Author Topic: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: Dance of Death (2003 - 04)  (Read 45067 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline nobloodyname

  • Posts: 340
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1120 on: August 24, 2017, 03:57:57 AM »
This would actually be chronological and is my preference, but I don't want people to feel like it's being dragged out.

I don't think too many of us would think it's being dragged out. Loving reading every post in the thread!
Gamer, rocker, humanist, womble.
@spacedyemeerkat

Online MirrorMask

  • Posts: 4257
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1121 on: August 24, 2017, 04:37:03 AM »
This would actually be chronological and is my preference, but I don't want people to feel like it's being dragged out.

I don't think too many of us would think it's being dragged out. Loving reading every post in the thread!

Same here. Let's go all the way!

So, being away for vacation I come back and find many interesting posts about The X Factor... this is where I come in! ...sort of.

I had become a Maiden fall around the time the album was released, but I don't consider it properly my "first" new Maiden album. As I explained before, my introduction to Maiden happened thanks to cassette compilations made by a school mate, so I can never answer to the question "Which is the first Maiden record you heard" 'cause it was all songs here and there, took me probably a year or two to listen to the proper albums, and The X Factor was just happening as soon as I was discovering Maiden, so I was not anticipating it.

Still, it was thanks to The X Factor that I got my first and sadly only chance so far to meet the band. I didn't elect to go the concert, I was still very young and shy and at the time I felt that a concert wasn't for me, but they had a meet n' greet session scheduled in my town, and on which day it was? MY BIRTHDAY!!! So me and a couple of other school mates stayed after school, went to the Virgin Megastore in the very centre of Milan where the signing session was held.

I still remember everything vividly: Me printing the lyrics to Revelations (My symbolically "favorite" Maiden song, the one that made me fall in love with them) to have the back signed by them; me walking up to Nicko, the first of the row, and telling him "Today is my birthday, could you write Happy Birthday?" and his big smiled "Of course!!!" as a reply, Blaze signing my school bag, and me shaking hands with everyone. Nothing fancy but it was nice to have them at least once all in front of me!!! To this day, I still keep carefully and with jealousy the signed autographs, I still have it at hand and I keep my incoming ticket concerts in the same slip case.

About the album... I agree with the general consensus that it seems to have arised from the last pages of discussions. Polarizing album, I understand those who love it and at the same time I understand those who hate it. I agree that Blaze is a very nice guy, I applaud his dedication to the music and his fans and I sympathize with the personal tragedies he endured, but he wasn't a good fit, especially since he couldn't sing properly the back catalog.

This album is the embryo of "modern" Maiden, and Sign of the Cross is by far the greatest thing on it. It probably has the last of the big, glorious and insane solo sections, the long and carefully composed sections like Phantom and Seventh Son, in later years they became more standard but the whole progression from when the song "stops" and then builds up to the blistering fast solo, and then winding down for the final chorus, is an absolute and complete masterpiece.

I like also Lord of the Flies, Man on the Edge, Fortunes of War, The Afermath a very great deal, but I didn't seem much love for The Edge of Darkness. That is another minor masterpiece and had Bruce sung it, it would be probably better received. And 2 A.M. as simple as it may be captures well the everyday working man's delusion.

I'm not the biggest fan of the album (yes, the production is kinda meh), but I like it and respect it as something daring and bold. I would never scratch my head at someone declaring it one of his/her favorites, I completely see the appeal of such a dark, brooding and uncompromising album.
I use my sig to pimp some bands from Italy! Check out Elvenking (Power / Folk metal), Folkstone (Rock / Medieval metal), Arcana Opera (Gothic/Noir/Heavy metal) and the beautiful voice of Elisa!

Offline Mladen

  • Posts: 11036
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1122 on: August 24, 2017, 06:28:47 AM »
I agree that Blaze is a very nice guy, I applaud his dedication to the music and his fans and I sympathize with the personal tragedies he endured, but he wasn't a good fit, especially since he couldn't sing properly the back catalog.
Lets not take these things into account when we evaluate Blaze Bayley as a performer or an Iron Maiden member. Where these factors come into play are his solo albums, since I'd very audible how his personal issues influence his writing and singing style. It's very admirable how a person can be so dedicated to their work, write songs about personal tragedies and getting through them that way instead of giving up music when more important things come up.

