After living with «The Book of Souls» for well over a month, I was planning this huge epic review of the album. Fork in the road, those kind of over analytic breakdowns of an album often get self-indulgent and boring, so here are 7 things to love about The Book instead:
SORING VOCALS: The part in «If Eternity Should Fail», just after the band kicks in, where Bruce sings «…and a human raaaaaaaace», it dawns on you that you’re in for something different. Hearing those classic guitar harmonies in combination with that mid-tempo gallop and those soaring vocal lines from Bruce makes your hair stand up. It’s so vintage and yet so fresh and inspired. Damn, it just sets the tone perfectly. Off we go.
DIVERSITY: The album is probably the most diverse the band has ever undertaken. Each track has a very distinct character of their own. The three long ones sound nothing like the other, apart from «The Red and the Black» and «The Book of Souls» being book-ended by a short intro and outro. There is mid-tempo, ballads, there is gallop, and you have the fast-paced rockers. It’s like a journey through 40 years of Iron Maiden history. It combines heritage with vision in a very successful way. Whoa!
A MOTHER OF A TITLE TRACK: The album has a title track with the capital T. It’s big, it’s heavy and it has the lyrics to match the absolutely outstanding and beyond epic vocal performance from good old Bruce. It’s almost 11 minutes long, but doesn’t have a dull moment. It’s just a massive crescendo that never ends. The instrumental work is phenomenal, the solos are spot on and it’s probably the finest interplay the Three amigos have delivered to date. It sits nicely with «Powerslave» and «Seventh Son of a Seventh Son». And I seriously mean that. And of course that lyrics lends itself to the artwork.
EDDIE: Eddie’s back and he is most def telling you so. The shaman Eddie is arguably the best Eddie since «Seventh Son of a Seventh Son», and by far the most sinister looking since «Live After Death». He’s got a beating heart in one hand and a dagger in the other one. How about that? Nothing beats Eddie being Eddie!
CONCEPT: Talking about Eddie, the packaging, the lyrics, the colour themes, and what not – everything just melts together perfectly, and adds to the whole experience of the album. The Mayan theme has a strong visual impact and evokes this dark atmosphere that suits the record brilliantly. It’s like in the old days when the whole package just hit you and made you drift off into another world. They haven’t quite managed to do that with the recent albums.
THE VIBE: Oh my, you can really sense an energy here. Where «The Final Frontier» felt a wee bit forced, this one floats really well. You can really tell the band are having fun through out. Although it’s their longest album to date, it actually feels shorter than the previous efforts. It takes a whie to crack it, but you get ewarded for each listen.
IT’S IRON MAIDEN: It’s Iron Maiden doing what Iron Maiden does best, being themselves with all their perks, -isms, peculiarities and what not. Are they faultless? Of course not, but they do what they believe in without compromising to anyone, that’s what gives them soul. And this album does indeed have just that, heart and SOUL!