Brave New World is the long-anticipated reunion album featuring the return of Maiden powerhouses Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith. Due to the high emotion surrounding the Maiden's return to their golden-era lineup, this album faced almost impossibly high expectations of the sort that are rarely if ever fully met. But amidst all of this hype, Iron Maiden has exceeded all expectations and produced an album that is the equal of any album since their golden era of the 80s.
At first glance, Brave New World is a progressive album which fits most closely into the same category as Somewhere In Time and Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. Although the guitar and bass synths have been jettisoned in favour of a real keyboard (played by Steve Harris himself), the overall style and mix of the synthesizers are similar. Likewise, the guitar sound has returned to that of the late 80s and Bruce's vocals are once again in top form. Yet upon further introspection, Brave New World seems to be an amalgamation of many different elements drawn from each of the albums since the late 80s the occult themes of Seventh Son..., the social awareness and politics of No Prayer For The Dying and Fear Of The Dark, the personal introspection of The X Factor and the emotional depth of Virtual XI.
Brave New World is somewhat of a misnomer in that the album blazes very little new ground, but instead reiterates the brilliant genius which has carried Iron Maiden throughout their career. All of the best elements from the previous 15 years are combined into one amazing album which is sure to please both old and new fans alike, as well as put to shame certain other formerly heavy metal bands who have abandoned the true path. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the album is Janick "underrated" Gers, who has fully arrived into his own golden era and, in my opinion, is fully the equal of Dave and Adrian in both songwriting and musicianship, even in places surpassing them. His songs are beautifully composed and his guitar solos brilliantly inspired in both complexity and emotional depth that was only hinted by The X Factor and Virtual XI.
Taken as a whole, Brave New World has all of the elements of an instant Iron Maiden classic, including the deep intelligent lyrics, nonstandard song structures, masterful musicianship, as well as a return to the complex artistic genius of Derek Riggs. If I could change anything about Brave New World, I would have written more and longer guitar solos and more interplay between the three guitars, as well as improved the quality of the photos in the CD booklet. Yet these are only minor points in the face of this excellent album which has lived up to and surpassed all of my expectations.
Here is what Bruce said about the album's title in an interview with C. Bottomley for VH1.com:
Bruce Dickinson's comments are extracts taken from an interview by Essi Berelian for Classic Rock Magazine and can also be found as "Bruce's Track By Track Guide To Brave New World" on the official tour programme.
29 May 2000
Out Of The Silent Planet, The Wickerman
1. The Wicker Man 04:35
2. Ghost of the Navigator 06:50
3. Brave New World 06:19
4. Blood Brothers 07:14
5. The Mercenary 04:43
6. Dream of Mirrors 09:21
7. The Fallen Angel 04:01
8.The Nomad 09:06
9. Out of the Silent Planet 06:25
10. The Thin Line Between Love and Hate 08:27
Total time 01:07:01
Bruce Dickinson: Vocals
Steve Harris: Bass / Keyboard
Dave Murray: Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Adrian Smith: Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Janick Gers: Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Nicko McBrain: Drums
The album was also released in a hard cover gatefold double picture disc as a
Merck Mercunadis for Sanctuary Music
Management Ltd. Assisted by Dave Pattenden
and Paul Dando
Special thanks to: Martin Haxby, Val Janes, Bob Ward,
Johnnie Allan, Vicky Seliicks, Brian Locke and all at Sanctuary. Mark Howe, Pete De Vroom, Rob Shore, Tina Chang and all at Focus. David Gentle, Bill Liebowitz at Liebowitz, Roberts and Ritholz. Bob Chiappardi and Russ Gerroir at Concrete Marketing and Chip Ruggien at Chipster.
Booked by: John Jackson at Heiter Skelter and Rick Roskin at C.A.A.
Merchandise: Barry Drinkwater, Vicky Kostura at Big Tours.
The Killer Crew: Dick Bell, Steve Cox, Robbie Price, Doug Hail, Steve "Gonzo" Smith, Martin Brennan, Kevin (Batty) Walsh, Micheai Kenney, Mark Berryman, Pete Rusty Clark, Deptford John, Neil "Wurzel" Adcocks, Jeff Williams, Paul Stratford, Chuck Khouri, Kurstan Smith, lan "Squid" Waish and Waliy Grove.
Band Photographs: Dean Karr.
Sleeve/Artwork concept and design by Peacock.
Front Cover Artwork: Steve Stone/Derek Riggs.
Web team: Sarah "Polly" Poiglase, Sarah Philps, Johnny Burke and thanks to Maiden Central.com and Shrike.
UP THE IRONS!
Thanks to the still long-suffering road crew (Dave Lights, Loopy, Pete "I certainly didn't need all this" Bryant, Doug "Road-Dog" Hall), "Radar" Bance, Keith "Bloody Arsenal Supporter" Wilfort F.C., Eddie, Neal and Mitchie Kay, Ian Nuttall, Pete "The Bulk" Bennett, Muscle and Meteorlites, John Jackson, the Lensmen (Ross, Bob, Watal, Hiro, George, Simon, Toshi) Trev Searle, Vic Vella, Derek Riggs, Doc Cardwell, Paiste and Ludwig and, last but not least, you the fans. Up the Hammers'
Robert Ellis (original 1980 release)
Robert Ellis, Ross Halfin, P.G. Brunelli, Simon Fowler, Denis O'Regan, George Chin, Rod Smallwood (1998 re-release)
Iron Maiden F.C.:
S.A.E. to 165-167 Willesden High Road, London NW10(original 1980 release)
Iron Maiden Fan Club:
P.O.Box 3803, Harlow, Essex, CM17 0NZ, England
Telephone/Fax: +44 (0)1279 442666