Iron Maiden A Matter Of Life And Death EMI
· Produced By: Kevin Shirley

· Running Time:

· Release Date: Out Now

· Released: WORLD

· Musical Style: Heavy Metal

· Links: Iron Maiden
Songs: 95%
Sound: 90%
Good album - much better effort than the last one and an improvement in sonic quality also. In this case I have handed over the review to Mick Ward, whose metal reviews are occasionally featured here. He is a massive Maiden, fan, so who better to analyze this release. Over to Mick:

Review By Mick Ward.

'For the passion, for the glory, For the memories, for the money, You're a soldier, for your country, What's the difference, all the same…These colours don't run, from cold bloody war.'
Once typical barnstorming opener Different Worlds makes way for These Colours Don't Run it becomes quite clear that Maiden are out for blood. These veterans haven't sounded so bold, angry and dark, nor as energetic since in their 80's heyday. A Matter of Life and Death is a chaotic album of exceptional proportions, epic ambitious and brimming with certainty. It muscles its way in with such controlled aggression even repeated listens don't ease the burden of selecting the better tracks. A Matter of Life and Death is certainly the most consistent and convincing Maiden has sounded for a very, very long time!
The album mostly focuses on the chaos of war, but I can't remember when Iron Maiden has sounded so lyrically compelling. Not afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves, the band has delivered a stirring, thought-provoking album, one that never sounds forced. If the lyrics above for These Colours Don't Run didn't convince you, for credentials look no further than Steve Harris' For the Greater Good of God.
'Are you man of peace or man of holy war, Too many sides to you, Don't know which anymore'.
Or its closing lyrics…
'He gave his life for us he fell upon the cross, To die for all of those who never mourn his loss, It wasn't meant for us to feel the pain again, Tell me why…'
The progressive leanings on A Matter of Life and Death are out front and almost every song contorts and ascends into something that, while typical of Maiden, also manages to remain stimulating and unique.
Some may be disheartened by the longer than lengthy songs on offer here, but when considering the depth of each of these tunes, it can be appreciated why this is. Whilst The Pilgrim is a storming number reminiscent of the Powerlsave era that clocks in just over five minutes, at the other end of the scale The Legacy for example cracks the nine minute mark. Yet The Legacy is crammed with such impressive progression and brilliance it is worth its every second.
Song-wise the only possible glitch is the inclusion of the Dickinson solo sounding track Out of the Shadows. With its sly wink back to his very own Tears of a Dragon amongst others, the tune is slightly alienated from the rest of the album due to nothing more than sounding like you've heard it before. Other than that, it's a fine song. To put it simply each song on A Matter of Life and Death is worthy of mention and dissection but I don't have anywhere near the space here to do the songs the justice they truly deserve.
Take it as a given that each and every composition is magnificent and shows Maiden are finally moving forward while at the same time ensuring to respect their history.
The idea not to mix the album was wise. In doing so the album doesn't come across as over produced and remains raw and live, helping the band to sound tight and like a unit. And if on occasion Dickinson sounds like he is straining then that's good because he sounds real and better for it! He hasn't sounded this good, so cutting, so insane and brilliant in years.
The packaging is top notch (make sure to grab your limited edition with DVD bonus!) and it is quite fitting that while the album boasts some fantastic artwork typical of an Iron Maiden album cover, the band are photographed in normal attire in an everyday setting, no window dressing, just letting the music speak for itself.
The Bottom Line
An intense and challenging listen, A Matter of Life and Death is a noble effort that quite frankly elevates itself well above its contemporaries and a good portion of the band's very own back catalogue, Maiden having set themselves a new benchmark. It is an album that will stand well next to any Maiden classic and it is the album that has finally cemented the return of the world's number one metal band. Rejoice!
Oh, and on that subject matter of war… Here then stand the victors!
Recent Discography
· Brave New World
· Dance Of Death
· A Matter Of Life And Death

Line Up:
· Bruce Dickinson: Vocals
· Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, Janick Gers: Guitars
· Nicko McBrain: Drums
· Steve Harris: Bass

Essential For Fans Of:
· Up The Irons!
Track Listing
· Different World *
· These Colours Don't Run *
· Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
· Pilgrim *
· Longest Day
· Out of the Shadows
· Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
· For the Greater Good of God *
· Lord of Light
· Legacy

--*Best Tracks

24/05/07: Laurent -
Rating: 90
I have always been a casual Maiden fan and definitively not a huge Dickinson fan... However, I must say that I have tremendously enjoyed this album (as well as Brave New World). Maiden did not reinvent the Iron wheel but they once again found enough inspiration to deliver the goods. They might be a bit slower but I could not care less. The songwriting is still epic and the band is unparalleled in their style. After so many years and so many album I find it amazing that they still have so much great music in them. Respect.

