All posts by CHUD

To Hell and Back Again – A Mix Tape

Hey everybody, CHUD here. I’m WAY behind on posting a few things, but for Friday the 13th, I give you an excessively metal youtube mix tape for your enjoyment. Here’s the run down. Enjoy!

Midnight – Black Rock N Roll
National Suicide – Nu Posers Don’t Scare Anyone
Carcass – Buries Dreams
Entombed – Sinners Bleed
Burzum – Jeg Faller
Aosoth – V
Dark Funeral – Secrets of the Black Arts
Christian Mistress – Omega Stone
Zuul – Warhammer
Grand Magus – Silver Into Steel
Primordial – Bloody Yet Unbowed

Happy Valentines Day + Rogue XS IIPA

Happy Valentines Day from The Beer Report! Chud here on this most sad, capitalist cash grab of holidays to bring you a beer review and some much needed relationship advice. Fist off let me give you a piece of historical information on this joyous day. Did you know there were actually fourteen St. Valentines? Yep, there were. What’s the more important to remember though is that all fourteen were martyred. How appropriate for a holiday about relationships.

You may be wondering, “How is it Mr. Chud , that on a day such as this, do you have the time to write us wonderful inebriated soliloquies when certainly your wife must want all of your attention?” Well adoring fans, it’s because AB and I understand something about respecting the truth and it has set us free. Most couples are stressing out about making sure whatever meaningless gifts they decide to shower each other with represent a deep enough cash investment to impress their partner, and at the same time suppress the anxiety they feel that this other person doesn’t really love them, but the stuff they have. We have dug deep and gained a profound secret to give each other what most people in a relationship want. A simple night of solitude to do what ever the hell you want without intrusion. Now THAT’S a fucking gift of love! It’s calm trust that you don’t have to be up each others asses every moment of every day without thinking the other person will be getting plowed by the UPS guy or banging coworkers to spite your inattention. Contrary to popular belief, life isn’t usually short. It’s actually a long fucking time. You’re going to be married most of it if you start before forty. Get your own life and enjoy, let your partner enjoy theirs and you’ll get along much better for it. We’ll exchange sweet glances walking between the kitchen and bathroom, both just generally happy the other one is happy. Is that really such a hard concept to wrap your head around?

On to the beer! I’m having a glass of beer that comes in a bottle size that mirrors most of your relationship skills. By that I mean inadequate. It’s only seven ounces. I have here a bottle of Rogue XS Imperial IPA. It pours like a long married woman; a dark copper color like it’s spent too much time in the sun, not very bubbly, and barely giving any head. This bitch hasn’t bothered getting pretty and putting any lace on anytime recently either. What do you know, she’s quite bitter too! There is a hint of sweetness, letting you know she was probably cool back when she was a teenager, and probably even into her early 20’s, but now it’s a cursory smile before she readies herself to unleash her spite on that annoying cunt in the office who she feels is always condescending towards her. No, not on the woman she’s angry at stupid, she unleashes that shit on you when you get home from work. You’ve got a lot of learning to do newb. Don’t worry, you’ll make some exasperated dick comment soon enough and legitimately turn that anger towards yourself soon enough.

So how’s the beer? Well it’s actually pretty good. Though honestly like Valentines Day it’s atrociously gawdy and over the top. Sure it’s hoppy, it’s tasty, but is worth the kind of monetary investment you made in it? Actually, getting the smaller bottle is probably better. I may have been more upset had I spent $15 on a larger bottle. It has a great base but the mix of Cascade, Saaz, NW Golding, and Rogue hops doesn’t really pull off all it hopes too. If they had gone to just Cascade the hell out of it the beer probably would have worked. Instead it kind of comes off like a warring cluster fuck of bitterness by opposing parties vying for your attention. It seemed like it was probably a good idea at the time, kind of like that threesome that left you both never trusting each other again, but in the long run things just didn’t work out quite as planned. This beer would have benefited from a little of what AB and I gave each other tonight; breathing space. Life is long. You don’t have to drink all the hops you have at once. Relax. Overall, this beer is going to end like most of my relationships. I’ll be sitting at my computer alone and looking for a(nother) beer.

