on November 16, 2005
It's interesting, most people seem to think that Iron Maiden went into an artistic decline in the 90's, but no one seems to talk to much about why, other than that they don't like Blaze. Still, before Blaze showed up this band had become pretty different from the classic Iron Maiden, even if they still were the same basic subgenre. Here they started to move in the semi-epic, pseudo-prog metal direction that has defined their style ever since. It's certainly not as far as they would go in later albums, but that's definitely the direction they're heading. This album also has a bit more of a hard rock flavor to it, which is pretty weird. Overall it's pretty good, but with probably only 1 legitimately great song, and too many tracks. (If a metal album has over 10 tracks it almost certainly has too many.)
'Fear of the Dark' is the legitimately great track, and it is indeed awesome. A nice memorable, galloping epic well worthy of being named with all their other great epics. 'Be Quick Or Be Dead' is a solid speed metal number. Not their best thing, but solid. 'From Here to Eternity', 'Chains of Misery' and 'Weekend Warrior' are all lighter, hard rock-ish rockers. None of them is bad, particularly 'Weekend Warrior', which is very catchy, but they're all a bit cheesy and certainly not up to IM's standards. The album has a weird stretch of semi-epics and ballads stretching from tracks 3 thru 6. (This is the part of the album which particularly displays their evolution) 'Afraid to Shoot Strangers' and 'Childhood's End' are the best of them, and are very good, if generally pretty low-key. 'Wasting Love' is the purest ballad, and it's pretty decent, if not remarkable. An effective chorus. 'Fear is the Key' is the darkest one, rather reminiscent of what you'd hear on 'The X Factor'. Not great, but sufficiently interesting, and different. 'The Fugitive' is one of your more classic Maiden songs, stylistically, except that it is really quite grating, with a very irritating chorus. 'The Apparition' is a little bland, not too aggravating but not of much particular interest. 'Judas Be My Guide' is a highpoint, the strongest track other than the title track. A very nice epic chorus.
Overall very little of what you'll hear on this album is bad, but it is almost uniformly a cut below classic Maiden.(And you pretty much never heard anything bad on the first 7 Maiden albums) Still, it's worth owning.
on August 6, 2002
It does seem that many people whether fans or not, don't like this album. It does seem this way because some of the songs are weak. There is no point in masking the truth. I find it hard to enjoy The Apparition and Weekend Warrior. Wasting Love and From Here to Enternity lack in areas too, but if you took those away you'd have a killer album. But as they are there you may be wondering why I gave Fear of the Dark five stars. Frankly no album or even song is perfect, there's always somehting that's annoying. Then fans don't like the album because of Janick being in the band (it's BS), but don't get me started on that. He's a great guitarist. Anyhow, the album opens with the riveting Be Quick Or Be Dead. Great Guitars and sounds good live too. From Here To Eternity, lyrics aren't that imaginative, but Steve deserves to have a little slack. My Second Favorite Song is Afraid to Shoot Strangers. Written by Steve, its about the souls who fought in the Gulf war. The beginning is so subtle; its a gentle guitar tune that explodes into a inferno of percussion. Then at the end, it winds down back to the same guitar tune. It's terrific. Fear is the Key is tolerable and has a good beat. Childhood's end is my third second favorite song. Great lyrics. Wasting Love has intersting drums if you listen closely. The Fugitive is my third first favorite song. It's about a fugitive (DUH!). It has a distinctive chorus and great bass playing. Chains of Misery is has a kind of swing beat to it that's somehow pleasing to listen to.
