Ha! They still are able to deliver!
I cannot say, if it all has been sparked by the return of Mr Dickinson and Mr Smith, but it's a fact that this album is the missing link after "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son", along with "Fear Of The Dark".
What has caught my eye at the very beginning was the fact that seven of the ten songs exceed six minutes, three even the eight-minute-mark.
But let's start at the beginning. "The Wicker Man" is MAIDEN as usual, a straight track in tradition of "Be Quick Or Be Dead", for example, followed by the atmospheric "Ghost Of The Navigator", which just as well could have stood on "Seventh Son...".
The title-track has a certain "Fear Of The Dark"-flair and is getting better every time you listen to it, before "Blood Brothers" sets the first absolute highlight of the record. A voluminous half-ballad with a strong chorus that leaves only very little to be desired. After the very straight "The Mercenary", "Dream Of Mirrors" begins very quiet for some while, before rising into a typically MAIDEN-esque galloping mid-tempo-track.
"The Fallen Angel" could easily have come directly from "Iron Maiden" or "Killers", while the nine-minute "The Nomad" is the most unusual and most likely best track on "Brave New World". With its Arabic/oriental melodies, a Harris-typical, bass-dominated middle-part and a truly grand chorus it stands in one line with the great classics of the 20-year-career of the Britons.
After the very catchy "Out Of The Silent Planet", we (unfortunately) still have "The Thin Line Between Love And Hate", which is quite unspectacular and cannot keep up the high level of the songs before.
Alrighty, they don't reach a classic like "Number Of The Beast" (yet), but still "Brave New World" is a more than strong sign of life, which raises the hopes for the next album already, but before that let's let the triple-axe-attack blow our ears!