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Iron Maiden Dance Of Death EMI/Sony
· Produced By: Kevin Shirley

· Running Time:

· Release Date: Out Now

· Released: WORLD

· Musical Style: Hard Rock / Metal

· Links: Iron Maiden
79%
Songs: 85%
Sound: 65%
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.
The Bottom Line
A solid album – that's the best description. Pleasing to some, maybe not as much so to some other Maiden fans. But considering the age of the band and their history, a good effort that is sadly marred by an average production sound.
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.
Recent Discography
· Brave New World
· Rock In Rio
· Edward The Great
· Dance Of Death

Line Up
· Bruce Dickinson: Vocals
· Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, Janick Gers: Guitars
· Nicko McBrain: Drums
· Steve Harris: Bass

Essential for fans of:
· Iron Maiden - Brave New World
Track Listing
· Wildest Dreams
· Rainmaker*
· No More Lies
· Montsegur*
· Dance Of Death
· Gates Of Tomorrow
· New Frontier*
· Paschendale*
· Face In The Sand
· Age Of Innocence
· Journeyman
--*Best Tracks


18/08/05: Scott Adams - scottadams964@hotmail.com
Rating: 49
There's a theory going round that fans of ageing rock Monsters from past decades aren't really interested in new product from their heroes: they're more content to head out to their nearest enormodome/disused military airfield once a year to drink warm, overpriced beer, buy a poor quality, overpriced item of merchandise and relive their salad days to a soundtrack of (insert name here)'s greatest hits. If this is the case, and who am I to doubt that it is, then Iron Maiden are to be praised to the rafters for continuing to release product every other year in, every other year out, whatever industry mores dictate. Indeed,their first post-Bruce reunion album, Brave New World, really was a return to form after the increasingly bloody minded turgidity of the two Blaze Bayley fronted records...
Which makes Dance Of Death such an appalling surprise. It's an absolute dog of a record, reprising as it does just about every Maiden trademark ever committed to wax and, to add insult to injury, mixing in Steve Harris's newfound grumpy old conservative political perspectives to boot ( as evinced on the execrable Age Of Innocence). Everything about this horrible record stinks- the cover, the plodding, barely acceptable drumming, the rubbish production- it's an insult to both the fans and the legacy of this titanic band. And, on the title track, the laughable Dance of Death, the band really do come close to sounding like Spinal Tap circa 'Stonhenge'. The one saving grace is Montsegur, where for six minutes Nicko McBrain puts his golf clubs down for long enough to keep up with the rest of the band to recount in stirring fashion the tale of the Albigensian Crusades.
Maiden can't possibly need the money anymore, and If they intend to release another album now they've announced a scaling down of Touring duties after the cycle of this record, they should think very carefully before venturing back into the studio.
For now, can I have my money back?

07/07/05: MR GREG JEFFREY - greg@greg73.wamnadoo.co.uk
Rating: 5
good album but still have bloody jancik gers hopefully next year back five not six of the beast what a let down old stick in mud

21/04/05: Stelly - john.stelfox@virgin.net
Rating: 95
Is everyone else listening to this album deaf?? It's absoloutley bloody brilliant, the best thing since 7th son and rates in the top 3. The 3 guitar sound seems to have bedded in nicely now and taken off where Brave New World finished. The Smith tracks are superb, Paschendale must rate alongside Hallowed Be Thy Name and Phantom of the opera as the best epic they have ever done. The moody acoustic to finish the album is something wev'e never heard before, it was originally supposed to be electric, but during recordings they picked up theior acoustic guitars and it sounded so good they decided on the finished version we have on the album.
I can understand what some have said about the production and all's i can say is GET DTS SURROUND SOUND. it seems to have been mixed especially for this format and when listened with six speakers - WOW you could be in the studio with them it's clear.

As for people saying same old stuff, they should retire etc. Bollocks!!! Have Maiden sone something like FAce in The Sand before?? Does Montegur sound like anything off another album?? This album prooves the guys still have a knack for writing powerful music that can be progressive, quick, heavy, melodic - do i need to go on.

Cracking album - get in!!!!!

