I doubt this is a Maiden album many people would consider a masterpiece. The title track is EASILY the best part of the album. The atmosphere can give you chills on a cool night, and it’s got a great mix of power, energy, and spookiness. The album maintains the fast paced intensity Maiden brings, and it’s pretty long too, with 12 tracks lasting about an hour. When the riffs are good on this album, they’re REALLY good, too, as expected of Iron Maiden.
The album is just very tired sounding. Even if the tracks aren’t bad, they don’t have much ambition to them like most other Maiden albums that seemed driven purely by ambition. The forms of the songs are bouncier and much more simple than most Maiden tracks. It’s a frustrating album, to me. There are so many points where I’ll think a riff, or an intro is awesome, like in “Childhood’s End,” but then it turns into a simplistic bouncy little tune. I expect better from Maiden. Bruce, while never bad at all, doesn’t have as impressive a vocal range as he normally did to this point.
Favorite Tracks: “Fear of the Dark,” “Be Quick or Be Dead,” “Fear is the Key.”
In my opinion, this is an Iron Maiden album that you can safely skip over, and not be missing much of anything. Listen to the title track, and MAYBE “Be Quick or Be Dead,” but that’s about it. This was a very tired Maiden album, and doesn’t even really have that Iron Maiden feeling in most places. You might enjoy this album if you’re a hardcore Maiden lover, but I don’t think many people who aren’t absolute diehards will find this to be an especially incredible one.