Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time
EMI
Heavy Metal
8 songs (51:24)
Release year: 1986
Iron Maiden, EMI
Reviewed by Shane
Archive review

It’s tough being sandwiched between two of the best metal albums of all time. Such was the fate destined for Somewhere in Time as it came after Maiden’s classic album Powerslave and before, arguably Maiden’s best album, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. That’s why I believe that this is one of Iron Maiden’s most underrated albums.

Almost every song is incredible from start to finish as Iron Maiden is able to successfully integrate synthesisers into their sound that add a unique texture to the songs which, in turn, give Somewhere in Time a flavour and vibe that is unique and quite different from any other Iron Maiden album. Make no mistake though, Somewhere in Time is not a total departure from other Maiden releases, as most of the songs include the following classic Maiden ingredients: They are rather lengthy, they prominently feature Steve Harris’s galloping bass, they have great catchy choruses, awesome guitar work and of course, great vocals by Bruce Dickinson.

The album starts with the epic title track Caught Somewhere in Time. This song is approximately seven and a half minutes long and probably has the most killer chorus on the album as it practically begs the listener to sing along to Bruce’s high pitched wail. No one sings “whoaaaaa” like Bruce. As was the standard for 80’s Iron Maiden releases, Bruce Dickinson sounds amazing, as he is able to passionately sing even the dullest song subject matter and make it metal and rocking. He totally saves the lengthy tracks The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and Alexander the Great from putting the listener to sleep as they respectively recount the events of an old movie about running and what is basically a history lesson about Alexander the Great. I believe what makes Iron Maiden able to pull off songs about movies, stories and history is Dickinson’s unparalleled vocal delivery. That is why the two Maiden albums the X-Factor and Virtual XI, which had Blaze Bailey handling the vocals, were such duds. Blaze has the passion and the vocal charisma of a dead fish.

Wasted Years is the second track and probably the most well known track on the album. It is one of the few songs that is short enough to be considered for commercial air play (only 5:06, you know they were holding back too) and it’s chorus is extremely catchy. This is easily the most commercial song of the album. Did I mention that it is also an excellent song as well?

Sea of Madness, despite the fact that the opening riff is the heaviest on the album (Classic Adrian Smith), is the worst song on the album. The chorus is the only one that isn’t catchy or memorable, and the lyrics are just plain bad. Not even Dickinson can make the words madness and sadness sound good when they are used to rhyme with each other. This song isn’t terrible, it’s just a second rate Maiden song.

Heaven Can Wait is next and this song has long been a crowd favourite at live shows as the chorus is used as the crowd sing-along portion of many concerts. To tell you the truth, this song is not one of my favourites. This song sounds a bit like a pop-punk song set to an Iron Maiden groove (Harris’s galloping bass line) with its simple melody and Bruce’s vocal cadence. The way Bruce sings “heaven can wa-a-ait” and drags the wait out into three syllables and sings them with descending notes would be totally punk if it were sung in a nasal, off-key fashion. Thank god it isn’t sung like that but none the less, I still get a punk vibe from the song. Maybe you will think it’s a good thing but it bothers me a bit. Despite my nit picking, it is still a solid track, especially when the tempo changes for the “Take my hand” part as Bruce nails that part perfectly.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner effectively captures the feeling of running a gruelling race as Nicko Mcbrain keeps a tempo that perfectly captures the mood and feel of the song’s subject matter. Bruce Dickinson gives another solid performance as some how he is able to spit out the lengthy title of the song and make it sound catchy. Of course, as with each song on this album, the guitar work of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray is top notch.

Track six is Stranger in a Strange Land and this is yet another song with an absolutely killer chorus. The plodding and galloping bass line (yet again!) suits the vibe of the song perfectly. Add Bruce’s awesome vocals and some great guitar work and you have yourself another Maiden classic. During this song it is not hard to notice that this may have been where the seed of Brave New World was planted. The following song is Deja-Vu and it is definitely one of Iron Maiden’s most underrated songs. Very catchy and since I have mentioned it so much already, I won’t mention how great Dickinson sounds when he bellows out on the high end of his vocal range. In my opinion, this is when Bruce is at his best.

The epic Alexander the Great closes out the album and while it is a solid closer, it is no Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. The song is basically one big history lesson but history never sounded so good or rocked so hard. This was actually the song that got me into Iron Maiden so it does have sentimental value to me, especially considering Iron Maiden is my favourite band of all time. If you have never heard this album, then you are missing out on what is probably the most unheralded album of the classic Maiden era.

Killing Songs :
Caught Somewhere in Time, Wasted years, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Stranger in a Strange Land, Alexander the Great
Shane quoted 90 / 100
Mike quoted 99 / 100
Jeff quoted 90 / 100
Aleksie quoted 99 / 100
Other albums by Iron Maiden that we have reviewed:
Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
Iron Maiden - Flight 666 DVD reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Iron Maiden - Killers reviewed by Thomas and quoted CLASSIC
Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden reviewed by Thomas and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 29 reviews click here
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