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Iron Maiden - Fear Of The Dark CD (album) cover

FEAR OF THE DARK

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

2.99 | 409 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars This is one of the biggest surprises of my IRON MAIDEN musical experiences. When i first heard the 9th studio album FEAR OF THE DARK i reacted like many having experienced their discography more or less in chronological order by reacting positively to a few tracks such as "Be Quick Or Be Dead" which mimicked their classic anthem metal sound, but quickly dismissed most of this album and shelved it and moved on to other things. I just recently picked up the 90s IRON MAIDEN releases and gave them the modern day scrutiny. Wow. Was i surprised with this one. I guess i wasn't ready for this back in the 90s when i first heard this and after many years of discovering the more progressive side of the rock world, i have only now come to realize i had a gem in my midst for all this time from one of my favorite bands!

The stats: Bruce Dickinson would have enough and jump ship after this album but would return for 2000's "Brave New World." First album to be produced by Steve Harris but last to feature long time producer Martin Birch. Together they made a wonderfully sounding album. A torch has been passed here. Also produced in Steve Harris' barn but the barn was converted to a full-fledged studio eliminating all the nasty gory details that plagued "No Prayer For The Dying." The album cover was the first NOT to be created by Derek Riggs. That spooky tree turned to creepy dude of the night was inspired and created by Melvyn Grant. Michael Kenney was called in as a session musician for keyboards.

FEAR OF THE DARK actually has a suitable title for IRON MAIDEN fans. It was something that included just enough of what came before but provided a whole bunch of different ideas that actually made this album sound like a hodgepodge of ideas giving it a very disjointed type of feel. That is why i and many others just didn't warm up to this one as much as the previous offerings. This album was all about experimentation and at the time of first listening i was having none of it, but these days i'm finding this to be a much more sophisticated album than i ever could have realized despite not being perfect nor the best the band has to offer.

As with the previous album, the band eschews the fantasy and literary inspired lyrics and sticks to social and more reality based themes. The opener "Be Quick Or Be Dead" lures fans in with the classic galloping melodic metal that everyone would expect but things suddenly drift in another direction with the second track "From Here To Eternity" which is actually the fourth song to continue the "Charlotte The Harlot" saga. This track has a new sound for the band. It is kinda like their old sound but has a rather speed ska feel to the verses. Once we get to the third track "Afriad To Shoot Strangers" we get a strange slowed down rocker that starts out with that classic MAIDEN intro a la "7th Son" but morphs into one of those classic MAIDEN riffs with a nice atmospheric background that eventually becomes a recognizable galloping metal frenzy.

"Fear Is The Kay" kinda reminds me of "Holy Diver" from Dio but MAIDENized of course. A slow tempo "Childhood's End" follows which actually continues the albums mood by having a much slower and alienating feel that most MAIDEN fans will not immediately warm up to. Still plenty of metal riffage accompanies. The rest follow suit with the exception of the out of place "Weekend Warrior" which honestly sounds like Bruce Dickinson sat in on the "Back In Black" sessions by AC/DC and incorporated a throwaway track. My least favorite. Finally the title track which became a fan favorite sing along in concert. Nice riffage, nice developments and a perfect mix of slow and fast elements. One of my original faves. After many years of having this on the shelf i'm surprised that i like this album so much now. It was incubating somewhere in the cobwebs of my mind and now that i've unleashed its time- capsule charm i am impressed. No, it will not usurp the throne of the most classic of MAIDEN albums any time soon, but i highly recommend to anyone who wrote this off and shelved it to give it a spin again to see if it may have aged well without their knowledge. It sure was the case for yours truly.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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