Bruce Dickinson – Scream for me Brazil – Review

Bruce Dickinson

Scream for me Brazil (Air Raid)
by Tim Den

No introductions needed here. If you don’t know who Bruce Dickinson is, you’re reading the wrong magazine. Okay, now that we’ve gotten the young ‘uns out of here, us old geezers can sit back and talk nerdily about the man whose voice we obssessed over during middle and high school (I swear I don’t still sit in my room, eyes rolled back, every hair on my body raised, memorizing every word the man spits out. I swear…). The cultural and musical impact of Iron Maiden aside (if the band got a quarter every time new groups named them as an influence, the five [now six] old Brits and their offspring would never have to work again), Dickinson is simply the man. Air Raid Siren he is, and much, much more as Scream for me Brazil proves. Eighteen years after he became an icon as the power metal frontman, he still sounds vital, fresh, and as daring to progress with the times as his old band wasn’t. Performing material mainly off of his last two studio records, The Chemical Wedding and Accident of Birth, Dickinson’s solo material sounds so “with the times” that one has to wonder why he abandoned it to return to the band that made Virtual XI (maybe he’ll bring some of his solo brilliance into that dying horse – one can only hope). This live record shows Dickinson as not only an operatic yeller, but a powerhouse in his midrange, as well as maestro of atmosphere. He’s learned from the new generation of metal bands who he helped to inspire, incorporating their crunch and heaviness into his repetoir without losing his trademark melodies. The result? What “nü metal” should’ve sounded like. Slabs of bad-ass riffing – groove-oriented and usually tuned-down – but intricate in the vocal lines and dynamic structures. This combination creates the eerie atmosphere of say, Fear Factory, but with the classic Maiden melodies that made you sing ’til you lost your voice. Modern yet classic, what could be better?

Not that I’m disappointed in hearing Dickinson’s return to Maiden (because let’s face it: anything is better than Blaze Bayley [even though they could have the guy from Kingofthehill singing and I’d still buy the records]), but I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if Dickinson kept progressing as a solo artist (which was “upward”). Scream for me Brazil shows that, unlike many other NWOBHM frontman-gone-solo outtings, Dickinson has actually never sounded so “with it.” This man is god.