Sep 062021


(Here’s Wil Cifer‘s review of the new Iron Maiden album, which was released three days ago.)

The unholy trinity of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden spawned all metal since their influence trickled down to Metallica, Slayer, Bathory, and pretty much anyone wearing a bullet belt since then. Now with album 17, Iron Maiden comes back stronger than ever after a six-year hiatus from the studio. I assumed The Book of Souls was going to be their last album, and even after hearing the single for “The Writing on the Wall“ I was not expecting a double-album worth of material.

When I press play on any Maiden album since Brave New World my immediate worry is what shape is Bruce‘s voice going to be in? Now that he’s at age 63 this is an even more legitimate concern given the fact that his leather-lunged voice is a defining staple of their sound. This is put to rest after hearing how Bruce belts it out on the title track that opens the album. Given that the producer was Kevin Shirley, who worked with Rush, Dream Theater and Journey, another surprise is how beefy the guitar tone is — though Steve Harris co-produced, so I am sure breathing over his shoulder every step of the way. “Stratego” that follows is even more of an urgent headbanger and has its boot firmly on the monitor. Continue reading »

Sep 102019


(Our Seattle-based contributor Gonzo re-joins us with another lively concert review, this time reporting on Iron Maiden‘s performance in Tacoma, Washington, on September 5, 2019.)

“It’s only gonna get better from here,” bellows a spry Bruce Dickinson, addressing the Tacoma Dome crowd while standing under a replica Spitfire plane. Dickinson and his band of merry men in Iron Maiden had just torn through iconic opener “Aces High,” complete with said plane dangling from the top of the stage like a marionette during the song’s entirety. This alone would be an impressive spectacle for any live act to pull off, but for Iron Maiden, it’s the warmup.

At this point in the band’s storied career, to expect anything less than this from Iron Maiden would be silly. At 61, Dickinson is as energetic as someone half his age, and Steve Harris and the rest of his bandmates in the indispensable UK metal crew aren’t far behind. Not surprisingly, then, would the band’s 2019 Legacy of the Beast tour be anything less than spectacular? Continue reading »

Sep 282015

My Dying Bride-Feel the Misery


(Here’s the latest installment of KevinP’s series in which he runs down his list of the best releases from the preceding month.)

I screwed up last month.  And not just a minor oversight, but in a fairly big way.  It wasn’t until after August’s column was posted that fellow contributor/friend Dan Barkasi messaged me that he was surprised I didn’t have Wolfheart on my list.  My response was, “the album comes out in September”.  Then I checked and realized I was wrong.  URGH.  I’m gonna assign partial blame to Mr. Saukkonen though, since he sent me a copy of the album many months in advance and mentioned September as the release date.  Assuming his infallibility (based on his musical pedigree), I never bothered to double-check and learn that the label would change it.

So how do I address this grave misdeed?  I was going to include it as part of this month’s Top 5, but that really wouldn’t make sense or be fair to the other releases.  I’ll simply say this:  Shadow World eclipses the debut.  It’s another masterstroke in the arsenal of Tuomas the Finnish Freeballer who simply seems to be able to mine the same well and keep extracting new and exciting sounds from it.  Would it have been the Number 1 album last month?  It certainly would have been a toss-up between that and Majestic Downfall. Continue reading »

Aug 312015

Iron Maiden-The Book of Souls


(Wil Cifer reviews what may be the final studio album by a band named Iron Maiden.)

Iron Maiden is right behind Black Sabbath when it comes being one of the most revered classic metal bands of all time. This is for good reason, as they have maintained tons of integrity over the years, even if they did break down and use keyboards and made the poor choice of trying to replace Bruce with Blaze. Line-up changes and tweaks to nuances in their sound aside, in the bigger picture of their legacy, they have never really whored themselves out by appearing on American Idol, which sadly is something Rob Halford cannot say. So for me the bar is held really high when it comes to this band, and if you have any questions as to my devotion, all I need say is that I have The Number of the Beast album cover tattooed on my left forearm… what do you got? So I have been upping the Irons since 1984.

Going into this album, the trepidation I had in regard to how it would uphold their legacy was due to the Dickinson’s much publicized battle with throat cancer and how that would affect his voice. Then there was the cowbell-infected lead single off the album, “Speed of Light”, which might have quelled my fears of “will Bruce still have it” and replaced them with “will this album be filled with cheesy rock n roll”? Continue reading »

Jul 302012

(BadWolf makes me very jealous sometimes. Case in point: He attended a concert by the legendary Iron Maiden in Detroit on July 18.  He provides this report.  Credit for the photos goes to Mahlon Orrin.)

There are limits to how excited someone can reasonably be for an event. I try and contain my excitement, these days. After all, excitement is kissing  cousins with anxiety, and the two frequently swap clothes when I’m not looking.

So when I say that I was unreasonably excited to leave work on July 18th and see Iron Maiden, I want you to have some idea of what I mean: enough caffeine, testosterone, and adrenaline running through my veins to rouse a narcopleptic doormouse.

It was to be my first Iron Maiden concert. Bruce Dickenson and co. remain some of the last classic metal gods that one can see in the United States—and reportedly the only ones who still put on a half-decent show, besides maybe Motörhead (not that I know, I’ve never seen Motörhead either). That Maiden, known for eschewing classics in favor of new material, were playing an all-retro set only frosted my cake.

My best friend, d00sh c00gr, and I felt so elated at the opportunity that we broke a personal vow and returned to Detroit Energy Theater, where we have witnessed many large summer metal shows (most of them involving Slayer) completely wrecked by a combination of bad sound and shitty fans. Continue reading »

Feb 102012

(Today, NCS writer BadWolf inaugurates a new personal series.)

