Dear all, I have decided to try my hand at the tier list of one of my singers in life... not being very familiar with videos, however, I decided to make it written, trying to buffer my verbosity as much as possible and at the same time provide a fair and faithful portrait of Bruce Dickinson's solo studio output... 

Keeping to the tier list philosophy I will place each album in a category, MASTERPIECE, EXCELLENT, GOOD, SUFFICIENT, MEDIOCRE and BAD. 

And so: 

Bruce's solo debut took place when he was still part of Iron Maiden (although in the less memorable period with him on vocals) and what's more, he introduced Janick Gers on guitar. The album explicitly refers to AC/DC and Aerosmith (ripped to the point of plagiarism in "Lickin the Gun" and the single "Dive Dive Dive") with ordinary but convincing arena hard rock, and with some outstanding songs, like the unusual opener "Son of a Gun", the fun title track or the autobiographical "Born in 58". The cover of "All the young dudes" and the final "No Lies" are surprising, which closely recall the more famous "Bring your the Slaughter", also written by Bruce for the soundtrack of "Nightmare 5 " and which should have ended up on a hypothetical second album if Steva Harris hadn't strongly wanted it for Maiden (the original version can be heard on the reissue of "Tattooed Millionaire" and in Bruce Dickinson's best of). All in all, an ordinary album, with several fun and pleasant moments, but that name on the cover weighs too much and I can't give it more than GOOD.

For his first album outside Maiden Bruce and accompanied on guitar by Roy Z (who will also return in our best works) and by members of his band "Tribe of Gypsies".... Beyond the cover, very urban- Style, we are faced with a rather uneven work starting from the stylistic proposal. Bruce tries in every way to emancipate himself from the wording "Ex-singer of Iron Maiden" (not exactly a stain on the CV) and throws himself into different pieces a bit randomly, almost too much so. If the first "Cyclops", "Hell No" and "Gods of War" are closer to a more modern form of metal, the splendid ballad "Change of Heart" betrays almost jazz influences... the bad "Laughing in the hiding bush", which features his son Austin in the credits, the almost irritating single "Shoot all the clowns" and the rap (???) of "Spaced Cowboys"... and then the stroke of genius at the end, the monumental " Tears of the Dragon", not only one of Bruce's best solo songs but among the most beautiful things I've ever heard. A fragmentary album, too weak in many parts and far too uneven... of course, "Tears of the Dragon" ultimately weighs a lot, but I can't go beyond SUFFICIENT, and so far these aren't exactly compliments. considering who we're talking about. 

The previous album does not go as hoped and Bruce tries the card of the new group, an idea similar to what David Bowie did with Tin Machine, thus Skunkworks and the album of the same name are born, in which the good Bruce appears for the first time with short hair. Ours decides to opt for simpler, more direct, sparse compositions, in a rock that many associate with grunge so much so that it finds little attraction among the metal public. Furthermore, what is certain is that he finds it difficult to recognize and accept such a mutation of the metal singer par excellence. This doesn't mean that I didn't like this album, and I liked it a lot: songs like "Space Race", "Back from the Edge" work in their modernity, as does the rocking "Inertia", up until the dark conclusion of "Strange Death in Paradise". In general, there are no subpar songs or tired moments and at least for me, aware of how divisive my evaluation can be, I consider this work EXCELLENT.

On his fourth album Bruce resigns himself to his destiny, being a metal singer! He calls back Roy Z and Maiden's old partner Adrian Smith, hires Derek Riggs for the cover - who creates a killer puppet called Edison who many will identify as Eddie's son - and brings out a sensational record! The cruel title track starts from an autobiographical fact - Bruce was in fact born in a failed abortion attempt - and is striking for the immediacy of its refrain, and not least "Road to hell", the splendid "Darkside Of Aquarius" or the ballad "Man of sorrows". The album is the most balanced released so far and in terms of structure, energy and quality of the songs it ranks comfortably as a MASTERPIECE.

Not only are things confirmed, but if possible this work is even more beautiful, successful and convincing. A concept album inspired by the works of William Blake, this work is striking for the perfection of every single piece: there really isn't a song out of place and the classics are plentiful, from the title track (unique!) to "Book of Thel", from "The Tower" to the merciless "Killing Floor" (but I could mention practically all of them), the Celtic ballad "Jerusalem" is curious and takes up Blake's poem of the same name in the verse, something already done (with obviously different music) in the past by Emerson Lake & Palmer for "Brain Salad Surgery".
I could talk for hours about this album, but I would only be wasting time if this isn't a MASTERPIECE, tell me?! And in the same year Maiden's "Virtual XI" was released... you make the comparison!

Quite a few years have passed, Bruce is now back permanently in the mother band, yet he feels the need to get back into the game and, after a failed project attempt with Halford and Geoff Tate (initially it seems Ronnie James Dio was supposed to be involved but the thing was wrecked - it is said - due to the too high fee requested by the latter's wife), his new solo work was born, again with Roy Z but without Adrian Smith. I remember well how much I consumed it and how much it remained firmly planted in my mind: once again ours limits the headshots, offering its direct, effective and elegant metal, with great melodic openings as in the dreamy "Navigate the Seas of the sun " and darker passages such as in the final title track or in the Sabbathian "Believil". Even here there are no low moments and although perhaps we cannot speak of a masterpiece, we are easily in an abundant EXCELLENT situation.

Having said that, while awaiting the imminent release of the new "Mandrake Project", I thank you for having had the patience to read my ravings to the end and I bid you farewell!
Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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