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"Somewhere in Time" is the 6th studio album by British heavy metal band, Iron Maiden. It was released in 1986 on EMI and produced by Martin Birch. The line-up for the album was Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar), Steve Harris (bass) and Nicko McBrain (drums).
When Iron Maiden released their first official live album with "Live After Death" in 1985, they knew they had to take the band a step further to evolve and ensure that the fans got their money's worth. What transpired was "Somewhere in Time", an album you may think is a concept after reading the review, but it really isn't. Gone are the standard 3 or 4 minute instant singles the band was noted for in previous albums; the shortest song being "Wasted Years" at just over 5 minutes long. Instead we have intricate, almost orchestrated monsters which are carefully laid out and slot together with such precision, you'd swear it was a classical music composition played heavy metal style. The album cover is a work of art that was three months in the making from illustrator Derek Riggs, with a futuristic Eddie at the forefront with the band members on the back and various references to song titles of the past and pieces of Iron Maiden history, like the Ruskin Arms, a pub where the band first played, Icarus from "Flight of Icarus", and a pyramid in the background, from "Powerslave" amongst many other intricate details.
The album begins with the somewhat title track, although "Caught Somewhere in Time" has an extra word compared to the album title. Written by Steve Harris, it's a song about a man who is offered time travel by the devil in exchange for his soul. The devil is tempting him by asking him if he could take him to the future, would he go. The song has some great riffs throughout and the solos are a joy to listen to and even though the chorus basically repeats the song title, it still sounds amazing as Bruce Dickinson's vocals are of the highest standard, and this is probably the best he's sung since joining Maiden. I love the melodic opening riff combining with Steve Harris' chugging bass after the intro, and when I first heard it back in 1986, I knew I was in for a treat.
"Wasted Years" was the lead single from the album, peaking at No.18 in the UK singles charts. The song has made appearances on Iron Maiden set lists on a rotation basis over the years and was part of the North American tour of 2012. It's a song that has meaning for most of the band, in that while on tour it's easy to forget who you really are and what your home life means to you. You go out on stage every night and bring joy to the thousands that come and see you play, and while that's meaningful in its own right, family has to come first. Musically, it's staple Iron Maiden. It sounds great and it's played to a tight beat - the kind of sound you get with a band that has so much togetherness. Some of the best soloing I've ever heard comes in on this record, and the song is definitely part of compilation mixes I create, even now.
"Sea of Madness" is a song that I can take or leave. It's good, but it's lacking something and even now I don't know what that something is. It's played well, there's no doubt about that, but what I think is its downfall is the over production of the song - it almost sounds too clean and nice - and that's something you shouldn't associate with Iron Maiden. It's about the failure of man to live up to the expectations of others. It was written by Adrian Smith, and what he's doing here is telling us that it's okay to turn your back and say enough's enough - it's your life, you live it how you wish. This is an Iron Maiden song that has rarely been played live but I know it has been, even though I've never witnessed it.
"Heaven Can Wait" has become a staple live favourite over the years and is a song about near death experiences, life after death and everything in between. The narrator has died and is going through the tunnel of light, but he cannot understand what's happened to him. Throughout the song, he tries to work it all out but he really doesn't want to go. In the end he's back in his own body, confused and tired, and wondering if his experiences really happened. This is a song I always look forward to hearing whenever Iron Maiden play live because of the audience participation on the chorus towards the end of the song. It's a fast-paced number but if I had to be picky, the synthesizer maybe could have been taken out of the studio version.
"The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner", written by Steve Harris, is a song about a young man named Colin Smith who threw a race in a juvenile detention centre that he would have won. It's a song based on the 1959 short story by Alan Sillitoe which was made into a film in 1962, starring Tom Courtenay. In the film, we see that Smith is way ahead of the rest of the group and comes to a halt just before the finish line, allowing the others to pass him. What I especially like about this song is the pace of the guitar stumming which fit the bill for a song about running. You can almost imagine the athletes running to the beat. Yet again, there's more masterful soloing just before the main bridge.