2 1/2 out of 5 I.B.U.’s

Smuttynose “Finestkind” IPA

Hey everybody, long time no writey. Well, the Chud is a busy man with many important things on his very important plate. But, since February I believe is officially the longest and crappiest month of the year I thought it would be a good time to get back into the writing chair. Really, what the hell is wrong with February? It should no longer be named, but simply referred to as the time the Earth is really pissed off because it’s waking back up. It’s best to stay indoors and just leave the planet alone until it gets some coffee and a bagel. The average workweek should be cut in half and recreational drugs should be rationed according to general public need. I think we can all agree this is a better plan than the current system.

By the way, thank you Egypt for letting us all see how much more fucked we have to get before we finally revolt. We’re not nearly ready to do anything about anything yet so lets all relax and have a beer.

We should in fact start hoarding beer now though. While we probably don’t have much to fear from 2012 being the end of the world as we know it, there’s actually a fairly large chance we will all die in 2039 from a meteorite named, and I’m not even kidding, 99942APOPHIS. It has about a 3% chance of obliterating the western half of the US. Take that pilgrimage to Stone Brewing while you still have a chance.

Anyway, the beer of the night is Smuttynose IPA from Smuttynose brewing out of New Hampshire. They’re a new addition to the line up at Friar Tuck’s and it’s a beer I’ve always heard good things about in print. There are two old farmer looking bastards on the label thinking they are the hot shit Bartles and James guys of the beer world sitting in front of a trailer. I don’t know what the point of this is as I highly doubt these guys would be caught dead drinking anything other than canned bubbling corn water. I’ll chalk it up to marketing gone wrong but if these two happy assholes are drinking it I can be goddamn sure it’s not ten bucks a six pack. On the bottom of the bottle it says “Finestkind.” According to their website it’s Finestkind IPA, though on the box it clearly says Smuttynose IPA. Hmmm… Methinks someone is getting really high while arranging this stuff. I don’t get it.

Luckily the beer has obviously had much more attention paid to it than the job someone’s unemployable stoner cousin is doing they hired for marketing. This is simply a wonderful beer. It’s flashing your normally expected deep golden hue, and looks even prettier due to the fact it’s unfiltered and still has a little funk in the trunk from the bottom of the bottle. In honor of the two manure spreaders on the bottle I won’t talk about the foo-foo lacing.

It’s very hoppy, and gives you a good dose of kick in that area, but it still feels very mellow. It’s a laid back beast with a very plush mouth feel to it. The slower you drink this the more satisfying it actually is. Maybe there’s something strangely archetypal about these plaid clad geriatrics after all that relates to the beer. You know rough around the edges but good natured and fun to talk to. They still make comments about wops, gays, and coloreds, but aren’t really racist, just too old to know it’s no longer acceptable to use those terms. You nod and smile because you know they’ll be dead and you’ll be getting their shit or will have to haul it away soon anyway.

So there you have it. It has hoppy goodness yet is still very smooth and refreshing. It packs a punch but still hugs you after and buys the next round. I still don’t think the old guys would drink it but I’ll probably being picking up another when the weather turns. This stuff has all the makings of the perfectly refreshing spring and summer beer. I would highly recommend picking some up.

4 out of 5 I.B.U.’s

White WInter Premium Oak Brackett

Could it be? Is C.H.U.D. finally writing a beer review? Well… almost. This is White Winter’s Premium Oak Brackett. When you first read the description it looks more mead than beer, but includes malted barley in addition to the usual honey. This mixture of honey and malt in fermentation is called bracket, or braggot. Inspecting the bottle, in addition to the tingle of excitement I get at the 12%ABV, I get a little nervous seeing it’s listed as a “malt beverage” and contract brewed by South Shore Brewing. Hmmm…

Checking out their website,, my expectations bounce back a little. These people seem to really like their mead and appear to have a great place to stop by if you’re in the area. I realize I am prone to picking up their regular meads once or twice a year, but we don’t have any other mead options either so I don’t really have enough experience with mead to give them a fait judgement as compared to anything else. I know I like them best when making a 50/50 mix of their sweet and dry meads, which seems to create a nice balance.

The drink pours nicely with a very dark brown complexion and nice head. It’s got a big nose on it that lets you know you’ve got something strong. Now for the first sip. Blam!!! Right off the bat this thing is a BEAST! A dark malty flavor blazes your face with a sizzles with an unexpected amount of carbonation. A big swooning burn makes its way down your chest after just a sip. Unfortunately, “unbalanced” is the word that comes to mind with this. A little less carbonation would have been appreciated. The dark, burnt, malty flavor overpowers the hints of honey that lurk around the edges.

