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.