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Iron Maiden: The Essential Iron Maiden
While I felt a certain amount of hesitation at the aspect of yet another Iron Maiden Greatest Hits package (as we have recently seen Edward The Great, Best Of The Beast and Ed Hunter); not too mention the various and numerable live releases (which are almost "Best Of's as well). This release had some nice moments to it. It has a large amount of the tracks you would expect to find on a hits piece and with Iron Maiden holding about 14 studio albums and at least a half dozen live releases it is somewhat difficult to decide on what material to include and what to leave out. While the selection impressed me, I was disappointed that "Prisoner", or "Where Eagles Dare" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name" were left off. Clearly they are more acclaimed as far as Maiden tracks go.
They did add three live versions of songs which I really don't like on a hits retrospective. Instead of this, I prefer a cleaner and better produced version of the original album track. It is this that the diehard fan is clamoring for more than another live version. Leave those to the live CD's or even better a live retrospective. Despite my reservations on this the 2 CD set makes sure to include an unreleased version of the song "Iron Maiden", so in that it is acceptable. Of the 27 tunes there is a fair amount of new material which I always find annoying but I guess I am too much the purist and long for the older, more revered material. Last year Iron Maiden released a killer DVD from their first 4 albums of existence ("The Early Days Pt 1"). Knowing this was an excellent piece I felt that the band would attempt to capitalize on it a little more even though some of it was sung by Paul DiAnno. The CD does feature all the lineups of the group so historians will be impressed with that notion. It also comes with a booklet accompanied by some words by band associate Lonn Friend.
Even as you listen to some of the newer material that is on the CD there is no question that Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Nicko McBrain and Janick Gers don't take you by the throat with the delivery of metal even after 25 years. So I guess it boils down to the question of "Is this CD set worth picking up?", well the answer is yes even though I personally feel that Maiden releases too many hits and live pieces. There are some that don't mind this at all, and will fill their shelves with anything they can. Iron Maiden has been one of mine and millions of other ravenous Metal fans favorites for many years. They are never disappointing in concert and always are striving to place either new or old material on the shelves for all ages of fans. "The Iron Maiden is going to get You!!!", so watch out
3. Wicker Man, The
4. Brave New World
6. Clansman, The
7. Sign Of The Cross
8. Man On The Edge
9. Be Quick Or Be Dead
10. Fear Of The Dark - (live)
11. Holy Smoke
12. Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter
13. Clairvoyant, The
1. Evil That Men Do, The
2. Wasted Years
3. Heaven Can Wait
4. 2 Minutes To Midnight
5. Aces High
6. Flight Of The Icarus
7. Trooper, The
8. Number Of The Beast, The
9. Run To The Hills
12. Phantom Of The Opera
13. Running Free - (live)
14. Iron Maiden - (previously unreleased)
Added: August 22nd 2005
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Iron Maiden Website
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|Iron Maiden: The Essential Iron Maiden
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-08-22 19:54:51
If you're a dedicated Iron Maiden metal-head you could probably compile this double-album from your own CD collection but you'd probably appreciate having it anyway. If you're a casual Iron Maiden fan, or a newcomer, then this is indeed the essential Iron Maiden.
It is a compilation of 27 songs over two and a half hours spread across 2 CDs, and includes of some of the best music Iron Maiden has produced in their 25-year history. And what a quarter century it's been. Remember, these guys practically defined the NWOBHM, and this CD will show you why. There's a lot of ground-breaking, genre-defining metal here with tracks that span the old through the new, the straightforward old music to the more complex newer work, it's always heavy and it's all classic stuff.
Every studio album and lineup is represented with at least 2 songs, starting with the most recent albums and working back in time. It opens with "Paschendale", one of the best tracks from the recent Dance Of Death CD, and works its way back through a timeline of latter-day metal to through "Brave New World", all the way back to "The Number Of the Beast" and the all-time classic Paul Di'Anno-era "Killer".
Iron Maiden has always been a cut above your garden-variety heavy metal, and they've been getting downright progressive in their last 2 CDs. You won't find the levels of complexity of a modern-day prog-metal outfit, but each song on this compilation has a purpose, and goes somewhere. "Fear Of the Dark (Live)" is an awesome piece. Listen for the huge audience singing along, especially the anthemic chorus. It will send chills up your spine. There's plenty of great guitar work such as the solos on "The Clairvoyant" and "Killers", and listen for the dual-guitar/bass interplay on "Phantom Of The Opera". Listen to that song again and again and you'll quickly appreciate the quality of the old-school metal these guys produce. Some of the song choices are obvious, while others may leave you wondering. There were better tracks than "Rainmaker" and "Bring Your Daughter...To The Slaughter". And remember Maiden is Paul Harris's band so the bass always plays a key roll in this music' So go and get that sub-woofer serviced 'cause it's in for a workout!
There aren't many of us Maiden fans or reviewers who prefer the two newer studio albums over the older work but try using this album to shuffle the tracks and juxtapose the old and the new, or the Bruce Dickenson, the Blaze Bayley and the Paul DiAnno; and you'll be equipped to decide for yourself. Here's a hint: Welcome back, Bruce - you're sounding better than ever!
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