"Here’s the truth: ‘Brave New World’ is Iron Maiden’s finest album to date.
No, you didn't misread that. "
KKKKK- Highest Rating

Kerrang Album Review
May 27th 2000
RATING: KKKKK (classic album)

Album number 12 from British metal legends, and the first to feature a
six-man line-up.

FACT ONE: anyone who has ever played in a rock band - or a nu-metal band, or
a hardcore band or even the wettest of emo-core bands - has, at one stage in
their lives, owned an Iron Maiden record. Marilyn Manson. Chino Moreno.
Fieldy. Phil Anselmo. Anyone who says otherwise is a lying slug.

Which bring us neatly to Fact Two: Iron Maiden’s influence can never be
understated. Love ‘em or loathe ‘em - and the latter sentiment has been the
most prevalent over the last few years - there’s absolutely no decrying
their achievements.

And so the sense of anticipation surrounding ‘Brave New World’ is
suffocating. Die-hards are saying that the return of frontman Bruce
Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith will see metal’s regents-in-absentia
reclaiming their throne after the forced exile of the Blaze Bayley era.
Cynics are proclaiming it is the dying grasp of a band who should have been
put out of their misery years ago.

Here’s the truth: ‘Brave New World’ is Iron Maiden’s finest album to date.
No, you didn't misread that. Feel free to argue the toss about ‘Number Of
The Beast’ or ‘Iron Maiden’ or ‘Powerslave’ or whichever one you want. The
fact of the matter is that Maiden, for the first time in a good 15 years,
sound genuinely exciting once more.

The first thing you notice is how big it all sounds. Not
galloping-bass-lines-‘n’chundering-drums big. Nope, ‘Brave New World’ is
truly towering. Majestic. Bombastic. Titanic. So gloriously in-yer-face
you can almost feel its hot breath up your nostrils.

The second thing you notice is that voice. Bruce is back, and he’s brought
a renewed sense of energy with him. Gone is the affected rasp of ‘90’s ‘No
Prayer For The Dying’ and ‘92’s ‘Fear Of The Dark’, replaced instead by the
full-throated bellow that served both him and the band so well in the glory
days of the ‘80’s.

It’s not just the vocalist that has changed. There’s more depth here than
Maiden have mustered in their entire career. Yes, ‘The Wicker Man’, ‘The
Mercenary’ and ‘The Fallen Angel’ are a the sort of red-blooded boy’s own
belters that Maiden Built their reputation on.

But then there’s ‘Ghost Of The Navigator’, a multi-part epic that managers
to be complex without sounding stupid.

Or ‘Blood Brothers’, an oddly touching drinking song-come-sea shanty written
about Steve Harris’ late father and custom-built to be bellowed out during
one of those ‘you’re my besht mate, you are’ moment that crop up in the wee
small hours when you’re one over the eight.

It’s not entirely faultless. The rickety intro into the nine-minute ‘Dream
Of Mirrors’ very nearly ruins what is otherwise a perfectly glorious song,
and the cod-Eastern wailings of ‘The Nomad’ veer a little too close to
execrable oldie ‘To Tame A Land’ for comfort. But when you’ve got something
as blazingly unstoppable as ‘Out Of The Silent Planet’ - a genuine contender
for Best Maiden Song Ever - or ‘Brave New World’ itself, you know you’re
dealing with a band who have recaptured the hunger of their youth.

The most telling moment comes after closing song ‘The Thin Line Between Love
And Hate’. The hiss of a studio tape kicks in, the voice of drummer Nicko
McBrain erupts out of the speakers, cursing some mistimed cue or other. “I’
ve f**king missed it,” he booms, to the laughter of his colleagues.
Funny that, So have we…