The Apparition is incredibly irritating. There's a heavy whack on the snare drum and obnoxious guitar filling between it for almost the whole song. Judas Be My Guide is a welcome change. The chorus of this song is probably the best one on the album. Weekend Warrior is so surprisingly grotesque that I would have had to write Parental Discretion Advised as the title or the first sentence of the is review. And finally, we have the album titled song. I'll start by saying all the songs on this album could "be real bad" besides the last one but I'd still get for Fear of the Dark. (Actually I'd probably just get the single). This song however is totally, completely, there's no other word for it, Kick-"butt"!There's a mass of commotion to start it off, but then, like Afraid to Shoot Strangers, it goes quiet with the humming guitar. Then it launches itself into a whirling tornado of music and lyrics. This song is unbelievable. It quiets down at the end again and then fades out. What a song!! I urge you to look for a live edition of it too, because I am sure this one was written to be played onstage! It will knock your socks off I swear to God. In short, this album desererves a lot more respect than its receiving.
on November 19, 2005
For some reason, this album has a lot of negative stigma attached to it, and I have no idea why. No, it doesn't sound like Maiden's awesome 80's efforts ("Piece Of Mind", "Powerslave", etc). It's a pretty big change in style, but it's still pretty damn good (and even better where you compare it to Maiden's last release, the average "No Prayer For The Dying".
First off, let me say what's bad about this album: Bruce, man, what happened to your voice? It's not anywhere as odd as it was on "No Prayer", but really, it doesn't sound as if Bruce was trying as hard here as he was on previous albums. Also, there are a few filler tracks here, such as "Fear Is The Key" and "Weekend Warrior", that kind of take away from the album. "But," you say, "you can skip over the tracks you don't like!" To which I reply, that's true... but this is IRON MAIDEN we're talking about here! If it had been any other band, this would probably be a 5-star effort. But I hold Maiden up to a far higher standard than most other bands, and having filler on a Maiden album is simply unacceptable. Period.
Then why did I give this album four stars? Because there's much to enjoy here as well. "Be Quick Or Be Dead" is one of my favorite Maiden opening tracks, "Afraid To Shoot Strangers" is a beautiful ballad that I definitely enjoy, and "Childhood's End", "The Fugitive", "The Apparition", and "Judas Be My Guide" are all catchy, enjoyable tracks. And, of course, there's the awesome title track, which is, to this day, one of my favorite Maiden songs, hands down. Most of the people who trash the album even like this song.
So, yes, there's lots for Maiden fans to enjoy here, but it's not of the band's greatest albums. If you're new to the band, i'd recommend that you start elsewhere (probably with their mid-80's albums), but once you've picked up a few Maiden records, then come back here and buy this one as well. If you're already into Maiden but are hesitant to buy this album, I say download a few of the better tracks (and make sure you get the title track), and see if you like what you hear.
on March 13, 2001
Fear Of The Dark is not a bad album, or the disaster many think it is. I think this album came off as bad because the band was wiped out from the 80's, a decade where they released 9 albums and toured constantly without a break, save for a few months. Bruce Dickinson shows the strain of this far more than any of the band members; his powerful howl has been reduced to a raspy gruff not worthy of his name. However, many of the songs here are great. Be quick or be dead, afraid to shoot strangers, the title cut, judas be my guide, childhoods end, and from here to eternity are great. Fear is the key, wasting love, the fugitive, and chains of misery are so-so tracks. they are good enough to be Maiden, but fear is the key and chains of misery should have been b-sides. Then FOTD would have been great. The album is mostly ruined by its worst tracks, the apparition and weekend warrior, which are truly horrid. They are not even worthy of being b-sides, they should have been scrapped at the start. Of course the record company wanted more tracks, and these were forced on, ruining the album. Ok-thats enough. The point is Maiden fans need this but newcomers to the band should get their other albums first.
on July 22, 2013
Iron Maiden is a band that had success from day 1. Their run in the 80's is still considered legendary and the quality of their music was always there. This album and its predecessor, No Prayer for the Dying, were some of their first times at being unsuccessful. However, it wasn't like the band rehashed the same material for all of their albums. At least they were experimenting. With NPftD and this one, they did a more "stripped down" approach. I haven't listened to much of NPftD, but this album is actually fairly respectable, it isn't the junker that everyone says it is. However it's also far from the greatness that we've come to expect from this band. There are a few gems on this album, there are some other very good moments here as well, but the bad tracks of the album are among the worst songs of Maiden's whole career. Janick and David do their jobs with the guitar parts. Many say that Adrian Smith is far superior to Janick, but let's look at this: during Adrian's first run with the band, they were doing more "in-your-face" metal and adding progressive elements and slowly getting more epic and more heavy. Janick joined the band for an era of "stripped down" metal. When comparing the music, it's all in your taste, but when comparing the two guitar players, while they are in the same band, they were playing different styles of that band's music. For that reason, the comparison is a little unfair. Bruce's voice on this album is actually really good. I like the gruff of his voice and how he changes from his raw power to his soaring vocals fairly easily. Steve Harris is Steve Harris; probably the best bassist in metal just doing his thing. Nicko is his usual self here as well. He provides a steady beat for the band and adds to the music.
