RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls

Rating: C-

From the day I first purchased the album Killers in 1980 I have been a huge fan of Iron Maiden.  I love the Paul Di’Anno era and the Bruce Dickinson era (I pretend the Blaze Bayley era does not exist).  I own every album the band ever released in the USA and a few of them are among my favorite albums of all time.

Consider this my way of disclosing that it is hard for me to review Iron Maiden albums with any real objectivity, as I can’t help but like the music they make... almost any music they make...  That said, The Book of Souls could have been named The Book of Snores.

I know Bruce just survived chemotherapy for some sort of weird sex-tongue cancer and we should love the album for no other reason than to be compassionate and sympathetic; a golf ball sized tumor on your tongue either makes you popular like Gene Simmons or fairly uncomfortable while singing. The truth is this stuff is just ‘fair’ at best when you put these tunes next to what this band has done in the past.  Granted, by today’s sloppy standards the album is a B+; but to be honest and fair to you, this album, when applied to classic Iron Maiden’s standards, is a C- ... at best.

“Speed of Light” is the best song on the album by far.  “The Red and the Black” and “The Man of Sorrows” are also very solid songs.  There are no obvious clunkers on The Book of Souls, but there is just a lot of plodding along.

Sure, it sounds like Maiden, but it sounds like tired, ‘Iron deficient’ Maiden.  I hate to use this stereo-type, but it sounds like a once vibrant band getting older.  The album, as a whole, fails to entice one to worship it.  It fails to make one want to go back time and time again and learn the album like the back of their hand, the way other musical efforts they have released made us do.

There is nothing wrong with the album.  It’s Iron Maiden and their most rabid fans will eat this up like a starving man being unleashed at The Sirloin Stockade (for those of you on the east and west coast, that would be a mid-west grazing location).  For the rest of us, however, we will listen, enjoy a few songs, download “Speed of Light” and then the next time we reach for an Iron Maiden album we will pick up Piece of Mind.  That is just the truth.

Many critics will laud over this release, but The Book of Souls will be forgotten by most in about six weeks’ time.

It is not a bad album by any means.  It’s just not memorable...  and the title was.... ?

Disc 1
1. If Eternity Should Fail (Dickinson) 8:28
2. Speed Of Light (Smith/ Dickinson) 5:01
3. The Great Unknown (Smith/ Harris) 6:37
4. The Red And The Black (Harris) 13:33
5. When The River Runs Deep (Smith/ Harris) 5:52
6. The Book Of Souls (Gers/ Harris) 10:27
Disc 2
7. Death Or Glory (Smith/ Dickinson) 5:13
8. Shadows Of The Valley (Gers/ Harris) 7:32
9. Tears Of A Clown (Smith/ Harris) 4:59
10. The Man Of Sorrows (Murray/ Harris) 6:28
11. Empire Of The Clouds (Dickinson) 18:01
By Jeb “The Trooper” Wright