Ginger Nuts of Horror
The first thing I think of when someone mentions Iron Maiden is the cheeky image of Eddie the Head who has fascinated me ever since I was a young girl. In truth, when I was little, he frightened me a little. I don’t even remember where I first saw him, but he’s been in my life off and on for quite some time. Which is funny, because my parents aren’t exactly metal heads. My mom prefers Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley and a whole string of caterwauling Country singers. (Though I have to give her credit for introducing me to Bob Marley as a kid)
I do like a bit of Metal. I’m no stranger to Pantera, Rammstein, Alice in Chains, White Zombie, Sepultura and System of a Down, to name a few of my favourites. I even like the ‘uncool bands’ like Korn and Aerosmith. So it’s actually quite funny to think that I don’t really know Iron Maiden’s music. They have, after all, been a really big part in the development of the Metal scene.....
There was a lot of choice of Iron Maiden albums for me to listen to and discuss; I picked the Book of Souls. The choice was purely based on the title, and by no means an educated one. I guess it spoke to my inner writer. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenge for me to give an opinion on music. In the past, I’ve had experience with writing reviews for books, movies and games, but never music.
It has to be said that I have the musical talents of a chimpanzee with a rock and a triangle, so I can’t criticize or praise the melodic qualities of anything. So everything I say now, is just my personal opinion.
The book of Souls cover shows a more ‘tribal’ version of Eddie, that immediately makes me think of Voodoo. The lyrics in the album are rather poetic, and have a certain ‘epic sense’ to them. They don’t just speak of love—which seems to be the theme of a lot of songs in the history of music—but they speak of the hopes and fears of mankind. Listening (and partially reading, since I can’t always understand what Bruce Dickinson sings) to the words, there’s an almost religious feeling to the songs, without being biblical. I can’t even tell you which religion it reminds me off, since there seems to be a mixture of symbolism. The songs speak both of Angels, Demons and multiple Gods. I think it’s fair to say the band just embraces every belief.
The music itself changes quite a bit from time to time, pulling the listener along in a sea of notes that can be calm at one moment, and stormy the next. Even though this album was made in 2015, the music definitely has a more ‘classic rock’ feeling to it. I think it’s the combination of the type of music and the way the vocalist’s voice is almost a contrast with the tunes. His voice isn’t very raw, like you often hear in more modern metal, but clear and somewhat eloquent. There’s no ‘grunting’.
The song ‘Empire of Clouds’ is a perfect example to what I mean. It starts off with a rather dignified beat, that reminds me of a song that urges men to war, which makes the song sound ‘old worldy’
Listening to this album I have learned that I won’t be an Iron Maiden fan. I don’t mind the music, but I’m just rather neutral about it. It’s the kind of sound that I’m okay with if it’s on in the background, but it doesn’t move me, as much as it should. I love the image (persona) they have created for themselves, and Eddie the Head speaks to my imagination. The lyrics could be something from my own poetry book when I was a teen, so I can really relate to the storytelling element to their songs. And yet… where other bands pull at my heartstrings, and draw me into their music… Iron Maiden just doesn’t. I respect them for who they are, what they have done for the world of metal, but that’s where my love for them ends.