1. Be Quick or Be Dead- a drum roll and the album takes off with some very Maiden-sounding guitars. When Bruce comes in however, the listener notices that he definitely gained rawness to his voice and that added aggression is what actually adds to some of these songs. It definitely adds to this song. The verses are very up in your face and in the chorus, Bruce returns to his usual singing style. Musically, the guitars kick butt! They sound just like the Maiden of old! Nicko is drumming very well on this one. The solo here is pretty good! I like it! The bass is intense as usual. Overall, a very aggressive first track. Great song!
2. From Here to Eternity- I hear people throw praise to this song, but I really don't like this one. The music on this one isn't that great, the drums aren't cool, the bass doesn't do anything Steve-like and it just comes off as uninspired. This song should've been a b-side or not released at all. Sorry, I just don't dig what they did with this one.
3. Afraid to Shoot Strangers- This song is a very soft, ambient song. The guitars are tastefully played and Bruce's voice sounds GOLDEN on this song! THIS is a classic! This might be among their best songs! The military theme is very well done and the drums are kept simple, but they do the trick. It sounds really good, but it has an eerie atmosphere brooding behind Bruce's voice and the music. It has a feeling of uneasiness and it's a very good song for that reason. Then out of nowhere, a BRILLIANT guitar lead comes in and the song takes a new direction! It slowly gets heavier until it bursts into a normal Maiden style song and the solos begin. The whole song is GREAT! It's a near 7 minute journey and it includes some of Maiden's best guitar work. The bass is full of fury in this middle section and Nicko's fills have gotten better since Seventh Son (again, haven't heard NPftD yet). All in all, this is a VERY good song! The guitar work is some of the best they've made and it doesn't become stale. Classic!
4. Fear is the Key- This song is literally a chore for me to listen to. I don't find any greatness or inspiration behind it. This song sounds like a Whitesnake or Bon Jovi groove. I really don't enjoy listening to this. I like this style when Whitesnake or Bon Jovi do it, but hearing Maiden do it just doesn't sound good. This one should've been omitted.
5. Childhood's End- This song starts off with a cool guitar intro. Then some very cool drumming starts! I really like the beat that Nicko does for this intro! This song isn't exactly Maiden-sounding, but I do like what they're doing in this song. Bruce's voice sounds good on this song, the drumming levels up in intensity, the guitars are good, but they aren't really up front except for their leads and solos. Steve's bass isn't that audible in this song surprisingly. I can hear it during the instrumental sections, but not when Bruce is singing. Overall, this is a pretty good song. Not the best here, but it's not terrible. It earns its place here.
6. Wasting Love- A ballad? Maiden doing a ballad? As absurd as it sounds, this song is actually very good. The guitars are still Maiden, the music is still honest and not aimed to sell, and Bruce's emotion is in top form! It is indeed still Maiden so there is an instrumental section that has a good groove to it. This isn't like the other songs of the album, though, because the instrumental section stays in the same tempo/time/feel as the rest of the song. Overall, I do have to say that Maiden is good at making ballads! This is a very well-put together song.
7. The Fugitive- This one starts off with some cool drums and signature Maiden riff! It definitely has a very good groove behind it and the guitar melodies are purely AWESOME! The verses are softer and Bruce's voice sings it very well! Then the verse builds up. This is definitely an epic song. Bruce's soaring voice and the driving music make this one one of the coolest and most epic-sounding songs on the album. I don't really have much to say about this song. It's a very good song though! Solo is great too!
