Iron Maiden, Dance of Death Review

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Iron Maiden, Dance of Death
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slushman's review of Iron Maiden, Dance of Death

“Iron Maiden don't do bad albums. They do brilliant...”


written by slushman on 22/12/2005

Good Points
The return of the epic theatrics of old.

Bad Points
None to speak of really.

General Comments
Iron Maiden don't do bad albums. They do brilliant albums, very good albums, albums that maybe weren't as good as previous albums, but never bad albums.

1998's 'Virtual XI' was as close to a major drop in quality as they've ever done, and that was mainly due to the production as opposed to the songs. 2000's 'Brave New World' went some way to rectifying that, expanding the band's sound to incorporate a third guitarist (returning axe-slinger Adrian Smith), and also returning vocalist Bruce Dickinson's classic metal wail.

Now, we have 'Dance of Death'. The new line-up has had a chance to gel together as players and songwriters, and the fans have gotten over the glorious return of former members, and all the fuss has died down. Can Maiden still cut it like they did in the eighties glory days?

HELL YEAH! Opener, and first single, 'Wildest Dreams' bursts out of the speakers like most opening tracks on Maiden albums. Short, fast, furious and catchy, it reminds me of previous great first-singles-off-new-albums such as 'Can I Play With Madness?', 'Aces High' and 'The Wicker Man'. Surprisingly, though, in the context of the album, it is actually the weakest song here.

'Rainmaker', the second single, follows in the tradition of previous second singles, such as 'The Evil That Men Do' and 'Stranger in a Strange Land' as being almost epic and catchy in equal measure, and is probably the track that best represents the album.

The lengthy title track has a medieval vibe running through it, courtesy of guitarist Janick Gers ultra-quick plucking skills, and a mention must also go to drummer Nicko McBrain, who has his first writing credit on the track 'New Frontier'. Not a bad way to start your songwriting career!

The centrepiece of the album, though, is the epic 'Paschendale'. Written by Adrian Smith, the man usually responsible for the catchier singles. This track is brimming with emotion from all involved. Beginning with Dickinson telling the story of a famous WW1 battle, the song explodes into furious riffage and battling solo's, echoing Metallica's 'One', but done full-on Maiden style.

Where 'Brave New World' established the band as a still credible force in the rock world, 'Dance of Death' shows that they still have plenty to offer old and new fans alike. They are still the daddies!

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