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Iron Maiden - 'The Book Of Souls' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/96/51/cb/Iron-Maiden-The-Book-Of-Souls-75-1443904875.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 03, 2015    
 
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Each track is a mini-epic that proves Maiden still have no equals in the world of Heavy Metal.

Iron Maiden are back with brand new double album that clocks in at just over one and a half hours of commanding Metal music. Yet as I first listened to the album, it felt that Maiden were trying to prove something with this release? Not to their ultra-loyal fan base but to themselves. Maybe that's because 'The Book Of Souls' isn't anything like your "typical" Maiden release.

The band have seemingly thrown away the IM song-writing book, in favour of exploring music with a depth and breadth that few other Metal acts ever try or want to explore. The first four tracks on '...Souls' clock in at over thirty minutes, which shows this album isn't for the faint hearted. And the eleven songs that make up this double release really do require time, patience and a real depth of understanding of how Maiden got from their first album to here, before you can even start to get to grips with what the band have achieved on this album. '...Souls', if it is anything, is Maiden with a hunger, attitude and vigour that I haven't heard from them in many, many years.

On the album almost all the band members have had an input into the song-writing, which has given the songs a much broader and wider musical range than ever before. You'll all have heard the first single by now 'Speed Of Light' a superb old-school Maiden romp but it's on songs such as 'The Great Unknown', 'The Red And The Black', 'The Book Of Souls', 'The Man Of Sorrows' and 'Tears Of A Clown' where the depth and breadth I mentioned comes to the fore. Each track is a mini-epic that proves Maiden still have no equals in the world of Heavy Metal.

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Though if you want to really find out what IM in 2015 are all about, then you must sit down, turn the volume up and give twenty minutes of your life over to the breath-taking 'Empire Of The Clouds'. Based on true events surrounding the R101 Airship disaster of 1930, this one track has everything IM have been working on for three decades and more in one song.

Their use of strong lyrics, drama and emotion and of course, their flamboyant musical flair are all on show but it's the way you're drawn into the musicality of the piece that is so engrossing. Those almost twenty minutes rush past in a flash and as Bruce Dickinson sings the final line – "and in a country churchyard, laid head to the mast, eight and forty souls, who came to die in France" – you marvel at just how good a band IM actually are.

There's little left to say other than Iron Maiden have once again shown why they are as relevant now as they ever were. Essential and no mistake!

Ian Johnson

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