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Iron Maiden - Dance of Death CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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3.58 | 432 ratings

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4 stars One of Iron Maiden's strongest albums, even if the material isn't really new in terms of style. I guess Iron Maiden recently sticks to what they are best at, releasing safe, yet solid albums. Dance of Death is better than Brave New World, due to the more memorable riffs, more sophisticated songwriting, and better melodies. While the style is similar, the sound of Iron Maiden keeps progressing into "prog" and the music is getting mellower. The 'proggiest' songs are the two epics: the title track and Paschandale.

Wildest Dreams opens the album with a bang, a totally catchy and energetic opener with good guitar riffs, catchy choruses, and a time change that works very well, giving way to a beautiful guitar lead. Rainmaker is a straightforward and radio-friendly tune. No More Lies is a very good song, but the intro riff and the similar electric riff sound recycled from the instrumental break on their epic "Nomad". They use screams and pounding guitar riffs for the choruses and the instrumental section (climax) does not disappoint. Montsegur is the heaviest song of the album and has an arsenal of great guitar riffs, the best one being the one playing on the verses and the first guitar solo. The double guitar performances recall their classic "The Trooper". The vocalist sounds desperate and almost screaming throughout the song. Gates of Tomorrow and New Frontier are a bit mediocre, as they sound ordinary and do not have any strong hooks. Face in the Sand sounds like the best material from their album X-Factor, only that it has Bruce Dickinson! It has a great dark introduction with excellent bass and atmospheric guitar playing until strings make the song more symphonic. The guitar break in minute 4 is wonderful. Age of Innocence is a powerful and energetic tune, not a highlight though. Journeyman is a different song for Iron Maiden. No electric guitars. Instead, it is acoustic, with strings to set the mood. The vocal performance in this song is some of the best since Bruce returned to the band; I can't help but enjoy his singing a lot during the choruses.

Dance of Death has one of the best introductions of an Iron Maiden song, ever. It is soft and spooky during the first few minutes. "Let me tell you a story to chill the bones". The acoustic riff is very simple but effective, and the short guitar solo in the beginning is beautiful. Then, it changes pace into a more beautiful acoustic theme, then it changes pace into an even more beautiful acoustic chord progression. Before you know it, the chorus plays with nice string arrangements and a mad instrumental break begins, showing you that Iron Maiden is not really following a standard song structure. Then it turns into a heavier section instead of repeating a verse, and plays the crazy riff of the instrumental break again as a main riff. Instead of going to a second chorus, you get a long instrumental break with soloing. After another new theme, the mad riff plays again and leads to the introductory acoustic riff+elegant guitar solo just like the beginning with a good transition.

Paschendale is my favorite Iron Maiden song and truly a progressive metal song, with shifting time signatures, time changes, and unusual song structure. The main theme is especially strange, with soft percussion playing a time signature I can't decipher and a midi-sounding guitar playing a nice and elegant riff. This shifts back and forth with a very heavy guitar-driven passage twice until the song starts. Quite heavy and string-heavy. I really believe the strings help make the music heavier. After the chorus plays, you realize that it is also not following the standard song structure. Suddently, you get a unison riff with 3 guitars and strings under the rhythm of the introduction until a new heavy riff leads the song for a few seconds and you get another new section that sounds like the first verse, but the rhythm is somewhat different. Instead of a chorus, you get the intro theme again, interrupted by another guitar-driven section which contains a virtuosic guitar solo and eventually the chorus hits again and the song ends with the theme played at the beginning. A masterpiece of metal for sure!

I recommend this album for metalheads and proggers alike, It is very intelligent metal that doesnt' sacrifice the power and energy for prog.

Zitro | 4/5 |


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