I am profoundly glad that Bruce Dickinson is back in Iron Maiden. I don't mind that Adrian Smith is back, either. This is probably Iron Maiden's strongest line-up ever (and that includes the future), which has now committed to tape their, well, reunion album, "Brave New World".

The first thing that struck me was the sound. It's not that excellent, actually. I fear Kevin Shirley's input must have somehow been curtailed by co-producer Steve Harris, for the drums sound too flat and the guitars don't sound as heavy as they might have. Having said that, I would like to proclaim that "Brave New World", despite its not entirely state-of-the-art production, is Maiden's best album by far since "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son". It's classic, just about instantly recognisable, Iron Maiden. People have said that Bruce Dickinson is in tip-top shape, and indeed he is.

Clocking at well over an hour, "Brave New World" features 10 semi-long to long tracks, amongst which there are some genuine corkers. "Blood Brothers" is a particularly fine one, for example, well written, well sung, and supplied with a tasteful touch of orchestration. "Dream of Mirrors" is a good track as well, though it starts off rather naff IMO. "The Fallen Angel" is excellent, and "The Nomad" lends the album an extra touch with its eastern-sounding guitar work and fine arrangements. Except for the closing track, "The Thin Line Between Love and Hate" (which is just too predictable and somehow too familiar), there are no lesser tracks on "Brave New World".

Maiden are back, and I hope they're back to stay.

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Written June 2000


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