Iron Maiden are undoubtably one of the biggest bands in the world, ever. However, Iron Maiden haven't always been at the top of their game - in 1999, Iron Maiden's recent music was ill-recieved, what with having the singer that many thought to have embodied Iron Maiden - Bruce Dickinson - leaving in 1993, and guitarist and one of the band's principal song writers - Adrian Smith - having left in 1989, after the band decided to stop moving in the experimental direction explored in 1986's Somewhere In Time, and 1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and return to the more gruff routes.
Iron Maiden suffered, producing four sub-par albums in a row - two with and then two without Dickinson. The 90's were not a good decade for Maiden and their fans. The band had not made an album that was well recieved with the fans since Seventh Son, but suddenly, a miracle happend: Both Dickinson and Adrian Smith rejoined the band for a tour to support the Iron Maiden video game, Ed Hunter. The now six-person band then went into the studio to produce an album that was hailed as a return to form for Maiden - an album that many consider to be the best of their careers. That album is Brave New World. On this album, Maiden experimented to the full the possibilities offered by three guitarists, and some amazing drum recording that fully showed of Nicko's amazing foot speed - such as the chorus of The Wicker Man or the infamous triplets on Out Of The Silent Planet.
1. The Wicker Man.
This is a great start to the album. It starts of punch, fast and in your face, and the tempo does not drop for the rest of the song. Featuring an incredible guitar solo by the long-absent Adrian Smith and some incredible bass-drum work by stick-man Nicko McBrain, this song is considered by many to be the best on the album. Unsurprisingly, this was the first single off'f the album. 5/5
2. Ghost Of The Navigator.
This song sets the tone for the majority of the songs on the album - complex, with many intertwining sections, each with a different theme. A good song, but can tend to drag out a bit, could have done with being a bit more succint. Also, for you Maiden buffs out there, the verse guitar riff is ripped straight from the 1982 B-side to the "Run To The Hills" single, "Total Eclipse" (which was included on the album when it was re-released on CD). 4/5
3. Brave New World.
This song is a really good song, a semi-fast verse with a slower-feel chorus. Again, perhaps drags on a little - could have been shorter, or more varied to spice it up a little. These little setbacks stop it getting a full 5 marks, y'know. This kinda stuff is important. 4.5/5
4. Blood Brothers.
A great epic song, very emotional, and, while longer than both Ghost of the Navigator and Brave New World, doesn't drag on at all, due to a mixture of varied yet simillar sections (you'll understand what I mean when you hear it) and the raw emotion in the writing of this song - it's about Steve Harris's dad dying, you see. A fantastic song. 5/5
5. The Mercenary.
A good, fast paced, simple song. Could be considered filler, except it's too damn good to be called so. Bears more than a passing resemlance to The Fallen Angel, though - both are similar in feel and, arguably, tonality. Except that The Fallen Angel is better, as it is musically slightly more complex, and this gives it the edge. 4/5
6. Dream Of Mirrors.
Most people love this song. Personally, I don't. WHile it doesn't drag on, it's a little to repetitive, and the fast section doesn't quite raise the adrenaline to an extent that other songs, for example The Wicker Man, does. 4/5
7. The Fallen Angel.
See the comments made for The Mercanary - the complexity gives it that extra edge. 4.5/5
8. The Nomad.
A song that was orginally written for the album Virtual XI, but didn't make the cut. This is quite fast, with a slow section that evokes vast deserts with millions of sand dunes. I didn't like this song originally, but it's really grown on me since. More than worth it for the slow section, which the fast sections on either end of it compliment the middle well. 5/5
9. Out Of The Silent Planet.
My personal favourite song on the album. Triumphant and majestic, this song is undoubatly the album's high light, which, while it follows the album's multi-section form, is silky smooth in it's transititons, and the triplets on the bass drum are to DIE for - remember, drummers, that he's using only one drum pedal, and I guranttee your jaw will be hitting the floor. A shorterned version of the song was released as the second single from the album. A definite 5/5
10. The Thin Line Between Love And Hate.
This songs is a good way to end the album. Again, it has many sections, some of which are very much contrasting, but they all work really well together. A great song, some may consider it cheesy and/or schmaltzy, but it's fantastic IMO. 5/5
The Wicker Man
Out Of The Silent Planet
Overall, this album is a definite 5/5, with some of the high-lights of Maiden's career on it. A real return to form for Maiden, this more than makes up for the pit of dispair that was the 90's - when listening to this album, I can almost, ALMOST (but not quite) forgive them for the monstrosity of a song that was The Apparition.
- Gur Samuel
If you liked this album, try these:
Dance Of Death - the most recent album, and the one that came after BNW, it explores the sweeping multi-section 6+ minutes epics of this album further, coming up with some real treats.
Rock In Rio - the live album of the BNW tour
X-Factor - the best Maiden album of the 1990's, featuring Blaze Baley on vocals. The beginning of Maiden exploring an album full of epics, that have been continued on Virtual XI, BNW and DOD