I stopped and let it warm up some more to see if it would balance the flavors out a little more. It did mellow a little, becoming a little more balanced in the flavor profile, and the carbonation did chill out a little bit. I still can’t put my stamp of recommendation on this though. A thick caramel like malt flavor dominates, along with a titanic amount of alcohol, and the honey simply gets lost. It will get you wrecked on the quick though. Well, so much for visions of mythological grandeur on this one. If you want to get shitfaced like an outlaw ghetto Viking this is your drink, but I think it can be done better.

Dawnbringer – Nucleus

Dawnbringer – Nucleus

Metal. The essence of metal seems to reside somewhere deep down under our regular mental state. It comes from darkness. It comes from the unconscious mythological forms that flow underneath the rivers of the waking mind. It’s why metal brings a fanaticism and lifelong reverence in a way almost nothing else does for those who find themselves drawn to it. It exists outside the established realm of order, yet is strongly ordered in and of itself. It is one of the most diverse musical forms to exist yet every metal fan knows in an instinctive fashion when the music slips outside of “metal.” When you do hear something that is thoroughly, and completely, “true” metal, it’s like coming home. Not home in the structural, building sense, but home in the spiritual sense. You’re right where you’re supposed to be. Nucleus takes all that is metal, above and underground, and fashions something both forward thinking yet strictly controlled, completely new and undoubtedly ancient. Most importantly, the album is utterly fantastic.

The genius behind this masterpiece is Chris Black. If you don’t who he is it’s time you start ordering some albums. He’s been responsible for some of the best metal albums of the last decade. Not only is he the mastermind behind Dawnbringer, but also the absolutely righteous Superchrist, and High Spirits. In addition he plays drums for power metallers Pharaoh has helped behind the scenes to push Nachtmystium from a second tier black metal act into the innovators they are today. Oh yeah, he wrote for Metal Maniacs as well as runs the Planet Metal label and Distro. The guy is apparently pretty busy.

I first came into contact with his work with the last Dawnbringer album In Sickness and in Dreams. It was a potent mix of old school metal influence mixed with early 90’s death and black metal. The album was heavy and catchy, yet at the same time obtuse and esoterically introspective. This is in contrast to Superchrist, which is a very exoteric, I’ll get shitfaced, punch you and your mom, generally offensive, dirty metal band. High Spirits runs with a more of an early 80’sNew Wave of British Heavy Metal sound. What makes Nucleus so great is that it combines the fractured musical pieces of Black’s psyche and brings them all into one powerful vision.

Upon the first opening notes of So Much for Sleep you notice the death and black metal influences have been dialed back on this one. You also notice the big step up in production value from his previous work with the now popular Sanford Parker turning the knobs. Rather than the growls of the last album, Black lets his regular raw, yet clear vocals deliver his always intriguing, personal lyrics. When I say personal it doesn’t mean it’s anything like the New Wave of American Whining Metal that’s infected newer bands like a mental cancer either. What you also notice is the thick infusion of melody.

Third track The Devil takes the entirety of Black’s previous works, and stretches it out farther than ever. This song has to be the best thing he’ ever written. After a short intro riff, this thing barrels along like an out of control train. The downhill momentum is is palpable. You literally feel your blood pressure rise. It runs the gamut from Maiden melodicism, to throbbing, blast beating, black metal hypnotism, to a brilliantly fitting bluesy solo that crawls up from the crossroads.

The other absolute highlight is Old Wizard. The previous track All I See ends much like the last album did, with a guitar solo suddenly dropping completely away. Rather than leaving you in stunned silenced with a maddening case of musical blue balls though, here we go straight into a slow, gritty, impassioned dirge you will to play over and over.

Final track Pendulum starts with a melody of clanging out of tune strings. They weave in and out of the song, until they comes in tune and the songwriting in focus. It’s another example of Black’s ability to stretch and expand the fundamental form of metal, yet never break it or water it down by bringing in any foreign elements that clash. He adeptly plays with his chosen musical medium, knowing where he wants to go with it, but not limiting his options on which route he’s going to take to get there.

