Somewhere In Time
Released September 29 1986
We’ve reached the 30th anniversary for Iron Maiden’s 6th studio recording and man I must say this one is a pure epic. This album directly follows the extremely successful Powerslave/Live After Death albums and subsequent world tour, so the band had to really dig deep to come up with something uniquely special to rival the previous two releases. Many fans were surprised to find the band employing synthesisers for the first time and it lead to the beginning of the progressive period in Maiden’s career.
You will find themes of space and time on this release, obviously marking a change in their sound with the use of the synthesisers to go along with the new musical direction. The most interesting aspect of this period really revolves around singer Bruce Dickenson’s mental state and feeling burnt out from the World Slavery tour. He proposed a number of more acoustic based songs, which bassist Steve Harris outright rejected. In doing so, this gave guitarist Adrian Smith the chance to truly shine and take centre stage in the writing department. Adrian wrote both singles “Wasted Years” and “Stranger in a Strange Land”, proving his worthiness in the Maiden camp.
It was also the most expensive album to record, as they chose locations in the Bahamas, The Netherlands and finally NY for the mixing portion of the album. The other unique fact about this release is the incredible cover design; featuring artwork from the one and only Derek Riggs. Most of Maiden’s previous album covers were depicted with Eddie in a simple scene, but what you got with Somewhere in Time was a wraparound cover featuring a cyborg infused Eddie. Presumably inspired from the film Blade Runner, the cover cleverly makes references to Iron Maiden albums and songs, so you get a cover filled with splendid imagery and perhaps the best album cover ever designed by Mr. Riggs.
As for the tracks on this release the standouts are: “Caught Somewhere in Time”, “Wasted Years”, “Sea of Madness”, “Heaven Can Wait” and “Stranger in a Strange Land”. I’m giving this album a perfect score of 10 out of 10 and I think most fans will agree this to be the most complete album of the band’s discography.