Bruce Dickinson - Tyranny Of Souls
After being off the scene for quite some years with his solo albums, Bruce Dickinson of the legendary band Iron Maiden is back with yet another effort entitled Tyranny Of Souls. Having done albums that range from 'decent but nothing spectacular' to 'very good' earlier, I was curious on what he had been able to accomplish this time. The result showed to be good but ending up somewhere in the upper middle section of his back catalouge.
The album starts with two uptempo bits containing heavy and juicy riffs and catchy refrains, and I like the intensity and freshness over this. The style is typical Bruce Dickinson, and the first impression is that it feels somehow a bit updated and rawer this time. Next out is Kill Devil Hill, with a really fat riff and where I really like the refrain. Very melodic and a strong candidate for the song of the album. Following up does Navigate The Seas Of The Sun and this is a beauty. This is one of few ballads in music history that I actually like all the way. To be honest, it is more of a semi ballad as there are heavier parts with drums and electric guitar around the refrains and at the end. During the verses there is a strong irish/english pop vibe over it and I really like the vocal lines.
River Of No Return also starts slow, but turns into a more heavy and epic mid tempo song. A decent refrain, but an average song in general and nothing special. Power Of The Sun is a great uptempo song and the only one that can be said to be close to something that Iron Maiden around 1985-1990 could have done, apart from perhaps Kill Devil Hill. More simple and naked rock'n'roll in the verse and bridge with Devil On A Hog, but the choruse is a smasher. Simple, but it sticks and is very charming. During the ending part of the album it slows down a bit and turns more epic and moody, but the really great edge to it is missing. Slow songs with heavy riffs during the verses and kind of standard refrains and the heavy and atmospheric mid section in Believil can not really save the song. The closing title track has a little weaker refrain than the epic song otherwise makes you think it would have and that makes it a bit of a disappointment as a package, but nevertheless good.
To conclude, this is a good album but it still does not have that little extra to make it a real smasher. There is just as on previous albums a lack in the musical arrangements that make it sound and feel a bit thin. It is like I constantly think about how it could have sounded with some extra juice behind it all. The guitars and the whole sound picture, courtesy of renowed Roy Z (Judas Priest, Halford), are very heavy and thick but it's missing something. The refrains also sound "typical" Dickinson and there seems to be little space for new elements. The choruses are also built after the same receipe and blueprint as often before but as long as it's done good, I will not say much more about that.
It ends up just a small step behind the previous albums
The Chemical Wedding and Accident At Birth, due to the fact that a couple
of songs fall into the category average and the repetitive feeling that
occurs during some rrefrains, but before the other albums and it's a
good, solid and simple working class man's heavy metal album. Perhaps
a bit too solid and familar, though....