By the time Iron Maiden released Somewhere In Time in 1986, they had become one of the most well-known and successful bands of their genre. After releasing three classic albums, they made a live album, went on their longest tour, and did much more. By 1986, the band knew that they couldn't just keep on making regular metal. They decided to do some experimentation with synths. This was around the same time Judas Priest had released their epic failure Turbo, which also used synths, so Maiden were making a rather bold move. Of course, they didn't at all fall flat on their faces with Somewhere In Time. It's quite an enjoyable album.
Somewhere In Time was the band's sixth studio album, and it has a very, very futuristic feel to it. Everything about it makes it sound polished and advanced, yet this is a very good thing. There aren't any stupid moments, like in Ozzy Osbourne's Black Rain. Bruce Dickinson never once speaks like a robot, and never once is there a single song that sounds as if it came off of the movie Logan's Run. So, in conclusion, the album's theme is time travel/futuristic stuff, yet it's not an overkill in any way whatsoever.
Musically, this is one of the best Maiden albums I've heard. From the beginning riff of Caught Somewhere In Time, the title track, I knew that I was in for a treat. Adrian and Dave's twin guitar skills are superb, even legendary. All of the riffs have a more polished and futuristic sound, but in this case, it's a very good thing. There's not a single dull guitar moment on the album. Caught Somewhere In Time is one of my favorite tracks on the album, and the guitar really shows off on this song. The main riff is played wonderfully, as well as everything else in the song, from the main riff to the solo. The guitars are also very good on the song Wasted Years, because the fast and futuristic opening riff is very well-played. So, the guitar is definitely one of the best things about Somewhere In Time. It shines in every single track on the album. The bass of Steve Harris also plays a huge part on the album. He is one of my favorite bassists in the genre of metal, and in music in general. The guitars have more of an influence on the album than the bass, but the bass is still very noticable and involved with the music, unlike other bands/albums in the genre of metal. So the guitars and the bass are superb, but what about Nicko McBrain's drumming? The drumming on Somewhere In Time is not as great as the other instrumentals, but it is still very good. I never really payed much attention to the drumming on Maiden albums, but I know that the drumming is good. Now for the final instrument on the album: the synths. The synths play a very large part on the album, but they fit, and the synths aren't overdone at all. They are still very noticable, but there isn't an overkill of them. They do fit with the album, because they are the main reason that the album has the futuristic sound that it does. The most synth-heavy song on the album is one of the two singles, Stranger In A Strangeland, and this track is still an excellent song. So overall, the instrumentals are wonderful.
But what about the lyrics, you ask? Well, the lyrics are very well-written. Some of the lyrics deal with issues like time travel, while one song deals with the topic of Alexander The Great, and The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner is either about A) A long run, or B) A metaphor for life and it is similar to a long run. It's probably about neither of those, but still, the lyrics are very good, but they always are excellent in Maiden albums. Lyrically, I think I would prefer Powerslave and maybe a few other albums by the band over this one, but I still enjoy reading the lyric booklet to this album as well.
As for the overall mood of the album, some songs have a very upbeat feel and others have a darker and lonely feel to them. The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner has a dark, sort of lonely feel to it. I'm not a big fan of the song however, because quite frankly, it bores me. Heaven Can Wait is an often overlooked and lesser-known song, yet it is a very good song, and the mood of the song is sort of an upbeat yet sometimes a little darker feel. Wasted Years is similar. Upon listening to just a little bit of it, you think that it will be very serious and not very upbeat at all, but the chorus comes in and has an insanely happy and upbeat feel to it. Now that I have mentioned the chorus in a song, I do think that the vocals of Bruce Dickinson should definitely be talked about. The vocals are, of course, superb, yet they shouldn't have a whole seperate paragraph dedicated to them. Bruce is often called the Air Raid Siren, and there are many reasons. He can hit some very low notes, but most of the singing he does is a little more high-pitched than most metal bands. This is not at all a problem though. As usual, Bruce has an excellent voice on this album, as he does on most Maiden albums.
Now for a brief paragraph discussing the flaws. Most of the songs are a little lengthy, but that is not a problem with most songs, but with The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner, it is a problem. This track is very boring. It may not be THAT long at all, but after just a few minutes, I was bored to tears. Not literally, but still, this is very boring. It just drags on way too long. Heaven Can Wait is a nice song, yet it too provides quite a few boring parts, but overall, that track impresses. Also, the album just doesn't seem as enjoyable as some of the other Maiden albums I've heard, but it still rocks. And that ends this extremely brief paragraph on the few flaws of the album.
+ Title track
- A few boring moments
- Loneliness of the yada yada yada
Overall, Somewhere In Time is a superb album. The good extemely outweighs the bad, causing my album rating for this to be: