Friday, August 14, 2015

Iron Maiden Returns with Video-Single "Speed of Light"

WARNING! If you're offended by yet another modern, bland Maiden song, close the fuck out of YouTube.
After a long battle of attempting to renew The Metal Advisor's domain name, I'm back. Needless to say, Google wasn't particularly nice about it, especially when the username slipped my mind, and there was little way of recovering it. In the end, sifting through old emails was the key, but the important thing is that there's metal to gossip about, so let's get to it.

Today marks Iron Maiden's first new song since 2010's lackluster The Final Frontier. It should come as no surprise that the track--"Speed of Light"--carries the all-too-familiar aesthetic of brick-walled production and cardboard sounding drums. Guided by producer Kevin Shirley, the storied six-piece is more or less doomed for the foreseeable future, and with Harris residing in his comfort zone--as he has for many years now--the sound is unlikely to change before Iron Maiden calls it a day.

All things considered, this isn't surprising. Maiden is Maiden, and they're under no obligation to, as the internet fanboys put it, "give the fans what they want." The fact of the matter is that the six-piece has been stuck in a rut since Bruce made his departure in the early '90s, when Harris transitioned to longer, sprawling songs that adhered to a formula. A few gems have come of it--namely full-lengths Brave New World and Dance of Death--but otherwise, niggling inconstancies plague each release, bringing them down a few notches.

Your wildest dreams come true: Eddie and Donkey Kong
I suspect The Book of Souls will be no different.  Like A Matter of Life and Death and The Final Frontier, "Speed of Sound" will certainly be the most rocking and energetic of the record much like "Different World" and "El Dorado" have demonstrated before. Each time a new album rolls around, the boys play the same cards--release the shortest tracks as singles, rile the fanboys up, and hype another safe, formulaic full-length.

Maiden was once a band known for three things: innovation, influence, and inspiration. Their music inspired thousands of imitators and, even today, the number continues to grow, as traditional heavy metal reemerges from the underground. With the most recent albums, however, the innovation is gone because sticking to a formula, instead of letting the music flow naturally, cripples any musician or band. It's a sad state of affairs for a group surrounded by glimmering mysticism, admiration, and legend.

Of course, if I'm wrong, I'll eat my words. Unfortunate as it is to say, the video is the most interesting part of the song, though I did, in fact, associate the track's introduction with a video game before viewing the clip. Frankly, it's much better than the dull, computer generated videos Maiden has released in the past, and it's reassuring to see them step up to the plate in at least one area.

Eddie in a Mortal Kombat-like setting. Would woulda thunk it?
However, I do question if Nintendo or Midway (or the company that absorbed Midway) will appreciate Maiden ripping off classic Donkey Kong and Mortal Kombat concepts. Coming from a licensing background, I see ripoffs of well-known concepts all too often, and if Maiden failed to obtain the proper rights, I'm fearful of the owners taking action. But this may not be an issue--this is purely speculation on my part. 

Anyway, like always, I'm rambling. What do you think? Is the track worthy of the hype surrounding it? Is it indicative of a strong comeback? Tell me what you think below.



  1. I loved the video so much but that's cuz i love video games. It was nostalgic to see them sort of move through the times concerning video games and how they have changed in the last decades. The graphics were not cheesy at all, I actually congratulate whoever worked on this cuz it's really well done. The song really complemented the video well so i was happy!! You explained everything on point though, i agree with this song sticking to the basic formula we already know. There isn't much to say about the track other than typical Maiden from the last couple of years but it's not disappointing. I'm still excited to hear the whole album. I've been thinking about the song all day so i might take another listen to it without the video.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Carol. The song definitely isn't bad, but it's safe, bland, and expected of contemporary Maiden. Make sure you watch the video again, though. It's a treat to see how many references to Maiden's past you can spot. Listening without watching the video is indeed a different experience, though--that's what I did at first.

      The real "treat" could be the 18-minute epic on the upcoming record, however--if they can pull off a "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," I'll be speechless. September 4th is drawing closer... Get pumped!

  2. So... I have yet to hear the new Maiden. How is it?

    1. Boy, is it great to hear from you! I don't hate the new Maiden, but I fall into the camp that thinks there's quite a bit wrong with it. A lot of people seem to like it, though, so you may enjoy it. Staying pretty mum at the moment because my review is coming up. Hope you'll be back to read it! Again, stoked to hear from you!

      My ranking for reunion albums is as follows:

      Brave New World = Dance of Death > A Matter of Life and Death > The Final Frontier > The Book of Souls

      As far as contemporary Maiden goes, BNW and DoD are masterpieces.

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