both telling a story of the world and it’s negative ways.

The fifth track off the first disk is “When the River Runs Deep” it is a fairly simple song that contains amazing solos from all three guitarists. It is a track full of contagious energy and lightning speed instrumentals but delivers a confusing message due to the sadness the lyrics describe.

The last track off of the first disk ends with the title track. It opens with a melancholic passage then suddenly slams into mid-tempo riffs with the fantastic swagger Iron Maiden has created within their 40 year existence. As the track speeds up they showcase three solos and everything the band has to offer.

The second disk incorporates a more mournful vibe starting with “Death or Glory” that is written by Adrian Smith. It’s a truly magical track that describes the never-ending cycle between the good and the bad.

“Tears of a Clown” just may be the most saddest track ever created by Iron Maiden. The song is in memory of the American actor and comedian Robin Williams who had took his own life Aug. 11, 2014 due to depression. The lyrics describe how someone could hide so much sadness behind a simple false smile. the lyrics sang “The false smile was what maketh the man” which represents what Williams went through to hide his pain.

The album then continues the vibe with “The Man of Sorrows” which is filled with a ton of heartbreak and soul and will leave any listener in tears.

“Empire of the Clouds” is the ending track and sums up the album perfectly with a story-telling song about the tragic R101 airship disaster in 1930. The band’s passion for aircraft pierces through the music giving this track more feeling than any song on the album. It is accompanied by a beautiful piano piece along with rounded bass tones and slight string. At a staggering 18 minutes this song is record breaking for Iron Maiden and not a bit tiresome.

Iron Maiden has not lost any of their power, intensity, or their meaningful lyrics. Book of Souls showcases the fact that these British gods of metal are not too old to be able to produce an energetic album that is just as good as the classics. Not to mention that Dickinson sang the entire album while suffering from stage three tongue and throat cancer. After four decades of music, Iron Maiden still impresses fans new and old.

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