04/11/04: Scott R. - srajala72@yahoo.com
Rating: 11
Not sure what to do with this album. Couldn't even listen to it a second time to make a real opinion. Can't express how excited I was to hear a follow up to a great comeback in "Brave..", but what a bummer. I think that Shirley has produced some of the best prog lately with DT, but falls far short of putting together a clean mix and a healthy recovery for the classic british metal act that started it all!

14/09/04: Justin - sgtenchi17@aol.com
Rating: 95
My father was into Iron Maiden when I was very little. Through my teenage years, I also started liking them. Now they're my favorite band. I'm a big fan of the "piece of mind","powerslave","somewhere in time", and "seventh son" era.
When I first bought this new album, I listened to the first track. I didn't like it. But then, I heared "Rainmaker". It wasn't the Maiden I was used to, but I liked it. Each track was better then the last. The only downside I noticed was the sound quality. I thought I had blown my speakers when I first turned up the sterio. I soon realized it was the way it was mixed. However, the songs themselves made up for downside.
The style is similar to "Brave New World", but the end of DOD was somewhat softer. "Journeyman" is unlike Maiden's style, but sounds great. I hope they come out with a live DVD for the "Dance of Death" tour.

14/11/03: Hanuk Baac - Temporarily unavailable (South Korea)
Rating: 89
As a long time Maiden fanatic I view this as one of their better albums and the best since Seventh Son. Sound wise this album sounds like it could've been released between No Prayer and Fear of The Dark. The production is a little muddy, it could be much tighter but songs are strong enough to make up for somewhat soft production. A huge leap from Brave New World which I saw a few fillers.

12/11/03: ANDY - alyon@cwctv.net
Rating: 90
I have heard all Maidens back catalogue and in my view this is Maidens 2nd best album ever, better than The number of the beast but not quite as good as Brave New World (which in to my mind is Maidens best album).

09/11/03: jesse kye - jessekye@hotmail.com
Rating: 78
it's good but no piece of mind. jesse kye

08/11/03: PEDRO ANTUNES - pantunes@blue.com.pt
Rating: 10
The worst album of Maiden…tired of those cliches…
very very dissapointing…and i was a huge fan…they should be ashame of this work… very ashame!

07/10/03: Wisey - tony_wise@telstra.com.au
Rating: 79
I am another long time Iron Maiden fan who was excited about the return of Bruce Dickinson to the band, and I instantly loved their first album together again Brave New World. Then after waiting three years (lean of good metal) for their next studio album my expectations of Dance Of Death were high, however I must say that this album has not met my expectations.
Initially I didn't like DOD much at all and it took me a few listens to get into it, but after playing it quite a lot I did get into it and now I think it's not too bad. I also think that there are some excellent tracks on it:

"Paschendale" is by far the best track. It is a heavy epic and creates an atmosphere so you can imagine yourself there. This is something that Maiden have done so successfully with their classic songs from the past, and this song will also become a classic.
"Journeyman" is another song that I like quite a lot, with an acoustic sound that Dickinson has always wanted the band to try. It is a great album closer.
"Montsegur" has a heavy, intense pace with welcome aggression.
"Dance Of Death" and "No More Lies" are typical Steve Harris type songs in style and arrangement, with mellow and harder parts and timing changes. I think both these songs are also among the albums best.

The rest of the album though for me is nothing special. Whilst the remaining songs aren't too bad (some are quite good in parts) they just aren't memorable and do not come close to being anywhere near as good as the classic Maiden from the past.

I think the two worst songs are: "Wildest Dreams" and "Age Of Innocence".

"Wildest Dreams" is a poor choice for a single and poor choice for an album opener. The lyrics are real wishy-washy and whilst the music is ok the song just sounds a bit lame to me. It is not up to the usual Maiden album opening style. Wickerman sh#ts all over it in comparison.

"Age Of Innocence" is good in parts, those being the slow paced intro and finish and the faster bit in the middle. But the chorus also sounds lame on this one and the song just plods along for the main. I reckon they would have been better leaving this song off the album and putting it on the single as a bonus track which would get more people to buy the single.

Maybe they have too many contributing to song writing these days and need to get back to the days of old when Dickinson, Smith and Harris wrote the tunes, with the odd contribution from Murray?

