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Iron Maiden – From Fear To Eternity – The Best of 1990-2010

Label: Universal Music
Format: CD
Released: 2011
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 8/ 10


This Maiden "Best Of" collection picks up where "Somewhere Back In Time" (which also should have been a 2-cd set. And why were the tracks from the self titled debut and "Killers" not album versions and live with Bruce Dickinson singing instead?) left off, and covers the albums "No Prayer For The Dying", "Fear Of The Dark", "X Factor", "Virtual XI", "Brave New World", "Dance Of Death", "A Matter Of Life And Death", and "The Final Frontier". Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of great music that came out of this period, but it doesn’t match "Killers", "Number Of The Beast", "Piece Of Mind", "Powerslave", "Somewhere In Time", and "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son".

 

Disc 1 opens with Maiden recalling their earlier years and "Piece Of Mind" with guitars riffs, galloping bass, and drums driving ‘Wicker Man’ (the live version, as with ‘Fear Of The Dark’, from Rock In Rio is just gargantuan) from 2000’s "Brave New World". Single/video ‘Holy Smoke’ (off 1990’s "No Prayer For The Dying") is stripped down and radio friendly compared to the rest of their works. Jumping forward to 2010, ‘El Dorado’ (penned by my favorite songwriting team; Smith/ Harris/ Dickinson) once again captures energy and flow of Maiden’s 80’s songs, going for crunch and punch over progressive structures (which we’ll talk about later), combining moments from ‘Powerslave" and "Somewhere In Time". Although it does work for this arrangement, 8 minute ‘Paschendale’ from "Dance Of Death" is the first of many on this collection (and in their catalogue from 1990-2010) to get a bit too proggy and lengthy for its own good. Straight forward and to the point, ‘Different World’ (video was terrible) is ehh ok, as with ‘Rainmaker’ from "Dance Of Death’. The "X Factor" album is represented by the aggressive ‘Man On The Edge’, the grand ‘Sign Of The Cross’, and boring ‘The Clansman’ (from the redundant "Virtual XI" album) are all live versions with Bruce Dickinson singing. A sign of disrespect to Blaze Bailey?, favoritism?, or maybe just for consistency? Going back to "Brave New World", for a compilation, I’ll take the title track over ‘Blood Brothers’, and ‘The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg’ (where Dave Murray gets writing credit) was a great plodding slab of a single from "A Matter Of Life And Death".

On to Disc 2, ‘Be Quick Or Be Dead’ ("Fear Of The Dark") is the Eddie we all know and love from the "Killers" album, out the door going for the throat, and ‘Tailgunner’ off "No Prayer For The Dying" nicely follows in the spirit of "Aces High’. ‘No More Lies’, ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ and ’For The Greater Good of God’ off "A Matter of Life And Death" is where Maiden use more and more of these mellow openings with subtle guitar and bass, bringing in the voice before it all kicks in, and it works very well for ‘Greater Good of God’ and the chorus (love the keys and crashing symbols), not so much for "Colours Don’t Run’. ‘Coming Home’ (off "The Final Frontier") has a decent sing-along quality, but when listening to the songs from "Fear Of The Dark" and "No Prayer For The Dying", like ‘Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter’ and the equally epic/yet heavy ‘Afraid To Shoot Strangers’ which I enjoy more and more as time goes by, one can really get to appreciate Maiden’s roots and better years. The title track to "Dance Of Death" just has an "I heard this before" uninspired flat opening, and 11 minute ‘When The Wind Blows’ doesn’t even come close to the brilliance of "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son", ‘Alexander The Great’, or ‘Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’.

Negative comments aside, to this day Iron Maiden are still one of the few bands who can still make new music that, well...may not live up to, but earns the same amount of respect as their past.

 
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