8. Chains of Misery- This one is just there. It isn't something so terrible that it shouldn't have seen light, but it's also not "Oh wow, this rocks!". It's just there. The music is slightly bland and the vocals aren't done in the best way. Lyrics are a little lacking too. I just find this song kinda boring overall.
9. The Apparition- This song has received so much hate for so little reason! The song freaking ROCKS! For what the song actually is, it's AMAZING! They don't do much to change the song throughout, but it is very good! They basically start off with one riff and keep it going through most of the song. The only break from that is the instrumental section. This song has a very eerie atmosphere to it and Bruce's voice is pretty good on here. The solo is very good and it has an amazing groove. People hate on this song and call it Maiden's worst song ever. I think this song isn't exactly the BEST thing they've done, but it's closer to that. It's a GREAT song. I like it very much.
10. Judas Be My Guide- This song starts off with some very eerie, but melodic and epic sounding guitars and then it goes into a short little solo and Bruce comes in and this song is very EPIC! Bruce's voice soars over some very well done guitar parts and the drumming makes it even cooler! The air siren is back! Bruce really shines through this song! The guitar melodies on here are just fantastic! This song could've come off of an album like Seventh Son... or maybe even Powerslave. The song is that quality that we're used to from Maiden and it's a very underrated classic! I'd say this would have to be the third classic this album produced. Great song!!!
11. Weekend Warrior- Ok, this song is garbage, worst Maiden song I've heard. All the other reviews hit this one on the bull's eye. This song is absolute crap. It doesn't sound like Maiden at all. I don't even know what it sounds like, but even the title is kinda garbage.
12. Fear of the Dark- This is the classic that people always praise this album for, the title track. The guitars on here are very epic! In terms of feel, this song is similar to track 3, but this one is done in a very different way and isn't that similar. Bruce's voice is very dark and very brooding. This would be a perfect song for Halloween. It's very eerie and very creepy. The lyrics are the same way. The riffs, once the song kicks up to full volume, are very well written, Bruce's voice is in its full, true glory, and the band plays very well on this song. the 7 minute epic that closes off this album leaves the listener feeling that they at least saved the best for last. The drumming has a lot of changes in the song, the guitars have a lot of great leads, melodies, and moments throughout, and Steve's bass is purely amazing! This is a masterpiece! Great song!!!
Verdict- I wouldn't recommend this album if you are new to Maiden. I'd say start off with Powerslave,Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, or even the newer Brave New World. These three albums are very solid, classic Maiden albums and this one, while not terrible, is just lacking the quality that Maiden is known for. The cover for this album is among one of their best covers, though, I will admit. Overall, it's worth buying, but don't start with this album.
on December 15, 2004
I am Maiden's #1 fan, so believe me when I say this: DO NOT listen to the bad reviews for this album. Ignore the critics and the so-called metal fans who call it weak. It is, quite simply, one of Maiden's top five best ever, and easily the most underrated metal album of all time.
Ah yes, FEAR OF THE DARK. The last album with Bruce Dickinson. It followed NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING, which got disastrous reviews but was actually very good. This is definitely Maiden's most unique and intriguing album. Nine of the songs are awesome, only three are average.
BE QUICK OR BE DEAD: The heaviest, most aggressive album opener they ever made (although "Moonchild" will always be the greatest). Borderline thrash metal, with it's earth-shaking riff and Bruce's nasty vocals. I love it when he sings in that snarling tone. This tune rips out of your speakers like a stampede of angry rhinos! Metallica - eat your hearts out.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY: How awesome is that chorus?! Those chants are simply killer! Classic metal.
AFRAID TO SHOOT STRANGERS: Masterpiece. The first half of the song is a ballad, in which Bruce proves that he really can sing softer stuff when he wants to. A very hypnotic vocal melody. Then, it changes gears and a wonderful guitar riff comes in, followed by a crushing riff and some insane soloing. Then it reverts back to it's original mellow form. Excellent song.
