Man, the 80s sure had a sound. You know the one I mean – over-produced, that big and fat tone, full of synthesizers. All these metal bands went through that phase. And here’s where Maiden finally succumbed… sort of. I want to say the records before this were more raw – but that’s not right, they weren’t, not all of them, anyway. But there’s definitely something to this sound that is slicker. It’s Maiden… but different. Which is a good thing! Right? Right!
I should temper all of these comments by saying that I am hearing all of these records within a couple of weeks, so things like that really stand out for me. I’m sure that it seemed quite natural, at the time of their release over however many years, to sound like they did each time out.
Caught Somewhere In Time starts out like it could be any other band from the period and then bang! it’s off and running at full speed as only Maiden could manage it. What a guitar solo! Damn. Wasted Years is briliant. I don’t know why but to me it sounds like it could have been off one of those karate or fighter jet movie soundtracks in the 80s, you know? Not to diminish the song, it just fits perfect with that line of thinking. Great song – I like the lyrics’ sentiment. They’re totally right, of course. Sea Of Madness is a great fucking riff! I love how that bass is right out front with the guitars, just stomping away and then goes all slinky. I also like the middle bit, where the beat shifts to the off-beat and makes your ear work for it.
Heaven Can Wait is another tongue-twister at very high speed. The band just smokes their way through this one. The “oh oh oh…!” section cracked me up. Maiden from three albums ago would not have had that on a song! Whatever, I have either heard this song before (was it a single?) or it just sounds like a lot of other songs by other bands from around that time. Probably both. The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner just has a great title, as a jogger I love it. I’m learning to not fall for their lovely intro sections – it always blasts into a headlong high speed metal song, so I just wait for that! Cool. This sounds more like their earlier records. I like this one a lot. One of the better songs here (so far).
Stranger In A Strange Land. Is this supposed to be about the Heinlein novel, ‘cos I don’t really think it is. Maybe it’s just a cool title for what they’re actually talking about in the song. Shows the power of that book’s title though, eh, that that’s what I immediately assumed. Anyway, it’s another big full-on rock song at half-Maiden pace for the soundtrack feel I was talking about way up there at the top of this whole thing. And Alexander The Great is just epic. Wow. I love it when these guys do songs like this. It’s history, and huge everything , no holds barred. So fun.
I enjoyed this record, I really did. And this is still miles better than most of the other stuff out there, don’t get me wrong. But I like the sound before this better. Says the guy who’s new to all of this. In this day and age! Imagine! Well, I have Mike to thank for getting me into all of this.
And now for a real review. Mike really outdid himself on this one: