“The Essential Iron Maiden” by Iron Maiden

Artist: Iron Maiden
Title: “The Essential Iron Maiden”
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 7/12/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8/10

While I felt a certain amount of hesitation at the aspect of yet another Iron Maiden Greatest Hits package (as we have recently seen Edward The Great, Best Of The Beast and Ed Hunter); not too mention the various and numerable live releases (which are almost “Best Of’s as well). This release had some nice moments to it. It has a large amount of the tracks you would expect to find on a hits piece and with Iron Maiden holding about 14 studio albums and at least a half dozen live releases it is somewhat difficult to decide on what material to include and what to leave out. While the selection impressed me, I was disappointed that “Prisoner”, or “Where Eagles Dare” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name” were left off. Clearly they are more acclaimed as far as Maiden tracks go.

They did add three live versions of songs which I really don’t like on a hits retrospective. Instead of this, I prefer a cleaner and better produced version of the original album track. It is this that the diehard fan is clamoring for more than another live version. Leave those to the live CD’s or even better a live retrospective. Despite my reservations on this the CD makes sure to include an unreleased version of the song “Iron Maiden”, so in that it is acceptable. Of the 27 tunes there is a fair amount of new material which I always find annoying but I guess I am too much the purest and long for the older, more revered material. Last year Iron Maiden released a killer DVD from their first 4 albums of existence (“The Early Days Pt 1”). Knowing this was an excellent piece I felt that the band would attempt to capitalize on it a little more even though some of it was sung by Paul DiAnno. The CD does feature all the lineups of the group so historians will be impressed with that notion. It also comes with a booklet accompanied by some words by band associate Lonn Friend.

Even as you listen to some of the newer material that is on the CD there is no question that Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Nicko McBrain and Janick Gers don’t take you by the throat with the delivery of metal even after 25 years. So I guess it boils down to the question of “Is this CD worth picking up?”, well the answer is yes even though I personally feel that Maiden releases too many hits and live pieces. There are some that don’t mind this at all, and will fill their shelves with anything they can. Iron Maiden has been one of mine and millions of other ravenous Metal fans favorites for many years. They are never disappointing in concert and always are striving to place either new or old material on the shelves for all ages of fans. “The Iron Maiden is going to get You!!!”, so watch out…….

Track List:
1. Paschendale
2. Rainmaker
3. The Wicker Man
4. Brave New World
5. Futureal
6. The Clansmen
7. Sign Of The Cross
8. Man On The Edge
9. Be Quick Or Be Dead
10. Fear Of The Dark – live
11. Holy Smoke
12. Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter
13. The Clairvoyant
14. The Evil That Men Do
15. Wasted Years
16. Heaven Can Wait
17. Two Minutes To Midnight
18. Aces High
19. Flight Of Icarus
20. The Trooper
21. The Number Of The Beast
22. Run To The Hills
23. Wrathchild
24. Killers
25. Phantom Of The Opera
26. Running Free – live
27. Iron Maiden – live, unreleased

Official Web site: www.IronMaiden

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