|Iron Maiden Dance Of Death||EMI/Sony|
I quite like the new Iron Maiden. It's not a classic, but how does a band with such a long and rich history actually better albums that have been long entrenched in the psyche of a whole generation of British metal fans.|
Well, they don't, but the main point here is that the band hasn't embarrassed themselves and have recorded a solid album that follows on from their last studio album, the Dickinson comeback vehicle Brave New World.
No great changes are in place for Dance Of Death – the album contains a few short and snappy rockers that could be potential singles, then there's 5 seven minute plus epics for the die-hard fans to dissect and the remaining tracks all run between 5 and 6 minutes, allowing plenty of time for solo's and extended musical interludes to be featured around Bruce Dickinson's distinct vocals.
Of course, not all Iron Maiden fans are going to be sold on this. It's different enough to cause some division between those that love the glory days and can't adjust to this or simply just don't like the set of songs chosen for this occasion.
The one problem I do have is the production quality. The album really sounds muddy and at times the mix is quite bad. The band has three guitarists at work, but I am having a heard time hearing them and the rhythm section just isn't as punchy as it should be – or is in reality.
The album should have sounded a lot cleaner and a lot clearer than it does and producer Kevin Shirley hasn't come close to his finest work with Dream Theater and Journey.
There are some songs I think are very strong and worthy of any Maiden album, but the overall sound is a disappointment.
Highlights for me include the very simple and melodic Rainmaker (the next single?), the fast-tempo'd Montsegar, the riff filled New Frontier and my favourite epic and the longest track of the album – the 8 and a half minute Paschendale.
Maybe it's as the band wanted, but to the listener, there's a bit to be desired. Clearer guitar parts would be the best place to start if a fix was possible.
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