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Maiden uniteD: Empire of the Clouds

I am still getting to the occasional album from 2018. This latest one is the band/project Maiden uniteD and their double EP titled Empire of the Clouds. The project’s beginnings date back to 2006 when bassist Joey Bruers performed an acoustic set of Maiden tunes at the request of the Dutch Iron Maiden fan club. It was such a success that it became the Maiden uniteD project and the subsequent release of three albums; Mind The Acoustic Pieces (2010), Across The Seventh Sea (2012) and Remembrance (2015). The project is a little like Ayreon in that it includes many guest musicians and vocalists. Some notables from past albums include Damian Wilson, Anneke van Giersbergen, Marcela Bovia, Blaze Bayley, Ralf Scheepers, Ruud Jolie and Luke Appleton to name just a few. This EP contains studio and live versions of the multi part title track, originally written by Iron Maiden.

The first disc is the studio version of the title track in four parts. The concept involves the ill-fated flight of the British airship R101 to India in 1930. “Part I” begins with a narration by Edward Reekers followed by moody keyboards, acoustic guitar, piano and cello. It’s really quite a beautiful track, very melancholic and melodic. In “Part II” the serene melancholia and mournful sound gets a little more intense as the band picks up the pace. The lead and backing vocals are sung with passion, conviction and feeling. Fabulous bass lines highlight the sweepingly majestic “Part III” as the rhythms become a little trickier and the band gets into a solid groove. This one has another killer vocal arrangement. “Part IV” continues in a similar vein, very heartfelt with great vocals and classy playing all around. The symphonic crescendo is a highlight.

The second disc consists of “Parts II, III and IV” and translates well to a live setting although it doesn’t stray too far from the studio recording. A beautiful acoustic rendition of Maiden’s “Killers” is included as a bonus track. Everything is exquisitely played and the vocals are indeed excellent. Lovely stuff indeed.

Released on the Yazmine Park label.

Track Listing:
CD 1 (Studio Version)
1. Empire of the Clouds (Part I) (6:00)
2. Empire of the Clouds (Part II) (8:07)
3. Empire of the Clouds (Part III) (5:16)
4. Empire of the Clouds (Part IV) (4:10)

CD 2 (Live Version)
5. Empire of the Clouds (Part II) (7:50)
6. Empire of the Clouds (Part III) (5:39)
7. Empire of the Clouds (Part IV) (4:37)
Bonus Track
8. Killers (4:27)

Added: November 11th 2019
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 873
Language: english

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