Accident Of Birth is one of those rare and really special highlights in the history of classic Heavy Metal. Bruce's solo career has been highly successful with many great albums, this one being his best in my opinion. It has all the elements needed for making a most phenomenal record.
With Adrian Smith at his side you could expect a lot of Iron Maiden
influences in the songs, and it is not wrong to say that there are some. Still, I think that the album has a style that, even though it's very traditional, has a signature of its own. Much of that comes from the diversity of the songs, from hard grooving stuff like Starchildren
, to more atmospheric and epic in Taking The Queen
, over to more aggressive and powerful elements as in the title track. All being huge cuts.
All tracks are performed with great talent and a high level of perfection. Bruce's voice is as good as ever, just listen to him sing the beautiful and divine Arc Of Space
, it sounds phenomenal. The different styles and approaches he manages to come around shows stunning capacity. Adrian Smith and Roy Z are what I call super guitarists. The classic, very melodic, Smith solos sound as great as in the mid to late eighties with Iron Maiden
, and the groove and detail in Roy's rhythm guitar is fantastic.
The drums and bass have a very important part to play in the songs. I like the direct and very participating way the rhythm section is working. Eddie Casillias' way of handling the bass is extremely tight and if you listen to only that instrument, you can really hear all the great passages it creates.
The drums from David Ingraham take up a lot attention, and great variations are found here and there. One word for the rhythm section on this entire album would be solid.
One of many favourite songs is the brilliant gloomy Darkside Of Aquarius
. The way it slowly builds from a quiet bass melody with guitar harmonies, into a Heavy riff that really sets the song into pace sounds fantastic. The many different passages, especially the twin lead guitar parts really come together in a spellbinding way.
Throughout the record the sound is crystal clear and mega grooving. All instruments and vocals are perfectly fitted: To sum up I find the production about perfect.
Road To Hell
has all the elements a thrilling song needs. A cool drum intro, a catchy chorus, a rhythm with a very positive melody, and a solo that displays some rather technical guitar playing. The energy that comes to life here is really astonishing.
I have come to like Man Of Sorrows
more and more with time. This very quiet song had to be heard many times before I got everything out of it. The atmospheric piano/keyboard beginning sets a great dark mood that is held up through the song. The chorus is huge, and Bruce sings with a graceful power like something divine had struck him. The minor details in the keys are interesting element that makes the song even more compact. The depressing lyric about guilt and frustration is working really well with the musical side.
My absolute favourite is clearly the one in a kind Omega
. I will go as far as to say that this is one of the best songs ever written. All the elements in this song just melt together in a beautiful way. The fantastic acoustic guitar creates a great calm rhythm, which is broken by a hard guitar riff and some tight drums. A special highlight is the mellow lead guitar setting in at 1:21. The atmosphere in the slow middle section gets me every time. You can sense the keyboard in the background, and just listen to the guitar solo, it's genius. The song's fast part is also working to perfection, the lead guitars are screaming with power, and a lot of energy is released. The fantastic spiritual and poetic lyric sets just the right context for the music. This one simply must be heard.
is a track that is very traditional Metal all the way. A straight-ahead song with pounding bass, and a great deal of really thick and tight rhythm guitar work. The chorus is brilliantly sung and all in all this is one awesome melodic piece.
The only elements that I can point out as not quite as fantastic is a couple of minor details. The first one is in the opener Freak
, where the noise elements in the middle don't really fit that well. The wild but still melodic guitar leads are fitted in nicely, and the song have a pretty cool groove, a great and special song all in all.
In Welcome To The Pit
a slow and very vocal driven song, I simply love the deep rhythm guitar. My critical comment goes for the chorus that I find a bit too tame to really get me going. Anyway the harmonious lead parts and the slow grooving bass is great elements. So two minor critiques in an otherwise about perfect album isn't much.
Of course there also is the lyrics that are varied in style and quality, some acceptable, but most of them amazing. The supernatural is touched upon in an interesting way in The Magician
on the other hand has a very short and strange lyric.
Some songs have a personal perspective that touches upon faith and thoughts about the big questions in life; I find those especially cool, while others are focusing on mysteries and strange phenomenons.
In my opinion this is one of the best albums ever made, it features stunning passages over and over, fitted together brilliantly and performed with amazing ability.
Written by Tommy
Monday, April 28, 2003Show all reviews by TommyRatingsTommy: 9.5/10
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