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Bruce Dickinson - Tyranny Of Souls (CD)

Bruce Dickinson
Tyranny Of Souls
by Orpheus Spiliotopoulos at 14 April 2005, 10:35 AM

And so we lay, we lay in the same grave, our chemical wedding day… Those last words from Bruce Dickinson's final track, Alchemist (Chemical Wedding, 1998) have been haunting my ears for the last 7 years. I must admit that though I always was and still am a huge Iron Maiden fan, I always loved Dickinson's solo efforts more, during the 90's. Well, whatever my likes or dislikes may be, we're talking about one of Heavy Metal's greatest vocalists/composers ever.
Bruce's solo works always gave me the chills, always gave me a huge mental boner and made me want to melt my CD player because of repeated overuse… With the only exception being his debut solo Tattooed Millionaire (1990), which I really don't like (Dickinson-wise), the releases that followed after his departure from Iron Maiden (after Tattooed Millionaire…) till the day they got back together again (in 1999) were pure masterpieces. From the sensory arousing Balls To Picasso album (1994) to the Hard Rocking Skunkworks (1996) and from - probably his most significant trademark - Accident Of Birth album (1997) to the mystical vibe of Chemical Wedding (1998)…Bruce Dickinson has proven to be one of the darkest soul-scavenging Heavy Metal composers around. That's what made his works always so much different than Iron Maiden yet successful in comparison to other renowned artists' solo attempts.
I was really anxious and anticipating to stretch my eardrums to the sound of Dickinson's solo comeback, Tyranny Of Souls! I would constantly wonder the same things you're probably wondering right now as you read these lines. Is Dickinson going to continue pumping great albums like he triumphantly managed to do during the 90's or is it unfortunately time for a mediocre or even bad album?… thoughts like this one tyrannized my soul till the moment I pressed the 'play' button.
The Intro nails you to your chair as an electrified atmosphere of mystery pours out of your speakers and onto your floor while Dickinson opens his book of (his metal) revelations. …didn't you come this way here before, a million years ago?… says Dickinson's voice and I'm getting chills the size of a giraffe's neck, as if I knew what was going to follow. To put it another way… Abduction kicks off and 10 seconds into the track you're swirling your head round and round while screaming he's back! (with a smile of deep satisfaction arising). Abduction doesn't really remind me anything apart maybe from a bit of Accident Of Birth (the album) because it's heavy with fast tempo shredding guitar riffs.
That certainly hadn't prepared me for the third track of Tyranny Of Souls, Soul Intruders. The song starts off with a really fast double bass drumming (!!!) which really makes you feel as if this is a leftover intro from one of Rob Halford's songs on his Resurrection solo album. It's one of these times when you really don't care whether that's because of Roy Z being involved in all of these gentlemen's solo works or because of whatever. The intro will get you to drop on your knees and headbang like wild. Of course, though it would be even cooler if the entire track was done in the same pace it kicks off (and ends) with, the slowing down into a more mid-tempo song does not make you like it any less.
Kill Devil Hill is an opus! I really needed to hear a Heavy Metal song in the vibe of KDH. Roy Z's a true riff-master! This guy should be given tons of credit as a musician because he's responsible for shaping Heavy Metal into its existing form, during the last 10 years (Dickinson, Rob Halford, Judas Priest, Masterplan, Helloween, Rob Rock etc). He's either engineered, played the guitar or helped in any other way on so many albums, I'd probably need a huge review just for his (always ongoing) contribution to Metal/Rock.
Now for softer moments of daydream travel Dickinson always has something good in store. So, like Jerusalem (Chemical Wedding) or Change Of Heart (Balls To Picasso), Navigate The Seas Of The Sun is a seemingly soft song yet quite heavily filled with meanings only Dickinson knows how to place within his lyrics so elegantly. Then we move on to River Of No Return which will really remind you of a slight blend of Chemical Wedding (once Bruce starts singing) and - then for a few seconds you have a weird feeling - a track off Iron Maiden's Number Of The Beast is going to pop in somewhere at that point. Nevertheless, interesting and in its way profound, as almost the entire album is.
Power Of The Sun is another combination of head-crushing riffs and drumming combined with Dickinson's exceptional vocal performance (as always). Personally I believe that this song will become one of your favorite tracks off this album - most likely…fore sure!
Devil On A Hog and Believil remind me (especially the last one) of Accident Of Birth and Chemical Wedding respectively, being probably the bad (there's nothing really bad about this album) points on Tyranny Of Souls though Believil has a really powerful and mystique atmosphere. The same-titled final track couldn't be more perfect to end this album. To your unsatisfied hunger, A Tyranny Of Souls comes to an end and you find yourself singing A tyranny of souls, that love has lost, a tyranny of souls, a Pentecost…. An ending only the Air raid siren would be able to come up with.
To conclude this long album review (how could it not be long when we're talking about someone like Dickinson?) I want to say that it's always great when one of your favorite artists manages to beat your fears of failure down to the ground, proving that Heavy Metal will overcome these times of utter musical crap (more or less - though we're getting out of that situation slowly, slowly - starting with 2004 and this year). If you want to put your money where it's worth it then just go buy Tyranny Of Souls when it's out and let's all just raise our middle fingers towards trendy non-believers and headbang to the sounds of this awesome album!
- Album Highlights: Abduction, Soul Intruder, Kill Devil Hill, Navigate The Seas Of The Sun, Power Of The Sun and A Tyranny Of Souls
P.S. No, I have no idea who Maestro Mistheria is, the mystery keyboardist on this album. Some things remain well kept secrets…or we'll have to find out soon, I guess.
P.S. I love Dave Moreno's drumming!
As the wind wips over the hillside
Twenty knots over Kill Devil Hill
Steady wind blows over the sand
Twenty knots over Kill Devil Hill
As the breezed went straight as an arrow
It begun over Kill Devil Hill
Gasoline and the wind in the wires
Kill Devil Hill and the way to the sky

4 Star Rating

Mars Within (Intro)
Soul Intruders
Kill Devil Hill
Navigate The Seas Of The Sun
River Of No Return
Power Of The Sun
Devil On A Hog
A Tyranny of Souls
Bruce Dickinson - Vocals
Roy Z - Guitars
Maestro Mistheria - Keyboards
Ray Geezer Burke - Bass (certain tracks)
Juan Perez - Bass (certain tracks)
David Moreno - Drums
Record Label: Mayan / Sanctuary Records


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