Metal Insider contributor Anthony Maisano is listening to a different metal album that was released on that day every day this year. Eight years ago today, Iron Maiden released their second-to-most recent album, A Matter of Life and Death.
This is Maiden’s second to most recent album. Out of the four Maiden albums after Bruce returned, this album definitely has some of the strongest riffs. Pretty much all of the main riffs of these tracks are really, really good. At the same time, it’s a pretty atmospherically heavy Maiden album. The themes, along with a lot of the more mellow riffs really give an entirely different vibe to the war theme that Maiden has always sung about. The light, atmospheric keyboards that accompany many of the songs just adds even MORE to it.
The choruses on this album are incredibly sappy. I can’t describe them as anything other than that. They definitely don’t pump me up and inspire me like classic Maiden choruses. I know they’re supposed to be tragic. About war and loss and such, but it just doesn’t strike me as moving, like I think the band intended. In general, the album sounds very tired in the first half. I believe they pick the energy up on the later tracks. The pace on a lot of the songs sounds much slower than the songs could have been, and had a better groove to them at a slightly faster speed. They could have kicked a lot of these tracks up a notch and kept that energetic Maiden spirit to them.
Favorite Tracks: “The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg,” “Different World,” “For the Greater Good of God,” “Lord of Light.”
This might be my favorite out of the four Maiden albums following Bruce’s return. I do think that there are places that drag on this album, and despite what sounds like a bit of bitching about it, this is a good album. It may not be ‘classic’ Maiden, but it’s certainly a fine later addition to their catalog. In any case, I don’t think this is an album you should write off, just because it’s a bit later, even if the album is far from perfect. Check it out, because there are some really good tracks on this album.