To some people, it's a mystery how Steve hired somebody who couldn't perform the older songs expertly. My theory is that Bayley walked into the audition not expecting anything, deciding to give it his best and have fun, which resulted in a certain energy and magic that the guys probably valued more than singing the songs proficiently. It's also possible Blaze sang the songs well enough - you can pull it together and do the songs justice in the audition, but the issues come up once you're on tour and have to perform difficult material night after night.

Offline Stadler

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 10180
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1123 on: August 24, 2017, 06:47:48 AM »
The vocals on British Lion are very weak, it actually would've been cool if Blaze was tapped for that.

Interesting. For me, British Lion's music itself is the main issue and the vocals are just a subset of that. In fact, if you look up 'dull' in the dictionary, it says 'British Lion'.

How on earth Steve Harris could preside over such crushing mediocrity, I've no idea.

I only heard a handful of songs, but nothing in them captivated me enough to check out the rest of the album...I also saw some live clips, but it just seemed too weird. Harris seems so out of place there! I thought it would be cool to see him play in a different context, but it seemed very strange. Dunno how you guys felt about it.

Honestly? I always got the sense from British Lion that he was doing some mates on the football club a solid.  "'ay, Steve, you're in the music, aren't ya?  Can ya help a brother out?"  It did less than nothing for me.  Listened to it once, and on the shelf it went.   I'm not sure I even burned it to my iPod, which is EXTREMELY rare for me to not do.

Quote

Mosh, it´s great that you´re planning to address all the side projects. But please promise you won´t talk about Lauren Harris´ band too!  ;D

Feel free to post picks, though.  Once I get past that she looks a fair amount like her dad, I find her an attractive woman.

Online MirrorMask

  • Posts: 4257
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1124 on: August 24, 2017, 06:55:59 AM »
To some people, it's a mystery how Steve hired somebody who couldn't perform the older songs expertly. My theory is that Bayley walked into the audition not expecting anything, deciding to give it his best and have fun, which resulted in a certain energy and magic that the guys probably valued more than singing the songs proficiently. It's also possible Blaze sang the songs well enough - you can pull it together and do the songs justice in the audition, but the issues come up once you're on tour and have to perform difficult material night after night.

That could probably be an explanation. But if what they say is true, I think back of the Ripper audition for Judas Priest, with the guy singing just a line or two of Victim of Changes and Glenn Tipton saying "ok, you're in", and I wonder whatever may have happened to make everyone agree "yup, this is it, we found a new singer".

I guess that Steve deciding that the new singer had to be british and unknown already did quite a selection, and Blaze was the possible best choice out of those who actually applied. Apples and oranges but it's a tiny bit like DT, let's say they wanted from the get go someone dedicated to the band, Mangini had already a strong headstart on drummers who just wanted to audition because it was a nice thing to put in the resume.
I use my sig to pimp some bands from Italy! Check out Elvenking (Power / Folk metal), Folkstone (Rock / Medieval metal), Arcana Opera (Gothic/Noir/Heavy metal) and the beautiful voice of Elisa!

Offline kaos2900

  • Posts: 2007
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1125 on: August 24, 2017, 07:11:22 AM »
I always assumed they went with Blaze because he was so unlike Bruce. For whatever reason I think Steve want to avoid that comparison or maybe he wanted to prove that the music was the important thing, not the voice? Either way, X-Factor is my least favorite Maiden album and Blaze just doesn't work for me.

Online cramx3

  • Chillest of the chill
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 16391
  • Gender: Male
    • The Home of cramx3
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1126 on: August 24, 2017, 08:08:00 AM »
This would actually be chronological and is my preference, but I don't want people to feel like it's being dragged out.

I don't think too many of us would think it's being dragged out. Loving reading every post in the thread!

Agreed  :tup

Offline Samsara

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 3933
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1127 on: August 24, 2017, 08:53:00 AM »
Regarding Steve Harris' criteria for replacing Bruce...I think he was wise to maintain the person had to be British. There's a huge element of British history and style in the songs, and it wouldn't quite be right without it. I mean, personally and selfishly, I would have loved to have seen what Michael Kiske would have done with Maiden. But it wouldn't really sit well in my head, given the British element of Maiden. It is part of their collective charm.

The selection of singers was probably difficult, given the time period. Remember, there was no Internet (well, there was, but not like today), so it was all based on word of mouth, going through cassette tapes, etc. That's SO tedious. In retrospect, perhaps it would have been wiser for Steve to shutter Maiden for a few years, and open up a dialogue privately with Bruce about returning in four or five years (or whatever it was) once they all got to do other things for a bit.