Two more of my gripes about DOD are the production and the packaging. The production lacks clarity and sounds a bit like you're listening to it from behind a closed door, which is quite surprising given their recent albums. The packaging is pretty boring also compared to past Maiden albums. The photos of the band mostly just show them sitting or standing in a house on the same couch in different poses - how bland! Surely the photographer could have come up with some more inventive pics! The cover does not impress me as much as other Maiden albums and the packaging in general has a very distinct lack of Eddie about it. Where are the pictures of some devilish Eddie monstrosity that us fans have become accustomed too?

In general I don't think the album is too bad, it's just that it's not that great either. It's an album that's almost there but not quite, song wise, production wise and packaging wise.

DOD reminds me of their album "Fear Of The Dark" for two reasons:
1) There are some great tracks, but some ordinary ones as well.
2) Whilst each Iron Maiden album has songs of varying styles on it, the overall sound of each album is the same. This is not the case with DOD. Like FOTD the sound is all over the place.

My favorite Maiden albums are still 7th Son Of A 7th Son, Brave New World, Piece Of Mind, Powerslave, & 666.

I certainly expected better from Iron Maiden this time, but Dance Of Death is still worth getting for all Maiden fans, especially for the song Paschendale. I just hope that I don't have to wait three years for the next Iron Maiden album and they work a little harder on it.

Having said all this it is good that a band who can play and write good music are still attempting to do so, and can still produce a reasonable metal album. Metallica and Queensryche should take note!


01/10/03: John Ikly - Ikly@aol.net
Rating: 85
Good writing. Terrible production

25/09/03: Wardy - micktward@ozemail.com.au
Rating: 80
I’ve surfed the net and read the mags, and pretty much heard it all. Songs too long, too epic, Bruce is wailing again, don’t like this don’t like that. Well one thing is for sure, without even hearing Dance of Death you have got to assume from those comments that Maiden are back in traditional form. That they certainly are.

Without too much hoo-hah, DOD is released to the Maiden starved public, more directed at the fans rather than the casual listener. Almost completely gone are the ‘written for the re-formation’ commercial offerings of Brave New World. Rather, although DOD does boast a couple of radio friendly tracks (the 70’s like thumping of Wildest Dreams pushing that commercialism a little too far), for the most part this is classic Maiden.

Okay, DOD isn’t without fault. A little long, Harris overdoing the Clansman/Blood brother bass noodling intros, and speaking of which, whatever your opinion I find this album has an awful lot in common with Virtual XI. Really, is Futureal any less a song than say New Frontier? Me thinks not anyhow.

Okay, another sore point is the accusations that Maiden are starting to get a little too repetitive, and I have to admit the similarities are here. There’s some rehashed ‘Fallen Angel’ and ‘Thin line between love and hate’ (as with Gates of tomorrow, but thankfully the chorus makes up for it by being one the albums highlights), the title track has been done a million times before as the songwritting remains Maiden formula, but really should we care?

On with the show, come track two, put simply the ‘what should have been lead single’ Rainmaker is everything I could have hoped for from Maiden 2003. Everything about the shorter rockers for which Maiden are famous for is right here. Rainmaker is a bonafide classic. Not overdone and kept short and simple so not to bog it down any. Dave Murray never over-contributes to the song writing, and no need to when you pen a pure classic such as Rainmaker. Song two and already in love with this album!

Other tracks worthy of note are the mighty 'Pachendale’, the straight rocker ‘New Frontier’, and the excellent and dark ‘Face in the Sand’. There’s more candy to be had, but I’ll let you decide. I hear ‘Piece of mind’, ‘Somewhere in Time’, a little ‘Beast’, it’s all here and it’s pretty much all good.

So to the big question. Is it better than ‘Brave new World’?
No. But it is as good. When you consider the immense vibe BNW had, what with the re-formation and return of the classic line-up, and the need for the band to really ‘deliver’ with BNW, it was destined to be better than good. So really, attempting to better that album with this follow-up would be foolhardy.

