Iron Maiden
Somewhere in Time


4.5
superb

Review

by Kevin Williams USER (14 Reviews)
September 7th, 2012 | 20 replies | 1,427 views


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Iron Maiden add to their sound without sacrificing what made them great.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

U]Iron Maiden discography - 3/15[/u]



When a band has just released a record widely known as a masterpiece in the genre, what they usually do is continue releasing the same style over and over again. “The first one was successful, so surely the next few will be, huh?” Well, fortunately, Iron Maiden is better than that. Instead of continuing to release more Powerslaves, Iron Maiden decided to experiment and build upon their original sound. The most notable change is the addition of guitar and bass synthesizers, which enhance the album and give it a futuristic, spacey feel. Iron Maiden is a good example of a band who knows how to experiment without sacrificing their musical quality for effects.

This may be one of their overall fastest albums so far, with songs such as Caught Somewhere in Time and Sea of Madness speeding along at a frantic pace. However, at the same time, it is their most melodic. There are slower and softer intros and interludes frequently, which is a trait Powerslave lacked. You may think that this would lag the track, but the exact opposite is true. The synth-led slower parts add a sense of depth to the tracks and give them more variety. A good example for this the gorgeous melody at the beginning of “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner”, which explodes into the fast verse. The complex song structures on the album are in perfect balance; nothing feels out of place. The album represents perfectly the yin and yang of heavy metal music: melody and power.

The instrumental work really stands out on the album. The two guitarists, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, never fail to come up with a great riff or solo that leads the track on the way to greatness. The solos in the first two songs are especially great, and are some of Adrian’s finest. Steve Harris’s bass-work is very prominent (almost too prominent, honestly). Some of the best work of his trade-mark “galloping bass” style are on this album. Drummer, Nicko McBrain, is also at the top of his game, delivering some of his fast beats ever. Overall, this may be one of the best showcases for Iron Maiden’s instrumental talents yet, if not the best. The lyric-writing is also very good, despite no showings from vocalist, Bruce Dickinson.

There is something notable about this album that is rarely seen in Iron Maiden albums, and that is the consistency of the tracklist. Other albums would always have a Quest for Fire or a Gangland, or some other track that didn’t live up to the other’s standards. There is no such problem here, because every track is excellent. Every song is different from the last, so the album doesn’t stagnate. But the tracks are not so different that they cause the album to become disjointed. This is something I look for in a record. The eight songs are separate, yet unified.

It’s difficult to choose a favorite track from the record, but if I had to choose one, it would be “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner”. This song has always had a special place in heart due to the simple, yet relatable lyrics, the previously mentioned intro melody, and the relentless speed of the verses and chorus. That’s not the only track that stands out though. “Wasted Years” is simple and quite radio-friendly, but is absolutely a highlight, with that famous intro riff and chorus that’s easy to get stuck in your head. The bookend epics “Caught Somewhere in Time” and “Alexander the Great” showcase the band’s instrumental and songwriting abilities, but in completely different ways. The former has more speed and intensity, and the latter has more melody. Again, this is an example of the record’s yin-yang, soft-hard quality. “Heaven Can Wait” is a happy-sounding song, despite its lyrics, and contains a “Ohh-ohh-ooh”-type bridge, handcrafted for live concerts. “Sea of Madness”, “Stranger in a Strange Land”, and “Deja-Vu” are also great songs, each with great choruses, solos, melodies, and other stuff.

Unfortunately, there are a few things stopping me from giving this five stars. A major problem is the album’s production. The album sounds as if it was recorded underwater. Every instrument sounds muddy and blends together badly. The mix is poor; the synths sound muddy and drown everything else at times. The guitars squeal too much, the bass is a little too high in the mix, and the drums sound flat and lifeless. Bruce’s voice is also a problem. Bruce is usually very good, but here, it sounds as if he had had a cold during the recording sessions. I’m sure he tried, but it didn’t work out this time. Whether this is his own fault or the fault of the production is debatable; I think it’s mostly the latter, because he sang very well on the far-better produced follow-up to this, “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”.