No Clean Singing has made its name in the metal underground by focusing on the undiscovered cutting edge. Bringing relatively unknown, but sweet, bands to prominence is our stock and trade. That said, as our resident grumpy old man, I’ve made a New Year’s resolution: to listen to more old metal albums.

Why? I don’t know, really. There’s no reason to believe that something will be better or worse based on its age—music is not wine. I suppose I just have a renewed interest in retrospective activity, period: I read old books, I watch old movies, listening to old music just feels right. I’m not trying to escape into the past (Obama over Reagan any day of the week, even if I hate them both), but I’m trying to understand what it was like to have a brand new Iron Maiden album in my hand.

It should be noted: I adore Iron Maiden. Their influence on modern extreme metal may be in question to some, but their prowess is never in question. Maiden used to (and on occasion still do) write the best narrative metal songs. They still have the best frontman in guitar music—and the most multitalented! Oh, and they innovated both twin guitar octave harmonies and ‘the gallop.’

Imagine metal without the gallop rhythm. There would never have been a Slayer. I think it’s safe to say that without Slayer there would be no extreme American metal as we know it. There would be no death-chug without Maiden. But that’s a discussion for another time. Continue reading »

Jan 032012

Okay, the headline of this post is a bit of an exaggeration, but I think you’ll forgive me after you hear the music.

The news is this: Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith has joined forces with former SikTh frontman Mikee Goodman for a new studio project. It’s called Primal Rock Rebellion, and the duo have finished recording an album that will be released on February 27 by the Spinefarm label.

The songs were all co-written by Smith and Goodman, with Smith playing both guitar and bass. Session musicians who also contributed to the forthcoming album include Abi Fry of Bat For Lashes, plus original SikTh member Dan ‘Loord’ Foord on drums, among others.

Spinefarm and the band have just released a song from the album called “I See Lights”. It’s dark and nasty, and the guitar and bass riffage get their hooks in you pretty fast. Listen to it after the jump — and if you like what you here, you can download it for free. Continue reading »

Apr 292011

Anachronaeon is a two-man band from Sweden consisting of Andreas Åkerlind on drums and Patrik Carlsson providing guitars, bass, vocals, and keys. We first heard their music last summer on a tip from our blog-bro Niek at Death Metal Baboon (yes, it seems we’re destined to mention DMB in every post we run this week), and we then featured the band in one of our MISCELLANY posts last August (here).

Yesterday we got an e-mail from Patrik Carlsson telling us that Anachronaeon have recorded a cover of “Wasting Love” by Iron Maiden, which the band are making available for free download. I took a deep breath when I saw that, (a) because I love the original Maiden version of “Wasting Love” (despite the clean singing), and (b) because I couldn’t imagine what Anachronaeon would do to the song, given the band’s own musical style — which is a dark fusion of melodic black- and death-metal.

And right after that deep breath came a rush of thoughts about song covers in general — how rarely they succeed, and how “success” should be defined and measured. After the jump, those thoughts (on which we’d like to see your comments) plus Iron Maiden’s official video for “Wasting Love” and Anachronaeon’s cover. Continue reading »

Apr 072011

Liz is 25 years old. Two years ago, Liz had 40 songs on her iPod and “a graveyard of abandoned projects”. She found a book called 1001 Albums You Should Listen To Before You Die. The book starts with a Frank Sinatra album called In The Wee Small Hours from 1955 and goes up to 2007. On a day 516 days ago, Liz decided to start listening to all the albums in that book. She listens to one album each day, from start to finish, and then she writes her impressions in a blog. On May 6, 2012, if she keeps this up, she’ll have listened to someone’s idea of the best 1001 albums in history.

What caught my eye was that this list of 1001 albums includes some metal. I haven’t made my way through very many of Liz’s posts, but on April 2 (Day 513) she listened to The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden and on March 26 (Day 510) she listened to Black Metal by Venom. By her own admission, Liz was in a “tiny music bubble” when she started this project. Whatever music was in the bubble with her, it’s fair to say that it didn’t include anything like Iron Maiden or Venom.

I like imagining how non-metalheads react when they listen to metal. Reading Liz’s take on these albums, seeing them through the eyes of someone who is new to the genre but is clearly doing her best to keep an open mind, is kind of fun. Of course, she hasn’t been converted — yet. It would have been better if she had found a list of the 1001 best extreme metal albums of all time and forced herself to do that for 1001 days, though she might have been hospitalized before finishing. Also, I’m not sure there are 1001 great extreme metal albums.

After the jump, you can see what she wrote about The Number of the Beast and Black Metal. You can also hear a brand new track from the Swedish band called Shining (not the Norwegian one by the same name) from their next album. I’m wondering how Liz would react to this beast of a song (it’s a fucking killer). Continue reading »

Nov 122010

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s guest post comes to us from Dan, who apparently is now called The Artist Formerly Known As Dan. Dan is an American temporarily transplanted to Adelaide, Australia. He has a list for you.]

So, I realize it’s cliche to make one of these lists (and maybe a bit premature?), but they’re usually useful for several reasons.  Firstly, it allows me to shamelessly plug the bands I like and push my agenda on you.  Secondly, it allows you to post lists of the records I forgot and tell me why my first list was wrong.  I can then subsequently go back to the records I may have forgotten or never owned in the first place.  Everyone should theoretically win here, since there is always music overlooked or forgotten about throughout the year.  So, let’s begin.

10. The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza – Danza III: The Series of Unfortunate Events

Technical, but so brutal.  A perfect recommendation for someone who listens to too much vanilla-breakdown deathcore (and, for some of you, “too much” implies listening to any deathcore at all).  I highly recommend seeing them in concert; they bring tons of energy.  Yippie-Kay-Yay-Motherfucker.

(more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »