Review Summary: Give it credit- it's got the heart of a lion after all.
I have listened to this album front to back several times. It was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, if the most anticipated for me. I was excited to hear it since it got announced back in July, with 8 days until the Maiden concert I was going to. I have been a huge fan of the band since 2006 and have seen them three times live, own pretty much everything with their name on it, and regularly listen to "Seventh Son" and several other of their albums front to back on a regular basis. I even own every Bruce solo effort, every ASAP and Untouchables album, and H's side project "Primal Rock Rebellion"...
...but I just can't get into this album. I really don't know what it is about it. There's very few tracks I'd consider weak, they're almost all pretty good. But, it leaves me feeling cold every time I hear it.
This Is My God: Dull track. Zero energy and super repetitive. Taylor's vocals aren't as bad as everyone says, he is just fine on this album and at times reminds me of Bono. But this track just bores me. The music video isn't much better, but at least Steve shot the music video in parts of my home province, Alberta. 2/10
Lost Worlds: Not bad. In a way, reminds me a bit of latter-day Rush. I like the lyrics and heavy feel of the tune. The chorus in particular is amazing and manages to add the kick this song needed, in a way. 7/10
Karma Killer: here's an interesting track. It reminds me of Gods of War, from Bruce's "Balls to Picasso" album. It has a heavy feel, and the chorus is very Maiden like. "Karma killaaaahhh, cannot get enough..." It's a tad on the repetitive side, but it's fun and catchy. 7/10
Us Against the World: Decent tune, I'll listen. But put it on a Maiden album and I'd hit the skip button. 6/10
The Chosen Ones: This song heavily rips off bands like The Who and Boston, but that's alright, because I just so happen to like both. It carries on for a minute longer than it should and does tend to repeat itself too much. I still like the tune. Very fun and catchy.
A World Without Heaven: this is my favourite track on the album. It wouldn't be out of place on Virtual XI (I like that album a lot, deal with it) and it has an epic feel, the chorus especially still sticks in my head long after the song is done. A great effort, 10/10
Judas: boring 2/10
Eyes of The Young: not a bad tune. Reminds me a bit of a song you'd hear off of The X Factor. It is a bit too repetitive though, 6/10
These Are The Hands: my second favourite tune. It has a nostalgic feel and takes me back to better times, for better or worse. Catchy hook and some epic bass from Steve Harris himself. 7/10
The Lesson: Gothic tinged ballad. A good way to close the album on a subdued note, I must say I really dig the strings and violins in the background. 7/10
First off, I guess we should be glad that Arry didn't do what most did when people go off on different tangents, you know how they make inexplicable dubstep music and what not. And thankfully this album is better than that unholy mess, "Awoken Broken" by a certain side project by H which shall remain unnamed (sorry H, I really do love you and all, but being in a nu-metal band isn't working out for you), but this album, as I stated above, leaves me feeling empty.
Part of it is because the album didn't have any staying power outside of "A World Without Heaven". That's a song I'd willingly put on my iPad and play over and over. After listening to the album, all but the above stated track pretty much went in one ear and out the other. It's not so much the fact that the tracks are bad. Aside from "This is My God" and "Judas", the tracks don't really stand out.
I dont own a copy of the album, but rather I listened to it 5 times during the listening party on the official Iron Maiden site. And since I own all other things with Arry's namesake, I probably will end up buying it, at least when the price comes down.
***worthwhile, but know what you're getting yourself into first***