I noticed the other day that Iron Maiden have a new album out, and I'm trying to decide whether to buy it sight unseen.
They're a long-time favorite, but, to be honest, they haven't been great since Seventh Son of a Seventh Son and I was in high school when that came out.
No Prayer for the Dying: OK, but pretty forgettable really
Fear of the Dark: Pretty good
The X Factor: Didn't like it much at first, but it grew on me over time. Probably the closest they've got to their old quality. It only loses out because Bruce Dickinson quit, and the singer on this album and the next just doesn't stand out.
Virtual XI: I barely remember this one, but what I do remember says "pain".
Brave New World: Dickinson returns, but the album's very patchy.
Dance of Death: Not patchy at all. Pretty consistently weak. I bought this one blind, and really regretted it. I've had no urge to listen to it again.
I suppose that the smart thing to do is to see if it's on iTunes, and listen to some samples, but that's a nuisance.
If it weren't for Brave New World, this'd be easy. There was enough on there to make me think they could get back to at least Fear of the Dark-level quality, even if they're not up to making Powerslave or Piece of Mind any more.