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Review: Bruce Dickinson - The Mandrake Project
Bruce Dickinson
The Mandrake Project

Label: BMG
Year released: 2024
Duration: 58:49
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: June 24, 2024
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
How do you rate this release?

Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (8 Votes)

I've been listening to this album regularly ever since it was released more than three months ago. That's a little surprising considering I never really got into Bruce's solo stuff (I don't dislike it; I just wasn't as blown away by it—at least his last three albums before this one—as many people were). The Mandrake Project is an album that screams "ambitious" from the first listen (and from the album name, really). It is overall very melodic, with a couple of ballads (or mostly ballad-ish), but there's no shortage of heaviness and even speed, with a few rockers that get the head banging. There's a version of Maiden's "If Eternity Should Fail" from The Book of Souls, "Eternity Has Failed," which really just comes off as a Maiden song and is a bit of an outlier here, though it strangely doesn't feel out of place. Bruce sounds fantastic throughout the album, whether it's the more melodic, slow, emotional stuff or on the more rocking tracks where he brings out the air-raid siren. He's unsurprisingly the highlight of the album, his voice driving everything, and the instruments are just in for the ride—don't take that to mean the music isn't any good; it's great. This is an album that's worth several listens to let it sink in. It's deep and emotional melodic heavy metal that's rather different from his previous solo material. If I had written this review one or two months ago, I might have given it a 4.5 or even a 4.75, but with more and more listens, some things didn't hold up as much as they did earlier—nitpicking and very subjective, but hey, it's my review. ;) Fans of Bruce probably own this by now, but this is highly recommended for anyone into epic, emotional, powerful melodic heavy metal.

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