Although this record is often overshadowed by other classic Maiden albums, this is certainly one that should not be missed. The experimentation is well-done. The songwriting and instrumentals are at their best. (The cover art rocks too ;D ) Unfortunately, it is held back by the watery production and Bruce’s vocals. If there ever is a better remaster of this, I will not hesitate to bring this up to five stars.



Recent reviews by this author
Iron Maiden Virtual XIIron Maiden The Number of the Beast
Iron Maiden PowerslaveVan Halen Van Halen III
X Japan Blue BloodIron Maiden A Matter of Life and Death
user ratings (1701)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
ViperAces
September 7th 2012



12376 Comments


Amazing album.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2012



1842 Comments


Brilliant album and one that should really be hailed as a turning point in Iron Maiden's sound. The review was well written too, but the first half just needed a bit of proof-reading.

Digging: Black Anvil - Hail Death

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 7th 2012



5910 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is so addictive.

It is my first choice when i want to listen to these guys.

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2012



19970 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules.

ViperAces
September 7th 2012



12376 Comments


About the review, Bruce sounds amazing imo, and the production is good actually.
By the way, Iron Maiden had 2 "Powerslaves" before Powerslave.

TheLast7thVermicide
September 7th 2012



186 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Album owns hard, the material of iron maiden in the 80's is untouchable.

TheNotrap
September 7th 2012



7981 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

One of their best releases.
Adrian has a prominent role here, his best performance to date in my opinion.

Auto pos.


menawati
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2012



15786 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'When a band has just released a record widely known as a masterpiece in the genre' - not true, Powerslave had a lukewarm reception from press and fans alike at the time of release. They updated their sound on this one in an effort to stick with the times.

Digging: Synaesthesia (UK) - Synaesthesia

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2012



19437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good album. If you're gonna review their entire discog though why don't u do it in order?

Digging: Musk Ox - Woodfall

kwill15
September 7th 2012



134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Viper Aces - Maybe you have better earphones/headphones than I do or something. I didn't like the way it was done, but I know a lot of people do. At least its not compressed to god-damn hell like its remaster was.

@menawati - Seriously? From what I can gather it was very well-received.

Wikipedia:
"According to both Nicko McBrain and Adrian Smith, Powerslave began making Iron Maiden famous "very fast, very quickly," such as in Brazil, where hundreds of fans waited outside hotels and restaurants for the band."

@Atari85 - I like the randomness of not knowing which one I'm going to do until I pick it randomly.


Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2012



19437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ah, that's cool good review.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2012



15786 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I guess I'm thinking mainly in UK and US terms but from what I recall it was all downhill from Number of the Beast in terms of popularity and record sales. Maybe Powerslave broke them in south america tho (looks that way from that wiki quote). I think 'fear of the dark' was really big for some weird reason but then it all went t*ts up when dickenson left ofc.

ViperAces
September 7th 2012



12376 Comments


@meanwati Checking in Wikipedia the numbers are kind of the same.

mindleviticus
September 7th 2012



8162 Comments


The only iron maiden album I haven't listened to in full

ViperAces
September 7th 2012



12376 Comments


Well this is no No Prayer For The Dying or The X Factor but Im pretty sure you would enjoy it.

kwill15
September 7th 2012



134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Any more comments on the review? Was it well-written? I thought I did a good job on this.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2012



15786 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm waiting until you review Iron Maiden and Killers. If they get at least 4.5 I'll pos every maiden review you've done !

Nah jus kidding, ye enjoyed reading it. Good point about the production. Production has been poor on quite a few maiden albums, they sound very 'middly' sometimes. ya know a hollow bottom end, muddy high end and loads in the middle eq bands.

kwill15
September 7th 2012



134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

haha, i've never been as much of a Di'Anno fan as I am a Dickinson fan, but both are great albums.

I can't wait to review the Blaze albums hehe

ViperAces
September 8th 2012



12376 Comments


Dont be harsh they are decent.

teamster
September 8th 2012



60 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My favorite Maiden album and one of my favorite albums EVER. Thanks for the review - "galloping bass" - a perfect adjective...

Stranger in a Strange Land is the best song, love the bluesy feel!



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy