Seven things to love about «The Book of Souls»

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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.

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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.

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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!

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11 thoughts on “Seven things to love about «The Book of Souls»

  1. Fantastick reviews Torgrim i completley agree on this , its mind reading , but i am in that fase that cd 1. is better than cd 2.
    I have writen it before that its not a boring sec … on this MASTERPEACE!

    BUT IS IT THE BEST ONE EVER TO EARLY TO SAY!!

  2. I beg to differ. Except “If eternity should fail”, “Speed of light” and “Empire of the clouds”, which are all killer song in their own right, I don’t take so much to the others. Repetitions of stuff I have heard from the boys on every album. Not bad songs, just nothing too exiting. And yes, I have heard it through many many times. Does not match up with those classic 5 first ( + SSOASS) , but after that it might be one of the stronger ones.

    But then again…that’s the beauty of music! Each seems to take away something different from this one 🙂

    • Nostalgia is a tough thing to go up against, but as you say, people seem to take away something different from this album, and I guess that must be some sort of a quality sign. I hold “Speed of Light” in the bottom two on this album.

  3. Best Eddie since Seventh Son? Hardly! No way! Sorry but articles like this are dumb when they praise things just to praise them and that’s exactly how this article feels.

      • I like Eddie on this cover a lot. He’s wrinkly and grey haired. A little older and a little wiser. It seems like a fitting thing for a band that has been around for as long as Maiden have. I think that the cover art on The Book of Souls, despite its minimalism, aptly alludes to the depth and maturity of the material on the record.

  4. After listening successive times, and although it has many elements of records from 1995 to 2010, I think it’s the best album of the band since 1988. It is the “Somewhere in time” of the century, not so much as said Nicko, the “The Number of the Beast”. Powerful, varied, and exciting songs. They have managed to fuse the old with the current … Very big this record.

  5. I love the album. It sits right behind AMOLAD for the best of the reunion albums. Here’s my rank of songs:

    1. If Eternity Should Fail
    2. Empire of the Clouds
    3. The Book of Souls
    4. Death or Glory
    5. The Red and The Black
    6. Shadows of the Valley
    7. The Great Unknown
    8. When the River Runs Deep
    9. The Man of Sorrows
    10. Tears of a Clown
    11. Speed of Light

    The weakest songs are still good. Speed of Light doesn’t seem to fit on the album. Tears of a Clown is pretty good, but doesn’t have a Maiden feel to it.

    I hear alot of criticism about The Red and The Black, and yes it does fall into the same patterns of other recent Harris epics, but this time it all works where in the past some of them didn’t come together completely, like When the Wild Wind Blows or The Thin Line Between Love and Hate.

    If Eternity Should Fail is the blend of solo Dickinson and Maiden that I have been waiting for. Accident of Birth and The Chemical Wedding are superb albums and have been waiting for them incorporate some of that into Maiden’s new era. Empire of the Clouds is a great musical composition and I can see in the future that Dickinson will write a play or musical opera from this one.

  6. The 2nd album feels really week, now that time passed… Empire is really good but the “morse code” plus the reusage of the “Legacy” melody takes away from it imo (I love the legacy btw but still)…
    “Death or glory” I’ll never take seriously after Bruce’s “jokes” and “mannerisms” during it live… (the climb like a monkey “dance”)… The rest of the songs really didn’t grow well on me, on the 2nd disc. “Shadows of the valley” seems like a mix between “Wasted Years” (the intro) “Reincarnation of BB” (the “ask them the questions ..” part is very similar to “someone to save me…”) and it also reminds me of “Fallen Angel” in parts…
    “Tears of the clown” is so bizarre that is mind boggling that they played it live… and it really wasn’t a live track, based on the reactions..
    “The man of sorrows” is really good melodically but the lyrics don’t seem to fit they don’t rhyme and seem a bit random..
    The first album I’m okay with with one exception .. “the great unknown” … For me the third worst song I’ve ever heard from this band… Straight after “the angel and the gambler” and “the man who would be king”. Melodies that sound uninspired, bad vocals and lyrics… Terrible chorus and verses.. everything seems like a song straight out of “The Final Frontier”..
    Still an above average effort and a very good one if you take into consideration the bands age… But nowhere near as good as the other post 2000s albums… except for “the final frontier”.. And that doesn’t say much.. In my opinion it’s still good (primarily cause it’s maiden) but I’d rank it their 15th best effort only above “TFF” of course…

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