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Who would have thought that they still had it in them? Iron Maiden's 14th studio album is probably the most consistent since The X Factor and one of their best contributions to Heavy Metal since the heydays of the 1980s. This is not to say that Virtual XI, Brave New World, and Dance Of Death weren't good, as they all contain a few gems, but some songs were significantly weaker than others and gave the impression to be mere fillers on the albums. Now, with A Matter Of Life And Death, things are quite different!

The songs weave a common thread about death, destruction, and the way Mankind seems to be doomed if no one does anything. There are, however, a few elements of hope that weren't observed in the previous albums, and even a ballad dealing with the beauty of birth, despite the shadow of death that falls onto the newborn as soon as he draws his first breath.

The cover has, once again, raised a debate in the Maiden community. Made by a certain Tim Bradstreet, who is more used to draw comics with a certain dose of violence and grimness, it shows Eddie in the unusual company of corpse soldiers in the middle of a battlefield. Whereas it depicts quite well the theme of many of the songs on the album, this artwork seems clumsy and far remote from the illustrations made by the precedent artists. One could sarcastically mention that, this time, it was a good idea that Rod Smallwood didn't let his 5-year-old nephew add CGI characters to the artwork, unlike for the cover of Dance Of Death. It should be noted, though, that Melvyn Grant's illustration for the Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg single is far superior to Bradstreet's piece and that it might have been a good idea to use it for the album instead. Well, who am I anyway to tell Maiden's management what to do?

Back to the music itself, let's just say that this album has been labelled "Progressive Metal" by some 'enlightened' music critics who supposedly know better than the rest of us. Although this superficial analysis could sometimes apply in a few song, the progressive elements in the music have been wisely used and are far less susceptible to induce the boredom of a "real" progressive album no, I never said that Dream Theater were boring... or did I?

A Matter Of Life And Death is in any case a great album. It will surely attract many more new fans to the music of Iron Maiden, as well satisfy the "old guard" who will be glad to see their favourite band in top form, both musically and lyrically. Get hold of the album and you'll see what I mean.

Full-length, EMI
28 August 2006

Singles
Iron Maiden The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg small digital small

Tracklist

1. Different World 04:17
2. These Colours Don't Run 06:52
3. Brighter Than A Thousand Suns 08:44
4. The Pilgrim 05:07
5. The Longest Day 07:48
6. Out Of The Shadows 05:36
7. The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg 07:21
8. For The Greater Good Of God 09:24
9. Lord Of Light 07:23
10. The Legacy 09:20

Total playing time 01:11:52
Lineup:

Bruce Dickinson - Vocals
Dave Murray - Guitar
Adrian Smith - Guitar
Janick Gers - Guitar
Steve Harris - Bass/Keyboards
Nicko McBrain - Drums

Released on September 5, 2006 in North America .

Released as a limited edition with DVD containing:

1. The Making of A Matter of Life and Death (30:15)
2. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg (video) ( 7:23 )
3. Different World (studio footage) ( 4:17 )
4. Photo Gallery ( 5:36 )

The title is considered to be named after a British World War II film "Matter of Life and Death".

 
Produced by
Kevin Shirley

Co-produced by
Steve Harris

 

Mixed and Engineered by
Kevin "Caveman" Shirley

 

Engineer:
Drew Griffiths

 

Asst Engineer:
Alex Mackenzie

 

Guitar Synth on Brighter Than A Thousand Suns by :
Adrian Smith

 

Special thanks to :
Michael Kenney

 

Recorded and Mixed at :
Sarm West Studios, London

 

Art Direction and Design by
Peacock

 

Cover Illustration by
Tim Bradstreet, with Grant Goleash.

 

Special thanks to
Scott Harben.

 

Individual photos by
Simon Fowler.

 

Group photo by
John McMurtrie

 

Iron Maiden are managed by
Rod Sma l lwood for Sanctuary Artist Management

 

Business Management:
Andy Taylor

 

Booking Agents:
John Jackson at K2 for the World exc North America and Rick Roskin at CAA.fo'r North America

 

Special thanks to:Val Janes, Dave Patlenden,WiK Ashurst, Bob Ward, Johnnie (Silver Fox) Allan, Brian Locke, Hannah Butler, Pete De Vroome, Shelagh Leftley, Andrea Levy, Matt Brewer and all at SanctuaryBarry Dri nkwate r, Tom Bennett, Mark Straeey, Tasha Isaacson, Maria Conroy an d a l l at Bravado , Steve and Sue Lazarus at the Iron Maiden FC.