You would think that "Stranger in a Strange Land" was inspired by Robert A. Heinlein's 1961 novel of the same name, but you'd be wrong. Adrian Smith wrote the song after speaking to an Arctic explorer who told the tale of seeing frozen bodies of people that didn't make it along the way. This was the second single released off the album and reached No.22 in the UK singles charts and the cover depicts Eddie as Clint Eastwood. It's a slower song compared to most on this album but that doesn't take away the cleverness of the guitars jamming along with the bass over a great drum beat, and Dickinson sings it to perfection. This is one of those songs that's really good but it is very much underestimated by fans.
"Deja-Vu" is a song, as you'd expect, about the feeling you get of doing something that you think you've done before. It has some wonderful harmony and some timely drumming but I feel that the drums are a little too quiet in parts. Nicko has a great knack of playing his drum kit to the limit but never exceeding what's required on the song like some heavy metal drummers do. It's a song I've never heard live but I definitely hope to one day.
"Alexander the Great" is the longest song on the album, weighing in at over 8 minutes long, but what a song this is. It is about the Macedonian King who never lost a battle in his military campaigns in Asia Minor and throughout most of ancient Europe. It begins with some narrative:
"My son, ask for thyself another Kingdom,
for that which I leave is too small for thee"
(King Philip of Macedonia - 339 B.C.)
Then the song is brought in by some light military drumming and a soft guitar riff before the mainstay of the song is introduced. This is quite simply one of the best Iron Maiden songs I've ever heard, and I love the delivery of Bruce's vocals here. It's sung with passion and there's some very obvious respect for the great Macedonian. The bridge on this song is just wonderful and it's a brilliantly constructed number which is my favourite song on the album.
In summary, while this album may not be Maiden's best or live up to the expectations of "The Number of the Beast", it is still a very good record which no Iron Maiden collection is complete without. It has good memories for me, personally, as the first time I saw the band was in support of this album during the "Somewhere on Tour" tour, and I've seen them many times since. For me, this is the album that raised the bar in the traditional heavy metal community during 1986. That's not saying albums released in the same year like Metallica's "Master of Puppets" or Slayer's "Reign in Blood" and Megadeth's "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?" were no good; they're of the thrash genre anyway and ground-breaking in their own ways, but the stand-out metal record must be "Somewhere in Time".
1. Caught Somewhere in Time
2. Wasted Years
3. Sea of Madness
4. Heaven Can Wait
5. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
6. Stranger in a Strange Land
8. Alexander the Great
My rating: 9/10
Somewhere In Time was Iron Maidens 6th studio album, and the 3rd to feature the 'classic' lineup of Dickinson/Murray/Smith/McBrain/Harris. It marked a shift into more progressive territory, most obviously heard through synthesizers, something that had been promised would never happen in a Maiden album. Nevertheless it makes for a good change, and results in my favourite album.
Its my favourite for a number of reasons. One of them is the artwork. When you take a good close look at it you realise theres plenty of in-jokes on it. Amongst other things theres a pub called The Ruskin Arms and West Ham are beating Arsenal by a healthy score line. All are little jokes that appeal to the hardcore of fans. Also impressive is Bruce Dickinson. In my opinion he's never sounded better than he did on this album. Songs like Wasted Years and Deja Vu showcase this very well.
Which brings us to the songs. This album is a change from previous Maiden albums. Songs like Run To The Hills and Aces High have been replaced by more complex, longer songs such as Alexander The Great or Caught Somewhere In Time. It's still recognisably Maiden, and its still heavy metal, but its more of a thinking mans metal now. Thats not to say it doesnt rock, it still does, but you can tell they took a fair amount of time and effort into making the songs that little bit more adventurous than they previously had done. Some of this may be down to Adrians Smith increased presence, 3 of the songs are written by him, whereas previous albums were 90% Harris.
Whilst this is my favourite Iron Maiden studio album I wouldnt really recommend it as a first album. Live After Death, Number Of The Beast or Rock In Rio would do far better as an introduction, but once you've heard a few albums go and seek this album out. It contains real gems of songs that, before the current tour, were rarely heard. In a word - underrated.
