|Bruce Dickinson Tyranny Of Souls||Sanctuary Records|
Review by Mick Ward.|
Accident of Birth was a classic. Skunkworks - although a departure - was one of the most underrated albums of the 90's and came at a time where I think it's safe to say Dickinson was still searching for a true identity. But then came Accident which was the true master finding himself again having returned to the genre from which he originated, and hence delivering one of his finest moments. Its follow up Chemical Wedding quite rightly received critical acclaim and it was then odd to find Bruce's next release was a greatest hits affair. Considering he was the key that brought about the successful reformation of the classic Maiden lineup, surely another well received solo album would have solidified the Dickinson onslaught, but instead it seemed good fortunes were to be the order of the day.
It may be a little belated but I'm happy to report that the release of Tyranny of Souls does nothing but show Dickinson is still in fine form as the album itself is up there with his best work. I therefore find it baffling to see early opinions of this album so varied. For fans of Dickinson to rate Tyranny of Souls a 6/10 is confusing to say the least. What on earth are these people hearing? What on earth were they expecting? To put it simply, although Tyranny of Souls may not threaten either of Bruce's previous efforts, it does on the odd occasion rear its head above the highlights of those very albums, but not often enough to be labeled equal.
The Intro to Tyranny is appropriately haunting and lead track Abduction kicks off sounding like a cross between Silver Wings and any track off the Chemical album, and pretty much sums up what's in store. Heavy, pacey, and straight to the point. Track two is one of those mentioned classics that rears itself above the pack matching anything Dickinson has penned in recent times, the verse thumps away sounding pure metal with what I think is a nod toward Accident's The Magician. Splendid stuff.
Things slow down with Kill Devil Hill, but mellow not. Perhaps not in speed but in delivery and lyric Kill Devil Hill is one of the heaviest tracks on offer here. Its atmosphere and lyric are engaging and this is becoming a favorite, its lyrics about crash landing an airplane into a hill (or something like that) manage to be anything but cheesy.
Next track Navigate The Seas of the Sun is my one and only gripe, an acoustic tune similar to previous works such as Man of Sorrows (less the bombast) Omega, Gates of Urizon or perhaps Tears of the Dragon (again less the bombast). Here's my gripe. This is a decent enough song and actually for want of a better word is interesting. But the necessity to include such a song yet again is a little tiring particularly when to be honest Navigate is not even close to those already mentioned tracks. Lyrically it's cool, I just find its inclusion unnecessary. Small gripe!
River of No Return is quite the turn around, its intro takes me back to 70's rock and purely for being that little different it's a true stand out. Power of the Sun is a simple rocker, a fantastic song that would not have been out of place on Brave New World had it been given that Maiden/Harris twist. Devil on a Hog is one of the best songs on offer here.
Devil on a Hog would have fitted nicely on Tattooed Millionaire, its brave return to classic rock riffing and its glorious chorus captures everything that was gold about the 80's and early 90's before the big change. Although Devil on a Hog doesn't fit Bruce's traditional output since Accident, it's likely the classiest and catchiest thing on Tyranny. Worth the price alone!
Bringing Tyranny in for landing are Believil, another slower track with a big fat chorus, not great but very much welcome, and last but not least the finale, evil sounding Tyranny of Souls which boarders on Epic, is another track that on occasions rears its head above the pack. Again, great stuff!
[I have to agree….I am not sold on all Dickinson solo work, but personally speaking find this a highly enjoyable, well played and well executed record. And to boot, sonically it's 100 times cleaner than the last Iron Maiden album. Cool record – Andrew]
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