 

Sarah Philp, Design and Space.
Jane-Miller, Jan Musk and Una Doyle at K2,Rob Light, AIM McGregor at CAA

 

The Killer Crew: lan Day, Dick Bell,Steve Gadd, Bill Conte, Doug Hall,Martin Brennan, Steve 'Gonzo' Smith,Rebecca Storey, lan 'Squid' Walsh,Paul Stratford, Ashley Groom, Philip Stewart,Natasha De Sampayo, Michael Kenney,Andy Ball, Sean Brady, Kevin Papworth,Charlie Charlesworth, Dale Easom.Peter Lokrantz, Johnn y Burke ,

 

Iron Maiden send thanks to :

 

the helping • hands of: Thorsten Braun, Thomas Neutz, Alan March, Ryan Smith and "Richard StocktoR @ Shure Corp, USA - Germany/Jqhn Midgley, Shirley Beyer, Sonja Stadler and Bernd-Neubauer @ Beyer Dynamic./ Karen Whitlam.George Fredricks, Paul Gould' @ Premier Percussion./Eric Paiste, Rich Mansicaro, Jorg Kholmorgan, Danny Zimmermann and Toomas Paiste (R.t.R.) @ Paiste Cymbals./Hoda J,udah Armanl, Sam Waliis, Alex Perez, Billy Siegie,

 

. Jamie Crompton, Jun Nakablyashi @ Fender Instruments./Henry Juszkiewicz. Jufiette Avery. Pat Foley, Shanon Huyter, Jennifer Smith and Andre Brodzki @ Gibson Inc./Dave and Pip Ridgway @ Nag:Earth./Alan and Chrissie Chester and Sam @ Hangman Drapes./Jeremy Smith and Richard Cheesman

 

~@ Rock-it-Cargo. EV/ Shuttle Sound UK./Tom (MGM) Mates Guitar Workshop, London-/Mike Hill @ Mike Hill Services UK./Pete <& P. Cornish Electronics UK./ Bob Bourbomis, Mark Smith @ Taylor Guitar's USA/UK./Alastair Pltcair Elixir strings, Jim Marsnail.-Vietoria Marshall, Joel Richardson, us^shige Japan @ MarshaH Amplification UK./JaSpn How and Corai @ Roto Sound Strings/Paul Bundock, Aten Skally, Grace McHate. Ted Burger, Jenn Plonski and Nick Bowcott @ Korg UK and USA,/Derek Brooks, Curt Mangan and Ernie Ball © Strings and Picks USA./ Pete Robinson @ Strings and Things UK./ Evan Skbpp and Ketlie @ Seymore Duncan./

 

. Jim Dunlop Snr, Jimmy D Jnr, Kerry Walker and Scott Uchida Jim Duniop USA./ Paul Muniz @ Digitech. Sonic In Ear USA./ Matt Connors, Mjchelle Jacoby, Gary Mann, Gavin Cartgan and Bazz Ward @ Remo - LP Percussion and Rhythm Tech./Mark, Catherine and David Hammond @ Shaw Sticks./Kar! Sturmer and Derrick Round @ Hardcase-Amber Plastics./ Garrison (da man). Steven V and John Goode @ DW Drums USA./DNC Ltd. Mr Miyake, Darren Powers, Susan Martin, Chris Irvine. Andrea Santee and all Yamaha inc./ Jez Ayscough @ Headline Music./ Matt C, Tori L, Chris G @ JHE/The Attic,/ Steve the Doc Dachroeden, Annie Taylor. Matt Picker @ loudtechinc-Ampeg USA./ Mark De Neys.and Tien Lawrence @ Mesa Boogie USA-UK./Jonny Carpenter, Alita Walters, Tara Callahan @ Roland UK-USA. Mark and Sandy at Transam Trucking. Gary.Marks and Mike Hackman at ML Executive, Joerg at Beat the Street. Mary and Tony at Eat to the Beat. Mark and family at Denmark Studios.

 

All tracks administered by BMG Music Publishing International Ltd.

 

All tracks administered by BMG Music Pubfishing tnternationai Ltd; ' 2006

 

The Copyright in this sound recording is owned by Iron Maiden Holdings Ltd. under exclusive license to EMI Records Ltd. 2006 iron Maiden Holdings Ltd

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