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Iron Maiden: Visions of the Beast (DVD)

Journey, if you dare, to a land where young British headbangers wear armbands and belts made of metal studs, leopard-print vests, black-and-white pinstripe pants and long greasy hair. Then kneel down and pray to the metal gods at the foot of an altar built upon the almighty power chord. After three hours staring at Iron Maiden's latest DVD, Visions of the Beast a comprehensive 31-clip video history of the band, run chronologically from 1980 to 2001 you'll think you've found metal's Holy Grail.

Most early clips are dominated by live or staged footage of the band playing, showcasing the Maiden's strongest points although, frankly, many of these clips start to look quite similar to each other after awhile. The ones that stand out are the ones that feature non-band footage, such as images of Adolph Hitler in "Aces High" and scenes from old monster films in "The Number of the Beast." Maybe it's just me, but I don't remember seeing many of these on MTV when I was younger, save "Run to the Hills." Of course, back then, videos that now seem tame and even cheesy could have been considered late-night-only viewing fare. Singer Bruce Dickinson's haircuts and bass player Steve Harris' outfits were certainly scary enough.

By the time the mid-Eighties rolled around, Maiden had graduated from cramped stages in small venues to elaborate sets at famous venues like Donington. With stage landscapes straight out of a fantasy land, Maiden performed some of the most over-the-top shows of the era, with band members managing to retain their toughness and old-school cred in an image-conscious scene dominated by pretty-boy bands. In the Nineties and beyond, Maiden moved on to concept videos, from the truly bizarre ("From Here to Eternity") to the overtly political ("Afraid to Shoot Strangers") to the compellingly dramatic ("The Wicker Man") to the disturbingly frightening ("Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter") to the downright annoying ("Virus"). Then there's Iron Maiden's attempt at a making a romantic video, as the power ballad "Wasting Love" comes complete with an amorous couple, a sick voyeur and a man dressed like the Pope.

The animation in the interactive menu is worth taking the extra time to watch and holds up to repeated viewings. And every song is introduced with its title superimposed over a different image of Eddie, Iron Maiden's mascot. Extras include fascinating never-before-seen Camp Chaos versions of some videos (will somebody please tell me what Camp Chaos is?), clips from Maiden's Rock in Rio DVD, a handful of videos mixed in 5.1 surround sound and a lame discography. But this collection is most effective at giving viewers a sense of just how lethal and relevant Iron Maiden proved to be. While watching Visions of the Beast, you can actually see, hear and damn near feel the band's influence on a gazillion other groups gushing out of your speakers.

Added: October 11th 2003
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Iron Maiden Web Site
Hits: 2794
Language: english

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Iron Maiden: Visions of the Beast (DVD)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-07-16 08:54:48
My Score:

When you look back on the body of work that Iron Maiden has issued over the course of their career it the results are very impressive. Holding strong at over 20 albums consisting of studio efforts, live releases and greatest hit compilations Iron Maiden has always held the banner of Heavy Metal high this something that all fans should own. The double DVD Edition features all of the videos from the very beginning of their career until the album "Brave New World". Fans get presentations by every singer in the group, which started out with Paul DiAnno, who was replaced by Bruce Dickinson. Dickinson has the most videos since his tenure was the longest and only briefly interrupted by his departure a few years ago. Blaze Bailey took on the mantle from there until Bruce decided to return to the group in 1999. Given their time of recording, many of the videos might seem sub-par based on their simplistic nature and overall campy nature. Songs like "Run To The Hills" especially come to mind as they include silent movie Cowboy vs. Indians footage as well as band concert imagery. Many of the videos also seem to be focused on Maiden being on stage doing lip-synching to the tracks. There are some cool animated menus to navigate around and for those that want a comprehensive example of the band historically in terms of videos then you must grab a copy of this release. Everyone has a favorite Iron Maiden song and I think that this release caters to the larger public in that respect. Some of these clips will take you back in time, especially if you grew up along with the band. My favorites remain with "Wasted Years", "Can I Play With Madness" and "Number Of The Beast".

Iron Maiden has also released a couple of other concert videos that merit looking into. The Fans might enjoy "Rock In Rio" (which is also on CD) and "The Early Years" which features unreleased footage that is a guaranteed satisfier. Make sure you look into them as well as this release to complete your Iron Maiden collection. Given the band shows no signs of stopping, I think we will see a volume two in the years to come.

Song Listing:

Women in Uniform
Run to the Hills
The Number of the Beast
Flight of Icarus
The Trooper
2 Minutes to Midnight
Aces High
Wasted Years
Stranger in a Strange Land
Can I Play With Madness
The Evil That Men Do
The Clair Voyant
Infinite Dreams
Holy Smoke
Tail Gunner
Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter
Be Quick or Be Dead
From Here to Eternity
Wasting Love
Fear of the Dark live
Hallowed Be Thy Name - live
Man on the Edge
Afraid to Shoot Strangers - live
Lord of the Flies
The Angel and the Gambler
The Wicker Man
Out of the Silent Planet
Brave New World

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