I write reviews for musical albums. My main genre is metal, but I will probably do some hard rock as well. Any reviews other than the two most recent are shown on the right hand side under the "Blog Archive" tab. Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Iron Maiden- Somewhere in Time

Album: Somewhere In Time
Source: Wikipedia

Artist:  Iron Maiden

Year: 1986

Score: 100/100

“How to Create a Masterpiece”

1986 was really a great year for metal music.  Not only were several thrash classics released that year, it also saw the release of Iron Maiden’s masterwork.  “Somewhere In Time”, in my eyes, is easily the best Iron Maiden album ever made.  For me, “Somewhere in Time” took everything that was already good about Iron Maiden and expanded it.  The excellent sound is still there, but there is an added atmosphere and the songs are even more intricate.  Perhaps it is an unpopular opinion to label this as the greatest of all Iron Maiden albums, but it truly is my favorite.  It is a magnificent output from a mature band in their prime.

Instrumentally, the album is brilliant. The melodies are enthralling, and the instruments are distributed into relatively equal portions.  The trademark dueling guitars are still there, playing perhaps the most important role in the entire album.  More than any other Iron Maiden album, this is the most melodic.  While the songs still have the trademark Iron Maiden galloping rhythm, it is not as prominent.  The band relies on other techniques to pull the listener in.  Much of this comes from the excellent guitars.  Some of the best Iron Maiden solos are found on “Somewhere in Time”; they often take up a large portion of the songs.  The riffs are also great; they are well constructed and well placed within the songs.  The bass is as fantastic as usual.  It serves as a perfect backbone to the songs, and is wonderfully high in the mix.  It’s hard not to love the bass in an Iron Maiden album, and “Somewhere in Time” is no exception.  The drums are also excellent.  There are many memorable moments scattered throughout the release.  Additionally, the drumbeats are not too similar in every song.  There is a pretty good variety of beats and fills found throughout.  Vocally, “Somewhere in Time” is amazing.  This is, hands down, Bruce Dickinson’s finest hour.  He handles the vocals with ease, going from a raspier voice to a smoother style of singing.  Something that set “Somewhere in Time” apart from previous Iron Maiden albums was the use of keyboards during the songs.  They are actually barely noticeable, but do play an instrumental role in the overall feel of the album.  The synths basically serve as a backdrop to the songs; they add a lot of mood and atmosphere, but not much in a technical sense.  The keyboards were done very well, especially given the year this album came out.

The songs themselves follow many different patterns.  There are long portions of instrumental display, as well as a variety of riffs.  Some of these riffs are very relaxing while others are quite rhythmic and metallic.  Other guitar portions are highly melodic, reminding me of power metal.  Most of the songs are midpaced to fast, though generally slower than what Iron Maiden had done before.  Even though the songs all have a clear verse and chorus; they are fairly complex from a structural standpoint.  They are also rather long with the shortest being nearly five minutes long.  In addition to all of these things, “Somewhere in Time” is rather atmospheric for an Iron Maiden album.  Part of this is due to the keys, but it also has to do with the frequent shifts in dynamics and tempo.  The atmosphere is one of the main reasons that I enjoy this album so much; it really adds to Iron Maiden’s sound.

As the individual songs go, they are all close to being perfect.  Each is like a small story, similar to the last yet distinctly different.  There are more grandiose moments, as well as catchier songs.  This diversity makes “Somewhere in Time” a unique listen.  The album opens up with “Caught Somewhere in Time”- one of the greatest songs the band would ever do.  From the very beginning, the song is dreamlike yet attention-grabbing.  The chorus is beautiful and anthemic; it begs for the listener to sing along.  Following this is the catchier, but not less impressive “Wasted Years”.  The guitar intro is classic and highly memorable.  It effectively blends the progressive tendencies of the opener into a more accessible tune.  The third song, “Sea of Madness”, is very close to being my favorite Iron Maiden song.  There’s a great contrast between soft and heavy, and it might just contain Bruce Dickinson’s finest vocal moment.  It’s got another powerful chorus similar to the opener, and the verses are surreal.  It’s also got some of the heaviest riffing in any Iron Maiden song.  “Heaven Can Wait” comes next with a very relaxed sounding chorus and more great guitars.  The verses in this song are quite interesting, though it does not stand out as much as the three that came before it (still a great tune, though!).  The fifth song, “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”, is another classic.  This one is long and winding, with a most impressive guitar solo in the middle.  It’s very melodically driven, perhaps more than anything else on the album.  I consider it to be a highly underrated song, and one of the best from the album.  “Stranger in a Strange Land” is another catchy song, more in the vein of “Wasted Years”.  It sounds great coming off of “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”, as the contrast between the two songs helps keep the album diverse.  I particularly enjoy the bass intro to the song, as well as the added atmosphere during the verses.  “Déjà vu” is another standout.  The singing in this one is a bit different, less melodic or something.    It’s hard to believe that this song is not better known as it certainly lives up to the high standards of Iron Maiden’s hit songs.  Finally, the album closes with the grand epic “Alexander the Great”.  What a song!  It takes everything that is great about “Somewhere in Time” and fits it into a single song.  This track is somewhat similar to the opener.  The difference lies in the fact that it really brings the album full circle- to an effective ending.  It’s a masterpiece, a fitting finale to an impressive show.

“Somewhere in Time” is my favorite work from Iron Maiden for many reasons.  It’s one of the metal albums to judge other metal albums by.  I honestly recommend this one to anyone who likes rock or metal, as I feel that most people into this genre will surely like it.  Most fans of Iron Maiden will have heard this already, but those who have not should definitely listen to it.  Perhaps it’s not the album most representative of their sound, but it is their best.    For newer fans to the band I would recommend “Powerslave” as it is their signature release, and another flawless album.  “Somewhere in Time” is one of those fantastic albums that never ages, and remains as perfect as it was the first time I heard it.  Highly recommended!

Best songs:  All of them!

Thanks for reading, and be sure to comment!


  1. Excellent review. I also consider Somewhere in Time the greatest Iron Maiden album ever made (aside from the self-titled). I am also working on a few reviews for old school classics; currently I have some for Warlock, Judas Priest, and Queensrÿche. Well, check it out here:

    1. Thank you for the comment! Their self titled album is also phenomenal, but I really love all of their 1980s releases.

      Awesome website you've got there, by the way!

  2. Thanks! I also just updated it. I also run a forum ( if you're interested. We could use someone like you for in-depth metal discussions. \m/

    P.S. Sorry for the late reply.