Under Review

Iron Maiden

A Matter of Life and Death

Sanctuary/EMI

Review By Will Pedley


In a world where so many bands sound like carbon copies of each other, Iron Maiden sound like no one else and no one else sounds like Iron Maiden. The problem for them now, 30 years and 14 albums later, is that they’re starting to sound like a carbon copy of themselves. It seems a shame that they still feel a need to assert their individuality by sticking to exactly the same blueprint that their last two albums used, rather than branching out and experimenting a little bit. Especially considering they have two of the most recognizable musicians in rock—bassist Steve Harris and singer Bruce Dickinson—who’d never be mistaken for anyone else even if they tried. Their outlook is like a person in an argument who’s resolutely stubborn, never realizing that they’ve already got their point across and never opening their mind to another point of view.
Much of this album sees the band merely re-writing old tunes. “Different World” is a standard, straight-ahead rocker in the vein of “The Wicker Man” or “Wildest Dreams” on their previous two albums, whereas “Out of the Shadows” comes across as a re-hashing of “Children of The Damned”, minus the good bits.
It is a testament to their talent that in spite of their apparent refusal to let go of the past, they still manage to make what is, for the most part, a pretty good record. “Brighter Than a Thousand Suns” and “For the Greater Good of God” are both brilliant examples of Maiden at their anthemic best.
At a running time of 72 minutes, this album is much longer than it needs to be, and maybe if Iron Maiden had exercised some quality control they’d have another very decent album as opposed to a frustratingly inconsistent one.