Best Tracks - Heaven Can Wait, Deja Vu, Wasted Years.
I have written several negative reviews of Iron Maiden albums within the last month, so I justly felt it was time to celebrate one of the British band?s finest offerings with their classic line-up. This was the first Iron Maiden album to be released after my birth, although in my foolishness I waited seventeen years before buying it. I hope someone reading this will realise their mistake as well, and order a copy as soon as possible. SOMEWHERE IN TIME: 1986 Following as it did the over-ambitious World Slavery Tour, that saw Iron Maiden touring huge arenas across the world on 322 nights from 1984 and 1985, the very existence of a 1986 Maiden album seems something of a minor miracle. Speedy bass player Steve Harris and guitarist duo Adrian Smith and Dave Murray returned to Blighty with aching fingers, pseudo-operatic vocalist Bruce Dickinson suffered a minor breakdown towards the end of the tour, and as for mad drummer Nicko McBrain? well, he was probably alright. Iron Maiden?s increasing popularity and status as the biggest British rock band of the eighties partially stems from their dedication to their fans and their music, and the band were soon recording their sixth studio album Somewhere in Time. The extensive touring had clearly left a mark on Maiden, as the musical style of this new release was deliberately altered to a more melodic and progressive style, the fairly knackered band collaborating more on dividing the songwriting duties into manageable chunks: band founder and regular writer Steve Harris only wrote one half of the album this time round, the other four tracks written by the increasingly impressive Adrian Smith. The album doesn?t feel jumbled or discordant, and in fact is one
of my favourite Iron Maiden albums, but it?s clear that had the band taken a break before getting back to the studio, this release would have been noticeably different and more successful; its 1988 successor, the intricate and hugely popular concept album ?Seventh Son of a Seventh Son,? shows the level of grandeur that the Maiden of this era were capable of. STYLE The most noticeable change in the band?s style between Powerslave and Somewhere in Time is their decision to add ?depth? to their tracks with synthesisers, and this is also the first of several albums that earned the band something of a reputation for overproduction in an album; not an inherent flaw, this gives all the instruments and vocals a much cleaner and more polished sound than the more raw heavy metal of their previous releases, and this can be seen as either a beneficial or unimpressive change. It certainly suits the progressive and very melodic heavy metal of these eight tracks. In terms of impressive musicianship, this album is still overflowing with incredible guitar and bass work, and energetic drumming, while Bruce Dickinson?s vocals seem no worse for wear after screaming ?Run to Hills? every night for ten months. Every track is detailed and interesting, and for once the band made a decision not to release any shorter tracks: no song is shorter than five minutes. DESIGN The cover of this album is a departure from the historical nature of their last album, and regular Maiden artist Derek Riggs has clearly taken more than a little inspiration from the film Blade Runner in designing a post-apocalyptic version of the future, featuring the ever-present mascot Eddie in full cyberpunk Robocop gear, having shot dead a criminal in typically tongue-in-cheek violence style. The band th
emselves are drawn in handcuffs on the back cover, beneath a cityscape littered with sly references to Iron Maiden?s discography and personal history: if ?Aces High Bar? and a clock displaying the time as 23:58 mean anything to you, you?ve likely been sucked in to the Iron Maiden web just like me. In which case, you really need to buy this album. TRACKS Some fans see this as an attempted concept album that went a little haywire, but I don?t see any indications of that; the title track concerns time travel, but none of the others talk about anything remotely similar. Unless there?s something I don?t know about long distance running. Notes by the tracks indicate the writer, which I do find important on this album above others. 1. CAUGHT SOMEWHERE IN TIME (Harris) A little different from previous openers to the band?s albums, this is a reasonably long and complex track as opposed to a short, punchy affair, but it still has the trademark speed and incredibly catchy riffs. Dickinson utilises pretty much his entire vocal range here, from subdued gravely verses to full-blown high singing in the choruses, but it?s the guitars that are the real highlight of the song. A contender for Maiden?s most progressive song in terms of internal development throughout, this is a really great track, if a little complex for an album opener ? fantastic solo sections towards the end as well. ?Make you an offer you can?t refuse, You?ve only got your soul to lose Eternally? just let yourself go? 2. WASTED YEARS (Smith) The first track released as a single, this clearly has more of a commercial appeal but doesn?t suffer for it. Quite reflective but
