“From Fear to Eternity: The Best of 1990-2010” by Iron Maiden

Artist: Iron Maiden
Title: “From Fear to Eternity: The Best of 1990-2010”
Label: Universal Music
Release Date: 2011
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

Back in 2008, the Heavy Metal legends Iron Maiden, released “Somewhere Back In Time” which was a compilation that focused on seven of their earliest releases. It worked well with the tour that used a similar name and that brings us to the release at hand in today’s world – the 2011 “From Fear To Eternity”. You might be shaking in your boots at the thought of yet another Iron Maiden “Best Of” but in truth this is only the bands sixth such release and they have quite a bit of albums to go before catching up to the dozens that have been released by KISS. Speaking of a lot of ground to cover, “From Fear To Eternity” has this to do as well in terms of albums to focus on and presents to the bands fans a succinct view into the last twenty years and eight albums that they have given us. I loved the clever title as it plays with their “Fear Of The Dark” album title and the space age premise of the great space wilderness explored on their most recent “Final Frontier” album. Obviously this album touches upon everything in between those two recordings and while some are better than others, this kind of focused hits piece was long overdue. The tunes are not presented in historically sequential order and the album truly begins with work we first heard on their “No Prayer For The Dying” as opposed to its follow-up “Fear Of The Dark”. We get some of the finest tunes from the Blaze Bayley era of the band but Blaze himself is not the voice singing and instead we find Bruce Dickinson delivering them in the live sense. I am not sure how I feel about that since the man was still a part of the bands history whether he was the most popular or not. There were a couple of solid tunes during his tenure and with Bruce gone at the time, why not let him keep his moment in the sun.

Since the album only focuses on the last twenty years of the band’s existence it will be a hard sell for those fans who only want to hear their absolute essentials in concert or on album. You know the ones I am talking about – those people who screamed bloody murder when the band delivered the entire “A Matter Of Life and Death” in concert and then closed with three staples. I’ve tried to keep more of an open mind than that sort of listener and thanks to this viewpoint have been able to easily enjoy the goodies that were found across albums like the one just mentioned and their “Brave New World” and even the oft ill-received “Dance Of Death”. I admit I was not the biggest fan of Blaze as the bands singer but loved the song “The Clansman” which we get on the release along with the epic length “Paschendale” from “AMOLAD”. The bottom line is that Maiden is always willing to give you a rousing good time with their Metal and they are sticking to the formula that works best for them. The musicianship is still top-notch and the vocals have never sounded better. There are those who even feel the added strings of Gers have supplemented the sound more than those who feel that he takes away from the band. When it all comes down to it, Iron Maiden has managed to remain fresh and exciting and while I refuse to name names, we don’t always get that from some of the other legacy level artists. Some bands leave the listeners confused at their new works and make their listeners question the allegiance. This is rarely observed in the Maiden fan base. A good thing for sure.

The packaging is almost what I expected in that it comes with a booklet but they let me down on the visual presentation by only giving the fans about six photos. Two of the pages include the album covers and some brief notes on them while the rest of them give me the lyrics. Granted these are the tunes that are not at the tip of everyone’s tongues like their most classic numbers and could stand to be helped by presentation of the words but at twenty pages I really expected more photos and artwork than small, difficult to read without spectacles lyrics. The cover itself might interest the fans though as it offers up a presentation of Eddie with several nods to his incarnations across the years that this release covers. Another interesting fact is how the double CD set is priced as a single CD and this is wonderful in today’s economy. The question remains whether or not to buy it and I would have to say yes to that because Iron Maiden is still as fresh and as exciting as they were in the beginning and they continually deliver on the stage and are to be commended for this. Yes the “newer” songs are not as easy to digest at times but let’s give them credit for keeping the music coming and keeping it solid and heavy. Keep the crossed armed scrutiny and wariness for the bands that are still around and failing to deliver time after time instead of the mighty Maiden. Up the Irons!!!!

Track Listing:
1. The Wicker Man
2. Holy Smoke
3. El Dorado
4. Paschendale
5. Different World
6. Man On The Edge
7. The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg
8. Blood Brothers
9. Rainmaker
10. Sign Of The Cross
11. Brave New World
12. Fear Of The Dark
13. Be Quick Or Be Dead
14. Tailgunner
15. No More Lies
16. Coming Home
17. The Clansman
18. For The Greater Good Of God
19. These Colours Don’t Run
20. Bring Your Daughter…To The Slaughter
21. Afraid To Shoot Strangers
22. Dance Of Death
23. When The Wild Wind Blows

Official Website: www.ironmaiden.com

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