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Review: Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time
Iron Maiden
Somewhere In Time

Label: Capitol Records
Year released: 1986
Duration: 51:20
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: March 30, 2022
Reviewed by: MetalMike
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Rated 4.65/5 (92.99%) (117 Votes)

Somewhere in Time is the sixth album from Iron Maiden and followed the hugely successful Powerslave and the accompanying Live After Death tour and live album. Given the meteoric rise from the Di'Anno albums through The Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind and Powerslave, you had to wonder what was next. I know I did as I waited for Somewhere in Time's release and picked up the cassette as soon as the clerk put it on the shelf in the record store. Let me start by saying it is Iron Maiden and, other than the Blaze Bailey albums, they haven't made a lot of huge mistakes or strayed from their formula much, to their fans' delight but for me, I heard a definite shift right away. I'd be lying if I didn't freely admit "Wasted Years" might be catchiest song the band has ever written. Adrian Smith was really on his game when he turned this one in and I can't stop singing it for days every time I hear it. In fact, other than a single collaboration with Dave Murray, Steve Harris and Smith wrote this entire album and a progressive element that hadn't really been evident in the past started to creep in. The songs are consistently longer than in the past ("Déjà vu" is the only song under 5 minutes) and the lyrics even more esoteric. The real reason every Maiden album from this one on will never compare with the first five albums is the repetition. Yup, you can hear the beginnings of what has turned into the albatross around Maiden's neck, specifically the penchant for sitting on a riff or lyric for far longer than necessary. Take a song like "Heaven Can Wait," for example. It's a pretty good song with nice guitar work and some great vocal lines for Bruce to belt, but after the 16th refrain of "Heaven Can Wait" at the end I'm ready to stick forks in my ears. The other songs aren't quite as repetitious but could still stand a trim. As for the epics, a theme which started for real with "To Tame a Land," "Alexander the Great," there's a line saying Alexander struck fear into the hearts of men, but this song strikes boredom into my brain with its plodding tempo, unexciting vocals and dull riffs, and "Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner" might be about the most uninteresting topic for a metal song I've ever heard. Look, Somewhere in Time is a Maiden album and that makes it better than a lot of other metal and, while it doesn't ring the bell so much for me, I know there are people who love it and that's fine. I'd rather have this than a host of other albums, but for me this is the starting point of a long decline into self-indulgent song writing and overly long albums full of good ideas that either overstay their welcome or get lost in a sea of less interesting noodling.

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