Monday, June 20, 2005

Music Review - Bruce Dickinson, Tyranny Of Souls. Late Red Sox Update.

Music Review - Bruce Dickinson, Tyranny Of Souls

Tyranny Of Souls is Bruce Dickinson's first solo release since his 1998 release The Chemical Wedding. Since then, he has re-joined his Iron Maiden bandmates to record Brave New World and Dance of Death. Tyranny Of Souls was produced by guitarist/producer Roy Z (Tribe of Gypsies). All ten songs were co-written by Bruce and Roy, and total about 44 minutes in all. One of the things I like about Dickinson's solo efforts is that he tends to write songs that don't call on him to have to use the upper end of his vocal range the way he is asked to do for the songs Steve Harris tends to write for him with Iron Maiden. Roy Z's solos are fluid and sharp, and carry plenty of punch to help Dickinson's strong vocal delivery. Here's a song-by-song breakdown:

Mars Within (Intro) — 90 seconds of impending doom with a distinctly Lovecraftian feel about the lyrics: “Professor Quartermass where are you…/ Mankind returns to the stars…? /But sometimes…the stars…return…to mankind…/ Didn’t you come this way before? A million years ago?”

Abduction — A hard hitting rocker with a heavy hook powered by the machine-gun drumming of David Moreno. Bruce’s powerful vocals deliver the goods with a tale of alien abduction, and Roy Z delivers a searing guitar solo.

Soul Intruders — A mid-tempo rocker with more heavy drumming and another blistering Roy Z guitar solo that seems as if it was cut off much too soon. Bruce shows off the higher register of his voice with more on the abduction theme.

Kill Devil Hill — This number is a slower piece that is Bruce’s tribute to the place where the Wright brothers flew the first airplane. From that first flight Bruce imagines a new world of space travel that will open up the universe for mankind. The song slows even more with some nice piano fills as the song fades out.

Navigate The Seas Of The Sun
Another slow piece that alternates between acoustic and electric passages with robust solos from Roy Z using both formats. Bruce sings effectively about not just man’s emergence into space, but hints at ancient civilizations that may have done so, said civilizations’ collective memory driving us to this goal. He even invokes the famous Einstein quote about God not playing dice with the universe.

River Of No Return — A mid-tempo song with a heavy riff and a short, piercing solo by Roy Z, Bruce evokes images of past lives and interconnectedness with everything.

Power Of The Sun — Heavy song with a blistering Roy Z solo that morphs into a double-tracked melody line reminiscent of Thin Lizzy.

Devil On A Hog — A heavy piece of bombast that is a bit on the silly side with Bruce playing the part of a motorcycle headbanger-space invader. Roy Z once again provides a healthy guitar solo to drive this weakest song of the CD.

Believil — A heavy song with an epic feel that starts slowly with Bruce sneering the words as he sings about an overwhelming evil force over Roy Z’s heavy Sabbath-like guitar riffs.

A Tyranny Of Souls — The longest and most varied song of the CD, it features some lyrical content that would have been at home on The Chemical Wedding or Dance of Death. Roy Z turns in his best performance with some unbelievable guitar soloing punctuated by slow, deep bends alternating with speedy trills combined with more Lizzy-like double-tracked harmonies as the song winds from one tempo change to another.

The overall impression is that this is a solid collection of songs, but it lacks the urgency and epic feel that The Chemical Wedding, and it's immediate predecessor, Accident Of Birth had. Still, Dickinson shows that his imagination, and voice are in good form as he stretches himself out in a slightly different direction from what Maiden is doing.

Late Red Sox Update

The Sox oulasted the Cleveland Indians by a score of 10-9 in a long game that saw both starting pitchers struggle. Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia was tatooed for nine runs in 4 2/3 innings, including a three-run homer from Manny Ramirez, his 16th of the season. Having taken a 9-4 lead, Sox starter David Wells turned it over to the bullpen, which did its best to keep the Indians in the game as Mike Meyers, Mike Timlin, Alan Embree and closer Keith Foulke all got touched up by the Indians bats. In the end, Johnny Damon's ninth inning solo homer, his third of the year, proved to be the winning run that put an end to Cleveland's nine-game winning streak (not eight as I stated in yesterday's post).

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