I say that with a huge bias, because I do prefer what I have heard of Bruce singing the songs from the Blaze era. But it may have been the wiser choice back then, given the state of the music industry.

Online Lowdz

  • Posts: 7337
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1128 on: August 24, 2017, 09:11:30 AM »
I agree that Blaze is a very nice guy, I applaud his dedication to the music and his fans and I sympathize with the personal tragedies he endured, but he wasn't a good fit, especially since he couldn't sing properly the back catalog.
Lets not take these things into account when we evaluate Blaze Bayley as a performer or an Iron Maiden member. Where these factors come into play are his solo albums, since I'd very audible how his personal issues influence his writing and singing style. It's very admirable how a person can be so dedicated to their work, write songs about personal tragedies and getting through them that way instead of giving up music when more important things come up.

To some people, it's a mystery how Steve hired somebody who couldn't perform the older songs expertly. My theory is that Bayley walked into the audition not expecting anything, deciding to give it his best and have fun, which resulted in a certain energy and magic that the guys probably valued more than singing the songs proficiently. It's also possible Blaze sang the songs well enough - you can pull it together and do the songs justice in the audition, but the issues come up once you're on tour and have to perform difficult material night after night.

That last bit doesn't explain how poorly he sang the X Factor material. Unless the songs are meant to sound dull and lifeless.

Offline bosk1

  • Bow down to Boskaryus
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2747
  • Hard-hearted harbinger of haggis
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1129 on: August 24, 2017, 09:16:08 AM »
I am more than willing to concede Cherone's talent, just as I am Russ Allen's. But they are two vocalists that just don't connect with me.

But Extreme is a live band. I love watching them, more than I enjoy listening to them, if that make sense.

I get that 100%, and that's all perfectly fair.  And to tie it back to the present discussion, I'm kind of the opposite with Blaze.  I've seen a few live clips of him in Maiden, and he does nothing for me as a frontman.  But I don't mind listening to him.  While I don't find his delivery compelling on what I have heard, I don't dislike his vocals.  Anyway...

@Mosh:  In terms of the thread, I kind of DO feel like it is long and drawn-out.  But I am also perfectly okay with that.  Maiden has such a LONG and detailed and dense history that it calls for it.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy is plodding and is sometimes a fatiguing chore to slog through at times in the story.  But that very element is necessary and integral to Tolkien's themes.  And it allows for such a rich, detailed tapestry to make the story feel very real.  Similar thing here. 

tldnr:  You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of DTF, so keep it up.  :biggrin:
"The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie."

Offline RodrigoAltaf

  • Posts: 1023
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1130 on: August 24, 2017, 09:42:38 AM »
Another thing that hurts Blaze is how stiff and awkward he looks on stage. I saw a live video of Lightning Strikes Twice the other day, which I'll post here once we get to Virtual XI where his voice is actually not bad, but he's so still!!! It's like his feet were nailed to the ground. And when he does move, he does that awkward "punching down" thing.

Offline Mladen

  • Posts: 11036
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1131 on: August 24, 2017, 10:07:58 AM »
That last bit doesn't explain how poorly he sang the X Factor material. Unless the songs are meant to sound dull and lifeless.
I find his performance on the album energetic, passionate and convincing, but to each his own.

Online Lowdz

  • Posts: 7337
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1132 on: August 24, 2017, 10:10:38 AM »
Fair enough. My issues with the album go further than just the vocals. Blaze was only singing the songs they wrote, and they were on the whole dull, lifeless and plodding too.

Offline kaos2900

  • Posts: 2007
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1133 on: August 25, 2017, 07:04:51 AM »
Fair enough. My issues with the album go further than just the vocals. Blaze was only singing the songs they wrote, and they were on the whole dull, lifeless and plodding too.

This is why I much prefer Virtual XI.

Offline Mosh

  • For I have dined on honeydew!
  • Posts: 3433
  • Gender: Male
  • (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1134 on: August 25, 2017, 08:49:22 AM »
tldnr:  You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of DTF, so keep it up.  :biggrin:
I'll wear it like a badge of honor.  :lol

Anyway, it's decided. Stay tuned for Skunkworks!
You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of DTF

Offline Stadler

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 10180
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1135 on: August 25, 2017, 08:51:48 AM »
Fair enough. My issues with the album go further than just the vocals. Blaze was only singing the songs they wrote, and they were on the whole dull, lifeless and plodding too.

