Tyranny of Souls

7 July 2019

Heavy metal. When people hear those words, they think of loud, fast drumming with raucous guitar and a growling, animalistic baritone vocal. This is not Bruce Dickinson.

From the first seconds of the introductory track, “Mars Within,” it is obvious that “Tyranny of Souls” is not an average metal record. The operatic tenor vocals and lyrics are reminiscent of the long-forgotten space adventure film, “The Quatermass Experiment.” Unlike most metal albums, this introduction sets the stage for what is undoubtedly an educational and influential experience for any listener.

The lyrics are so vivid that it almost feels as if one were meeting unworldly beings (“Abduction”) or on a battlefield during the ancient War of Good and Evil (“Kill Devil Hill”). One of the more interesting tracks is “Soul Intruders,” which begins as any lightning-fast metal song but then changes to a beautiful, powerful and melodic song about the damned wishing for freedom from Hades.

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But not all of the songs are head-banging material. “Navigate the Seas Of The Sun” shows a lighter side of Dickinson’s lyric-writing, while doing the same for the music by writer/producer Roy Z. The song is uncharacteristically Beatlesque and was a big step for Dickinson’s writing and all of heavy metal.

The whole album, and the epic journey it describes, comes to a head in the climactic last track, “A Tyranny of Souls.” Here the listener gains a full sense of the journey and is left in utter awe of the experience.

This album is definitely a turning point in the world of heavy metal. Bruce Dickinson, along with his hugely successful tour with the legendary Iron Maiden and their upcoming album, is almost guaranteed to make heavy metal resurge into the intelligent art form it was 15 years ago and let it take off from there.

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