FEAR IS THE KEY: One of my top five favorite Maiden songs ever. For the life of me, I cannot understand why everyone puts down this song. I don't get it. The pounding riff, the fascinating vocal melody, the part where it changes tempo in the middle, etc. Aw God, it's incredible. It's really more along the lines of Rainbow or someone like that. My favorite song on the album.
CHILDHOOD'S END: Perhaps the most unique song they ever recorded. That drum beat is tops, complemented by a rather haunting synth riff. And again, a killer vocal melody here. These guys were really on their game when they wrote this stuff!!
WASTING LOVE: Until Bruce comes in with the vocals, it sounds like just another cheesy metal ballad. But Bruce really saves it from becoming that. He gives a wonderful performance here, one of his best.
THE FUGITIVE: Aw man, that's gotta be the heaviest riff they ever came up with. Definitely. Wall-shaking stuff here! I love the chorus, and those guitar runs at 3:49 are absolutely mesmerizing. Whether it was Dave or Janick, I don't know, but it absolutely kills.
CHAINS OF MISERY: Like "From Here To Eternity", this one has a chanted chorus that will stick in your brain forever. I still can't get it out of my head.
THE APPARITION: Uh, not that great. Maybe their weakest song ever.
JUDAS BE MY GUIDE: Nothing special.
WEEKEND WARRIOR: Nothing special.
FEAR OF THE DARK: Now we're cookin'! Regarded by fans as one of their greatest songs, and I fully agree. The beggining is very moody, with Bruce giving an almost creepy vocal performance before a devastating riff comes in and it starts to rock like you wouldn't believe! That riff just might be my favorite of all time. It positively kicks ass!! And it ends the same way it began, with a very eerie atmosphere.
All in all, this album is definitely on par with any of their earlier ones, no matter what anyone says. Trust me. Buy it now.
on May 29, 2004
A lot of people hate this album because they think most songs here are fillers and the three bad songs. I don't like those three songs either but I like most of the others with two incredible songs that work everything out. Janick is a great guitarist by the way.
1. BE QUICK OR BE DEAD (9.5/10)
Fast paced riffs and drums make this another great opener.
2. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (8.5/10)
Fourth part of the Charlotte series. A decent song with a catchy chorus.
3. AFRAID TO SHOOT STRANGERS (11/10)
Now this is a great song! My favorite on the album. The beginning of the song includes light guitar playing and the help of some keyboards. Nice lyrics sung well by Bruce. Drums come in well. It continues like this for about 2 minutes 45 seconds building up to some sweet ass guitar playing. The chorus comes in well during the guitar. Then after a minute of that the song gets even more fast paced with some great drumming and a cool guitar solo. Then it goes back to that sweet guitar tune for the rest of the song. A really good song indeed!
4. FEAR IS THE KEY (7/10)
This song would've been better if the vocals weren't so damn annoying. I hate the part when Bruce starts singing "lies and lies and lies". Some decent guitar riffs atleast.
5. CHILDHOOD'S END (8.5/10)
The guitar intro is awesome but then the song just starts to bore me a bit. The drumming during this song is done well.
6. WASTING LOVE (8/10)
This song has nice guitar work. A decent song.
7. THE FUGITIVE (9/10)
The drumming in the beginning is cool. The riffs and vocals during the song are done well. The chorus is alright.
8. CHAINS OF MISERY (8.5/10)
This song is alright. The chorus is pretty catchy.
9. THE APPARITION (6/10)
I really don't like this song. Its boring. The whole song is just a riff, some crappy vocals, and a solo for almost 4 minutes. Nothing really changes during this song. Hear it once if you want to, just to hear what it sounds like and then just skip it all the time.
10. JUDAS BE MY GUIDE (9/10)
This song is pretty good. A catchy tune with a good chorus and lyrics.
11. WEEKEND WARRIOR (6.5/10)
This doesn't sound like any type of Maiden song. The guitars don't fit in well and sound all goofy. The vocals are also goofy and the lyrics are retarded (who the hell wants to hear a song about soccer?). The riffs and singing sound very similar to The Apparition which makes it sound like a slightly better version of it. I really hate when Bruce sings "maybe someone will die" or "watchoo gonna do on monday?" repeatedly with that goofy sounding guitar tune playing. What the hell is this?