In all his previous work Black has been strictly underground, rarely touring, doing many interviews, or getting much if any marketing push. You had to be one of the cool kids to know what was going on. This album seems to be getting more of a push from new label Profound Lore records, and word of mouth is spreading like wildfire this time around. It’s simply too good to stay quiet. I’ve played this album about 15 times now and it’s still revealing new nuances, new angles, and I have a feeling this is one of those records that I’ll still be jamming regularly ten years from now. There exists that elusive element most great records have, which is timelessness. It does it by stretching to the depths of metals roots but also looking forward from its highest branches. It’s nearly perfect. Hopefully we won’t have to wait four years for another one.

4 & 3/4 out of 5 I.B.U’s

Destihl brings the funk!

After a long hiatus AB (now the wife!) and I went back to eat and drink at Destihl, our local upscale brewpub. Long time listeners and followers of the message board probably know the name well and remember hearing it from us on a regular basis at one time. I’m going to start off here with an apology, which some of you may have heard already, and I promise this is the last time I’ll bring it up.

Around two years ago the owner Matt Potts was gracious enough to let me come in and hang around on two ten hour brew days to get a feel of what a day in the life of a brewer is like. It was absolutely a fantastic time. The experience of seeing how things worked was invaluable and gave me new respect for the guys that do it, not to mention Matt gave me plenty of free food and beer while I was there. While there I was filming everything for a Beer Report Special. That never came out though.

A few days later AB and I stopped in to have dinner and quite frankly, we had about the shittiest customer service experience I’ve ever encountered. This wasn’t at all in line with our regular experience with the place, and we had been there very often. AB ordered a cedar plank chicken. I had gotten it once before and it was hands down the best chicken I’ve ever eaten in my whole life. We ordered it again this particular night it came out WAY undercooked. AB took one bite and sent it back. Rather than being cool about it the manager in the restaurant at the time was a complete fucking prick about taking the food back. They took it back, but he insisted on reiterating repeatedly that there was nothing wrong and that it was fine, and continuously implied she was just being bitchy. I’m a dude. I know when guys perceive women are being unreasonably bitchy and this was not one of those moments. I couldn’t figure it out. If you’re going to take the food back, take it the fuck back but don’t start a confrontation over it. Why? You’re comping the cost of the meal, why go out of your way to piss off a customer, especially a pair your most loyal and gung ho customers at that? I mean, seriously, we loved the place. This is was like coming home to finding a girl who you had put way up on a pedestal in your mind taking crystal meth and fucking your creepy neighbor.

What I should have done was send an e-mail immediately to Matt Potts. I have to no doubt he would have done whatever he could to fix the situation. Instead of doing that though I basically said, “fuck that place” and didn’t go back and never did anything with the video. Considering how much generosity had been shown to The Beer Report by Matt that was really a weak thing to do on my part. I’m sure he would have wanted to know one of his employees is shitting on the business he spent every waking moment of his life trying to get off the ground. So Matt, I’m sorry about taking advantage of your hospitality.

With that out of the way, bring on the story of a Behind the Brewery redemption!!!

AB and I decided to stop there again on a Saturday as part of their Oktoberfest kick off and were drawn in by finding our they had something AB and I have been hunting after for years. When we got there it was packed to the gills. The hostess at the counter said we would have a 35 minute wait but it was only about half that. What looked like an old German husband and wife team jammed some seriously cool Oktoberfest music, him on a small drum set and her on an accordion. We got a good table with a view of them.

We started off with a few beers and appetizers. AB got a Oengus Irish Stout. It was a good stout, slightly dry and roasty the way it should be and very drinkable. It had thick black color and ¾ inch thick soft frothy head. Then came the star of the evening. It was a sour cherry ale they refer to as part of their Saint Dekkera series. (The genus name Dekkera is used interchangeably with Brettanomyces. – from the interwebs) The waitress said the beer was aged for a year and nine months in oak with the wild yeast added half way through the aging process. Holy shit… It was beautiful. It came served in a large snifter, having a light color with a hint of red. It smelled like true Belgium farmhouse funk. The waitress tried to warn me, saying it could be hard to drink a glass if you weren’t used to the taste. Well, it was hard to drink a whole glass because I could have spent 2 hours sipping and savoring every drop. It started out slightly sour and funky on the front of your palette, and then just exploded down the sides of your tongue. Fucking glorious!!! Immediately beers like Cantillon Kriek and Fantome came to mind. Yeah, that’s right, this thing sits up there in the realm of the best Belgian beers I’ve ever had. It was like getting a handy with every sip. I was practically in convulsions. I’m going back for more of this.

