The year 2000 saw new releases like AC/DC’s Stiff Upper Lip (2000), Bon Jovi’s Crush (2000), Backstreet Boys’ Black & Blue (2000), and Iron Maiden’s Brave New World (2000). The latter marked the return of vocalist Bruce Dickinson (he left in 1993) and guitarist Adrian Smith (he left in 1990). Brave New World is also the band’s first studio album recorded as a six-piece, as guitarist Janick Gers, who replaced Smith in 1990, stayed with the band. This album has my favorite album cover of theirs because I love how Eddie is formed in the clouds and the mixture of colors used (consisting of blue, purple, grey, and light blue). My previous Iron Maiden album review was for Somewhere in Time (1986), so if you haven’t already, feel free to check that out. But without further ado, let’s get on with the music for Brave New World!
The album kicks off with “The Wicker Man,” a track that sounds like classic Maiden with a heavy guitar riff and a fun sing-along line in the chorus. I’ve seen YouTube videos of Dickinson singing this track in concert and it’s so breathtaking hearing the audience sing with him, “your time will come” with so much passion, and the “woah oh oh” is a fun outro to sing as well. “Ghost of the Navigator” has the guys experimenting with different tempo changes. It’s hard to get into this song because other than the tempo changes, this song is very dull as there are no hooks or memorable riffs.
The title track has a cool guitar solo and I love the lyrics in the verses as they fit the theme of the song (“Dying swans twisted wings, bring this savage back home”), but the chorus is lazy. It just repeats “brave new world” over and over again; some songs can get away with repeating a line over and over again, but it depends on the pace of the track and how repetitive it is. The guitar riff for “Blood Brothers” has a classical music vibe to it and the song is very soothing that the listener can sway their head back and forward to it. It has a triumphic feel, yet, the lyrics are somewhat depressing (“And as you look all around at the world in dismay / What do you see, do you think we have learned? / Not if you’re taking a look at the war-torn affray / Out in the streets where the babies are burnt”).
“The Mercenary” is another track that resembles classic Maiden with orchestrated guitar parts, a catchy hook, and flavorful drumming. “Dream of Mirrors” drags on forever and the increased tempo change from the five minute and 50 second mark to about the eight minute mark did not help the song one bit. A lot of the verses felt useless and I think the band could’ve shortened the song from nine minutes to about four minutes. “The Fallen Angel” is all killer and no filler, meaning no weird tempo changes and no instrumental sections that go on for five minutes; it’s a no bullsh*t and high-energy driven track.
Unlike the previous track, “The Nomad” is unmemorable, the guitar riff is nothing groundbreaking, the song could’ve been shortened from nine minutes to five minutes, and let’s just say, I’m sick of the word “nomad” thanks to this song. “Out of the Silent Planet” is ok; it has a melodic riff, the tempo changes aren’t overbearing, and I like the lyrics for the verses (“The killing fields, the grinding wheels / Crushed by equilibrium / Separate lives, no more disguise / No more second chances”). But once again, the lyrics for the chorus are lazy; it just repeats “out of the silent planet” over and over again. The album closes with the grand and epic track called, “The Thin Line Between Love and Hate.” I get chills when Dickinson sings the last line of the song, there is some tremendous guitar playing in this track, and the lyrics are relatable and moving. I bought Brave New World because of this track!
Iron Maiden definitely needed Dickinson back, so the band was on the right path with this album. There are some stinkers, but the good tracks outweigh the bad tracks. There are a few that I grew to like more while listening to the album for this review, which doesn’t happen very often. Other than the fact that I couldn’t hear Steve Harris’ bass much, I enjoyed this album quite a bit. Therefore, I’d give Brave New World 4 out of 5 stars.
Comment below your favorite song from Iron Maiden’s Brave New World album!
Take care and see ya real soon!