THE IRON MAIDEN REUNION ALBUM WAS RELEASED 20 YEARS AGO TODAY

The Iron Maiden album Brave New World turns twenty today. This is one of my all time favorite albums by the band. For me it is their last great album start to finish. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that they haven’t released good music since. I’m saying that they haven’t released anything, for my money, as strong as this album, top to bottom since. There is hardly anything I skip when listening to the album.

I can remember the day it came out, a Tuesday back then. I was given tickets to see the New Jersey Devils play the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup finals. I had followed Bruce Dickinson’s solo career. I actually liked what he was releasing more than what Maiden was putting out. Not that I hated X Factor or Virtual XI, they’re not as good. Albums like Accident Of Birth, and Chemical Wedding obliterated both of those releases. Guitarist Adrian Smith would join Bruce on both of those albums. So the concept of them both coming back enthralled me.

I rushed to the local Sam Goody before heading out to the game. To my surprise, they didn’t even stock it. I then raced to a Circuit City that I knew was on my way, and picked it up. Popped it in, and have loved the album since.

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO FOR THE FIRST SINGLE “THE WICKER MAN”:

The other question was what would they do with Janick Gers? There have been bands with three guitarists, but no one that I followed, especially not Maiden. They had developed a style of dueling guitars that most have tried to emulate over the years. So would Smith, Gers, and Dave Murray play on every song? Selfishly I wanted the classic tandem of Murray and Smith. Would one of them be let go? Could one of them leave on their own? But, twenty years later, all three are still there.

The second I heard the opening riff to “The Wicker Man”, I was hooked. But it didn’t stop there, each song going forward was different. It didn’t sound like the Dickinson solo albums, but it sounded like classic Maiden. Which to this day I still enjoy. Since then the band has in my eyes kind of lost their track. They’ve released a lot of great material since, but where “Dream Of Mirrors” is long and works. It is the exception to the rule. They have released a lot of long plodding songs that feel like a ship without a rudder. It’s labeled as prog, but long doesn’t equal prog in my book.

RELATED: TOP 5 MAIDEN LIVE ALBUMS

You can look at the technical proficiency of a band like Yes, Pink Floyd, Rush or Dream Theater. You can pick out aspects of their playing that are equally prog, or radio hit. Their playing has influenced prog bands, and even some have influenced Maiden. For example, tracks like “YYZ”, counter balance “Limelight”. I can make the same example for each of these groups. They have all released a yin (radio hit) and a yang (long prog song). Brave New World had “Wicker Man”, but then had “Blood Brothers”. One song is about four minutes and a half, while the other is over seven. But their both composed in a way that works.
 
The two weakest tracks on the album “Nomad” and a “Thin Line Between Love And Hate” are just way too long. Would someone like Martin Birch have allowed these songs to remain this long? I get the impression that Kevin Shirley does not have the same relationship with the band. He can’t exactly reign in the horses when necessary like Birch. That’s my impression anyway.

RELATED: IRON MAIDEN FEATURED ON THIS OLD ROCK SHIRT

I’ve had people tell me that I’m not a fan of the band if I criticize any of their work. I’m sure if you talk to the band members themselves, they may not like everything U.F.O. has released for example. At the end of the day, this is my opinion, and no one has to agree with me. It’s cool if you enjoy something that I or someone else does not. It is equally cool to like something everyone else does.

The first single released was for the track “The Wicker Man”. There is a section of the video that contains a bunch of different people dressed like Eddie. One of these people is Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navaro. Another is Jordie White, A.K.A. Twiggie Ramirez. He’s the former bassist of Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Circle. The track reached number four in both Canada and Italy.

THE ALBUM REACHED NUMBER 39 IN THE U.S.

The follow up was “Out Of The Silent Planet”, which got to number ten in Italy. The album reached number 39 in the U.S., seven in the U.K., and number one in Sweden. It was labeled gold in several countries, and sold 150,000 copies in Germany. Other albums have ranked higher on the charts. For example, The Book Of Souls reached number four in the U.S. But no other album has sold more since since the release of Brave New World. A trend found through the industry

I was able to see the band on this album cycle. The opening bands were Queensryche, and Halford.

In 2016 former lead singer Blaze Bayley accused the band of using his left over ideas. He hinted that riffs of his from Virtual XI were on Brave New World. He singles out the track “Dream Of Mirrors”, saying that it was a left over riff of his.

The Rock In Rio live album is a great companion, that helps me remember the Sunday night a Montage Mountain in Scranton, PA.

I still love Brave New World, it is still holds up for me. In my opinion it is right up there with the first seven albums. Iron Maiden is still along with Kiss my two favorite bands of all time.

Up The Irons!

Article by Victor M. Ruiz of Mars Attacks Radio & Podcast, and Galaxy Of Geeks Podcast.  Connect with him on Twitter:  @vmr907

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