The appetizers we got were pretty good too. First up were bacon and blue cheese deviled eggs. You can’t really screw up that combination can you? They rocked. We also got the stone fired pretzels. They were like the big pretzels you would get at the theatre but better. They came fresh, crispy on the outside and doughy in the middle. It comes with a side of kind of generic cheddar cheese on one side but some absolutely killer red ale Dijon mustard cream sauce as well.

The anticipation for the main course was feverish after things had started so well. One thing AB and I have spent hours lamenting over since leaving Florida is the utter lack of good Cuban sandwiches here in Illinois. There are a few half ass attempts around, Reggie’s in Normal makes a Barbecue Cuban that’s okay, but nothing that really does it justice. The possibility of getting a good Cuban is really what drew us back in. So how were they? Nearly perfect. Not completely traditional but close enough and amazingly good. They had big crusty pieces of Cuban bread, a fat slab of pork on the bottom, think slices of ham, nicely melted cheese, seriously WTF out of this world pickles, and a spicy kick of hot IPA mustard sauce. We were in heaven. The only element that might have been questionable was the onion. Not bad by any means, but just another element that maybe wasn’t needed. I didn’t mind them, but AB thought that they might have added just a little too much with them. They came with thinly cut fries. They were fine I guess but nothing too special. The sandwich came in a pretty beastly portion on its own so they weren’t really at the top of my priority list.

Time for dessert!!! That meant a big glass of their Bela Oak Aged & Dry Hopped Imperial Pilsner. Destihl didn’t fail to wow me again. There was very little head but big and balanced flavor. It had a big body but not too big. Strongly hopped, but not overly so. The oak made itself very noticeable, but not to where it was distracting from the beer itself. The balance in this beer was masterful.

Ab ordered a giant tart thing that was pretty good but I can’t remember what it was exactly,. It had a rocking, super sour lemon custard and fresh berries. I was enjoying my beer too much to get into it.

After these two big beers I had to call it a night as I was driving but I could have sat around drinking more even though I was completely stuffed. I was left feeling very impressed with what was both in the glasses and on the plates and kicking myself for not being more of a regular. The atmosphere that night was very fun. I didn’t even get around to mentioning that the architecture of the restaurant is completely unique and upscale but also makes note of its Midwest surroundings. A great view of the brewing operations is always a plus for us beer geeks as well.

Overall, this was one of the most satisfying meals and most enjoyable nights out a restaurant I’ve had in a long time. For the quality of everything the price wasn’t so bad either. It’s not the venue for a cheapskate but it will by no means break your bank to have some good food and killer beers. Cheers to Matt Pots and the rest of the Destihl crew for putting an awesome place in Central Illinois. I think it’s about time to stock up on some growlers.

Iron Maiden Beer!!!

I’m totally late on this but Ninkasi Brewing has a beer dedicated to Iron Maiden on tap in Oregon. Being a fan of all things Maiden I demand someone out there go drink one and let us know how it is. Better yet, send us a growler.

Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier

The Final Frontier

Well, the new Iron Maiden is finally out. Opinions on this one run the gamut from the most uninspired piece of shit they’ve ever put out to it being the one of their best albums ever. As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle. I think it’s the best album they’ve put out since Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its flaws.

Now in terms of loving Iron Maiden I’m like a fatherless 16 year old girl from a New Jersey trailer park at a Motley Crue show in 1988. They have been a part of my musical landscape since early childhood. I still remember the feeling of pure occult awe the first time I saw a cassette of Live After Death as a kid. Brother Chump’s Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son posters were always around too. Really though, I never truly understood their music, or developed the full on, man-tastic, love I have for them until after Bruce rejoined the band and A Brave New World came out. I think that helps me take a broader view of what I like about Maiden then some old timers though.

Manager Rod Smallwood once made it a point to say that Maiden makes 45 minutes of awesome music per album. If Iron Maiden kept the mindset that they would limit themselves to that amount of music per album, I firmly believe that the last few albums would be seen just as fitting of being legendary as the early ones. With the rise of the compact came the urge to fill it though, and with it a slight watering down of the sheer brilliance the band is capable of at their best.

The band pulls one complete dick move right at the onset that has to be addressed. Don’t you fucking ever make a goddamn 4 and ½ minute intro on the same track with one of the best songs on the album!!! Track 1 is officially Satellite 15 and The Final Frontier together. Satellite 15 is just a long intro that will be cool for getting people to freak out at live shows. Why the fuck would you make me have to listen to that shit every time I want to hear the fucking song though??? None one give a shit about the intro, on almost any album, ever. Fuck off!!!

