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3 stars So, another Maiden live album. They seem to release an awful lot of these.

One problem I had with the previous live one, Death On The Road, was that Dickinson's vocals weren't always bang on, due to him being, you know, old and stuff.

I still got one, but just the basic CD, because I absolutely adored The Final Frontier, and just wanted a live version. And it's honestly a lot better than Death On The Road. The opener, Satellite 15? The Final Frontier, is done very well by Dickinson, although El Dorado isn't as well performed.

In terms of a setlist, it's a great one, with the only obvious lack from The Final Frontier being The Man Who Would Be King. But other than that it's got some great songs from all eras, and they pull them all off in their signature style.

Overall, a good live album, but the studio, as always with Maiden, is better. Buy it if you like them, or if you find it for a low-ish price. But choose this one over many other Maiden live albums.

Report this review (#690990)
Posted Monday, March 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars I first saw Iron Maiden perform live several years ago when they began their Final Frontier tour. Dream Theater was the opening act. This should give you an idea of how freaking amazing Iron Maiden remains - more than thirty years after their "hey day". Dream Theater was clearly apathetic about the performance (this was weeks before Portnoy left the band). This was a big disappointment, because even though I trash Dream Theater's recent works, they're still one of my all time favorites. The crowd was clearly ambivalent about their latest album's single, "Right of Passage." James LaBrie basically dropped the mic and ran off stage as soon as the final song concluded.

Then Iron Maiden came on stage... and the world exploded with spectacle and awesomeness and metal and excitement. Iron Maiden is a legendary performing act, and for the most part En Vivo! lives up to their reputation, but with a few strikes against it to hold it back from being the "must have" Maiden live album.

The first thing to note about En Vivo! is that it is a live album showing off the "new" Maiden. The setlist is about 60% material from their most recent four releases, with an emphasis on the excellent Final Frontier. Final Frontier is without a doubt the most "prog" album the group has ever released... yes, more than Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. This means that the songs on this live album feel long, dramatic, and are not jammed with those epic "live" moments that makes the crowd self-destruct in metal call and response. Not so say that the classic songs don't pull this out of the crowd, but that by in large this album feels different than other Maiden live releases because of it; it's not a hit-parade. Interestingly, there aren't any songs from A Matter of Live and Death; moreover, other song choices feel obligatory.

Next, is the musicianship. Iron Maiden plays incredibly tight, yet raw. There's an intensity here that is unique and just plain fun to listen to. The trio of guitar players keep the intensity high, but it's the rhythm section that steals the show this time. Harris' bassing is especially well-captured by the production, really letting his heavy axework sink in. A showcase of bottom-heavy metal riffs, energy, and precision; the guy deserves his reputation 100%. McBrain's drumming also impresses, especially on the band's newer material.

Unfortunately, Dickenson's epic vocals are beginning to show their age. Gone are the huge screams and throat shattering assaults of non-stop power. Bruce is still great, and does an awesome job, but En Vivo! feels like there's something missing, and I think this may be it. This is most prevalent on the cuts from "Number of the Beast," whose studio release featured Bruce at his most go-for-broke.

Highlights include the epic "Talisman," the runaway train of "2 Minutes to Midnight," the dramatic "Dance With the Dead," and the always amazing "Hallowed Be Thy Name."

A undeniably good live album, but not the "go to" in Iron Maiden's library. Great for fans of Final Frontier, especially, while others may be wondering why "Run to the Hills" didn't get into the set list.

Setlist: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Stage/Energy: 3 - Live Experience: 4

Report this review (#1485118)
Posted Wednesday, November 11, 2015 | Review Permalink

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