Album Reviews

Iron Maiden – Dance Of Death

(EMI) UK release date: 8 September 2003

Iron Maiden - Dance Of Death You can buy Iron Maiden golf clubs, bed sheets, and I’m sure if you searched hard enough you could find pyjamas too. With 13 studio albums and countless live and special edition releases to their name, Iron Maiden epitomise the dictionary definition of “legends”.

If you were ever into the band as a youngster, you will remember the shock and horror that Iron Maiden brought to many British homes in the ’80s, through their artwork, song titles (the most amusing being the number one single, Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter) and a strange zombie-like mascot named Eddie.

The truth be known however, S Club were probably more “in league with the Devil” than the London sextet could ever hope to be. For a band with such shocking “METAL” (said in deep throaty voice) artwork and imagery, I don’t think a single one of them could give your granny a fright, even if their entrance to Hell depended on it.

Image aside, fans of the band will no doubt be wholly satisfied with Dance Of Death, the first studio release since 1999’s Brave New World. Stand out songs include the seriously heavy Montsegur, the very Hallowed Be Thy Name-ish, Face In The Sand and the title track, which is classic Maiden material and illustrates why they have influenced so many bands, from In Flames to Sum 41 (apparently!). The soaring hook riff has the signature sing-along-ability that fans thrive upon at gigs. With well over a minute of decadently indulgent solos, and layered, orchestrated strings beneath, this is most definitely one for the Maiden hall of fame.

The doubled guitar lick of Rainmaker leads into a driving number, and the song benefits from being half the length of the majority of the other 10 songs on the album. New Frontier, meanwhile, is the quintessential song for Maiden’s on-stage theatrics. Picture Bruce Dickinson running and jumping, with flailing limbs as he spins around, while Gers, Harris, Smith and Murray line up, facing the crowd, heads nodding along in unison.

In the cold light of day however, the majority of the album is over the top, the songs are ridiculously long, the lyrics are laughable and Bruce’s high-pitched wails are as irritating as ever. But then again, isn’t that what Maiden have always been about? As with any band, their existence is a game of supply and demand. And with opening track, Wildest Dreams currently sitting at number six in the UK charts, apparently the need for such classic metal has never been greater!

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