How Bruce Dickinson finds the time to write songs these days is beyond me. When he’s not on tour with Iron Maiden, he’s filming television programs, piloting airplanes, fencing, writing books, and DJing a music program every Saturday night on BBC 6Music! Luckily for all his fans, he's found the time to put together his latest release - "Tyranny of Souls".
With Iron Maiden's latest tour finished and Judas Priest having just finished up their latest offering - "Angel of Retribution", Bruce and Roy Z have had some time to work on more songs together. They’ve previously collaborated on Dickinson's critically acclaimed "Chemical Wedding". Recently, Bruce has said that he and Roy “work quickly together… and the recording is very organic so it came together quite easily” and it clearly shows in the quality of the songs and production on this album.
"Tyranny of Souls" starts off with “Mars Within (Intro)” which has a dark and sinister sound that sets the theme. Kicking off with crunching guitars and catchy riffs, “Abduction” has that classic Dickinson / Iron Maiden sound with its resounding and memorable chorus. Roy Z adds some fire to this already fast paced song with his screaming, yet melodic guitar work and blindingly fast riffs. If I were to pick a hit single from this CD, this is the one!
“Soul Intruders” begins and ends with some heavy machine gun double bass drum action. It takes a more melodic turn when Bruce comes in with his vocals. Its mixture of melodic and heavy tones is punctuated by Roy’s guitar virtuosity.
Dickinson sings strongly about one of his passions – flight – and the Wright Brothers in “Kill Devil Hill”, the site of their first flight. Keyboards float along the top of the crunching guitars of this powerful song, which features a piano and guitar interlude.
Having a 'daydream' feel about it, “Navigate the Seas of the Sun” is a light acoustic ballad that is very well composed. It’s got a very catchy harmony about it and I found myself singing it to myself all day long. This is one of my favorites on this disc.
Sounding as if it came off a Dokken release, “River of No Return” has a strong 80’s metal feel to it! …and it’s not a bad thing! It’s a chord-driven classic metal tune that sounds great with Dickinson’s powerful vocals over the top of it. Even the solo has a retro-sound to it.
A forceful and fast paced power metal tune, “Power of the Sun” is filled with musical and vocal hooks. Along with “Abduction” it’s one of the best tracks on the CD. It has that great Iron Maiden sound that everyone recognizes, and again Roy Z adds some fire to this already smoking track with his soloing!
The hard rocking “Devil on a Hog”, with its catchy guitar chords and vocals, features another one of Roy Z’s classic solos. Bruce’s vocals, along with the backing vocals, give the chorus a great sound that makes you want to sing along. I can see this track being played on non-metal stations, it’s a great tune!
Containing darker tones, “Believil” is a more layered song than it’s counterparts on the CD. It carries a Sabbath sound under its crunching guitars; Atmospheric and brooding.
Finishing off this great release is the title track “A Tyranny of Souls”. Dickinson begins the song sounding eerily like Ozzy on “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath - both in style and cadence. The sinister sounding vocals break into a chord laden and catchy chorus. The song then changes into a Judas Priest style heavy metal rocker with all the soloing you’d expect from Roy Z before changing back.
After listening to the CD, I was left wanting MORE! It’s a rare occurrence when an artist releases an album filled with nothing but quality songs – and Bruce Dickinson has done it with this CD. Along with Roy Z, he’s put together an album that's sure to become a “classic” in years to come. “Tyranny of Souls” is clearly Bruce Dickinson’s finest release to date!
Bruce Dickinson - vocals
Roy Z - all guitars, some bass
Ray "Geezer" Burke - bass (certain tracks)
- Juan Perez - bass (certain tracks)
David Moreno - drums
Maestro Mistheria - keyboards
- Mars Within (Intro)
- Soul Intruders
- Kill Devil Hill
- Navigate the Seas of the Sun
- River of No Return
- Power of the Sun
- Devil on a Hog
- A Tyranny of Souls