still featuring the trademark chugging guitars, this is Iron Maiden at their lightest and most melodic, and it sounds great: the spirit of the album is not lost, as there is still plenty of diverse guitar and bass work, with an excellent solo, and this doesn?t stand out as a commercial track in the way that the later ?Can I Play With Madness? spoiled the style of their next album. I once read that Adrian Smith wrote the song and was unsure whether to show the band for fear of producing a ?sell-out? track, but the melodic chorus from Dickinson is so relaxing that Adrian Smith should be knighted (he plays a mean guitar as well). The lyrics are meaningful and hopefully inspiring, I know I think of them a lot. ?So understand, You?re wasting time always searching for those wasted years. Face up, make a stand And realise you?re living in the golden years.? 3. SEA OF MADNESS (Smith) Back to a heavier style, this is the most varied track on the album and remains unpredictable throughout. A very heavy opening and strong bass presence in the verses leads to a very high chorus, and all this is managed within five and a half minutes. I immediately liked this track, but it took me a while to fully appreciate it due to the diverse nature that may have hindered it from becoming a Maiden ?classic,? however anything regarding insanity is usually a winner in my mind. Some of the best guitarwork of the album, this is also the first track to put across a real sense of atmosphere with the subliminal synthesisers and excellent instrumentation; I?m not sure why this doesn?t seem as impressive as the band?s other work, but I really love it, and it has one of the most anticipated encore choruses in the band?s history following the solos. ?Somewhere I hear a voice th
at's calling, Out in the dark there burns a dream. You got to hope when you are falling, To find the world that you have seen.? 4. HEAVEN CAN WAIT (Harris) Possibly my favourite track on the album, this starts with a recognisable bass riff that leads into an illegally-catchy guitar riff which permeates the song, and this is also the fastest track on the album. Dickinson?s vocals correspond perfectly to the changes in rhythm and are incredibly infectious in the high chorus section. This song is made longer than strictly necessary by an instrumental section in the middle, but after a few listens I appreciated it even more with this addition, and it?s the perfect mix of epic metal and speedy, catchy rock to keep the listener interested in the middle of the album. With their earlier hits ?Run to the Hills? and ?The Number of the Beast? remaining the most well-known Iron Maiden tracks despite their simplicity, this is destined to remain one of the least recognised Iron Maiden gems. It even has a haunting ?woah? section that?s sure to go down well live. ?I?m looking down on my body below, I lie asleep in the midst of a dream, Is it now, could it be that the Angel of Death has come for me?? 5. THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG-DISTANCE RUNNER (Harris) Possibly my least favourite track on the album as it tends to drag on, this is still an excellent song with one of the best opening guitar melodies and a fast-paced rhythm that conveys the notion of a long distance runner very well. That this can still sound different from the rest of the album at this point shows how talented the band were, and m
y only real problems here are that Bruce?s vocals don?t inspire in the manner of other tracks, and the riffs are a little obvious; there?s still some nice stuff going on behind all this though, and I?d probably appreciate this more if I regularly ran and didn?t spend time sitting behind the computer desk writing about Iron Maiden albums. Oh well, it?s still got a fantastic guitar section in the middle. ?You reach the final stretch, Ideals are just a trace, You feel like throwing the race, It's all so futile.? 6. STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND (Smith) The other track released as a single, this is incredibly popular with Iron Maiden fans but it took me a long time to realise why; now it?s one of my favourites on the album. It begins very low-key in contrast to the melodic nature of the rest of the album and is highly bass-led, ensuring that the rather slow and reflective tempo is maintained. Bruce?s almost spoken verses make this very atmospheric, aided by the best use of keyboards on the album, and with its slightly darker and less polished sound it stand out as a classic. My favourite part of the track however is the anticipated repeat of the choruses after the lengthy but melodic solo section; this makes it all feel worthwhile. The subject matter is also very interesting, inspired by Adrian Smith?s meeting with a survivor of an ill-fated expedition to the Arctic that left his comrades frozen to death. Far from the often-held impression that Iron Maiden are a cheesy band. This is Adrian Smith?s finest ever Maiden effort. ?What became of the men that started? All are gone and their souls departed Left me here in this place so all alone, Stranger in a strange land? 7.
