The Chemical Wedding (CMC)
by Scott Hefflon
Ah, it’s good to hear Bruce belting it out again. While he still maintains that mature side he likes to show, these are more glimpses of the thoughtful guy, not the torturous explorations, the equivalent of photos of Mr. Dickinson sitting by the fireplace with a pipe, a good book, and slippers being brought by the dog. While it’s doubtful Bruce Dickinson will ever achieve the heights of metal mastery of his early days with Iron Maiden (1982-ahem ’92; The Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind, and the progressively artier and less rock hard Powerslave and Somewhere in Time [intentionally omitted final three studio albums and a few live LPs]), Brucey is whaling away here, much like Dio does these days, soon to wind up on CMC like everyone else.
Joined here by former ex-Maiden Adrian Smith, there are moments when you might think you’re listening to later, less necessary Maiden – duel solos intertwining and spiraling giddily, Bruce warbling, growling, snarling, and getting all metalled out. There’s a pretty obvious stab at low-tuning, down’n’dirty rumble, not to mention a tuffness in Bruce’s voice that sounds more than a little over-intentional. And with a title like this, The Chemical Wedding strives for the alchemidic union of man and the divine – meaning it’s ponderous, overreaching, epic, and has a few acoustic snoozers. But on the whole, this is a lighter held to the heavens, a robust cheer to the mighty, and a decent metal album.
(5226 Greens Dairy Rd Raleigh, NC 27616)