This is the worst Maiden album since, well, Virtual 11. I just feel that Maiden is running out of steam, borrowing earlier motifs, riffs and melodies. A band like Ac/Dc may be able to get away with it, but the mighty Maiden?
The album starts out lackluster, with the Wickerman "style" single "Wildest Dreams". Its not a bad song, but seems like a mix of "Hooks in You" and the Wickerman that is too close for comfort. The solo by Adrian Smith is what saves it from total mediocrity. The album gets better on the Murray penned "Rainmaker" which features riffs that sound very Eurometal inspired, as well as some tasty guitar work from Murray himself as well. "No More Lies" is in the tradition of "Angel and the Gambler" and "Dream of Mirrors", that is a song that repeats the chorus over and over ad naseaum (and like those other two, the song is in the key of A). This songs saving grace is some great dual guitar harmonies, which do bring this up a notch. Then is the mystical "Montesegeur", which is the song which recalls Bruce Dickinson's solo work the most, but also "Black Rose" era Thin Lizzy. The title track also recalls Thin Lizzy in a way, but also epics of Maiden albums past like "Sign of The Cross". Now the album really has a large downward slide into mediocrity, boredom, and very plodding "xfactor" type riffs, with repetitive choruses (and of course most of these songs are in E minor)! THis is where the Irons should have realized the difference between "filler" and "great music" and should have filled it with better songs. The production stinks compared to Brave New World as well, I am very dissapointed with this one, though it is still Iron Maiden, the band that made me pick up a guitar. Its still a good album, and I like to listen to it, but the problem is that it isnt up to par.