DOD does take a little work, not like BNW which although had some good progressive moments that required repeated listens before the whole thing actually flowed, was chock full of immediate fun. Repeated listens of DOD are required due to it not being as immediate as BNW. The songs initially sound less challenging than those of BNW, and to get the most out of the album I recommend headphones, the full packaging, and an ale or two.

No complaints from me about the production, I kinda like this raw thing the guys are allowing Shirley to do, but I do find at times some of the more epic tracks would have benefited from a bigger sound. Occasionally things sound a little muddy, but on a personal note, I don’t give a toss. Sounds cool!

I expect the average listener would grade DOD anywhere from a 6 –8 given its focus being more on the bands fan-base, and would think the majority of those particular fans would grade it anywhere from a 7 to an 8, which is where I’m landing, smack on the 8. I might add that it would be foolhardy to expect anything similair to those early day albums, say from Beast to Piece of Mind or maybe through to 7th Son, but really it would be unfair to place expectations such as those on these old but yet remarkably capable blokes we call legends. Or would it?

Oh, and forgot to mention. Bruce sounds awesome! Up the Irons!


21/09/03: Kevin Collins - kwcollins@neo.rr.com
Rating: 85
Another great platter from the mighty Maiden. Stylewise, for me it falls somehwere between "Brave New World" and "Fear of the Dark". I like the songs, I like the performances, but as others have mentioned, the production is lacking. Can we bring Martin Birch out of retirement? Maybe Ron (UFO's Walk on Water) Nevison?
Saw the band twice this summer, great as always. I'm looking forward to the 2004 tour to hear the new material LIVE! Note to Mr. Harris -UFO would be a nice opening act!

20/09/03: pickle - pickle@aol.com
Rating: 60
Disappointing. No where near as good as the Brave New World attempt. It lacks the cliche Maiden sound. Probably due to poor production. I'm use to long Maiden songs but this is too much and most of them on this CD have pushed the limit to complete boredom. Also what's the point if you have 3 guitar players playing the same thing. Also maybe just lost in the mix but to me I don't think we'd miss the third guy live. Too many cooks in the kitchen. Time to get rid of someone and considering the direction of Fear of the Dark and No Rest for the Dying which I compare this Cd to, I think we all know who it should be. Return to the old 80's line-up. I like Gers as a player and musicain and think he did a great job filling Smith's shoes but it's not the same band.
Also, Dickenson's and Harris's lyrics seem to have lost a little meaning that's probably why in some songs they keep repeating the same phrase over and over and over and..... again and again and again...... Hey guys put some creative thought into it. Don't rush a record if it's not that good even if you can't stand each other.
I'll probably listen to it again for the 3rd time but it doesn't seem to be growing on me. Beter luck next time

20/09/03: Erik Nolan - Nolane@Wilentz.com
Rating: 95
Another brilliant CD from Iron Maiden. These guys never let you down. Songs are strong all the way through history songs "Paschendale" and "Montsegur" the stellar standouts. CD gets really heavy in some spots, more melodic in others and there is even a completely acoustic song. Another great Iron Maiden CD.

17/09/03: Kaponis - ka1912@otenet.gr
Rating: 95
The first album of Maiden after Seventh son of a seventh son that covers all the desires of group fans having epic, straight rock songs. The reappearance of Adrian Smith gives to the band songwriting something special and the performance of Dickinson represent the hallmark of this band. I love this album. Since 1988 I have to hear a very good record from my music heros at 80's.

17/09/03: david - daw@netacs.net
Rating: 93
As I celebrate my 40th birthday, I listen to Dance of Death. Hard charging, stand and fight metal with a sense of urgency. Some things never change. Just as Iron Maiden was rocking me on my 20th birthday they are still at 20 years later. A bands legacy can be a trap. If they change they alienate their faithful fans and if they tread the same ground then they are criticized for sounding redundant. Maiden stays truthful to their roots, if not a little formatic. But they are still fighting the good fight. "Wildest Dreams" is a formidable single and "Rain Maker" will be the strongest Maiden single in years. On my scorecard it ranks as the fifth strongest Maiden album. But number 5 in their catalog is better than number 1 in most bands catalogs. As I start yet another decade, it is great to see that Eddie is still ready for battle. If all bands sound this good after over 2 decades, then rock most definetly will never die. Rock on, Eddie. But guys, please, a better cover next time out.

