There is no sound like that of an Iron Maiden record. Singularly inventing an entire genre of music, Maiden has created epic masterpieces with every release in their illustrious career. Never having sold out, never having succombed to industry trends and fads, Iron Maiden do what they do best and they do it better than any other band on the planet. And now Maiden presents us with A Matter Of Life And Death, possibly their most epic and ambitious record to date. The band will bring their epic live show back for a tour of the U.S. in the fall where they will unveil the new material to the throngs of Maiden faithful.
You've got to hand it to Iron Maiden. After two decades of recording and releasing albums, the British sextet still has its share of fresh ideas, something it proves once more on A Matter of Life and Death
. The opening tracks "Different World" and "Brighter than a Thousand Suns" show, more clearly than ever, the group's progressive rock roots and its affinity for upsetting expectations about what a heavy record should sound like. But some of the material--"These Colours Don't Run" and the epics "Lord of Light," "The Legacy," and "The Longest Day"--also suggests that the band could stand to expand outside its comfort zone a little more often. By now we know what to expect even from the most unusual Maiden album and that familiarity ultimately sinks A Matter of Life and Death
faster than any fad at the forefront of the heavy rock scene. At best the record shows the band is still vital, at worst it shows us that Steve Harris and company are coming up a little bit winded these days. --Jedd Beaudoin