By Clare McCabe
Released Friday September 4th, 2015 - Warner Music
Oh welcome back Mr Dickinson - we have missed you.
Bruce has himself been in the news a lot lately having recently been recovering from treatment for cancer. Turns out he wasn't well prior to finishing recording this album. But he soldiered on. Of course.
The Book of Souls is Maiden's 16th studio album and coming in at just over 90 minutes, quite a long one (their first double studio album actually).
One song in and you can tell Bruce's vocals are still at his 'Air Raid Siren' best. If Eternity Should Fail brings back memories of the mighty anthems of the 80s that still remain to this day my faves - echo-ey vocals and a wall of sound. Think Run to the Hills era.
Tears of a Clown is another gem (apparently this one pays tribute to the late Robin Williams). "Wonder why he's feeling down, tears of a clown". Fabulous stuff.
Speed of Light is a real screamer with fabulous guitar licks that go on and on. The guys sound like they thoroughly enjoyed making music again together and they even had turns writing the songs this time round.
Bruce's voice is certainly put to the test on this new album. "I see the enemy", he screams in Death of Glory, "I know he can't see me".... And then that heavy drumming that we love so much kicks in from Nicko. So. Good. Another anthem for us to sing along to. These songs are going to shine when we get a chance to hear them live.
Oh and then to finish up, we are treated to the piano-filled finale that is Empire of the Clouds. Seriously guys this one is a crazy mix of crashing keys, guitars and almost operatic singing.
Fun fact - Bruce flew a planeload (Flight 666) of fans and journalists to Paris recently so they could all attend a listening party for the new album at the studio it was recorded in. At one point the cabin crew even donned Eddie masks while serving the passengers Trooper beer (Maiden's own brand of beer). Classic.
This album is a lot to take in during one sitting to be honest. But Maiden fans won't care. It needs to be thrown on repeat and played quite bloody loud. Grab it now so you have time to learn all the lyrics before the boys hit our shores next year (yes they're coming back and yes Bruce will be flying the plane).
Sing it people: Humanity won't save us, at the speed of light...