DÉJÀ VU (Murray/Harris) I love this track, it?s classic Maiden. Beginning with a very atmospheric and distant-sounding section of guitars and bass, the song then breaks into what the band must know is an incredibly catchy melody. Technically probably not the greatest Iron Maiden track, but it has everything that an Iron Maiden song should have: catchy, upbeat verses, high vocals in the chorus and some astounding guitar work keeping it all together. The lyrics are a little less impressive compared to the album as a whole, but that can easily be forgiven for the cheap thrills this track provides. It?s also the shortest on the album, and works excellently between the relative epics of tracks six and eight. I don?t know how they do it. ?Have you ever talked to someone And you feel you know what?s coming next? It feels pre-arranged. ?Cause you know that you?ve heard it before And you know that this moment in time is surreal, ?Cause you know when you feel déjà vu.? 8. ALEXANDER THE GREAT [356 - 323 BC] (Harris) An incredibly unsubtle way of reintroducing Steve Harris? love of history into the band?s albums, he once described this as ?the greatest Iron Maiden song never played live,? and it?s understandable why. Clearly an epic by the band?s standards, it does lack the character and catchiness of some of their other long tracks such as the incredible fourteen minute ?Rime of the Ancient Mariner,? a live favourite, although it?s a very good song in its own right. Beginning with some spoken word, it breaks into memorable riffs and a Great (rubbish pun) chorus, but it doesn?t get really impressive until half-way through when the guitars take a turn for the dark side and become very heavy and ha
unting, eventually culminating in one of the band?s greatest high guitar harmony sections. This track could have been executed a little better, but it does serve as an excellent end to an album every heavy metal fan should own. ?Near to the East, in a part of Ancient Greece, In an ancient land called Macedonia Was born a son to Philip of Macedon, The legend his name was Alexander.? VERDICT This is one of my very favourite Iron Maiden albums as it contains some of my all-time favourite songs, and although there are obvious reasons why it may not have lived up to the standards of other albums ? leading to its relative obscurity in temrs of Maiden?s albums ? I can?t notice any flaws. There is the usual lack of coherence in terms of subject matter, but if anything this improves the album as Adrian Smith is at least Steve Harris? equal in terms of songwriting ability, finally getting his chance to show it here. The change in style also keeps the band original, and while it may not have the raw appeal of Powerslave and Piece of Mind, Somewhere in Time still catches the band in their golden age before they lost a little confidence and effort in the nineties with the departure of guitarist Smith and later vocalist Dickinson. Iron Maiden fans would benefit immensely from this album, however I would recommend buying one of their more accessible albums first, such as Powerslave or their recent Dance of Death. The polished sound of Somewhere in Time compliments the excellent melody and power of the tracks in a way that its successor, the Seventh Son album, lost, and with a mixture of slow but still powerful tracks (?Wasted Years? and ?Stranger in a Strange Land?), large-scale epics with amazing guitar work
(?Caught Somewhere in Time? and ?Heaven Can Wait?) and incredibly catchy guitar riffs and choruses (?Sea of Madness? and ?Déjà vu?), this remains one of the best examples of why Iron Maiden are one of the meaningful and talented metal bands in history.
