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Iron Maiden - The Essential Iron Maiden Review
by Zane Ewton

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With a co-headlining slot on Ozzfest in full swing, Iron Maiden is in need of a fresh product to unleash upon an impressionable record buying public. What we get is The Essential Iron Maiden, a collection of hits spanning the band's 25 year and going strong career. This is an expanded version of their previous hits album essentially. With tracks added from the Paul Di'Anno years this collection is stronger than its predecessor but suffers from a not-so-essential first disc of latter career tracks.

Long time fans won't find anything revelatory here but those that are new to the metal sounds of Maiden will find an overview that is about as perfect as possible. The career arc of Iron Maiden has shown a band that has been able to be grounded in a signature sound but still be able to spread its wings into new sounds and ideas.

Iron Maiden rose to the top of the heap of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands in the early 80's by employing the requisite galloping bass, guitar pyrotechnics, wailing vocals and an undeniable mascot that stood head and shoulders above the rest. After two outstanding albums, Iron Maiden grabbed a new singer in Bruce Dickinson and proceeded to blow through the roof with blockbuster The Number of the Beast. Maiden stayed on track through several albums including Piece of Mind, Powerslave and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

Like so many other bands of this time, the 1990's were quiet. Dickinson left for a solo career to be replaced by Blayze Bayley for a few uninspired albums. In 2000 Dickinson returned and the band has been in place since, releasing consistent and fan-pleasing records. Lineup changes have always plagued the band. Steve Harris, the one mainstay and principal songwriter has been able to keep a cohesive band throughout, while also inspiring a generation of metal bass players.

Never one to be a nostalgia act, Iron Maiden has worked hard to crank out interesting and progressive records. Dickinson's stance on never wanting to do a "greatest hits" tour seems peculiar as the band is out on the Ozzfest stage every night blasting out the hits and have released another hits collection.

Arguments about integrity aside, Iron Maiden is an essential band for anyone who ever loved the sound of a heavy metal band in all its splendor. Maiden is a band that got everything right about being a band. Perfect records, perfect songs, perfect image and the greatest mascot to ever grace a sweat-stained t-shirt; Iron Maiden is the total package and rightfully deserve their spot atop the heap of greatest bands of all time.


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Iron Maiden - The Essential Iron Maiden

Label:Legacy Recordings
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