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Bruce Dickinson – The Mandrake Project

Published:

Last Updated on 11:18 by Giorgos Tsekas

Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: England
Label:BMG
Year: 2024

20 years ago Tyranny of Souls was (for me) another perfect solo album coming from Dickinson standing equal side by side with Accident of Birth and The Chemical Wedding, and now all the aficionados of Iron Maiden and more sees him collaborating once again with producer/bassist Roy “Z” Ramirez, along with drummer Dave Moreno, and keyboardist Mistheria creating The Mandrake Project his the seventh studio album and probably his most vigorous and determined work  in his 40 years course in music business.

The opener Afterglow of Ragnarok seems longer than it should be but it is fine after several hearings as it is a part of a whole and it works perfectly in order to get you in the mood of album’s atmosphere and concept. It has a unique mystery, it sounds heavy with great chugging riff and excellent chorus. A majestic moment.

Many Doors to Hell is another song that oozes Dickinson’s past and heroes. Bruce often a takes a conscious dive into Purple and his own previous works so this tune can bring memories from Brave New World and Tyranny of Souls albums with a hard rock hint as he delivered in his marvelous debut Tattooed Millionaire 34 years ago…

Rain on the Graves is a 100% signature composition of Roy Z and it could fit in any previous albums from Mr. Air Raid Siren. Dark and beautiful soaring chorus in a different path from the staccato couple.The song was inspired by Iron Maiden frontman’s visit to Romantic poet William Wordsworth’s grave in the Lake District.

Resurrection Men is a masterpiece. It’s like mid 70’s Sabbath riffs dressed with Dickinson’s voice mixed in a western philosophy as Ennio Morricone tried to write a Maiden song or something. A valiant and worth exploring indeed.

Finger in the Wounds unveils a Rainbow/Zeppelin love Bruce has and it is one of the nicest songs in this album and a great lead to

Eternity Has Failed which is an answer? to Maiden and the opener of The Book of Souls and a fresh look on it. More flute, more keyboards, more solos (and Gus G as a guest), more chanting chorus in the end and finally the coolest solo of the album. Goosebumps!

Mistress of Mercy will remind you some beautiful moments from Accident of Birth while it seems so easy for Dickinson to write such songs but we don’t care at all as it is a great and full entertaining hymn.

Face in the Mirror continues this Accident of Birth approaching, but now in slower tempo and creating a sweet ballad that only Bruce can make.

Shadow of the Gods has Dickinson’s beat performance for years as we have a long to hear him singing like this. Theatrical and deeply emotional act from the singer while the guitars and riffs match like a combination of Chemical Wedding and Tyranny of Souls. An anthem full of drama and melodies. Outstanding.

And the epic finale is the sweet Sonata (Immortal Beloved). It’s the second-most Maiden-like moment on the album behind Eternity Has Failed, is a ten minute long slow tempo composition with a trippy mood and some lyrics that try to connect some pieces of Dickinson’s career in a psychedelic weird song that shows the confidence and the skills of the magician on narrative storytelling and wide-open music territory.

The Mandrake Project is almost perfect unveiling an ambitious artist in great shape and inspiration. As a project is likely one of the bravest moves that Dickinson ever done, since it includes not only the album but also a comic series. A project that he is in progress for almost a decade and it finally came to life in a triumphant way.

Conceptually, Bruce informed us that it centers on “a guy who is looking for his identity, Dr. Necropolis. He’s an orphan, he’s a genius, and he hates it, and he hates life, but he’s involved in [nefarious scientific venture] The Mandrake Project.” The best is yet to come from this man believe me…

Giorgos Tsekas
Giorgos Tsekas
"Κάποτε Όταν Θα ‘χουμε Καιρό... Θα Σκεφτούμε Πάνω Στις Ιδέες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Στοχαστών, Θα Θαυμάσουμε Τους Πίνακες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Ζωγράφων, Θα Γελάσουμε Με Όλους Τους Χωρατατζήδες, Θα Φλερτάρουμε Όλες Τις Γυναίκες, Θα Διδάξουμε Όλους Τους Ανθρώπους" Μπ. Μπρεχτ

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