Bruce Dickinson - The Chemical Wedding
CMC Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (57:34)
Release year: 1998
Bruce Dickinson
Reviewed by Shane
Archive review

Any fan of Iron Maiden should be able to appreciate Bruce Dickinson’s last two solo albums, Accident of Birth and The Chemical Wedding, as on these albums, Dickinson embraces his metal origins and does not stray too far from the metal formula. In fact, the presence of Adrian Smith and Roy Z on these two albums leaves no doubt that these albums will be metal and metal of the highest quality. The Chemical Wedding was inspired by the poetry and artwork of William Blake, thus explaining the dark, murky nature of this album.

The guitars are tuned down a notch, giving the album more of a modern, contemporary feel and normally I do not like this as I always prefer treble over bass, however, just like Helloween’s Dark Ride (Which also bears Roy Z’s influence), the guitars are able to be tuned down to maximise their heaviness without sacrificing guitar solos and melody. In other words, this is bass-heavy, sludgy guitar playing done the right way. The excellent guitar work is not the only highlight of this album. Bruce Dickinson sounds extraordinary. His vocals haven’t sounded this good since Seventh Son of a Seventh Son and his performance should dispel any notion of non-believers who say that Dickinson’s voice is showing his age. There really isn’t a weak performance on this album, which is consistently excellent from start to finish. If I had to have one complaint, it is that the drums could be better, as they are merely good while everything else is excellent. That hardly warrants a reason to complain. So if you are a fan of Iron Maiden, or just a fan of metal in general, you can not afford to let this album slip by the wayside, as you will be missing out on one of the best albums released in the 1990’s.

The album kicks off with The King in Crimson which, for some reason, didn’t capture my attention like it should have when I first heard it. Upon further review, I’ll blame myself for that, as it truly is an excellent track. Once I heard the title track however, I knew that this album was something special. The Chemical Wedding is a heavy track which has a truly memorable chorus that is “classic Dickinson” and is easily one of the highlights of the album. The standard of excellence is upheld throughout the rest of the album, as there is not one lame song on the album. I suppose that is what makes this album better than Dickinson’s previous solo effort, as the songs on The Chemical Wedding manage to surpass the excellent standard Dickinson set with Accident of Birth.

Another reason I favour this album is because it is a concept album along the same vein as Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, meaning that each song has meaning and a certain cohesiveness with the other songs. I believe that this gives the album more depth and makes it harder to just listen to one song. Another song of note is the closing track, The Alchemist, which borrows heavily from the title track, effectively giving the album closure and leaving the listener with chills. Once again, this album is “classic Dickinson” and those who know what that is will not fail to get their hands on this album. Those who don’t know what this is need to own this album even more, as they are desperately in need of a metal education.

Killing Songs :
Chemical Wedding, The Tower, Book of Thel, Trumpets of Jericho, The Alchemist
Shane quoted 94 / 100
Jeff quoted 90 / 100
Danny quoted 93 / 100
Alex quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Bruce Dickinson that we have reviewed:
Bruce Dickinson - Balls To Picasso reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 100
Bruce Dickinson - Accident of Birth reviewed by Goat and quoted 92 / 100
Bruce Dickinson - Skunkworks reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Bruce Dickinson - Tattooed Millionaire reviewed by Ben and quoted 69 / 100
Bruce Dickinson - Anthology (3 DVDs) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
To see all 8 reviews click here
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