17/09/03: Ben Webster - benson@labyrinth.net.au
Rating: 85
I've been a Maiden fan since 1982 and I personally feel this is their best release since Somewhere in time..Sure they might not be writing the real hooky riffs ala 2 minutes to midnight and The Trooper but this record has way more vibe,energy and a conciseness that has been lacking for years..Age of Innocence,Rainmaker, Montsegur and New Frontier would hold up on any any past album. Iron Maiden, like AC/DC have a style and a sound that is unique you know what to expect but the bottom line is the songs themselves and this album has some of their strongest material for a long time..

17/09/03: Johnee D'Shea - johnee69@hotmail.com
Rating: 0
One note on the line-up: Steve Harris is the bassist and Dave Murray plays lead/rhythm guitar. I probably won't buy the album for one simple reason...Kevin Shirley. I thought he'd be the next BIG producer/engineer, but has fallen flat on almost everything he's laid hands on in the past. The album cover even looks cheesy. It's all computer animated and no signs of Eddie. SAD!
Have a great day :)

17/09/03: John Romanelli - jrndmd@comcast.net
Rating: 90
What you see is what you expect from the newest from Iron Maiden. Lots of guitars with intertwining harmony parts, Nicko's bombastic drums, Bruce's soaring vocals, and Steve Harris' signature bass riffs. The opener, "Wildest Dreams" is a 3:40 minute uptempo rocker garnering airplay across the world. Good tune, not a Maiden classic. "Rainmaker" follows, and it is another sub-4 minute uptempo rocker, with great solos; an improvement on the opener and likely second single. "No More Lies" is classic Maiden, a 7 minute opus opening with the new Steve Harris bass lick - the 6/8-alternating-two-notes-in-fourths-back-and-forth-endlessly lick (i.e. The Clansman from Virtual XI) - and featuring classic Dickenson vocals and great soloing from the axe boys. "Montsegur" follows, an agressive war epic clocking in at under 5 minutes. The title track, "Dance of Death" is next, featuring three=part guitar harmonies, and (gasp) keyboards used as a lead instrument (Dream Theater, anyone?). Interesting, but not an instant classic. "Gates of Tomorrow" is probably the most forgettable tune on the disc. "New Frontier" is exactly that - the first Nicko McBrain penned piece, and it rocks, with some serious riffage. "Paschendale" is the second war epic, and the song by which this record will be most remembered - (also voted the best song on the record by members of the ironmaiden.com bb), at 8 minutes long, there is plenty to feast on. A true Maiden classic. "Face in the Sand" has its moments, and "Age of Innocence" proves they can carry an entire CD. The closing "Journeyman" is Maiden unplugged, another first. Despite the lack of guitar solos, the thick, layered guitars provide for an arrangement is interesting to say the least.

My only criticism would be that there are moments where Bruce's vocals get drowned out by guitars that are too loud. This is only in a few spots and a minor flaw. I disagree with melodicrock.com in that I think the production is excellent; the boys sound polished and three guitars do not sound too muddy.

Iron Maiden circa 2003 are alive and well. Yes, this sounds like many other Maiden albums and to some, there may be a "been there, done that" feel. But it has its new moments (more keyboards, acoustic, etc) that make this album worth a few listens. If it's Iron Maiden you want, Dance of Death will not disappoint.

17/09/03: joe664 - iloveitloud71m@yahoo.com
Rating: 0
First thing that hits you is that the more commerical Shirley era is here to stay , not that its bad but it is a little fall off from "Piece of mind" ," Number of the beast days". Adrian Smith penned songs never dissapoint as proof with Paschendale". I have yet to listen to the surround sound mix which I believe benefits the music. Its solid all the way around . Heavier than "Brave new world", remember there all pushin 50 so , I don't expect "early 80's " energy any longer however diehards I think will find that 6 or 7 sings out of 11 are worth repeating many times in the cd player .

16/09/03: freddy de keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 62
Also rather disappointing, the new one from Maiden, although not as disappointing as the new Deep Purple. My complaint is : it's more of the same again. We have heard it ten times before from these guys and often better. Another band that better should retire ? !


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