Bruce Dickinson - The Chemical Wedding.

Yep, it’s metal, yep it’s not trendy. So? Got a problem with that? This is my roots. Iron Maiden is what turned me on to heavy music. I may not listen to them so much now, indeed Virtual XI is the first studio album since I started listening to them that I’ve not bought. I may listen to more “trendy” stuff as well. I may be listening to potentially more diverse stuff, but when it comes down to it, this is still my musical roots, and I’m still interested in seeing what’s being put out. You can evolve, spread your musical wings, and still stay interested and true to your roots.

And this is a contemporary album. A contemporary heavy metal album. Those things don’t combine at the moment do they? Uh, well, yeah, they do. King In Crimson is the opener, and many finer publications than YAZ have already said how it’s quite possibly the heaviest song the Dickinson has recorded. And who am I to argue. It is. It’s up there with the Pantera’s and the Machine Heads. Except that there’s more melody here, more of those fluid guitar runs. And Bruce sings as opposed to shouts. It’s proof that you can combine these things.

The title track, The Tower and Book of Thiel continue the standard. Heavy but melodic. Contemporary yet steadfastly metal. The second half of the album looses out somewhat. I guess a hymn like Jerusalem doesn’t really do it for me. But then you get to Machine Men, read the lyrics, and despite the cries that this is an album based on William Blake’s work, you just wonder, just a tad, if there’s not some thinly disiguised jibes at certain parties from his past. I ain’t going to say anything, you’ll have to check it out for yourself.

Of course, this isn’t trendy. Bruce is singing, and there are guitar solo’s. Many will point to the theme’s of alchemy and go “see, it’s not real, it’s myth. How can you relate to this?” Yeah I know. Everybody needs to get back to empathising with people singing about ‘da hood, their drug problem, fantasies about fucking dead bodies, cybermetal, counterfeit people, and people who claim to be superstars, antichrist superstars at that. It’s all sooooo much more “real” ain’t it. Ok, if you say so. But remember, music isn’t about trend. It isn’t about fashion. It’s about the music, and if that’s what you care about, and you like it heavy, then you should check this out. And fuck all the shitheads that will lambast you. Hey, keep it real!