21/04/07: ken ahl -
Rating: 95
this cd is just perfect.ive seen these guys 15 times in the past and cant wait to see them again. bruce sounds fine to me and the songs are great. cheers

22/01/07: Wes -
Rating: 41
How come no one is addressing the vocal work on the album. The old powerful Maiden is gone. I wanted to like this album, I really did, but the vocals bored me to tears seemingly sounding mid range, almost monotone on every track. "Reincarnation" is a good listen and there are some memorable riffs here, but I may never break this cd out again, though it does look cool sitting there in my collection due to it's classic Maiden style artwork.
Hang it up fellas. great run. I am going to go fire up some classic "Run for the Hills" to get this "Matter..." taste outta my mouth.

21/01/07: Zok -
Rating: 97
Iron Maiden never realease a bad record. And "A matter of life and death" is one of the best since "fear of the dark". But you must give this record time. It´s not a easy record. But when you have listen to it a couple of times it shows how good this is.
But my favourite records of Iron Maiden is Fear of the dark, Seventh son of the seventh son and Somewhere in time.

07/12/06: Steven15 -
Rating: 90
The best iron maiden cd since seventh son of a seventh son!!!!
way better than the last 2 releases brave new world & dance of death. plus it has a cool cover unlike the dance of death cover.
Bruce sounds great especially on out of the shadows...
check this cd out if you get the chance....

07/12/06: Jonas -
Rating: 95
Great release, the best since "Seventh son ...". A bit of prog and a great deal of Heavy Metal. Wonderful.

07/12/06: blake -
Rating: 9
i agree with splash777, this is poor,it,s on the same par as somewhere in time, i think it,s time to call it a day lads youve had your day.

28/11/06: martin -
Rating: 65
Great production - very lame songs - another wasted opportunity :(

27/11/06: Nolane -
Rating: 90
Iron Maiden prove once again that they are one of the best metal bands of all time. A truly amazing CD, with brilliance on display everywhere. Not quite as good as their last CD, the monsterously underrated "Dance Of Death", but another worthy and must have addition to the Maiden collection. UP THE IRONS!

26/11/06: W87 -
Rating: 87
With nothing left to prove and with their all-star lineup the band can have decided to play what they like best: long, story driven songs. The tracks here are self contained epics - often drawing on an historical flavour yet still disturbingly relevant. It is through the lyrics that the band's experience and maturity is most welcome; drawing a kind of respect from the listener that may have lacked in previous efforts. Of course it’s all helped along by the human air raid siren at the front. Bruce may have lost an octave but not at the expense of his enthusiasm or ability as he belts out commentary on fanaticism, war and death. All performances here are outstanding in fact, increased by the great ‘live’ sounding production that really suits the songs – Nicko’s “Alyoop!” at the start neatly sums up the energy and passion behind the music.

The ‘nothing left to prove’ attitude has its failings though. Many songs tend to drag at the start and in the middle; clever editing could have solved the inevitable feeling of impatience. The sing-along riffing is uninspired; though to their credit Maiden still do it the best. ‘Out of the Shadows’ indeed sounds like Bruce Dickinson’s solo work, and feels insipid by comparison. ‘Reincarnation…’ has an unusually heavy riff but is frankly boring after the third listen.

Ultimately ‘A Matter…’ plays like a cross between Powerslave and Dance of Death – one part soars while another is unremarkable. Iron Maiden deliver an album that stumbles dangerously between the lines of liberated musicianship and arrogant overindulgence.

25/11/06: Sava -
Rating: 89
For me, the best Iron Maiden album is "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son"...
"A Mater Of Life And Death" stands beside "Somewhere In Time" and "Brave New World" as one of better Iron Maiden albums... Very epic and progressive, little slower with heavier riffs here and there and with awesome songs!


25/11/06: Splash777 -
Rating: 40
Iron Maiden have officially become old. This album never catches fire for me. I waited and waited for the blistering Iron Maiden to come and play but they never showed up. The songs are all basically the same tempo. A majority of them start slow and move to mid paced. This gets tiresome after awhile considering the songs are incredibly long in length. Niko's drumming is lackluster all through this album. He doesn't once hit a killer fill. The best part of the band has always been he and Harris. They both just rely on past glories.
I don't find this album to be anywhere near their earlier output in quality. Sure the production is stellar but the songs are dull. You can call it a darker Maiden but, that's not true for the most part. It's a slower Maiden and that doesn't make them dark or brooding. Cracks in armor are showing large here and no matter how much I wanted to like this album its just not happening for me. Everyone has their own take I am sure. I can't recommend this album to anyone but the Iron Maiden completest who has to have it for their collection.

24/11/06: Red -
Rating: 90
Very impressed with Maiden's latest effort and it's easily the strongest of the 3 albums they've released since the reunion, imo.

24/11/06: RL - n/a
Rating: 98
Brilliant album from start to finish. The prog oriented elements since "Seventh Son..." have really been a plus to the band's sound & direction.

Saw them perform this entire record recently and they were spectacular.

As always, "Up the Irons!"

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