"A Matter of Life & Death": Iron Maiden's hard rockin' new album

Fresh on the racks at your favorite music store is the great new album from Iron Maiden: A Matter of Life and Death. For those of you who appreciate great music (heavy metal, of course), your life-or-death weekend assignment is to go out and BUY THIS ALBUM!!!

This album is everything Maiden (and many other metal bands of the era) has ever been, with Dickinson’s powerful siren voice, complex lyrics that make strong moral critiques or tell tales from history, as well as the tight orchestration that few bands in the metal scene have ever been able to pull off.

I’d rank this as their best release since Somewhere in Time, back in the 80s, and one of their best ever.

Amazingly, this album has been one of the best received of their entire career, reaching #1 on VH1’s European album chart upon its release, as well as debuting at NUMBER NINE in the U.S. album charts (their first ever top 10 debut in the United States) and number two on the Canadian album charts. Already, over one million albums have been shipped.

If you've been one of those lamers who thought metal pre-grunge was out-of-date and not relevant to today's metal scene, think again. The success of this album says "think again".

The themes of war and religion are present through much of the album, as well as their approach to telling many of these stories from a first-person perspective. The Longest Day presents the experience of D-Day from the perspective of a fictional soldier on the beach, facing determined German opposition. The song paints war as what it is for the individual soldier –something less noble and more horrific than it is often portrayed:

All summers long the drills to build the machine
To turn men from flesh and blood to steel
From paper soldiers to bodies on the beach
From summer sands to armageddon's reach

Overlord, your master not your god
The enemy coast dawning grey with scud
These wretched souls puking, shaking fear
To take a bullet for those who sent them here

The world's alight, the cliffs erupt in flame
No escape, remorseless shrapnel rains
Drowning men no chance for a warrior's fate
A choking death enter hell's gate

Sliding we go, only fear on our side
To the edge of the wire,
and we rush with the tide
Oh the water is red,
with the blood of the dead
But I'm still alive, pray to God I survive

How long on this longest day
'Til we finally make it through
How long on this longest day
'Til we finally make it through

My favorite, hardest rocking and ass-kicking song on this album is The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg, an tale of a man condemned to endless re-incarnations. In the song, Breeg tells of how he experiences not only his own life and the torment of living with the guilt of his own wrongdoings, but also the experiences of those lives he lived before this one:

Let me tell you 'bout my life,
Let me tell you 'bout my dreams,
Let me tell you 'bout the things that happen, all is real to me.

Let me tell you of my hope, of my need to reach the sky,
Let me take you on an awkward journey, let me tell you why.
Let me tell you why

Why should these curses be laid upon me?
I won't be forgiven 'til I can break free
What did I do to deserve all this guilt?
Paid for my sins, for the sale of my soul.

Demons are trapped all inside of my head,
My hopes are gone, reach for heaven from hell,
My sins are many, my guilt is too heavy,
The pressure of knowing of hiding what I know

I'm able to see things, things I don't want to see,
The lives of a thousand souls weigh heavy down on me

I know they're crying for help
reaching out
The burden of them will take me down as well
The sin of a thousand souls not died in vain
Reincarnate still in me live again

Someone to save me,
Something to save me from myself
To bring salvation
To exorcise this hell
But who is Benjamin Breeg? While the band ain’t saying, speculation by fans abounds, and one fan site deals specifically with this question. The video for this album, which is included on a DVD with the deluxe edition, is like the song, rather introspective, with clips from past videos and concert performances from across the length of their career.

Who else has something to say about this album in the blogosphere ... Metal Mark ... Metal Reviews ... Heavy Metal Addiction ... Kurt's Krap ... Blind Summit ... Metal Hall ... Call me Mickey ... heck, you get the point. Lots of people have a lot to say about the album.

There's a lot more to this album, and so much so that the finished product even surprised band member at what they accomplished. Everyone who has this album has their own favorites, but we all agree that this album is well worth your twenty bucks, so go get it.

3 Response to ""A Matter of Life & Death": Iron Maiden's hard rockin' new album"

  1. Anonymous 22/9/06 09:31
    dude, from politics to heavy metal - you sure cover a lot of bases with this blog site.
  2. metal heart 22/9/06 16:31
    i agree. that album totally kicks ass - best one in many, many years.

    if you're into maiden and you don't buy this one, you really, really suck.
  3. Werner 8/6/12 08:27
    This album is one of my favorite of Iron Maiden's.
    Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg song is indeed the best track! Thank you for posting the lyrics here, I gotta learn that by heart:)

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