Superficial differences aside, ‘Brave New World’ is quintessentially Iron Maiden. Those cultured references to English literature, sober yet deceptively dark overtones, and compositions almost bordering on progressive metal. Not to mention the galloping bass lines, rich melodic riffs and operatic vocals – basically, all Iron Maiden signatures are exhibited here.
For a song named after the early 70s British horror flick, The Wicker Man might seem deceptively upbeat. But, Brave New World, the title track is a tad disturbing —“Dying swans twisted wings, beauty not needed here.” — seems to mirror Aldous Huxley’s own dystopian vision.
Accessible, and threateningly catchy choruses – “Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, you’ve got to kill to stay alive” – illustrates one of those reasons why Iron Maiden is still that dominant heavy metal life form on this planet. How a whimsical – “Is this a new reality. Something makes me feel that I have lost my mind” – effortlessly regresses into more horrific hues – “Lost in a dream of mirrors, lost in a paradox. Lost and time is spinning, lost a nightmare I retrace” – is truly baffling.
Azazel — The fallen angel, sets the tone for a mercilessly melodic Out Of The Silent Planet. Lyrics are not exactly C. S. Lewis’s fiction, but it’s a brutal blend of catchy riffs and vivid imagery – “Withered hands, withered bodies begging for salvation. Deserted by the hand of Gods of their own creation.” — anticipating an eventual apocalyptic end — “Nations cry underneath decaying skies above. You are guilty, the punishment is death for all who live.” Finally, leaving the listener reeling with a devastating chorus – “Out of the silent planet, dreams of desolation. Out of the silent planet, Come the demons of creation”.
A markedly refined take is reserved for the last. Actually, a civilized mind might have already pondered —“When a person turns to wrong, is it a want to be, belong? –– “But what makes a man decide, take the wrong or righteous road” — indeed “There’s a grey place between black and white.” More decisively — “But everyone does have the right to choose the path that he takes”.
The artistic sensibilities that shaped Iron Maiden is being subtly explored here – “We all like to put the blame on society these days. But what kind of good or bad a new generation brings. Sometimes take just more than that to survive be good at heart. There is evil in some of us no matter what will never change.” Essentially, where others adopt contentious and naive stands, Iron Maiden simply enlightens — illustrating that not so thin line separating the rare eminent from the mediocres.
By Raph_PH (IronMaidenO2_270517-24) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons