Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
 

Bruce Dickinson

Skunkworks

Review by Gary Hill

I love how most of these Bruce Dickinson solo reissues include a full CD of bonus material. I’d have to also say that this might be my favorite of Dickinson’s solo releases. So, put those two together and you just can’t beat it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Space Race
The opening of this with melodic chords makes me think of something between Hawkwind and Rush. As Dickinson's vocals join the comparisons to Iron Maiden are obvious. The song structure itself and musical changes, though, really do feel a lot like Rush to me. It does get a bit more metallic for the guitar solo section. Still, it leans more toward hard rock than heavy metal. It's a great tune and a great opener.
Back from the Edge

Another frantic cut, this just plain rocks. The percussion on this reminds me of “Almost Like Love” from Yes. Musically this is again fairly close to Rush, but a more modern Rush sound merged with more pure metal.

Inertia

I love this song. It starts with a ballad-like section, but powers out into some nearly pure progressive rock. It’s a dynamic and powerful piece and definitely a highlight of the set.

Faith

This powerhouse is more pure metal than the last couple numbers. It’s a great tune and at times reminds me of Queensryche.

Solar Confinement

More of a typical metal song – the pop rock variety – this is good, but not at the level of the first four cuts.

Dreamstate

I’m not crazy about this one. The music is good, but Dickinson’s vocal performance seems intentionally understated.

I Will Not Accept the Truth

The intro to this very much reminds me of the music on Rush’s latest album. This is another that has a lot of variety built into it. It’s also another highlight of the set.

Inside the Machine

More straight forward, this is nonetheless a killer track. It might lack some of the diversity of other pieces here, but it’s energized and rocks out very well.

Headswitch

This isn’t great. It’s got a modern alternative rock texture and reminds me of Stone Temple Pilots.

Meltdown

Another with a bit more of a modern element to it, this is more in the metal zone. It’s also stronger than the previous piece.

Octavia

With an almost Beatles pop feeling to some of this, it reminds me quite a bit of King’s X. It’s another good tune and another that brings variety to the table.

Innerspace

I like this one a lot. It alternates between hard rocking and mellower modes. It’s got some great lyrics, too. “Whatever demons torture me, I love them like a friend / Nothing lasts forever but the certainty of change.”

Strange Death in Paradise

This is another strong cut, even though it isn’t all the different from much of the music around it.

I'm in a Band with an Italian Drummer
With lyrics that seem tongue in cheek – come on, didn’t the title give it away? – this has a definite Spinal Tap feel to it. And I mean that in a good way. There’s also some definite Frank Zappa in this. There’s an extended spoken section in Italian.
Rescue Day

Here’s a metallic grind that’s tasty, but not overly special. There is a cool slide guitar solo, though.

God's Not Coming Back

We get a raw powerhouse that’s quite punk in nature here. It’s also very strong.

Armchair Hero

A little more modern in texture this is a great tune. There’s a cool riff that comes after the chorus.

R 101

An acoustic based rocker, this reminds a lot of some of the similar numbers Led Zeppelin used to do.

Re-entry

This starts in a similar fashion to the last number, but gets more rocking as it carries on. I still hear a lot of Led Zeppelin on this, but also Uriah Heep. This is actually one of my favorites on the set. It has a great classic rock feeling to it.

Americans Are Behind

Here is a smoking track that’s tongue in cheek in terms of the whole spoken “oh so British” vocal line. The music is closer to something from The Red Hot Chili Peppers and we get some great funky bass.

Inertia (Live)

The first of four live cuts on the disc, I’d have to say that musically I like the studio version better, but Dickinson’s vocal performance here really ups the ante.

Faith (Live)

While I liked the live version of the last cut, this one just plain screams. The music and the vocals both purely shine here – and the Queensryche comparisons are more appropriate than they were on the studio rendition.

Innerspace (Live)

This one works pretty well live, but I think it would have been better had Dickinson’s voice been a bit higher in the mix.

The Prisoner (Live)
Here they tackle an Iron Maiden track. The vocal performance is good, but somehow this rendition is a bit too stripped of Maidenisms. It just doesn’t feel all that special.
 
Return to the
Bruce Dickinson Artist Page
Artists Directory
 
Google

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2019 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./Beetcafe.com