Dickinson, Bruce - Tyranny of souls 4/5

Reviewed: 5-27-05





Tracklist:

1. Mars within
2. Abduction
3. Soul intruders
4. Kill devil hill
5. Navigate the seas of the sun
6. River of no return
7. Power of the sun
8. Devil on a hog
9. Believil
10. A tyranny of souls


After the release of the woefully bad 'Skunkworks', can anyone honestly say they expected Bruce Dickinson to release such brilliant CDs as 'Accident of birth' and 'Chemical wedding'? I, for one, was shocked. Even Bruce's decent first 2 CDs pale in comparison to these last 2 monsters! With Bruce's reacclimation into Iron Maiden, it's been 7 years since the last solo CD – which is criminally too long. So, it was with much anticipation that I finally got to listen to his 6th solo CD, 'Tyranny of souls'.

Well, to get right to the point, the CD is terrific. Overall, it's very much in the same style as 'Accident...' and 'Chemical...' which is likely what most fans want. This is pure heavy metal with much heavier guitar tones than in Bruce's full-time gig, albeit not as heavy as the bass strung tones of 'Chemical wedding'. Once again, this CD's strength is that it neither tries to sound a lot like Maiden nor go out of its way to NOT sound like Iron Maiden. So, you have the odd harmony guitars here and there, and a few other touches of the Maiden sound (including the same vocalist, of course), but this still stands apart as definitely being a very different work from Maiden. One of the complaints I had heard about this CD is that it was more lethargic and mellow than the previous 2 CDs, but I am not sure I entirely agree. Tracks like “Abduction”, “Soul intruders”, “Kill devil hill”, “Power of the sun”, and more, have plenty of pep and are quite lively. There are a few “mellower” tracks like “Navigate the seas of the sun” and the title-track. Generally, I am among the first to cry “foul” when a CD is too slow or mellow, but with this CD the songwriting is at such a consistently high level, that I never find myself reaching for the skip button. “Devil on a hog” is noteworthy for having a catchy appeal that reeks (in a good way) of the 'Tattooed millionaire' CD. Its chorus is very infectious and I find myself repeating the song often.

There is one thing missing from this CD, and that would be Adrian Smith. Smith may not have had a major songwriting influence on the last 2 CDs, but his distinctive lead guitar style is definitely missed (by me at least)! Roy Z. is fully in control of the axe-work here, and while he is more than adequate, I would be lying if I didn't say I think this CD would be a bit better with Adrian's melodic licks permeating the great songs. This is a minor quibble, but I feel this does knock this CD to being slightly below the past 2 CDs in quality. Still, that leaves this as an excellent metal CD, and one of the best I have purchased this year. Bruce certainly continues to outshine Iron Maiden's merely good past 2 CDs with his sterling solo material. I certainly hope we don't have to wait 7 years for his next solo CD!



JOHN




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