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MindCrime Reviews #6: Dance Of Death - Iron MaidenI said in the last one that I would review a modern Iron Maiden album next, so, here it is.
Where to begin...oh yeah, let’s start with the horrendous album cover.
What the hell is this? A bunch of badly animated half naked CGI people in a masquerade ballroom with a grim reaper Eddie? And there’s what looks like The Goatman in the background, and some weird dog...what? This isn’t what I’m expecting after the amazing cover of Brave New World! The clear font here doesn’t work like it did there. If it wasn’t clear, it would block up the abominable art. I guess it syncs up with the title track at least, but it’s so poorly executed!
Let’s just get into the album itself.
1. Wildest Dreams
For an Iron Maiden song, this is extraordinarily cheesy and kind of poppy. With that “one, two, one, two, three, four!” intro and the repetitive chorus...
The lyrics are quite generic and poppy, but not horrendously executed like a lot of poppy metal songs. It’s still got an awesome riff and I can hear every instrument. The production is absolutely phenomenal still, and the solo sounds like almost nothing I’ve heard from Maiden. Cheesy, yes. Poppy, yes. Terrible? No. 7/10
Definitely an improvement over the opening track. Bruce is still as good as ever on this song, and the rest of the band does a great job going with his vocals. The solo is simply purely Maiden’s technical side. After the technical part is done, it goes into some awesome dual harmonies between Adrian and Dave. It’s not my favorite from the album by a long shot. I’ll get to my favorite later, but this is amazing. 10/10
3. No More Lies
This is one of my favorites from here for sure. It’s seven minutes long, but that’s not a problem because this song is amazing. Bruce’s vocals are as good as they were in the 80’s, and Steve has a great bassline here. The guitar is very well structured as well. After the calm intro, it jumps into being heavy for a Maiden song. This song is just so packed with genuine emotion. My god...this may be my favorite from the album. I’ll determine what my favorite is later, but this is a contender for sure. 10/10
Goes from the calm outro of No More Lies to the powerful intro of this song. The riff reminds me of something from Piece Of Mind, which is strange because this came out thirty years after that album did, and I’m reviewing it immediately after I reviewed that album. This song is simply incredible all around. It sounds like it could be on The Final Frontier as well, which came out seven years after this did. The solo is...a solo. It’s really just a solo, not as good as the solo from Rainmaker, but still pretty good. 10/10
5. Dance Of Death
And we get to the first of the two big epics on this album. Dance Of Death. There’s so much power in that title alone. That intro with the repetitive yet fitting guitar, which leads into a calm riff, before getting right into the main riff. This album’s cover definitely could’ve represented this song’s story better than that trash CGI. I can’t really explain what it’s about in words, but it’s yet another great Maiden epic that tells a story with Steve’s great story and Bruce’s amazing way of telling said story. This is honestly better than No More Lies. I could listen to that riff all day... and that bassline! The solo, the drums...overall a completely flawless composition. The production sounds absolutely amazing on this song, and the wah pedal on the solo is way better than when Kirk Hammett uses it on every single solo. (Not that I have a problem with his wah pedal, but he uses it way too much.) 10/10.
6. Gates Of Tomorrow
The intro reminds me of I Walk Beside You by Dream Theater, which, again, came two years after this. There’s a lot of things you can link Iron Maiden songs to, and that’s not a bad thing either. The song itself is not that amazing after the last song. This album is very good, but the tracklist is horrible. It should have closed off with Dance Of Death and Paschendale instead of Journeyman, and this would have made a better opening track than anything. Bruce still kills it on this song after 31 years of doing this at this point in time. He’s been doing it for about 45 years now, but he’s still absolutely incredible. All of the best metal singers never seem to age at all. Overall, it’s not that good. It’s got some redeemable values, but it’s still not amazing. 6.5/10
7. New Frontier
Is this exposition for an album that would come out seven years later and would have another album in between? IRON MAIDEN CONSPIRACY THEORIES 666 ILLUMINATI TRIANGLE CONFIRMED
Now that that cringefest is over, let’s talk about the song itself. It’s a major improvement over Gates Of Tomorrow, and it’s a great short transitional song that leads into the next big epic of the album. Let’s get to my real favorite now. 7/10
This is a contender for my top five Iron Maiden songs. This song is absolutely amazing. 8 minutes of pure Maiden goodness. Starts off calm with a psychadelic sounding, damn near hypnotic keyboard riff, which then transitions into the main riff and Bruce’s epic vocals and storytelling. The song itself seems to tell another war story, like The Trooper, but I think it’s done better than The Trooper. Dance Of Death was my original favorite, but this has topped it. This is better than a lot of their 80’s epics even, not quite as masterful as Rime Of The Ancient Mariner or Alexander The Great, but definitely tops Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son and Hallowed Be Thy Name. Yes, I just said that. Let that sink in for a few minutes. The solo absolutely destroys New Frontier’s, and this may be my new favorite Maiden song. Emphasis on “may”, because there’s a ton of competition. 10/10
9. Face In The Sand
This isn’t quite as good as the absolute masterpiece that is Paschendale, but it’s still an amazing song to follow it up. This album holds a lot of masterpieces. I absolutely love the solo in this song, as well as the intro and bassline. Nicko isn’t quite as good here as he was on Dance Of Death, but otherwise this song is definitely built very well.
By the way, the song length average of this album is 6:11. 6 times eleven is 66, plus one more six in the hundreds place is 666. Is Iron Maiden doing this on purpose or am I just looking way to deep into it? 9.5/10
10. Age Of Innocence
This and Face In The Sand are both within the six minute mark, plus the six minute average of the songs on this album makes 666. I should stop now.
This song is definitely one of the best structured on the album, apart from the segue into the outro which is a little rough. It has one of my favorite Iron Maiden riffs, as well as a strangely satisfying bassline. Bruce never disappoints, and him and the rest of Maiden still make masterpieces after over 40 years of doing this. This is one of said masterpieces. 10/10
We’ve reached the end with the only Iron Maiden song to ever be completely recorded on acoustic guitar. I think this would’ve worked better as the second to penultimate track, followed by Dance Of a Death and finished off with Paschendale. But this song still works as a decent closer, albeit not the best closer. You know you’ve got a good album when three songs could have closed it off. This song is so incredibly emotional for some reason. I don’t know why but I really get a Tears Of The Dragon vibe from this. Maybe because of the chorus and acoustic guitar, but still...10/10.
Overall rating: 91/100
Not my favorite Maiden album but still great all around.
Nice review, Paschendale is without a doubt my favourite Maiden song ever, and this album is pretty good all around. That cover is a unique sort of trash though - kempokid