Steve Harris

Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls Review

Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls Review

On October 5th, 1930 while flying over France on its maiden voyage, the airship R101 crashed, killing 48 of the 54 people on board. The ship was the jewel of the British empire and had been built with increased lifting capacity, and was (at the time) the world’s largest flying vessel. Much like the Titanic, the R101 is a story of hubris—particularly as told by Dickinson on the track “Empire of the Clouds,” The Book of Souls‘ 18-minute closer. The R101 never was put through its paces, having not done full endurance and speed trials, before it undertook its maiden voyage for India, and on that voyage it tragically crashed. As a closer, “The Empire of the Clouds” is an epic which pushes Iron Maiden into territory never before explored. As an analogy for The Book of Souls, it strikes a little too close to home.

Orphaned Land – The Road to OR-Shalem Review

Orphaned Land – The Road to OR-Shalem Review

It’s no secret that right now my favorite band in the world is Orphaned Land. And if it was a secret, I guess it’s not really a secret anymore. Orphaned Land does what no other band alive does and they do it so very, very well. Mabool was fantastic, but 2010’s The Never Ending Way of OR’WarriOR was my record of the year and is really my standard for what a modern progressive metal record should be like. The mix and production from Steven Wilson was excellent, the song writing was tremendous and it’s one of the very few records over about 45 or 50 minutes that I can even handle these days. So I was super pumped when I got a promo copy of the band’s DVD The Road to OR-Shalem. I’m not a huge fan of DVDs, as I’ve said in the past, but this one is definitely worth your time, both as fans and non-fans.

Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier Review

Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier Review

Iron Maiden is the greatest heavy metal band to ever live. Thirty years after the release of their self-titled album, they are arguably just as relevant as they ever have been, not resting on their laurels and imitating a hits jukebox, but instead touring the world playing their new material to the joy of fans everywhere. After what was a rousing success with their most recent record, the 2006 release of A Matter of Life and Death, there is actually maybe a bit more pressure on the band to produce something that is quality, memorable and, frankly, classic. Especially with the rumors floating around that this is Maiden’s final album, spurred even further on by the fact that Steve Harris helped write every song on the record, the pressure cooker of fan scrutiny is reaching fever pitch. And so it falls to this Angry Metal Guy to try to put all of this into some sort of context; to try to listen to my favorite band with fresh ears, and I’ve come to some realizations about the band in the process.

White Wizzard – Over the Top Review

White Wizzard – Over the Top Review

There is an interesting irony to throwback bands like White Wizzard and a lot of the other thrash throwbacks that are coming out right now, which is that at one point in time what these guys were doing was forward thinking. I know it’s hard to believe, in a world where metal is used to support stupid ideologies, backwards thinking or just generally brutish and retarded behavior, it’s hard to think of metal as progressive, but in 1980, metal was outside of the box. Bands like Iron Maiden and Def Leppard were just cutting their teeth, Lars Ulrich was busy stealing their riffs and ideas and heavy metal was fresh, young, innovative and above all rebellious and really, really interesting.

Blaze Bayley: At the End of the Day – Lawrence Paterson (Book Review)

Blaze Bayley: At the End of the Day – Lawrence Paterson (Book Review)

A few of you might have noticed that I have taken to reporting a lot on Blaze Bayley (the man and the band), and this is partially due to the fact that I have long been a fan of his solo stuff (and his tenure in Iron Maiden). As I’ve stated before, I think that X Factor is a classic album and I will continue to defend that to this day (though, I will definitely also point out that it is poorly produced, as was Virtual XI, which in my book was also poorly conceived). In any case, I, like others who gravitated to the Blaze-era Iron Maiden, continued to follow him afterwords and were happily surprised by the quality of the material that his newly formed band BLAZE had produced. Since then, I have paid attention, with a heavy heart often times, to an ongoing saga of an excellent underground band getting ignored, fucked repeatedly by labels, management and finally crumbling under the weight of outside and inside pressures. For me, the collapse of BLAZE and the rise of Blaze’s current self-titled incarnation was shrouded in mystery as I was just a fan witnessing it from the outside, but much of what I did not know is now available in a book written by current Blaze Bayley drummer Lawrence Paterson entitled At the End of the Day (and conveniently available for Christmas!).

Blaze Bayley – The Night That Will Not Die Review

Blaze Bayley – The Night That Will Not Die Review

Blaze Bayley, for those who don’t know (where the hell have you been??) is the solo project of former Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden frontman of the same name. Honestly, this guy’s story is a true underdog story. To hear it told, he was the singer that no one wanted until he got picked up by Wolfsbane and then he was chosen to fill Bruce Dickinson’s shoes in Iron Maiden after Bruce decided he was too cool for the band. There was absolutely no way for him to win in that situation. A man with a baritone register filling Dickinson’s shoes is just ridiculous and everyone should’ve known better: but this reviewer humbly submits that X Factor is a classic record and that Virtual XI, while definitely weaker, was not weak because of Blaze, but instead because of Steve Harris’ writing and the very poor production. In fact, I’m still waiting for those two albums to be remastered.