Di'Anno; Paul: The Beast Arises
Heavy Metal has many legendary bands and landmark releases and it's impossible to question that the self titled debut album from Iron Maiden finds a band and record which can rightly be lauded as both. Maiden spearheaded the NWOBHM movement, but their sound back in the early days had a punk edge and much of that fiery energy can be credited to then vocalist Paul Di'Anno. One album later, Killers, and Di'Anno was on his way out of the band and on to a gentle slide towards the relative obscurity of tribute albums and retro compilations. However in his defence, the energetic frontman's post Maiden bands, Battlezone, Di'Anno and Killers were much better than many give credit. So that this latest release from the battle-hardened but much derided frontman features only four (and one of them is a Ramones cover) non-Iron Maiden tracks is a disappointment. However that let down is the first of many.
Nobody likes to kick a true legend of a genre they love but in the cold light of day, this live in Poland DVD, The Beast Arises, is pretty terrible. Yes, the direction is slick, cool shots of the band and (mainly) the singer all smoothly edited and the sound is also consistently sharp. However, talented though they are, crammed onto a tiny stage, the four Polish lads hammering out the Murray/Smith/Stratton/Harris/Burr/Di'Anno classics are a faceless bunch with little stage charisma or presence. This leaves Di'Anno to take control of the room, and he does. However that's not always a good thing, a strange warbling tone and lack of interest, or ability, to make the words of the songs clear, leaving verses as one long verbalisation and the high notes a case of scream until you like it, or not. Add in the frontman's inability to cover the stage due to a knee problem and a collection of stage raps which are bizarre at best and offensive at worst and there's little to entice even the hardest of hardcore to invest time or money here.
The three "solo" tracks included are Battlezone's "Children Of Madness" and Killers "Marshall Lockjaw" and the song that gave this DVD its name. All three, while not the legendary classics Maiden produced, sit well in the set and the band do them proud. In fairness, in terms of musical ability, they also hammer out faithful versions of "Remember Tomorrow", "Murders In A Rue Morgue", Running Free" and, possibly the best performance of the lot, "Prowler". However, other than the odd high note, it is the vocalist himself who lets the side down and fails to give the songs the life, or power they crave.
Extras come in the shape of an uncomfortable interview with Di'Anno, where nobody thought it might be a good idea to maybe discuss the questions beforehand and a photo gallery merely featuring stills from the show. Add in a set of "desktop images" and a comprehensive discography which highlights the stark peaks and troughs of Di'Anno's career and there's not much here you'll visit more than once. Unfortunately that also stands true for the 17 song set that makes up the main body of this DVD. Hopefully a mooted Killers album gets things back on track, for The Beast Arises feels more like this beast being put to bed…
5. Marshall Lockjaw
6. Murders In The Rue Morgue
7. The Beast Arises
8. Children Of Madness
9. Genghis Kahn
10. Remember Tomorrow
11. Charlotte The Harlot
13. Phantom Of The Opera
14. Running Free
16. Iron Maiden
17. Blitzkrieg Bop
* Interview With Paul Di'Anno
* Photo Gallery
* Desktop Images
Added: March 1st 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Paul Di'Anno online
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