“A Matter Of Life And Death” by Iron Maiden

Artist: Iron Maiden
Title: “A Matter Of Life And Death”
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 9/5/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

If there is one thing that can be said about the band Iron Maiden it would have to be about their consistency in delivering a solid plate of Metal for the contingent to enjoy. Fans of the band everywhere will definitely notice how fast the album came out after the recent product that the band had made available for them to enjoy. We had two live DVD’s that followed studio albums as well as touring that included the much talked about Ozzfest and its “incident” on the closing night of the Maiden appearances. If this is news to you, I advise you look it up as we are focusing on the new album here. “A Matter Of Life And Death” was produced by Kevin Shirley who at present has worked on the last few studio and live concert DVD efforts so his hand enables this consistency I spoke of earlier to show a little more prevalently. Stylistically you will find a lot of the Iron Maiden you have come to love over the years, as well as a few subtle new feels and vibe tossed in for good measure. The album starts off strong with that familiar Maiden kick and actually reminded me a lot of how they came across back in the “Piece Of Mind” and “Stranger In A Strange Land” days, with a youthful feel and energy. Those who have supported the band in album and concert know very well already that Maiden showcases more energy than bands half their age and it was nice to see a little bit of this early years feel happening. The album itself while tight as Nicko’s drumheads did not strike me as overly produced or mixed down. Harris speaks on the album being recorded as all others are done by being in the same room together but for some reason this one just felt a little different on the first and second listen. There is one thing for certain and that is that the band clearly works well as a six-piece now and seems to also have caught its stride. Many remember that axe-slinger Janick Gers was added to the roster before Adrian Smith came back and was not asked to leave. The potential for great leads and melodic shredding was increased and it seems to work well across the album. The three axe men are on point so kudos to Smith, Murray and Gers for this effort. Harris is well, Harris; truly one of the best Heavy Metal bassists in the business and a player who is the measure for success in both up and coming bands as well as some seasoned players. The drummer in me has always enjoyed Nicko’s playing and he does not disappoint on the record.

The theme of the recording is primarily based on War and its ramifications and ideals and politics around it. Leave it to Iron Maiden to give you a Metal album and always make you think about the subject matter. It’s a refreshing change from a lot of the run of the mill stuff and of course from contemporary popular music which is all about American Idols and Rockstars in most cases. My favored tracks around the album fall with the two openers the most with the first one simply being a kick ass track while the second comes as a statement for ones own national pride in their country and their military. The guys are on track with this release and Bruce Dickinson continues to shine with his usual style. I have to admit that I also liked this album more than the previous effort “Dance Of Death” – very simply that release did not catch me on more than a couple of songs while this one found repeat listens before I compiled my thoughts. I’ve always admired the bands ability to never deviate far from their original style and still be accepted by the fans. Especially in a musical world were some make changes that end the band entirely. When you come to think of it Iron Maiden is pretty much one of the rare exceptions in the eyes of their fans who want no such change or modification from them. The album comes out and the fan base eats it up with horns raised high and a hearty “UP THE IRONS”. Why argue with a formula that works.

Track Listing:
1. Different World
2. These Colours Don’t Run
3. Brighter Than A Thousand Suns
4. The Pilgrim
5. The Longest Day
6. Out Of The Shadows
7. The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg
8. For The Greater Good Of God
9. Lord Of Light
10. The Legacy

Official Web site: www.ironmaiden.com

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