Great Metal Albums of 1986: Iron Maiden: Somewhere in Time

After Judas Priest’s use of guitar synthesizers on their “Turbo” album, many people in the metal world were waiting with great anxiety on the release of Iron Maiden’s “Somewhere in Time” album because the rumours were flying that Maiden were also using guitar synthesizers on their new album, me included. Like so many metalheads at the time, I thought synthesizers were for pop bands and true metal bands didn’t use them. However, when all the anxiety was over and I finally got to listen to the album, I found that the use of guitar synthesizers didn’t turn Iron Maiden into Duran Duran and actually, “Somewhere in Time” is still a cool album.

Taking a step I didn’t normally take back then, I bought the twelve inch single, “Wasted Years.” Normally, I went straight for the album but I guess the guitar synth rumours made me a little nervous. After a listen or two, I found that the synths suited the song very well and that there was nothing to worry about. Iron Maiden remained true to the sound which made them a sensation. Long story short, I loved the song. One piece of 80smetalman history: the “Wasted Years” twelve inch was the first record I bought when I got to England.

If there was any question to whether Iron Maiden rocks out on the album, then have a listen to the track, “Sea of Madness.” The tracks opens with typical Iron Maiden guitar riffs from Smith and Murray before catapulting into a power tune. Bruce’s vocals are as clear as ever, Steve’s bass line is what you expect from the man as is Nicko’s drumming, plus there is a cool guitar solo. Everything’s there on “Sea of Madness” but it still doesn’t get my vote for hidden gem!

My vote for hidden gem on the album could be controversial. “Heaven Can Wait” wasn’t released as a single but it was played live on the next few Maiden tours after this one. The other point is the fact that it is definitely up there in my top ten or possibly top five of all time 80smetalman favourite Iron Maiden songs. Therefore, it could be argued that the gem isn’t exactly hidden. Nevertheless, this song just totally kicks ass and it’s a case of taking all the good things I said about “Sea of Madness” and multiplying them two or three times more for “Heaven Can Wait.”

Another track which might qualify is “Deja Vu.” Back in 86, it didn’t really make itself known unto me but listening to the album recently, it has caught my notice and it is a better track than what I used to remember. Of course, the other tracks are just as cool, having been a long distance or semi long distance runner in high school, (I ran the 800 metres), I can identify with “The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner.” While the lyrics ring true with me, Iron Maiden are one of the few bands who can capture it so well in the music.

Steve Harris stated that “Somewhere in Time” was never meant to be a concept album but it just happened that most of the songs on it were to do with time, interesting thought. However, Mr. Harris also keeps to his love of putting history to music with the closing track, “Alexander the Great.” I know if I was ever to have the opportunity to teach children about Alexander, then I would use the song to motivate the pupils.

Track Listing:

  1. Caught Somewhere in Time
  2. Wasted Years
  3. Sea of Madness
  4. Heaven Can Wait
  5. The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner
  6. Stranger in a Strange Land
  7. Deja- Vu
  8. Alexander the Great
Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson- lead vocals

Steve Harris- bass

Adrian Smith- guitar, backing vocals

Dave Murray- guitar

Nicko McBrain- drums

Guitar synthesizers or not, Iron Maiden put out another great album in 1986 with “Somewhere in Time.” I don’t think the band intended it but the release of the album almost coincided with my arrival in England. It’s not a bad album to arrive in another country to because after listening to it, I didn’t feel like (bad pun alert) a stranger in a strange land.

Next post: Tygers of Pan Tang- First Kill

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

14 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: Iron Maiden: Somewhere in Time”

  1. Great writeup and over time(ahem) I would consider one of there best in the 80s. The synth sound never bothered me as I bought the album right away.
    I did however finally get around to getting a copy of Wasted Years on 45 rpm with Reach Out on the flip side last year 33 years after its initial release! lol

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I like this a lot more now than i did back then. I still think it has a few clunky songs on it but I forgive everythign for ‘Wasted Years’ and ‘Loneliness …’

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I need to hear this one sometime – I remember people finding Alexander the Great pretty educational.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Great stuff. Always god to see the Maiden reviews.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wasted Years is so good. I’ve always felt this was one of their best albums.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Excellent piece, sir! They played Wasted Years as the set-closer when we saw them in Toronto in ’16. OH MAN. I went through this record on the kma at some point, it’s an awesome offering of music from one of THE bands. \m/ \m/

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: