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Iron Maiden Dance Of Death

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Cover art fiascos aside, this is a stellar new album by a classic metal band.

On the last studio album, Brave New World, Maiden was trying to find a use for the three guitar attack they found themselves with after Adrian Smith returned (with former vocalist Bruce Dickenson), so the album came across as rather haphazard and not up to the Iron Maiden standard. After refining the three-guitar approach for over three years on the road, they’ve discovered how to blend all three guitars into the Iron Maiden songwriting juggernaut.

I found most of the CD to be more in the recent Maiden style of rythm and melody as opposed to the lightning-fast dark metal they became famous for (see Number of the Beast but it’s what I’ve come to expect from them, so I still liked it quite a bit. Songs like “Wildest Dreams,” “Rainmaker” and “Montsegur” show that Maiden can still rock and definately can still write songs. Songs like “No More Lies,” “Paschendale (which I first heard live back in July)” and the title track, “Dance Of Death” show that Maiden can play with the melodic side. The lyrical content of the disc is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Iron Maiden, too. Thoughtful topics like religion, history and the challenges of life in today’s world. For the first time ever on a Maiden CD, the entire band participates in songwriting, including drummer Nicko McBrain’s first song ever, “New Frontier.”

All in all, a solid offering from one of the pioneers of heavy metal. For someone just discovering Maiden, I’d still recommend old favorites like Number of The Beast, Piece Of Mind or Powerslave but if you’re just looking for some new studio material from the mighty Maiden, don’t leave this off your list.

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About Jim Schwab

  • That album cover is definitely a joke. There is no way. I’ve always liked Irom Maiden especially Piece of Mind and Powerslave. There will be a backlash if it’s the cover!

  • That is definately the cover. Trust me… I bought the CD the day it came out, a month ago….

  • Eric Olsen

    Jim, what exactly IS the issue with the cover?

  • Extremely poorly executed 3D figures (stock figures straight outta Poser, in fact) with 3D masks created by a company that makes stock-3D masks for Poser figures. All over top of very well hand-painted artwork. The band apparently had an artist create Eddie and the background, then were, for some unfathomable reason, dissatisfied with it, and had someone who had absolutely no idea what they were doing paste these figures in on top of the original artwork. The original artist is not credited in the artwork, and band and management aren’t talking about this issue at all.

    Worse still than the very cheesy 3D figures is the fact that many of them defy the laws of physics: a baby (in a bikini?!) floats over a wolf, but has one foot somehow buried deep in its side; the woman at the right side of the artwork has a giraffe-like neck capable of humanly-impossible bends and turns; not to mention that many of the figures are colored very oddly and all have shadows that go at odds with the apparent ambient lighting of the ‘room’ in the artwork.

    This is, by far, the worst cover artwork I’ve ever seen from a band that is as established as Iron Maiden. I’ve seen higher-quality 3D work executed on local bands’ CDs. This is abominable, and it’s a shame because it does not represent the music inside, which is, generally, very good (if nothing new.) To me, this is a sign of a band that is out of touch – they don’t seem to realize the importance of their artwork to both fans and the public in general. The result is something that receives more laughter than interest on first impression.

  • Hey, but there is nudity inside! Ok, well, very obscured nudity on the lyric pages, but I don’t recall any other Maiden albums where they went for obscured nudity anywhere. Someone more in the know on this, feel free to correct me.

  • (cue Beavis voice) Naked chicks rule!

    It is indeed a first for Maiden, but Adrian Smith’s former band (post Iron Maiden, late-80s), ASAP, had an album (Silver And Gold, now long, LONG out of print and worth many a pretty penny on Ebay) that had many photos of topless Asian ladies inside. Very classily done, I might add (not being facetious, really!) Wish I’d kept my copy of that album . . . and not just for the purty ladies inside.

  • Tom covered it… both here in the comments and in the previous Blogcritics post which I linked in the review….

  • welcome my fotolog……….ok