Iron Maiden – Brave New World (2000, Columbia Records/Portrait Records)
1. “The Wicker Man” … 4:38
2. “Ghost of the Navigator” … 6:50
3. “Brave New World” … 6:19
4. “Blood Brothers” … 7:14
5. “The Mercenary” … 4:42
6. “Dream of Mirrors” … 9:21
7. “The Fallen Angel” … 4:01
8. “The Nomad” … 9:06
9. “Out of the Silent Planet”… 6:26
10. “The Line Between Love & Hate” … 8:27
Bruce Dickinson – Lead Vocals
Dave Murray – Guitar
Adrian Smith – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Janick Gers – Guitar
Steve Harris – Bass, Backing Vocals, Keyboards
Nicko McBrain – Drums
Producer: Steve Harris & Kevin Shirley
This was my very first Iron Maiden album and over time it has become one of my favorites as well. Initially, I wasn’t much of a fan the album. I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting, but it just seemed boring to me. Another issue for me was/is that I’ve always had a hard time getting into the themes that Iron Maiden uses. Fantasy stuff is cool, but I generally favor songs and bands that write about things I can relate to. Still, it’s a minor quibble because I’m quite proud and happy that Iron Maiden has continued to successfully wave the banner of heavy metal high in the 2000s.
Anyway, this was the comeback album for Maiden. After the abysmal sales and harsh reviews for 1998’s Virtual XI, singer Blaze Bayley was out by early ’99 and Bruce Dickinson was back in after leaving the group in ’93 to go solo. Also rejoining the group was guitarist Adrian Smith (who left sometime in 1990). So, for the first time, we had not two but THREE guitarists in Iron Maiden as Janick Gers, Smith’s replacement, stayed on. The band ran through a successful reunion tour, release another greatest hits album and then set about to record Brave New World.
Needless to say, the album was a major success as Iron Maiden was one of the few acts signed to famed A&R man John Kalodner’s revived Portrait Records label and this album would eventually go gold, also proving Maiden to be the only successful act for the label’s short-lived return.
Listening to the album now, I think I see why I didn’t care for it at the time. It’s a very melodic, epic slow album. Not that there aren’t a few rockers, but most of these songs are slow-tempo and make use of keyboards a lot. So at that time, I was wanting balls-to-the-wall heavy metal. Perhaps an album full of “Run to the Hills”, “Can I Play With Madness?”, “2 Minutes to Midnight” or “The Trooper” was what I was looking for it. Nothing here matches the urgency and punch of those songs, but the album comes pretty close with “The Wicker Man” and “Brave New World”.
The numbers have a slower pace and are less metallic, but this is still a must have Maiden album, IMO.
According to Adrian Smith, “The Nomad”, “Dream of Mirrors” and “The Mercenary” were songs originally written to Virtual XI.
Highlights: “The Wicker Man”, “Ghost of the Navigator”, “Blood Brothers”, “Brave New World”, “The Mercenary”, “The Nomad”, “Out of the Silent Planet”