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Iron Maiden - Dance of Death CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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3.58 | 433 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Far beyond the new Frontier

Yes, Iron Maiden is back as a different beast! Well, not entirely, as you may recognize this particular formation of the band form their previous album Brave New World, but as masterful as that album was it seems that they've equaled (or perhaps topped?) themselves with this next output. While some have criticized the band for staying to a formula on their more recent releases it seems to be for one reason: it works!

Short and long songs mixed to give the audience a lot of material to like make this album worth many repeated listens. Heavy and short rockers like the opener Wildest Dreams and the stellar single Rainmaker with its absolutely wonderful triple guitar attack let the heads band and roll while more meditated (and almost progressive) story telling tracks like No More Lies, Dance of Death and Paschendale allow the band to showcase a more complex side of their music, also proving once more that the addition of a third guitar (or rather, not firing Gers when Smith returned from his absence) was something that really helped the band find a sound.

All in all the album has a very fantasy-esque feel, and this is what Maiden has always excelled at. While Brave New World toyed (heavily) with this idea, Dance of Death takes the concept by the horns and rides it to no end. Creepy story telling so familiar to the band's classic era has returned as evident in the album's title track which opens slowly with some smooth guitar playing before giving away to some heavy and very well done parts later. The stories aren't too overblown as well so they're not difficult to keep up with which really helps the album.

If one was forced to pick the standouts of the album, they would have to be the war-torn story Paschendale which shows Maiden at their story-telling zenith (and they'll pick up on this theme again with their next album) as they revisit a topic they've done so often in songs like The Trooper and Die With Your Boots On except with a better side of harsh reality that keeps the audience grounded to Earth if only for the duration of the song. The extremely emotional performance on Journeyman is also very well worth noting as Bruce showcases the magnitude of his voice in a song that was clearly built for it. Face in the Sand with its creepy, foreboding lyrics is another giant standout in the Maiden cannon - another song that shows incredible maturity from the band.

Of the other shorter songs on the album most (if not all) are geared towards the metal head. Prog fans may not find much to like in songs like Montsegur (although its controversial lyrics may well provide a thought-provoking experience) or Gates Of Tomorrow which are very good symph-metal compositions but not great prog. However, if there's a metal head anywhere in you then you will be blown away by their bombastic delivery on these tracks.

Finally, a note about the sleeve art. It's bad. Really bad. However, don't let it fool you (actually there's some really cool photography on the inside of the booklet which makes one wonder why they didn't use a style more like that), because this album is fantastic and arguably one of Maiden's best.

This is a fine addition to any prog library with many progressive moments to keep any one who likes their prog heavy interested. I award 4 stars to this fine disc.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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