Although more well known records like 'Number of the Beast' and 'Powerslave' often get the plaudits as Maiden's best album, I think the award, by a hair, must go to 1986's Somewhere in Time. All of their albums (with the possible exception of the Blaze-era ones, good though they were) are very good-to-excellent, but this release is their masterwork. The World Slavery Tour had lasted for over a year, and had seen these legends of metal performing to huge crowds the world over. Bassist/bandleader/main songwriter Steve Harris (a legend) felt that a slight alteration of their sound was necessary, so, in conjunction with guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, introduced guitar synthesizers into the band's sound. These are apparent from the opening seconds of the album, on the superb epic title track, 'Caught Somewhere in Time', a song with all of Maiden's trademarks: melodic guitar passages, fast riffs, galloping bass lines, great drumming, and one of Bruce Dickinson's most over-the-top vocal performances ever. The song features both quiet and loud parts, has a characteristically epic chorus, and features blistering solos from the axemen. 'Wasted Years' is one of their best singles ever ('The Evil that Men Do' is their best single), and has one of Smith's best solos. 'Sea of Madness' is underrated; fierce opening drums from Nicko McBrain, a great riff, and an amazing breakdown in the middle of the song. 'Heaven Can Wait' was just tailor-made for concerts, with a memorable chorus and a quite unusual singalong bit. 'Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner' gets a bad rap I think; the opening guitar melodies are beautiful, and the lyrics are evocative and full of imagery (most of their lyrics are). 'Stranger in a Strange Land' is one of Smith's best songs ever, with a heavy main riff, a melodic chorus, nice breakdown, good drumming and another to-notch vocal from the 'hu
man air-raid siren'. 'Deja Vu' is Murray's co-write on the album, and mixes a heavy chorus with melodic passages. And closer 'Alexander the Great' is in the tradition of pretentious historical epics that Maiden are famous for (that's a good thing by the way!). Mood-setting opening drumming, great twin-guitar work, superb vocals, and excellent lyrics. 'Somewhere in Time' is Maiden's best album in my opinion, and definitely one of the best heavy metal albums of all time, if not the best. Anyone who professes an interest in hard rock and heavy metal needs this amazing record in their collection. A legendary band at the peak of their powers I think.
Somewhere in Time was Iron Maiden's first studio album since its epic World Slavery Tour which saw them embark on a 13 month long trek of the worlds concert halls and stadiums. As you would expect from a band in their prime and arguably at their most popular level ever Somewhere in Time doesn't disappoint and in my opinion is the bands best album EVER. The album saw them experiment with different sounds and in particular with synth's which guiatrist Dave Murray introduced to the rest of the band. Because of this Somewher in Time sounds very different to Powerslave or Piece of Mind etc. Its much heavier and has a much fuller sound to it, don't worry though the traditional melodic metal is still here. It is almost as if the World Slavery Tour has made the band come of age since, Maiden sound much more mature and in this time they went from very popular band to an immensely popular band with huge appeal to a wide variety of audiences and age groups. As with many Iron Maiden songs Caught Somewhere in Time has a slow start which then kicks in and has a fast bass with guitar riffs added on top of this. Bruce Dickinson's vocals are great in this song although one could possibly argue that they have been mixed into the foreground too much. The albums second song Wasted Years is probably my favourite Maiden song ever. It's got a different lyrical style to what you might expect, it has a very reflective and sentimental feel to it. The song is also broken up wonderfully by some great solo's form Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. There isn't a single weak song on Somewhere in Time however Sea of Madness probably isn't up to the incredibly high standard of the rest or at least the first 2 minutes or so aren't, the finish to it is great. The album also has couple of concert favourites of the band. Heaven Can Wait which when performed saw thousands of headbangin' fans sing along parts of it. The original recording was actually
sung by people in a bar from Amsterdam, although this may sound odd the part of the song which features it is stunning. The other well known song is Stranger in a Strange Land. It was written by guitarist Adrian Smith about an arctic expedidition who travelled attempted to walk to the North Pole but many died travelling there, when found later their bodies were perserved perfectly in the ice. Adrian Smith met with one of the expeditions survivors who explained the story and has since become an Iron Maiden fan. The songs main feature is the pumping bassline start, cool hi-hat work by drummer Nicko McBrain on every chorus and some killer guitar harmonics particularly during the solo. There are just simply too many good melodic peices to the songs to describe, every song is great. The vocals fit in perfectly with the song to and even if on ocassions the choice of words is average the sound of them when combined with the band is brilliant. The drum sound of Nicko McBrain is perfect for this style and sound of music too and put that with the almost stupidly fast bass playing of Steve Harris then very few bands come close to creating better heavy metal music. As with most Iron Maiden albums a ridiculously long song is provided and this one is called Alexander the Great which describes Alexander of Macedonia and his quest to conquer kingdoms from 356 - 323 B.C. in which he never lost a battle. The guitar riffs work perfectly for what the song is talking about and the atmosphere it tries very succesfully to create. Somewhere in Time must be an essesntial by for anyone who likes heavy metal or hard rock. It demonstrates the performing abilites of Iron Maiden and indeed the song writing ability of bassist and band leader Steve Harris but most importantly it demonstrates that heavy and loud music can have mass appeal, and can be commercially sucessful. Somewhere in Time represents one of the worlds best rock bands at the height of the career and the peak of their
popularity and while the band remain faithful to past glories they also take light steps in other directions which benefit both their own music and the whole heavy metal genre. Simply Breath Taking!
