Bruce Dickinson Tyranny of Souls

While I’ve never been the hugest Maiden fan, I’ve always admired Dickinson’s vocals, even if they get a bit too high register, fist in the air, cheese-gratingly, well, cheesy at times. And Maiden’s histrionics just make me leap for the volume knob a lot of the time, to turn it down that is, in fear of neighbours hearing nine-minute pseudo-epics about… well, you know the drill. But his solo stuff is always a bit more mature, streamlined and rocking, without sacrificing the high drama and musicianship that make Maiden good. With his partner in crime/producer-around-town Roy Z being the other main player here (not unlike Dickinson’s equally impressive Chemical Wedding album), the two craft anthem upon anthem that is undeniably Maiden, but way less over the top and much more respectable in a way. Roy Z has got great riffs flying out of him fast and furious, and Dickinson sounds on top of his game as always. Impressive, not life changing, and only mildly grating, Tyranny of Souls will please Maiden fans and those on the periphery will still feel the need to get a head-bang or two in. (Sanctuary)