Epic release from quintessential heavy metal giant.
This the best of… retrospective collection compiles songs from two decades, from total of 8 albums released 1990 – 2010. It is a logic “mid-term review” of two decades, and it is a fair one, including songs from less-praised albums released in the ’90-s (No Prayer From The Dying, Fear of The Dark, The X Factor, and Virtual XI), as well from albums from Maidens’ come back era of the millennium (Brave New World, Dance of Death, A Matter of Life And Death, and The Final Frontier).
The 23 songs on double-CD sum to total track time of nearly 149 minutes! As such it is a wonderful source of initial introduction for someone not familiar with Iron Maiden (this is also emphasized by manager Rod Smallwood in the foreword of the album booklet), or those who turned away from the band in the 1990’s when two of the essential band members (Bruce and Adrian) left to pursue new challenges. Which for many fans resulted to a loss of what made Irons the Irons.
For those who have kept up buying their records during both ups and downs this collection is merely a nice item as surely everyone has their own track list for their personal “the best of…” set anyway. The album also represents what the band believes reflects their creation most adequately, though this said, none of the songs picked include Blaze Bayley who performed the lead vocals 1994 – 1998 during which albums “The X Factor” and “Virtual XI” were released. Instead the 3 tracks from the mentioned 2 that made to this album were from later live concerts from 1999 and 2001 when Dickinson had already rejoined the band. Some consider this decision for the best.
Album as a whole has all the variations of the majestic Iron Maiden, both dark & grievous (tracks from “The Matter of Life and Death”) as well lighter and brighter tracks (“Rainmaker”, “Holy Smoke”). In time the structure of their songs has evolved into more complex and challenging, slowing down their well known mid-fast tempo riffs – all this making the story-telling songs more interesting to follow, but also allowing Dickinson to alternate his vocal to incorporate lower tones. The guys are not in their youngest years any longer!
Hopefully the album will contribute to win new fans to join the worldwide Maiden Family as the band is still touring around the Globe with full force, and taking their steadily growing popularity since their comeback record Brave New World (2000), and enormous fan base, the sextet gives no signs of retirement. Up the Irons!
By Kerttu Lohmus
Released on CD June 06 2011 at EMI Music. It will also be made available as a Digital Download Album and as a Limited Edition Triple Vinyl Picture Disc. Full Track list
1. The Wicker Man 4.36
2. Holy Smoke 3.49
3. El Dorado 6:49
4. Paschendale 8.28
5. Different World 4.19
6. Man On The Edge (LIVE) 4.40
7. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg 7.22
8. Blood Brothers 7.14
9. Rainmaker 3.49
10. Sign of the Cross (LIVE) 10.49
11. Brave New World 6.19
12. Fear Of The Dark (LIVE) 7.41
1. Be Quick Or Be Dead 3.24
2. Tailgunner 4.15
3. No More Lies 7.22
4. Coming Home 5.52
5. The Clansman (LIVE) 9.06
6. For the Greater Good of God 9.25
7. These Colours Don't Run) 6.52
8. Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter 4.44
9. Afraid to Shoot Strangers 6.57
10. Dance of Death 8.36
11. When the Wild Wind Blows 11.02