Undoubtedly their finest work, owing largely to the input of Adrian Smith. The addition of guitar synths made an interesting contrast of sounds. The use of keyboards on 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' was rather controverstial, and the addition of guitar synths here was a more acceptable sound and face to the band's stomping guitar image. The songs: Caught Somewhere In Time: A riproaring opening track, with some pretty good rhythym contrasts here. The strange guitar synth is noticable from the very opening of the track. Bruce gets his lungs out to good effect in the almost siren-like chorus too. Good stuff. Wasted Years: OK, I admit it. One of my favourite tracks of all time and possibly their best ever song. The descending speed guitar that Adrian uses is a work of genius. It's simple, melodic, and lacks the often discordant key changes heavy metal is fond of. Sea Of Madness: A contrast to 'Wasted Years' here. A rip-roaring ear blasting verse riff that truly does indicate some form of insanity, contrasted by a really very harmonious middle break. Nice. Heaven Can Wait: Bruce gets pretty unintelligible on this one, sadly, but the intro is pure Maiden. Lovely. Mix that with a lot of 'whoah woah' which is unusual for Maiden, and you get a rather good little number that knocks yer 'ead orf (go Eddie!) The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner: I think they were a little stuck here, as this is lyrically a very poor offering. Title pinched from another art form and a decent intro solo probably started this one off. Consign it to the bin with 'Quest for Fire' I think. The weak link on the album. Stranger In A Strange Land: Adrian again, showing his skill as a writer as well as a performer. A simple enough riff and solo, but they really work, mainly due to that weird guitar synth again. Deja-Vu: Fast, frenetic, and right out of the same basket
as half the numbers on 'Piece of Mind' with the added coolness of the great guitar sound. Alexander The Great: The epic track. The historical thing. Good track, an excuse for loads of good guitar playing and a little Brucey wailing, but by this stage, the whole 'Dune' thing and mythology had become a little tired. The album is held together by the Adrian Smith work. Compare it to 'No Prayer...' and you'll see what I mean. Stonkin' work.
Gollowing the mayhem of the awesome Powerslave album and World Slavery Tour it seemed forever before this album was released. I think the band spent some time recharging batteries before this one. Anyway, whatever they did worked cos this album is a stormer. Classic Maiden riffs and melodies throughout, Bruce's gutsy vocals at there best - it was awesome. The sleeve showed a renewed Eddie travelling time ona new adventure following his lobotomy on Piece of Mind and Mummification on Powerslave. I think this new role suited him more!! The first single was a strange choice - Wasted Years - not a bad song but not an obvious choice for a single. The title track, as is usuallythe case with IM is a great track, but for me the best track on the album is Stranger in a Strange Land. This album is a must for all IM fans, especially Bruce fans - you will not be dissapointed.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Caught Somewhere In Time
2 Wasted Years
3 Sea Of Madness
4 Heaven Can Wait
5 Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner
6 Stranger In A Strange Land
7 De Ja Vu
8 Alexander The Great