After their rather weak album "No Prayer For The Dying" the MAIDEN fan community waited tensely for the new record of the band. It was ready in 1992. "Fear Of The Dark" had been released. Would it be another disappointment or do the Metal legend grow stronger? Personally, I tend towards the last statement, in spite of some exceptions.
The disc starts off furiously with the first single "Be Quick Or Be Dead". One recognizes suddenly that the old MAIDEN spirit is up again. Those fast number, which is sang very aggressively by Bruce Dickinson, is the perfect opener. Driving and with the old feeling for cool melodies, the guys can gain some plus points. Also another thing has changed listenable! The sound is pretty much better again than on "No Prayer...". Thank God!
It goes on with the cool Rocker "From Here To Eternity" and the superb half-ballad "Afraid To Shoot Strangers", with that MAIDEN can convince again. Especially "Afraid..." offers again a lot of diversification and freshness, which misses on "No Prayer...". Moreover, there is now an element, which you can't hear ever before, that is a slight darkness. Also the following "Fear Is The Key" and "Childhood's End" are very mystically for MAIDEN. But the typical trademarks aren't missing. Both songs are well-written, though a little bit weaker than the first three songs.
"Wasting Love" is another half-ballad, which is a pretty good song, but can't reach the quality of "Afraid...". Also the beautiful Murray/Gers guitar parts in the middle can't change this fact. But with the following "The Fugitive", all thumbs up. This number rocks and can convince mainly with the former mentioned great guitarworking. Maybe an IRON MAIDEN song, which never got the attention, it actually deserves.
"Chains Of Misery", "The Apparition" and "Judas Be My Guide" then are legitimately ignored. Here appears those "No Prayer..." problem again. The songs are not bad at all but something's missing. Not more than averagely. But the last two songs pretty kill again. Maybe, some won't think this about the track "Weekend Warrior", but I think this song is cool. The riff, the melody, the lyrics. Those track just rocks. Unfortunately another song, which is very overlooked today. Too bad folks, wake up!
But everybody will agree with me, that the final song "Fear Of The Dark" is one of that really great band hymns. I think everybody knows this song, so I don't have to say something more, or not?
IRON MAIDEN got with "Fear Of The Dark" back to the top. Although it contains some weaker tracks, the record is altogether a big step into the right direction. Ultimately a good sound again, great guitar duels and a convincing Bruce Dickinson. For me, only with "Brave New World" MAIDEN did a better album after this one. That's enough, and up the Irons!
Tips:: "Be Quick Or Be Dead", "From Here To Eternity", "Afraid To Shoot Strangers"… (Online February 13, 2003)