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Iron Maiden - 1986 Somewhere In Time



ARTIST: Iron Maiden
ALBUM: Somewhere In Time
LABEL: EMI
SERIAL: EMC 3512
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1998, EMI, 7243 4 96924 0 4

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Bruce Dickinson - vocals * Dave Murray - guitars * Adrian Smith - guitars * Steve Harris - bass * Nicko McBrain - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Caught Somewhere In Time * 02 Wasted Years * 03 Sea Of Madness * 04 Heaven Can Wait * 05 The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner * 06 Stranger In A Strange Land * 07 Deja Vu * 08 Alexander The Great

WEBLINKS: www.ironmaiden.com


Background
In 1986 Iron Maiden were the biggest metal band on earth, a point emphasized by the mammoth year long 'World Slavery Tour' of 1984/85, which saw them sell out arena's worldwide. A break was needed and 1985's classic 'Live After Death' album filled the gap nicely. When 'Somewhere In Time' appeared in September 1986, Maiden's sound had changed slightly. Guitar and bass synths had been introduced and an overall slickness in the harmonies and production was present. Noticeable by their absence were any compositions by Bruce Dickinson, who later admitted to being so burned out he was unable to contribute to the songwriting. The biggest hit of the album, 'Wasted Years', was written by Adrian Smith who felt too scared to present it to the group at first, fearing it was too commercial!


The Songs
Maiden had sacrificed nothing in heaviness, witnessed by 'Caught Somewhere In Time' which moves with speed, led by Harris' famed galloping bass riffs. The guitar riffs themselves are ultra melodic and it's a slice of vintage Maiden. 'Wasted Years' was Maiden's most accessible track up to that point, with a chorus on the verge of AOR. Suitably it went to no 18 on the British charts. The guitar synths are to the forefront in 'Sea Of Madness,' which features an interesting slower breakdown halfway through before the intensity picks up. One of Maiden's most loved songs appears with 'Heaven Can Wait', a Steve Harris special with an unforgettable chorus and some surging breaks. McBrain's drumming reaches thrash like proportions during 'The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner' but the harmonies are so smooth that it is far removed from that then burgeoning movement. Smith strikes again with 'Stranger In A Strange Land' featuring some stunning arrangements, the synths used primarily for atmosphere. 'Deja Vu' and 'Alexander The Great' let things down slightly, devoid of character and more filler than usual.


In Summary
That aside, 'Somewhere In Time' is the perfect example of heaviness and melody being merged, without losing musical identity. Maiden were still a metal band, even if there were murmurs of discontent from some fans. It had no effect on sales, going platinum in the States and ensuring another epic tour which was highlighted by six sold out shows at London's Hammersmith Odeon. For Dickinson it was the beginning of the end, he later said he wanted to quit the band at this juncture, having wanted the album to be acoustic! A veritable classic of an album nonetheless, melodic heavy metal has never sounded better.


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Comments
#1 | george_the_jack on June 19 2008 15:22:39
Maybe my favorite album by Iron Maiden! Surely one of the 10 greatest heavy metal albums of all time in my book....Nevertheless,This release shows the first fatigue specks of the metal gods that would lead them to their 3rd period with lower quality standard outfits.
#2 | gdazegod on December 02 2011 22:00:49
I actually like this too, but I think 'Powerslave' is pretty good too. Stuck in that timewarp of 1984, it's hard not to get caught up in all the Maiden hubaloo of that era..
#3 | reyno-roxx on March 17 2013 20:44:49
Loved the album cover. So much to pick up on with the original vinyl version. It always surprised me how Maiden got away with using guitar synths on this album whereas Judas Priest got absolutely hammered for doing the same thing on 'Turbo'.
#4 | englandashes on September 12 2015 21:35:48
Classic Rock magazine has 17 different covers this month of each album, I went with this one! Best bit of the issue, really getting poor, the buyers guide was on Foreigner, strange cos a similar summary was included in Classic AOR on Foreigner?
 
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