12. FEAR OF THE DARK (10/10)
Ahhhh, much better. This song makes up for anything bad that you heard earlier. Now this is a song that has a creepy mood.
Especially the quiet part in the beginning with a guitar playing lightly and Bruce's eerie vocals. Then the song gets faster all the way up to the end. I love the riffs in this one. The only thing I don't like is the repetition of "fear of the dark" being sang over and over. Great song either way. A very good way to end the album.
I still think this album is worth picking up even though it has three bad songs. I don't know why Maiden didn't just excluded those songs from the album. This would've been a great album if it weren't for those cursed songs!
When "Fear of the Dark" came out in the early 90's it came out to so little fanfare that as a Maiden fan, I didn't even know a new album had hit the shelves until a couple months after it's release. Of course I picked it up as soon as I heard about it, and maybe it's just that I have a soft spot for Maiden, but it was refreshing to hear new Maiden tracks amidst the onslaught of grunge at the time. The Seattle sound killed off most hair-metal bands, and pushed real metal bands like Iron Maiden onto the backburner. And while metal radio was full of Pearl Jams, and Alice in Chains, I was able to escape with "Fear of the Dark", "From Here to Eternity" and "Judas Be My Guide". There are a couple weak tracks found here, "Fear is the Key" and "Afraid to Shoot at Strangers", but overall this is a solid Maiden album. Nicko McBrain's drumming on "Childhood's End" is fantastic. I don't think McBrain's contributions to the band have ever fully been recognized, and "Fear of the Dark" features some of his best work. While this album may not be on par with "Powerslave" or "Somewhere in Time", it is a good solid Maiden album, and worth adding to your collection.
on March 26, 2001
I can't understand why people talk so much trash about Janick. This album is a great album. There are some great songs on here. Janick is a damn good guitar player. I have been playing myself for 7 years and I'm sure he's probably a whole lot better than the people who criticize his playing. Besides in my opinion Dave Murray is the heart and soul of the Maiden guitar sound anyway. Well enough defending Janick. Anyway, about the songs. They are all pretty good. I guess The Apparition and Fear is the Key could be considered fillers (my reason for only 4 stars) but they are Maiden which makes them pretty decent. Be Quick, Fear of the Dark, Afraid to Shoot Strangers are the classics and in many cases the reason people buy this album. Judas Be My Guide was one song that surprised me. I love that song, I haven't had the CD long enough to decide whether or not it's my favorite off this one. The Fugitive, Wasting Love, Chains of Misery, Childhoods End, and Weekend Warrior are all great Maiden songs. Even Adrian fans should give it a chance. If not for anything else check it out because it's Maiden.
on June 20, 1999
This album takes alot of abuse because of some real stinkers that made it by 'Maiden Quality Control', but for the most part THIS IS A GOOD ALBUM. Don't stand still for people telling you how worthless it is.
Be Quick or Be Dead and From Here to Eternity are good enough Hard Rock tracks, Wasted Love and Judas Be my Guide are REALLY GOOD SONGS. Childhoods end, Afraid to shoot Strangers, and the title track itself are all as good as anything Iron Maiden has ever done on ANY album.
That's seven good songs right there, enough for most albums, and the songs Fear is the Key and the Fugitive are decent enough songs to make the cut for any Maiden album. Even Powerslave had "Back in the Village" after all.
This albums entire bad reputation lies on three complete SNAFU'd songs that Maiden let onto the album in some vain attempt to inflate the track total and running time. Weekend Warrior (bad AC/DC song basically), Chains of Misery (annoying AND repetitive), and The Apparition..which is the worst song I've ever heard in my ENTIRE LIFE, no hyperbole intended.
If this had been a typical 8-9 song Maiden album, it would be remembered as a comeback from NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING, and a classic album. But because someone wanted more songs...your typical fan hates it. I do reccomend this album, but get it in CD form. You're going to want to skip a handful of tracks to get to the truly GREAT songs that really really are on this album.