This is Bruce Dickinson's first solo-album in 7 years, that is since the critically acclaimed "Chemical Wedding". And like "Chemical Wedding", the production is again entrusted to Roy Z, who also plays guitar in the album.
Leaving all rhetoric aside, Bruce has here done what Iron Maiden haven't managed to do in about a decade: namely sounding fresh and proposing something different both lyrically and especially musically. In fact, Iron Maiden's records have continuously been giving that "I've heard that before" feeling which is a pity since they remain great musicians and their songs have nothing particularly 'wrong' in themselves. But it's Bruce Dickinson were talking about here, and we've got a very good reason to do so.
"Tyranny..." is definitely one of the heaviest records Bruce has ever done and also the darkest (check out 'Believil'). It's also quite diverse, containing heavy riffs as well as great solos. 'Abduction' and 'Devil On A Hog' are 2 prime examples. Roy Z has done a top job both in the production as well as guitar departments. The few 'quieter' moments, such as 'Navigate The Seas Of The Sun' or the album's instrumental intro, actually help give the album a sinister feel. As regards Bruce, well I was taken aback at how much he's improved, while still being instantly recognisable.
Lyrically, "Tyranny Of Souls" was inspired by a William Blake poem, Blake being one of the greats in English literature. One might draw parallels with other infernal visions in literature, such as Milton's "Paradise Lost" or Dante's "La Divina Commedia". Yep, the fiery bowels of Hell have been a continuous source of inspiration for Metal! This is also reflected in the artwork of "Tyranny...", a fascinating depiction of Hell by Hans Hemling.
Reviewing a CD by a metal icon, one has to be aware not to be influenced by the artist's status. Considering this, although I won't define "Tyranny..." as a masterpiece, its definitely a great album. Bruce and Maiden fans will be delighted.
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