Music Review: “Speed Of Light” By Iron Maiden (New Song)

2015 Artwork Iron Maiden Speed Of Light review sketch

If you’re an Iron Maiden fan like me, you probably know that they’ve got a new album (called “The Book Of Souls”) coming out in September. Like with their previous few albums, they’ve also made the cool decision to release one song from it online before the album comes out.

This time, it’s a song called “Speed Of Light” that was posted on the band’s Youtube channel at 8 o’clock this morning.

Since it’s the first new Iron Maiden song in five years, I just had to review it as soon as possible (I was the fourteenth person to view the video, no less). So, apologies if this review is either very rambling, slightly badly-written or very abrupt.

Although I was excited about this new song, I also felt slightly cautious before I listened to it. It’s a known fact that Iron Maiden have had a habit of releasing the weakest song from their upcoming album early (eg: “The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg” from “A Matter Of Life and Death” and “El Dorado” from “The Final Frontier”). Even so, a weak Iron Maiden song is still better than 99% of all other music. Even so, I felt cautious.

But, was my caution justified?

No. It wasn’t.

The song starts out with a very old school intro ( it’s kind of slightly like their first album, but mixed with their “Powerslave” and “Somewhere In Time” albums). Bruce also does a vaguely Paul Di’Anno-style scream too.

Then, of course, there’s the classic Iron Maiden “galloping” background guitars – this part of the song is as fast and repetitive as it should be, but it doesn’t have the heavy gloom of some of their recent albums.

In other words, the background guitars sounded very slightly “lighter” than I expected. But, this isn’t a bad thing, it just means that it’s the kind of fast upbeat song that they usually open their albums with. It’s also a bit more like their old stuff from the 80s, rather than their slightly heavier/gloomier stuff from the past twenty years or so.

“Speed Of Light” also has it’s own distinctive background riff too, which sounds very distorted and kind of old-school. This part of the song sounds a little bit more like classic rock or blues than metal. But it works surprisingly well. In general, the instrumental parts of the song sound a lot like a slightly modern version of classic 80s Iron Maiden.

The opening line of this song contains an interesting call back to “Twilight Zone” or “Purgatory” from their original album “Killers” too (it begins with the words “Another time, another place”).

As for the rest of the lyrics, they sound a lot more like something from a classic 80s Iron Maiden song. Although the lyrics of this song aren’t quite as instantly memorable as some of Maiden’s classic songs are (despite the fact that the chorus is repeated countless times), they still go with the song really well.

Bruce’s singing style is also much more like the style he used in Maiden’s earlier albums (albeit with less falsetto) than in some of Maiden’s recent albums. In other words, he belts out the lyrics fast, with no time for pensive introspection or gloomy seriousness. This song couldn’t be more different in tone to anything from “The Final Frontier”. Both singing styles are brilliant, but it was refreshing to see this style again.

Not only that, the music video for this song is, in a word, awesome! It contains animated CGI footage that looks like a cross between the “Wasted Years” single cover, “Blade Runner” and a cyberpunk version of “Bablyon 5”.

It also contains a few animated pixel art/CGI parodies of old computer games (eg: Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat and a 1990s platform game), all of which feature Eddie and some of the band’s older album art. As a 1990s retro gamer, I absolutely loved this!

The video then concludes with a modern FPS game-style segment. This segment then ends with Eddie firing a BFG at a T-Rex, before walking up to an Aztec altar and tearing out his own heart a few seconds later! Music videos don’t get cooler than this!

All in all, this song is classic late 1970s/ early-mid 1980s-style Iron Maiden – which is never a bad thing 🙂 This is an absolutely solid song that would be perfectly at home on either “Somewhere In Time” or “Powerslave”. The music video is also one of the best music videos I’ve ever seen too! If their first single from “The Book Of Souls” is this good, then the album is going to be amazing.

But, if I had to give “Speed Of Light” a rating out of five, it would get a solid four.

Mini-Review: “Coming For You” (New Single By The Offspring)

2015 Artwork coming for you mini review sketch

When I read about this on the internet a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t quite believe it. The Offspring would be debuting a new single on the 31st January. So, naturally, when this glorious day came, I ended up scouring Youtube for it.

After all, this is where new Offspring songs usually appear first – I have fond memories of watching grainy concert footage of “Hammerhead” and “Half-Truism” in 2008 on Youtube and of watching the eventually-unreleased alternate live version of “Days Gone By” (called “You Will Find A Way”) on Youtube in 2009.

I remember the sheer nostalgic joy of seeing the first live concert footage of “The Future Is Now” on Youtube in early 2012 and I remember laughing my ass off when “Cruisin’ California (Bumpin’ In My Trunk)” was released on Youtube a few months later.

Ususually, this has the slightly underground feeling of listening to a bootleg CD. But, obviously The Offspring know that their fans tend to do this, so they actually put a high quality version of their new single – “Coming For You” – on both their website and obviously on Youtube too .

[Edit: The video no longer seems to be unlisted on Youtube, so I’ve linked to it – it can still also currently be seen as an embedded video on their site too. Plus, since I posted the original version of this review a couple of hours ago, they’ve also now started selling “Coming For You” as a digital download too. Unfortunately, this seems to be the only commercial release of this song, so if you’re like me and you prefer buying music on CD, then you’re probably best waiting for their next album.]

But, is “Coming For You” any good?

One of the surprising things about this song is how much the intro to it reminded me of “Conspiracy Of One”-era Offspring, it’s a slow drum-heavy and bass-heavy intro that sounds a little bit like a heavier version of the intro to “Special Delivery” from that album. Dexter’s vocals near the beginning are also slightly slower than usual too, which is slightly rare for an Offspring song.

The chorus to the song is fairly “bouncy”, “jagged” and “catchy” – this is about the best way I can describe it. It rhymes, but it sounds a bit different to what you might expect after listening to the beginning of the song.

Plus, the chorus contains the wonderfully bizarre line “a sold-out, blow-out Donkey Kong“. Obviously, Dexter Holland was desperately searching for a rhyme when he wrote this song. The vocal style in the chorus of this song also reminded me of a slightly lighter version of Dexter’s vocal style on the “Splinter” album too.

But, hey, it’s an Offspring song, the lyrics don’t always have to make total sense. What matters most is how the song as a whole sounds and, overall, this is a fairly “classic” Offspring song that also sounds very slightly modern.

Although I would have liked to see more of the return to the Offspring’s early-mid 1990s sound that we got to hear near the end of their “Days Go By” album, this song seems to be more of a return to their early-mid 2000s sound.

All in all “Coming For You” isn’t the best Offspring song that I’ve ever heard, but it’s far from the worst either. The first singles that the Offspring release are rarely indicative of their upcoming albums as a whole – just look at “Cruisin’ California (Bumpin’ In My Trunk)” from their last album for a good example of this.

As I said earlier, it sounds like The Offspring are going back to something very slightly similar to how they sounded when they made “Conspiracy Of One”, or possibly “Splinter” – and this can’t be a bad thing 🙂

If I had to give this song a rating out of five, it would probably just about get a four.