Iron Maiden, “Speed of Light” from Book of Souls (2015): One Track Mind

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Iron Maiden has unleashed their first new music since 2010 and I couldn’t help but feel anticipation, even though their last couple of albums have been pretty disappointing for me. So, the first thing I did this morning was seek the new song out – and after a couple of listens, I’m left with the same mixed feelings that much of the band’s later work has left me with.

“Speed of Light” starts out interestingly with kind of a classic rock spin that eventually revs up into a more familiar Iron Maiden sound. The early verses, though, don’t really catch me right away. They don’t seem to flow very well, reminding me a little of something perhaps from the experimental A Matter of Life and Death. Bruce Dickinson, at times, also sounds a little strained on this track, though in fairness he was dealing with tongue cancer when this was recorded.

By the midpoint of the song, though, it’s settled into a nice rhythm, and from the guitar solo on, I have to admit that I’m bobbing my head and thinking, if not of classic Iron Maiden, then at least something in the Brave New World era, which was easily my favorite record since the band’s 1999 reunion with singer Bruce Dickinson. So, that’s not a bad thing.

In the end, I still have questions about Book of Souls, a reported double-album due in September. Having grown up on Iron Maiden (and being firmly in their camp in that age-old Maiden vs. Priest argument), I’m cheering the band on. I want a record that has the energy and power that we heard on one of their classic albums, or even in their current live shows, which remain incredible. It can be done. Judas Priest proved that last year.

I’m not hearing it on “Speed of Light,” though. While it’s an OK album cut, it’s not the song that makes me want to be at the record store when it opens as I once would have been for a new Iron Maiden release. Instead, it makes me want to play wait and see.

Here’s hoping that September brings me a big surprise. It would be nice to have another Iron Maiden album spend a few months in my playlist.

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse reviews.com.
Fred Phillips

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