A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH

-- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:46 PM ET


Iron Maiden
A Matter of Life & Death
(EMI)

Galloping beats? You bet. Harmonized Stratocaster solos? Naturally. Bruce Dickinson's soaring vocals? But of course. Grand, anthemic metal epics about war and religion and death? Yep, yep and yep. There's no doubt about it -- A Matter of Life and Death is an Iron Maiden album.

But here's the thing: This 14th (and at 71 minutes, longest) studio set from the veteran British metal gods also happens to be a pretty good Iron Maiden album.

Not Number of the Beast good, but perhaps Seventh Son of a Seventh Son good. Despite their imposing length (and the band's over-the-top wall-of-guitars approach), cuts like The Longest Day, The Pilgrim and The Legacy are fairly muscular and memorable.

The performances -- captured live in the studio once again -- display a loose immediacy that producer Kevin Shirley captures without fuss or tomfoolery. And say what you will about Maiden, there aren't many bands who could get away with recording a seven-minute cut called The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg -- and then issuing it as a single.

Run to the hills, metal haters.

Track Listing:

1. Different World
2. These Colours Don't Run
3. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
4. Pilgrim
5. Longest Day
6. Out of the Shadows
7. Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
8. For the Greater Good of God
9. Lord of Light
10. Legacy


Videos

Photos