Ginger Nuts of Horror
I think the early years after Iron Maiden's reuniting with Bruce Dickinson are pretty rough. I was there on the first day to purchase Brave New World and I told myself how brilliant it was but, honestly, I always find myself skipping over that one in favor of more classic Maiden. Still, it had to be said that the band has a certain something now that they never did before. A kind of maturity, a kind of force. They just weren't able to harness it.
2006's A Matter of Life and Death is a different story, however. This is the album, for me, where it all comes together. This is a new Maiden sound that is distinct from the band they used to be but still maintains that INTEGRITY that is Iron Maiden. Part of that is helped by the fact that the band chose to not master the recording. This creates a “live” sound that the band has kept ever since and it is perfect for what they do. No frills. No bullshit. This is Iron Maiden.
When Iron Maiden released Brave New World in 2000, they effectively pressed a big red “REBOOT” button on their career. The return of Lord Dickinson to the Maiden fold immediately erased all of the bad ju-ju that had been created by the Blaze Bayley era (forever to be known as The Dark Ages) and the band rode that wave of goodwill straight back into the Enormo-Domes of the world.
Let’s be honest: BNW was and is a fine album, but in the grand scheme of things it wouldn’t have really mattered if it had been good or not; as long as the album had Dickinson behind the mic, the band could’ve simply crapped on a paper plate and the reaction still would’ve been (ala overjoyed, drunken Maiden fanboy) “F*CK YEAH DUUUUUDE! BRUUUUUCE IS BAAAAAAAAACK!! WOOOOO!”