So, this is it chaps. The talking has to stop. The dreaming must end. All the hope, ambition, belief and uncertainties that have surrounded the album must now be pushed aside by harsh reality.
Iron Maiden have to be prepared to stand or fall. Not through rhetoric, nor through their reputation as a live band so enhanced by their all too brief Euro-American tour last year, but on the strength of Brave New World. Now, they face their moment of truth. Now heavy metal faces its hour of reckoning. Never before in the field of metallic conflict has so much been expected of so few….in short, we all need a bloody good Iron Maiden record. ‘We’ being all of us who love this type of music.
So, what have we got? This isn’t ‘a bloody good Iron Maiden record’. Oh no, it’s far more. What we have here is a clarion call to arms, a rousing resurrection of that brings sharply into focus what some of us have been saying for the past few months: heavy metal is back – bigger, bolder, brighter, better than for years.
So, time to get down to business. Strap yourselves in, things are about to accelerate beyond your wildest imaginings. What you first must bear in mind is that the clear-eyed production from Kevin Shirley has accentuated the band’s obvious hunger. Not since the days of The Number Of The Beast – when Bruce Dickinson first rid himself of that ludicrous, posturing Bruce Bruce stage name and threw in his lot with Harris’ Marauders – have the band have such much to prove. And their appetite and desire here is equal to the occasion and demands.
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You can really feel them biting into opener The Wicker Man, that trademark galloping chorus thankfully backed up by the sense that the six are once again riding towards the sound of cannon fire, rather than shying away from meeting the menace of complacency head on and this is one of the album’s weaker tracks! The same can be said of the sabre rattling The Fallen Angel. No, BNW is at its best on he longer tracks.
Between them Blood Brothers, with its surprising puffed-up celtic heartbeat, Dream Of Mirrors – arguably the best Maiden song in more than a decade – and The Thin Line Between Love And Hate take up nearly half of the album’s 67 minute running time. Yet, at no point do you feel as if the point is being stretched. These are majestic Maiden moments to be treasured.
All of which means this is easily the best Iron Maiden album in years. Certainly the most important metal album in eons. ‘Have you ever thought the future is the past?’ sings Dickinson on Dream Of Mirrors. How true, because once again we can proclaim Maiden’s supremacy – just like the old days.