This is why I much prefer Virtual XI.

In prepping for the coming write-up, I relistened to VXI.  I amazed myself at how much more I liked it than TXF. I even replayed it!  (I actually couldn't get "Como Estais Amigos" out of my head).

Offline nobloodyname

  • Posts: 340
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1136 on: August 25, 2017, 09:18:20 AM »
Well, Virtual XI sounds far more like traditional Maiden than The X Factor did. But I guess we'll come to that before too long ;D
Gamer, rocker, humanist, womble.
@spacedyemeerkat

Online Lowdz

  • Posts: 7337
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1137 on: August 25, 2017, 09:44:52 AM »
Fair enough. My issues with the album go further than just the vocals. Blaze was only singing the songs they wrote, and they were on the whole dull, lifeless and plodding too.

This is why I much prefer Virtual XI.

In prepping for the coming write-up, I relistened to VXI.  I amazed myself at how much more I liked it than TXF. I even replayed it!  (I actually couldn't get "Como Estais Amigos" out of my head).

I played them both back to back last week. Enjoyed VXI much more.

Should have said earlier, I never bothered listening to the TXF album until a few years ago, and only then because Kade rated it so highly and "suggested" I give it a try. Now Kade and I share a similar taste in some music, but we also differ considerably too. It got the same verdict as his other great push, Priest's Jugulator...  :tdwn

Online Podaar

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 5537
  • Gender: Male
  • Looks like Fish, tastes like chicken
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1138 on: August 25, 2017, 11:50:04 AM »
Anyway, it's decided. Stay tuned for Skunkworks!

Cool, but did I already miss Balls to Picasso?

Online cramx3

  • Chillest of the chill
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 16391
  • Gender: Male
    • The Home of cramx3
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1139 on: August 25, 2017, 11:58:36 AM »
Anyway, it's decided. Stay tuned for Skunkworks!

Cool, but did I already miss Balls to Picasso?

Yea, a few pages back as well as Alive in Studio A.

Offline Mosh

  • For I have dined on honeydew!
  • Posts: 3433
  • Gender: Male
  • (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1140 on: August 25, 2017, 12:37:17 PM »
Fair enough. My issues with the album go further than just the vocals. Blaze was only singing the songs they wrote, and they were on the whole dull, lifeless and plodding too.

This is why I much prefer Virtual XI.

In prepping for the coming write-up, I relistened to VXI.  I amazed myself at how much more I liked it than TXF. I even replayed it!  (I actually couldn't get "Como Estais Amigos" out of my head).

I played them both back to back last week. Enjoyed VXI much more.

Should have said earlier, I never bothered listening to the TXF album until a few years ago, and only then because Kade rated it so highly and "suggested" I give it a try. Now Kade and I share a similar taste in some music, but we also differ considerably too. It got the same verdict as his other great push, Priest's Jugulator...  :tdwn
For appreciating Jugularor I highly recommend 98 Live Meltdown. The songs come to life live and fit in really well with the classics.

You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of DTF

Online MirrorMask

  • Posts: 4257
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1141 on: August 25, 2017, 01:00:06 PM »
A little of an off topic, I find that Iron Maiden, Metallica and Judas Priest all made in the mid '90s controversial albums. The first of the two (X Factor, Load, Jugulator) were hated upon release, and later were more appreciated for what they were, while the second of the bunch (Virtual XI, Reload, Demolition) were actually a bit more meh. Apologies to those who prefer those albums  ;D
I use my sig to pimp some bands from Italy! Check out Elvenking (Power / Folk metal), Folkstone (Rock / Medieval metal), Arcana Opera (Gothic/Noir/Heavy metal) and the beautiful voice of Elisa!

Offline Mosh

  • For I have dined on honeydew!
  • Posts: 3433
  • Gender: Male
  • (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1142 on: August 25, 2017, 03:43:38 PM »
Demolition is garbage, probably the worst of all the albums you named. I'd also take both Blaze albums over anything Metallica has done since And Justice.
You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of DTF

Offline Samsara

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 3933
  • Gender: Male
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1143 on: August 25, 2017, 03:46:44 PM »
I'd also take both Blaze albums over anything Metallica has done since And Justice.

AFTER Justice, and I'm with you. Justice, for me, is their pinnacle. But both Blaze Maiden records are much preferred from anything from Metallica that has followed the last 30 years.