Okay then. Like said trailer bitch now that I’ve tossed my Smirnoff ice bottle at my man, and tried to emasculate him in front of his friends, I can get back to lovin’ him. After waiting forever, and the last four years of music geek lust building up is threatening to drive you crazy, the Final Frontier breaks in with a big, catchy rock riff. This thing was written to rock arenas and will rock your car just as hard. The song is one of the shortest at around 4 ½ minutes, but is heartfelt, epic, has giant hooks, and features Bruce’s voice well in the simple but impossible to get our of your head chorus of “The Final Frontier” repeated a whole big bunch of times.

After making you wait forever to get to that new song, then blowing the doors off, they make sure to let you know, “Hey baby, that was cool, but I’m not THAT into you.” The next few songs aren’t bad but aren’t spectacular either. The first single El Dorado is actually a pretty killer track, if a little self-conscious at moments. Mother of Mercy is kind of cool, but kind of plods at the same time. The voice Bruce chooses to use for the chorus is a little too close to the sounds probably made the dying soldier Bruce is singing about. That track seems to bother people the most. Coming Home is Bruce’s ballad to flying. It’s kind of sappy, and it’s not a bad song, but instead of having an epic feeling of how awesome coming home from a flight is, I think about what Iron Maiden’s kids think about that song. “Dad, while you were away playing rock star, everyone had to hear the story about how Mom was crawling through bathroom windows to blow Nikki Sixx. Fuck you Dad and your plane. I just wanted to you to come to a fucking soccer game, but you couldn’t fly in for that could you, fuckface?”

From there the album actually takes off. The Alchemist could have come from the 80’s. No doubt it’s an immediate Maiden classic. Isle of Avalon isn’t always great, and they do the long intro thing way too much on it, but it has a fantastic chorus. Starblind is fairly progressive for them. It has a really cool, kind of odd main riff, and a nice section played in 7/7 time as a bridge. It’s gets a little wonky at one point where it sounds like the song suddenly dies, but they manage to pick it up and keep playing the verse and chorus another time and pull it out. The Talisman is awesome, again with another long intro but the song may feature Bruce’s best work on the album. After some more intro storytelling, (noticing a theme) The Man Who Would Be King is one of the best Maiden songs ever. It’s everything the band has always done well, but they throw a very space rock, very transcendent sounding section that really shows the band still has a few tricks up its sleeves. I’ll pit that song against anything else in their catalogue. If they play that live the next time I see them my panties are flying towards the stage. When the Wild Wind Blows is almost a poppy track about the end of the world to close things out, but does it need to be 11 minutes? A lot of people are talking about how this track is amazing, but I’m not in that group. It’s probably the least distinctive track on the whole album. It’s not annoying but instantly forgettable.

So here’s the problem with the second half of the album. It’s like this. Everyday I come home from work, I wish the moment I opened the door Thus Spoke Zarathrustra would boom from the speakers, the cat would obediently rub his head on my leg before going to sleep, and my fiancé would have an IPA and sandwich ready for me. It would be pretty epic. Eventually, though, you may say “Honey, could I get a stout today, or how about some Lucky Charms instead of sandwich today?” These ridiculously long intro parts just don’t need to be on most of these songs. Not every track needs to be Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and they shouldn’t be. Every once in awhile there’s nice foreplay, but eventually all this playing around is just a chore when you want to get down to the business in the back of a rusted Z28 real quick before the show.

So what does this all add up to? The problem of figuring out what to say about this album comes from the fact that the view from the heights of this album are breathtaking, but sometimes you need a team of sherpas to get you there. When Maiden is on top of it’s game no other band can touch them. When Bruce really opens his pipes and it sounds like the cosmos itself is reverberating with his vocal chords, I’ll wade through 5 minutes of intro to hear it. What does it say about a band that when they suck they are still better than almost all the other music you can get your hands on? For all its’ faults I still love this album and still think it’s full of brilliance. Iron Maiden seems to channel a power greater than the band itself when they hit things in stride. Something I like about this album too is that every song is memorable and distinct, a quality lacking on the last few albums.

Just remember to compare this album to the output of other mortal bands rather than to what you think of other Iron Maiden albums.

4 out of 5 IBU’s