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(Album Review) BRUCE DICKINSON - The Mandrake Project

Reviewed by: Joe B

Last week I ruffled a few feathers by declaring that Bruce Dickinson’s newest masterpiece The Mandrake Project was better than anything Iron Maiden released in the last 30 years. I have listened to The Mandrake Project every day, multiple times, since its release and I stand by this. It is a lot better than Senjutsu and The Books of Souls, two albums of which I do not care for, all the way to Seventh Son. In fact, it stands up to the earlier releases due Steve Harris’ tended to write more bloated songs post Piece of Mind. (Ed: I gave up on them after Piece of Mind as well!)

The Mandrake Project is Bruce Dickinson’s first solo album in 19 years. The ultimate renaissance man: front man for one of the world’s biggest bands, world ranked fencer, commercial pilot, author war correspondent and most importantly, cancer survivor, created a classic album for the ages.

The new album with the first pre-released single ‘Afterglow of Ragnarok’. From there, The Mandrake Project takes the listener through a journey of power, finesse and heaviness. Bruce never lifts his foot of the pedal with his longtime producer and partner Roy Z. The album is sonic perfection. This is most evident on "Resurrection Men", an instant classic that is growing into one of the greatest songs ever. Yes, that’s correct, "Resurrection Men" is not only a great Bruce Dickinson song, but also a song that stands up to any great song written by any artist before. While the chord progressions are fairly simple, the guitar sounds range from classic Dick Dale to heavy Sabbath. All this sonic diversity makes this the standout on the album. “Fingers in the Wounds” is a perfect follow up to” Resurrection Men”. It is about ills of social media, yet combined with the song before it, the tracks sound like a modern-day passion play.

Bruce beefed up his song “Eternity has Failed “ from The Book of Souls with Roy Z. ‘s production and playing. This makes a very good song, great. The second favorite on the album is the incredibly heavy, yet melodic, “Mistress of Mercy”. Bruce’s vocals are amazing as the song shifts from thrash guitar to tasteful riffs and savage lead guitar from Gus G.

The Mandrake Project is easily a 5 out of 5.


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