Offline Mosh

  • For I have dined on honeydew!
  • Posts: 3433
  • Gender: Male
  • (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1144 on: August 25, 2017, 04:01:06 PM »
Oops, that's what I meant. Justice is awesome of course.
You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of DTF

Offline jammindude

  • Posts: 8007
  • Gender: Male
    • The Jammin Dude Show
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1145 on: August 25, 2017, 05:06:25 PM »
VXI is a coaster...

Spinal Tap made a more serious Iron Maiden album than Iron Maiden did on VXI

I would rather listen to Dedicated to Chaos and Frequency Unknown on an endless loop than VXI.

VXI is the musical equivalent of Chinese water torture.

It was so bad that Manowar tried to sue for copyright infringement. 

The Vogon poem "Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in my Armpit One Midsummer's Morning" is a masterpiece by comparison.

On that note, Harris' large intestine *SHOULD* have lept up through his neck and throttled his brain in order to save all the rest of creation from this absolute dreck.   

I'll think of more when we get there.....
"Better the pride that resides in a citizen of the world.
Than the pride that divides when a colorful rag is unfurled." - Neil Peart

The Jammin Dude Show - http://www.youtube.com/user/jammindude

Online TAC

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 25155
  • Gender: Male
  • Just a decent, normal metal-head fellow
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1146 on: August 25, 2017, 05:25:07 PM »
VXI is a coaster...

 ...........

I'll think of more when we get there.....

 :natalieportman:
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums................or WTF.  ;D

Offline PowerSlave

  • Posts: 1610
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1147 on: August 25, 2017, 05:31:58 PM »
VXI is a coaster...

Spinal Tap made a more serious Iron Maiden album than Iron Maiden did on VXI

I would rather listen to Dedicated to Chaos and Frequency Unknown on an endless loop than VXI.

VXI is the musical equivalent of Chinese water torture.

It was so bad that Manowar tried to sue for copyright infringement. 

The Vogon poem "Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in my Armpit One Midsummer's Morning" is a masterpiece by comparison.

On that note, Harris' large intestine *SHOULD* have lept up through his neck and throttled his brain in order to save all the rest of creation from this absolute dreck.   

I'll think of more when we get there.....

These are the heavy metal versions of Yo' Mama jokes...  :lol
All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again

Offline RodrigoAltaf

  • Posts: 1023
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1148 on: August 25, 2017, 06:18:43 PM »
VXI is better than Lulu.

Online TAC

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 25155
  • Gender: Male
  • Just a decent, normal metal-head fellow
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1149 on: August 25, 2017, 06:18:54 PM »
These are the heavy metal versions of Yo' Mama jokes...  :lol
:lol
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums................or WTF.  ;D

Offline Mosh

  • For I have dined on honeydew!
  • Posts: 3433
  • Gender: Male
  • (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: The X Factor (1995)
« Reply #1150 on: August 25, 2017, 06:35:08 PM »
Bruce Dickinson - Skunkworks (1996)

Bruce Dickinson - Vocals
Alex Dickson - Guitars
Chris Dale - Bass
Alessandro Elena - Drums

As mentioned earlier, Bruce only “borrowed’ Tribe of Gypsies for the Balls to Picasso album and was forced to find a new band for the tour. Bruce used the opportunity to actually form a real band instead of relying on hired guns or bands with outside commitments. After the tour, the new band immediately got to work on the next album. This wasn’t just going to be another Bruce Dickinson solo album, but a full band effort. The band was to be called Skunkworks. However, Bruce ran into a similar problem that many other big name artists face when they look to form a new band: the record label wanted the artist’s name on the cover. As a result, the album was titled Skunkworks and released as another Bruce Dickinson solo album.  Bruce did most of the press for the album, but continued to insist that it Skunkworks was a band.

Skunkworks is probably the most forgotten solo albums. Part of it is due to timing. The 90s weren’t a great time for classic Metal bands, let alone Metal musicians trying to kickstart a solo career. More importantly, Bruce was trying out yet another new style. At least with Balls to Picasso, the music was a variation of Metal. Skunkworks showcased a more modern, alternative Rock sound. The album was even produced by Jack Endino, who did the first Nirvana album. It was easy to think Bruce was selling out. His former bandmates certainly felt that way, with Steve making the remark that Bruce would make a Country album if it sold. Bruce was alienating Metal fans and was probably not going to gain listeners from Soundgarden’s fan base either. So there wasn’t much of an audience for this album.

