IRON MAIDEN – Brave New World – 2019 Remastered Edition
- by J.N.
- Posted on 03-09-2019
I clearly remember when the metal press announced that Bruce Dickinson had rejoined the marvelous Iron Maiden back in 1999, but an even more vivid memory of mine is when “Brave New World” was released the following year and how insanely psyched the fans and critics all were. Truth be told (and I know that what I am about to say amounts to heresy to some of you out there), I never really found the record to be all that interesting. It was not an awful LP or anything like that – far from it – but compared to pretty much every other studio output by the ensemble in existence, it felt a little too safe and predictable somehow. It lacked that undefinable spark and energy that I associate with most Maiden releases, and at times it even felt a bit…well, underwhelming and unimaginative, I suppose. In all honesty, this is the one that never really finds its way to my record player, whereas I spin all the others regularly. It was therefore highly interesting for me to properly immerse myself in this ten-track offering in its recently remastered form, and I must admit that I had damn-near forgotten how utterly majestic some of the compositions are, and I am primarily referring to such epics as “Dream of Mirrors” and “Out of the Silent Planet” as well as the driven “The Mercenary” and the classic “Blood Brothers” here. The prog rock influences are all over the album and so are those big, sweeping melodies and vocal hooks. As you know, these guys are some of the best and most talented musicians to have ever walked the earth – no questions asked – but what I found disheartening back when it first came out and still do after having listened to the 2019 edition is that there are too many fillers and that it lacks cohesion and coherence in terms of quality and inventiveness. A handful of cuts are wildly thrilling while others are quite mundane affairs that neither seem to go anywhere nor stir any emotions within me. In addition, many songs feature overblown choruses that are seemingly repeated endlessly, which is not exactly something that they have not done in the past (remember “The Angel and the Gambler”?), but because I find some of the pieces lacking in vigor and excitement, “Brave New World” simply feels uneven and rather uneventful here and there. Still, there are some strong and muscular things to be discovered on the disc and it would be somewhat lame to state that it sucks as that is hardly the case.
Countless Iron Maiden record are fiercely creative endeavors that lack neither spirit nor enthusiasm. The 80s albums are more or less all considered masterpieces and for good reason as they are truly outstanding and extraordinarily well-crafted, but to yours truly, “Brave New World” does not belong in that category, and it is hardly the landmark album that some have made it out to be. I was never a fan of Kevin Shirley’s production as it came across as slightly too clinical and sterile, and the flat sound of the drums always bugged me, but the remastered version has definitely improved the sound of the thing and luckily, it also possesses a slightly warmer tone now and boasts a more dynamic feel overall. If you loved the original version of “Brave New World”, give this new one a go and see how you like it, but for me, this one is still my least favorite by the band and it is frustratingly repetitive.