I have not owned or listened to any of Iron Maiden’s albums since 1988’s Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. The band went through a rough patch in the 1990s when it became unfashionable to like old fashion metal and key members of the band left to pursue solo careers. But prime-era Iron Maiden is back with Bruce Dickinson on vocals in this latest release.
A Matter Of Life And Death is a solid Iron Maiden album and surprisingly, I felt it closer in spirit to Maiden’s first 2 albums, i.e. Iron Maiden and Killers. The band truly sounds revitalized. The songs, however, are not as catchy in a singles kind of way as prime-era Iron Maiden, so none of the songs are immediately memorable on the first couple of spins. If you liked the “epic” Maiden tracks on the previous albums, chances are you will enjoy this CD; on the other hand, if you prefer Maiden’s shorter singles-oriented tracks, this album might seem a bit flat.
Most of the tracks are pretty long (6 songs measure over the 7 minute mark), but didn’t overstay their welcome. I actually don’t think the album is very “progressive” – there seems to be more riffing, keyboards are not prominent and guitar solos are not really all that abundant and long. I think these have all contributed to a more aggressive and heavy sounding album.
Star tracks : #4 The Pilgrim, #5 The Longest Day, #8 For The Greater Good Of God
Verdict : not essential Maiden though very enjoyable. Get their classic albums like Powerslave before this one.