Bruce Dickinson Tyranny of Souls

Dickinson’s first solo album since rejoining Iron Maiden, Tyranny of Souls has a lot to live up to but unfortunately misses the mark. His previous two solo albums, 1997's Accident of Birth and ’98’s Chemical Wedding, have marked the pinnacle of his solo career so far; both are excellent, crunchy, well-executed metal records that were solid from start to finish, something that, unfortunately, Tyranny is not. After starting on a high with the opening "Abduction,” the nine-track effort is up and down, with about half of the tracks living up to the standards set by previous releases. The other half are, at times, some of the most disappointing songs sung by the vocalist in more than 15 years. Especially noteworthy is the cheesy balladry of "Navigate the Seas of the Sun,” which sounds like it would be more at home on a modern-day Jethro Tull album. Really, this is a record you don't need to buy, unless you are a Maiden completist. If you're not, put the money towards seeing Dickinson play live with Iron Maiden this summer instead. (Sanctuary)