Bruce Dickinson

Picture of Bruce Dickinson

Tattooed Millionaire

Bruce Dickinson - Tattooed Millionaire ©1990 EMI
1. Son of a Gun
2. Tattooed Millionaire
3. Born in 58
4. Hell on Wheels
5. Gypsy Road
6. Dive! Dive! Dive!
7. All the Young Dudes
8. Lickin' the Gun
9. Zulu Lulu
10. No Lies

After Iron Maiden decided to take a year off following the Seventh Son touring obligations, the band experienced some upheaval as guitarist Adrian Smith left to form his own project (the maddeningly mediocre A.S.A.P.) and Bruce Dickinson decided to release a solo record. At the time, it appeared that Tattooed Millionaire would be a one-off sort of thing, but as we all know, ultimately Dickinson left Iron Maiden in 1993 to focus entirely his solo efforts. And while Iron Maiden floundered and released some of their worst material after Dickinson's departure, Bruce would establish himself with some quite good solo albums during the 90s.

However, Tattoed Millionaire is not among those records.

Dickinson's first solo record, which featured eventual Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers (the official whipping boy for all of Iron Maiden's trouble from 1990), is a rather drab affair that finds Dickinson moving away from the Iron Maiden sound to a rather standard hard rock approach. This development shouldn't have been entirely surprising. However, the distinct lack of good songwriting was certainly a problem. While Tattooed Millionaire hardly dwells in the disposable glam metal realm, it fails to come anywhere close to the better hard rocking outfits of the era. In fact, much of this album is simply forgettable and some of it is just awful ("Lickin' the Gun" does have more cowbell, but is pretty tedious). Gers lacks the fiery skills necessary to hold his own as a hard rocker guitarist.

The only real positive aspect of this record that comes to mind is that the original 1990 edition did not include the atrocious "Bring Your Daughter to The Slaughter", which is the tune that apparently got Dickinson thinking of a solo record in the first place. But that alone does make not this album worthy of a positive recommendation.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2009

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Accident Of Birth

Bruce Dickinson - Accident Of Birth ©1997 CMC International
1. Freak
2. Toltec 7 Arrival
3. Starchildren
4. Taking The Queen
5. Darkside Of Aquarius
6. Road To Hell
7. Man Of Sorrows
8. Accident Of Birth
9. The Magician
10. Welcome To The Pit
11. The Ghost Of Cain
12. Omega
13. Arc Of Space

Bruce Dickinson left Iron Maiden in the early 90s a tired, disgruntled man with a fair amount of damage to his vocal system caused by either extensive touring or extensive boredom. It is a real shame that such a solid, genre-defining vocalist jumped ship after the lackluster Fear of the Dark, which itself had followed the appalling No Prayer for the Dying, rather than before. Clearly, time away from the aging Maiden lads was exactly what the man needed.

His fourth solo studio album, Accident of Birth, is a return to the musical style Dickinson favored in Iron Maiden, complete with artwork by Derek Riggs, and is rather different from his first three. Together with fellow Maiden escapee Adrian Smith and a team of young guns (who sound remarkably like Iron Maiden did fifteen years ago, with a somewhat more proficient guitar player, Roy Z), Dickinson has put together a collection of very good songs, varying from hard-hitting metal anthems ("Starchildren" and the obvious hit "Road to Hell", which recalls early 1990s Helloween and successfully avoids being as annoying as it might have been if Maiden had had their way with it) to emotional and convincing ballads ("Man of Sorrows") with discreet strings and keyboards. Only one song is truly annoying Maiden fare ("The Magician"). But this album's most impressive characteristic is the quality of Bruce's voice. He has never sounded as good: his vibrato has calmed down, his range has returned, and he has finally integrated nuance in his singing.

This is the album Maiden should have put out after Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and which so evidently announced the impending Dickinson-Smith-Maiden reunion to the world. The real shame now is that that reunion has been consummated, resulting in a sad Maiden effort (Brave New World) several notches below Dickinson's recent solo output. I find myself listening to Accident of Birth (and its followup The Chemical Wedding) rather frequently, while I completely lost interest in (and respect for) Iron Maiden after Seventh Son... - let's hope they break up again so that Dickinson is free to deliver what he is clearly capable of.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 09/2000

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The Chemical Wedding

Bruce Dickinson - The Chemical Wedding ©1998 CMC International
1. King In Crimson
2. Chemical Wedding
3. The Tower
4. Killing Floor
5. Book Of Thel
6. Gates Of Urizen
7. Jerusalem
8. Trumpets Of Jericho
9. Machine Men
10. The Alchemist

Bruce Dickinson's last solo record before Iron Maiden's reunion and its paltry offspring (Brave New World) is much the same as Accident of Birth, which is not surprising considering that it features the same lineup and was released barely a year after that album.

Young Roy Z and veteran Adrian Smith seem to enjoy playing together and the band is tight. The production is a mite flat, but is unlikely to sound dated too soon. The guitars are detuned for much of the album, but recorded with a very classic metal sound, which makes this contemporary touch less of a cause for "sellout" clamors. The songs are strong ("Chemical Wedding"), some very Maiden-like ("The Tower"), some almost sailor/folksy ("Jerusalem"), with lyrics characteristically inspired by literature and classical myths.

This album as a whole is slightly less exciting and consistent than its predecessor, maybe because Dickinson was already adjusting to the Maiden blokes' ailing songwriting and slowly allowing bilge to creep into his system in preparation for the reunion album. Here's a suggestion - how about trading in Maiden's last eight albums for Dickinson's last two at the local record store? A much better deal.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 09/2000

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