Well, for some, I suppose the title may seem a bit of a deception or untruth. This post will most certainly NOT be about some ancient relic of a religious order. It is NOT about the latest B-grade horror flick. It will also NOT be a review, in part or in whole, of either fiction novel bearing the same name. It will, though, be about the latest collection of music from Iron Maiden.
The naysayers (assuming there are or will be some) may wish to dispute whether or not Iron Maiden still represent the “metal” genre of music. That’s quite a stretch from the days of my youth when they were reviled in some segments of society simply for song/album content and artwork like “Number of the Beast.”
[Extremely brief history] Iron Maiden had fallen out of my favor way back around the “Seventh Son” album and those that followed, regardless of the personnel changes in voice and guitar. Then, there came the much-heralded “reunion” album, “Brave New World,” and the retention of a 3rd guitarist. This was enough to recapture my attention through that and subsequent releases, up to and including “Book of Souls.”
In recent years, Iron Maiden has somewhat morphed into what some would classify as a “progressive rock” artist rather than traditional “metal.” Regardless of where you or I come down on that, they continue to put together some strong bits of music, across a variety of topics. Like many, I was anxious to hear this epic opus from the band.
“Book of Souls” is most definitely not a “soft” or “tired” sounding collection of songs. It certainly also isn’t filled end-to-end with galloping guitar/bass riffs.
Among the few annoying faults from “Book of Souls” (and I believe on almost every release since “Brave New World”) is the tendency to have written songs with ridiculously repeated choruses. I suppose when you get this deep into a career, it makes it easier to remember the words to such a vast array of material, but it is, as I stated, annoying. Case in point is right at the beginning, “If Eternity Should Fail.” “Speed of Light” has more of the familiar, dare I say classic, Maiden tempo and sound. It’s immediate popularity may have been drastically increased by the incredible video they put together for it: Speed of Light
The opening guitar riff of “Shadow of the Valley” hearkens directly back to “Somewhere In Time’s” “Wasted Years,” and the vocals even pick up the phrase “Sea of Madness” (the 3rd track from that album).
Suffice to say, this is an enjoyable listen for me, even if not immediately memorable like some of the earlier albums. I’m willing to propose that it is not a matter of the material itself, but of age (mine) and listening context and attentiveness. It just doesn’t jump out of the speakers and grab me. Not a disappointment, but not at the top of the Repeat Play on my devices.
As I didn’t give a comprehensive, track-by-track review, this may or may not be my last word on this particular album.