Bruce Dickinson - The Chemical Wedding

Posted on Friday, September 17, 2010

It makes me feel a little weird to say this, but I think that after hearing this and Iron Maiden’s Virtual XI, it’s pretty clear that Bruce was the real motivating force in that band. It’s been a long time since Bruce was involved with a perfect album, but maybe thanks to teaming up with Adrian Smith, the wait is over. The Chemical Wedding is not only flawless, but it’s also the best (non-Motorhead, of course) Metal album I’ve heard in a long time. All the new guys cashing in on Traditional Metal could never hope to come up with something this heavy, or this good. But of course Dickinson & Co. have been at this for quite a long time, and have finally honed their collective skills into something I never thought I’d hear: an album that gets better and better with every listen, with no flaws in sight, and none apparent after no less than 100 spins. This is one of the best Metal albums of all time. This is seriously that good. And one more thing: It’s sort of difficult to describe the style of this disc. It’s modern, I suppose, and yet traditional at the same time. There are no galloping riffs, and the guitar sound is thicker, heavier, than you would expect. So how is it traditional? Anything with Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith is Traditional Metal, my friends. But there is a real sense of majesty and power that a lot of the current pretenders try for, but never reach. Maybe it’s the amazing range and power of Dickinson, who’s voice has never sounded as good as it does here. Or maybe it’s Smith, who I always thought was the guy who wrote all the wimpiest Maiden stuff, now unleashing all his monster riffs and flawless execution. Or maybe it’s the rest of the band. Roy Z., the other guitarist, is likely Smith’s equal, and also responsible for the amazing production. And dare I say that Eddie Casillas is as good a bassist as The Master, Steve Harris? But it’s true. When Bruce left Iron Maiden, I was sure that he was going to go on to record some horrible Pop Metal crap, and that Maiden would be better off without him. It was just a feeling I had after hearing “Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter.” Well, he did write some less-than-perfect stuff, but clearly all that is long out of his system, and I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong. Try as they might, Maiden haven’t been able to regain the old magic, while Bruce has boldly gone forward and created brand-new magic of his own. If you only have the cash to buy one CD, this is the one. It’s going to be tough to top this one, guys. My only choice is to bestow the highest honor possible upon this flawless masterpiece. (Since this was reviewed, Bruce and Adrian have both rejoined Iron Maiden…)

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