Bruce Dickinson - Accident of Birth
CMC Records
Heavy Metal
13 songs (57:51)
Release year: 1997
Bruce Dickinson
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Although it’s not quite his best solo album (The Chemical Wedding, my heart is thine) 1997’s Accident Of Birth nonetheless stands as a shining example of how much Iron Maiden simply sucked without Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith. Whilst their former band were sweating out crap like The X Factor and Virtual XI, Bruce and Adrian cranked it up and released this little beauty – an album full of killer tunes that manages to experiment without losing the listener. They’re joined here by Roy Z, Eddie Casillas and Dave Ingraham from Tribe Of Gypsies (a very underrated Latin rock group who more than deserve your ears in their own right) and the band clearly had a real meeting of minds and hearts, because Accident Of Birth is terrific. Right from the start with rambunctious opener Freak, you know you’re listening to sterling Bruce Dickinson, heavy, anthemic, and incredibly catchy, a great bit of soloing the icing on the cake. Unusually, there follows Toltec 7 Arrival, a forty-second interlude that I can only assume was originally meant to be an intro – it certainly gives the album character, though, and the stomp of Starchildren follows it well.

This is one of those great albums that you’ll struggle to find fault with. It doesn’t have killer and filler, it has great songs and fantastic songs. Taking The Queen is a good example of the former, an atmospheric ballad that launches into metal grandeur, Bruce’s vocals having a real bite to them in the heavier parts and a real tenderness in the softer parts. Yet as good as it is, it’s not the best ballad on the album – that honour must go to the wonderful Man Of Sorrows, which has a real near-cinematic epic feel to it, Bruce letting the restraints go and really proving why he’s one of metal’s finest voices. Of course, it’s not all about the ballads, and there are plenty of heavier reasons for metalheads to love this album, not least the fantastic duo of Darkside Of Aquarius and Road To Hell, showing us the progressive and anthemic sides to the Bruce Dickinson sound respectively. The former is a real foretaste of what was to come on The Chemical Wedding, dark and groovy metal that weaves its way around Bruce’s commanding voice, complete with a dip into atmospheric melancholy with references to the Silver Surfer, of all things. The latter, meanwhile, is an excellent Maiden-esque anthem complete with killer chorus and solo, the sort of song the band used to be capable of filling albums with without a second thought, but sadly all too rare at the time.

It’s a pity that Iron Maiden were so shit around this time, really, as it means that songs as good as the title track (complete with inserted industrial-esque clanging in one of the few times it’s been done successfully) aren’t given the thorough attention that they deserve. Even the flow of the album is terrific, the seamless joining between that and the following groove of The Magician just perfect. And by the time you’ve got to Omega with its initial gloomy heaviness breaking out into flamboyantly colourful lead guitars, and Arc Of Space’s rather fantastic acoustic splendour, you can die happy. I’m not even going to recommend the double-disc remastered version especially, despite the presence of bonus track The Ghost Of Cain, as the original songs are more than good enough on their own. This is a highlight of 90s heavy metal, and almost deserving of classic status – almost. Were it not for the even better Chemical Wedding, Accident Of Birth would be remembered more fondly, but its younger brother pipped it to the post. Don’t let that stop you from enjoying a damn good album, though.

Killing Songs :
Freak, Taking The Queen, Darkside Of Aquarius, Road To Hell, Man Of Sorrows, Accident Of Birth, Omega, Arc Of Space
Goat quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Bruce Dickinson that we have reviewed:
Bruce Dickinson - Balls To Picasso reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 100
Bruce Dickinson - Skunkworks reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Bruce Dickinson - Tattooed Millionaire reviewed by Ben and quoted 69 / 100
Bruce Dickinson - Anthology (3 DVDs) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Bruce Dickinson - Tyranny Of Souls reviewed by Marty and quoted 88 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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