The abrupt change in style could be Bruce selling out, or it could also just be a continuation of Bruce using his solo albums to explore other musical styles. After all, Balls to Picasso came very close to being a sort of Electronica album even more far removed from his usual style than Skunkworks. In interviews Bruce talked about how he saw other artists playing a similar style to Maiden and felt that it bordered on cliche or even parody. He claims that he couldn’t take himself seriously playing that style of music and moved away from it. Bruce was also working with younger musicians who were likely more influenced by the modern Rock scene. Every song on the album was written in collaboration with guitarist Alex Dickson (with one song also credited to bassist Chris Dale) which also influenced the direction, as Bruce himself is naturally more focused on the lyrics.

From the lyrical point of view, it’s certainly in Bruce Dickinson’s style. On Skunkworks he finally moves away from his literal style of lyrics and moves back to celestial themes and allegory. The music might be a 180 from Maiden, but songs like Back From the Edge and Solar Confinement have lyrics that would not be out of place in Maiden. Bruce also continues to reestablish his operatic singing style after spending the early 90s with a raspier style. From this perspective, Skunkworks is a necessary transition to Bruce’s return to a classic Maiden style of Metal, even if the result is pretty unexpected.

It’s also worth mentioning that one of the b-sides is titled R 101. Many of you probably recognize this as the name of the aircraft that inspired Empire Of the Clouds about 20 years later. There’s no apparent similarities between the two songs and the lyrics don’t even seem related to the R 101. Still a nice piece of trivia though.

The album was released to pretty much no fanfare. Since Bruce was dumped from Mercury, the album was released on the much smaller Castle Records. Where Balls To Picasso at least had some singles that charted and sold decently as an album, Skunkworks didn’t really do anything. Even with his name on the album, Bruce struggled to sell his new band. Unsurprisingly, there would be no second Skunkworks and by the end of the year, Bruce was back to the drawing board again.

Needless to say, Skunkworks is a controversial album. It’s very much of its time. For most people it comes down to the musical style. If you can tolerate such a shift in a style and appreciate the kind of music found on Skunkworks, you can get something out of it.

Skunkworks Live (1996)


Skunkworks Live was originally released exclusively in Japan as an EP and a live VHS. It is more widely available now on Bruce’s Anthology DVD set and the songs on the EP are included in the 2CD version of Skunkworks. The performance was recorded in Spain and appropriately features most of the Skunkworks album. There’s a fair amount of other stuff though including a b-side from Skunkworks, two songs from Balls To Picasso,  and Tattooed Millionaire. Of more interest though is The Prisoner. Until this point Bruce was pretty adamant about not playing Maiden at solo concerts. The Prisoner was a nice addition to the setlist especially since it was a song that Maiden didn’t perform often.

There isn’t much else to say about the video. You get a chance to watch the short lived Skunkworks band in action. It’s a decent video with a decent setlist, but probably unessential unless you’re a fan of the album.
You are the J.R.R. Tolkien of DTF

Online TAC

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 25155
  • Gender: Male
  • Just a decent, normal metal-head fellow
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: Skunkworks (1996)
« Reply #1151 on: August 25, 2017, 06:47:31 PM »
I had a hard time getting into Skunkworks when it came out. The only track I really connected with was Back From The Edge.
But it has aged really well, and I love its uniqueness. Even though most of the tracks aren't that long, and the fact that IT'S A 90's ALBUM, the tracks have tons of personality.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums................or WTF.  ;D

Offline RodrigoAltaf

  • Posts: 1023
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: Skunkworks (1996)
« Reply #1152 on: August 25, 2017, 06:50:56 PM »
I like Skunkworks quite a lot.

Offline PowerSlave

  • Posts: 1610
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: Skunkworks (1996)
« Reply #1153 on: August 25, 2017, 06:51:44 PM »
I had a hard time getting into Skunkworks when it came out. The only track I really connected with was Back From The Edge.
But it has aged really well, and I love its uniqueness. Even though most of the tracks aren't that long, and the fact that IT'S A 90's ALBUM, the tracks have tons of personality.

My thoughts to a t
All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again

Online TAC

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 25155
  • Gender: Male
  • Just a decent, normal metal-head fellow
Re: Iron Maiden Discography Thread: Skunkworks (1996)
« Reply #1154 on: August 25, 2017, 06:54:22 PM »
What makes Bruce's solo career so great is that each album is quite different. Skunkworks is a great example of this. I would say that if there were an album of Bruce's that could be termed "experimental", this would be it.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums................or WTF.  ;D