Iron Maiden - A matter of life and death 4/5

Reviewed: 9-29-06


1. Different world
2. These colours don't run
3. Brighter than a thousand suns
4. The pilgrim
5. The longest day
6. Out of the shadows
7. The reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
8. For the greater good of God
9. Lord of light
10. The legacy

First off, know that I'm a huge fan of the last 2 Iron Maiden CDs, 'Brave new world' and 'Dance of death', so those who were never too impressed with those CDs may have a different outlook on the band's new CD ('A matter of life and death') than me. Although this long-running band has gone through a few changes over the years (most notably vocalist Bruce Dickinson leaving in the early 90s to persue a solo career and then rejoining in 2000), they remain one of the most stable metal bands ever and I've been greatly impressed by them ever since Bruce has been back. Their talent, effort and passion is as strong as ever and although 'Brave new world' and 'Dance of death' barely grabbed the 5/5 "masterpiece" rating, they're simply brilliant in my mind.

The band has chosen war as the main subject of 'A matter of life and death', but regular visitors of this site know very well that I'm not going to dive into the lyrical/subject matter and will instead focus on the CD's quality; For starters, I really feel the CD has a fairly strong start, as it kicks off with the upbeat "Different world", which has a good chorus and is comparable to the excellent opener "Wildest dreams" from 'Dance of death'. Track 2 "These colours don't run" is probably my favorite song on the CD as the tempo variety is nice, a good deal of melody is present, and it features some memorable guitar solos. I actually feel like this song would fit well on some of the band's strongest 80s CDs!

While track 3 "Brighter than a thousand suns" is decent, I don't really care for the main rhythm and Bruce's vocals don't flow very well with the music. The song does smooth out eventually however, but this is definitely one of my least favorites. Track 4 "The pilgrim" thankfully has a classic Maiden vibe and faster pace, surely one of the better songs. Though a bit too long, track 5 "The longest day" is another solid song and keeps things rolling in a positive way. The ballad-type track 6 "Out of the shadows" sounds like it belongs on one of Bruce's better solo CDs ('Accident of birth' for example). The chorus is exceptional and the song overall is a very fine addition to the CD.

Next up is track 7 "The reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg", which starts out slow, later picks up in stomping fashion, and is one of the most memorable on the CD. Though I like track 8 "For the greater good of God", I wish it didn't start out slow like the previous song. Still, it too is eventually upbeat and is a well written song that keeps the CD at a high level as we hit the hour mark. The final 2 songs, "Lord of light" and "The legacy", leave me with mixed feelings, as I like only portions of them (faster parts of "Lord of light" and slower parts of "The legacy" to be exact). So the CD doesn't end magnificently as Iron Maiden CDs are known to do, but overall this is a terrific CD and while it doesn't quite match 'Brave new world' and 'Dance of death', is surely recommended to long-time fans of the band. I now only wonder how long the band can continue their glory.




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