Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Iron Maiden-Somewhere in time, 1986

Background-When Powerslave came out in early 1984, Iron Maiden were big, but not huge. Their long World Slavery tour ended in the summer of 1985. They then released the double live effort Live after death in late 1985 and it was very successful. So by the fall of 1986 they were huge and they were set to release their first studio effort in two and a half years. I think that more than ever there were expectations on Maiden because they had become one of the truly big metal bands of the time. The other factor may have been that in between the release of Powerslave and the release of Somewhere in time, metal had changed. Speed Metal had really grown and bands were popping up all over the place in 1985 and early 86. Also bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Metal Church and Slayer were now even on major labels and their heavier, faster style of metal was catching on.

First impression- I first heard this the week it came out and I liked it a lot, but it wasn't as good as I had hoped. Whether you call it more commercial or more accessible, it was decidedly lighter than any of their previous efforts. It has grown on me over the years though.


Caught somewhere in time-The opening riff comes on and it's actually somewhat simple, but the song moves ahead with a great pace and you get sucked in by it's momentum. Really strong vocals on this one.

Wasted Years-The music is solid, but a little light. Overall very sharp with some slick vocals and it moves along nicely.

Sea of madness-Almost a leisurely start to this track. It's smooth, but not as interesting as I might like. It never quite takes or tries to do a lot so it comes across as a bit of a filler track. I like the chugging bassline a lot, but not a real memorable song.

Heaven can wait-A simple, but tight riff starts this one off. The music is a little bit simple for Maiden, but some nice vocals and the chorus will stick in your head for a while.

The loneliness of the long distance runner-I love the quick pace change at the beginning. You can almost feel like you are running and picking up the pace along with the song. It has a different type of feel to it, but you can tell that the band is very comfortable with it.

Stranger in a strange land-Kind of a thick chunky sound to the music, but not exactly heavy. Starts out decent, but after about two minutes it begins to drag a bit and really overstays it's welcome for me.

Deja Vu- Wow, this song is way better than I remember. Not as heavy as maybe it could have been, but that's not important. The pace is good, but what's more important to the success of this song is how is how the changes are punctuated. The band manages to be ultra smooth, but still have a nice edge going at the same time with this song. Very nice.

Alexander the great-The epic song on this album and it is just very tight overall. The music and vocals are so strong that I get very vivid images of what this song is about. I don't think for a second that this is as easy as it may sound.

Verdict/Final Word-
Some of the songs took on a very different tone from their previous works. I don't blame them for trying something different, but as a fan I can't say that I was thrilled by every song. Still it is overall very, very good. It's probably their fifth best album, but considering who we are talking about that is still an honor. I think it still holds up well. Like most of Maiden's material it doesn't sound dated even 20 years later.

***Next Month's 20 year album review will be Metal Church's the dark. It will also be part of a theme week which will be "Underrated band week". That will be in June.

***I was going to take Thursday off, but I thought of a question concerning Iron Maiden so I will post that tomorrow.


Blogger David Amulet said...

I am with you on this one, whihc often gets panned by seasoned fans for marking a turn toward less heavy, more melodic Maiden. But I think it's a turn that they made work.

-- david

4:22 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I agree with your accessment of Iron Maiden standing up to the test of time. Their music always sounds fresh to me.

5:13 AM  
Blogger FredCQ said...

I loved this album. It seemed to be the more musically technical than the albums before it. Every thing from the cover to the songs were executed with exacting detail. I think that most Maiden albums that came after this were a bit of a disappointment when held up to Somewhere in Time, even Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. They seemed to go on autopilot for the next few albums with No Prayer for the Dying being the worst of the upcoming Maiden releases.

It would be cool if you could do a review of No Prayer for the Dying and let us know if you think that it has gotten better with age.

6:02 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Iron Maiden...some of the best artwork on their covers too. Kick ass.

Did anyone catch The Def Leppard story on VH1? Kinda cheesy, but interesting to see how they came up.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Fred-I might just give No prayer for the dying a shot this summer. I have not heard the entire album in at least seven years although I do own it. I normally just listen to Tailgunner, Holy smoke and Asassin.

Phoenix-I spent way too much of my youth staring at Iron Maiden and Black Sabbth album covers. Actually I was staring at the Somewhere in time cover while I listened to it.

9:31 AM  

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