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Dance of Death

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★★★★☆
(507 Reviews)

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Hailed by The New Yorker as ’perhaps the most musically adventurous act currently signed to a major label’ and by Rolling Stone as 2008’s Best Prog-Rock Band, The Mars Volta makes its Warner Bros. debut with Octahedron, the highly acclaimed group’s fifth studio album. Following 2008’s The Bedlam In Goliath-its third consecutive album to debut Top 10-which featured ’Wax Simulacra,’ Grammy winner for Best Hard Rock Performance, The Mars Volta’s punkperverted neo-psychedelia goes acoustic on Octahedron. Says the band’s Cedric Bixler Zavala: ’There’s electricity throughout it! But that’s what our band does-celebrate mutations.’

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  • Three years ago Iron Maiden released comeback album with Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith. It was massive success all over the world and showed that Maiden can still make good music. Now it’s finally time for new studio album called Dance Of Death. Dance Of Death has been a massive success all over the world. Iron Maiden is back on top again!Dance of Death is about war and death. It contains great songs about first world war and so on…1. Wildest Dreams (Smith/Harris) is first single from new Iron Maiden album called Dance Of Death. It’s short dynamic rocker from Mr. Smith. Wildest Dreams has became band’s live favourite and climbing up on charts. Maybe you have heard song from radio, seen it on tv or heard on the recent ‘Give Me Ed… Til I’m Dead’ tour? 2. Rainmaker (Murray/Harris/Dickinson) is next single from Dance Of Death. It’s again catchy rocker and the chorus is instantly memorable. Instant hit! ‘You tell me we can start the rain…’3. No More Lies (Harris) is first long epic song from the album. It’s mix between The Clansman (from Virtual XI album) and Don’t Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger (from Virtual XI album). The ‘3 Amigos’ make exellent solo work. 4. Montsegur (Gers/Harris/Dickinson) is very heavy song and it reminds a lot of Powerslave and Piece Of Mind. Starting riff is mix between Fallen Angel (from Brave New World album) and Losfer Words (from Poverslave album).5. Dance Of Death (Gers/Harris) is second long epic song feturing very powerful lyrics and great Russian vibe with symphonic elements. 6. Gates Of Tomorrow (Gers/Harris/Dickinson) is short rocker. Starting riff is like AC/DC meets Skunkworks (Bruce Dickinson solo album). Song itself features very catchy double guitar melodies.7. New Frontier (McBrain/Smith/Dickinson) took only about 20 years until we could hear song from Nicko McBrain. Song reminds a lot of Maiden’s early days like The Number Of The Beast or Piece Of Mind albums. New Frontier includes blistering solo from Adrian Smith.8. Paschendale (Smith/Harris) is third and last long epic song on the album. Inspiration of song comes from historic battle, this one from the First World War. Paschendale is huge epic song which meets Pink Floyd, Emerson & Lake & Palmer and so on… One of the most memorable epics what Iron Maiden have ever done! Including incredible solo works from ‘3 Amigos’ and amazing Bruce Dickinson vocal performance. ‘Blood is falling like the rain…’9. Face In The Sand (Smith/Harris/Dickinson) is very enigmatic and atmospheric song. It’s a very slow grower, but soon you find singing with the melody.10. Age Of Innocence (Murray/Harris) starts with Murray’s slow melodic solo and then grows into quite fast song. 11. Journeyman (Smith/Harris/Dickinson) is beautiful acoustic end featuring acoustic guitars, drums and strings.Dance Of Death is album like… It’s like… You don’t hear these kind of albums so often anymore. It’s made for those people who like great tales, long heavy epics and great melodies. Dance Of Death is album, that you could listen hours and hours again finding new elements. So find quiet place, take your headphones, close your eyes and enjoy. It will be memorable experience and you want do it again and again…

    Posted on March 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Okay, from what I’ve seen over 160+ people have commented on Iron Maiden’s new album Dance of Death analysing the new release from the band’s songwriting to the lyrics to the guys’ performance on their instruments to Bruce’s vocals to the mix to the artwork to the production to this to that… etc. All that’s necessary to say has already been said. So I’ll keep it simple: This is IRON MAIDEN, one of the most important Heavy Metal bands on the planet. One of the handful of bands that has never forgotten where they’re coming from, never abandoned their roots and musical vision in hopes of reaching to bigger audiences. They’re still what they were back in 1988. Most complaints seem to be about the band’s repetitious songwriting. About Harris’ overuse of his galloping bass lines. Is there any truth to this? Maybe. I’m not a blinded fan, but at least I know what to expect from my Maiden when they put out a new record. At least it doesn’t turn out to be a terrible pop-disco-rap thing that totally bombs and then every band member defends it giving out cliche statements such as “Well we’re a band that always progresses. We wanted to try something different on our last album and somehow it didn’t work out. We’re gonna go back to our roots on the next release, don’t worry, keep supporting us blah blah blah” kind of thing. Come to think about it, when was the last time you bought a Maiden album and were so very disappointed with it because Harris & co. had gone disco or had tried to incorporate rap vocals to the music going for a ‘modern approach’? But people are still whining out there. This is Maiden. They’re doing what they do the best and let me tell you something they’re still one of a kind. If you don’t like this type of music, well fine. But there’s no need to complain. It won’t do any good. Maiden has always sounded this way. I myself am a big prog metal fan, but I know what to expect from these guys. I don’t go like “They keep repeating themselves over and over again, they’re so boring”. Iron Maiden is Iron Maiden. They’ve been this way the last 25 years, so don’t expect them to come out playing something absolutely different all of sudden. Metallica changed after 1991. How many of us still like them? Megadeth changed in 1997 only to ‘return to their roots’ on their next release. Do you want the same thing to happen to Maiden? I certainly don’t.Furthermore, Brave New World was a great step in the right direction. The band acually did push the envelope and try to cover some new ground. While some fans were pleased by it, those Powerslave-era fans kept complaining. So here we have a new record that picks up where BNW left off. Apart from the first two songs, the record contains quite a fe 7+ minute songs. “Wildest Dreams”, while not as good as BNW’s “Wickerman”, opens the album with total energy and this is continued on the second track “Rainmaker”. Both below the 4-minute mark still manage to set the mood. With songs like “No More Lies”, “Dance of Death” and “Paschendale” we get our old Maiden with their traditional riffs, rich melodies, long but, in my opinion, fitting guitar solos from Gers, Smith and Murray as well as galloping bass lines from Mr Harris. Nicko has always done a great job in Maiden. His drumming is good. I know he’s done better before but give these guys a break. They’re aging. Still they’re pulling it off. They’re no longer in their 30’s.The sound on Dance of Death is crystal clear, just the way a Maiden album should sound. Kevin Shirley’s done an awesome job as a producer. Bruce is as good as always. I know there are nitpickers out there waiting for the guy to accidentally not be able to hit the highest of notes, but no, not on Dance of Death. Cause he pulls it off. He’s just one of a kind, a real frontman and the perfect singer for Iron Maiden. I am personally proud to have supported this band ever since I started listening to music at the age of 12, and I will continue to do so forever. Maiden makes me proud to be a fan of Heavy Metal. Period.

    Posted on March 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Toss out all the grandstanding here — in favor of AND against Dance of Death. These facts are undeniable about the album:1. Bruce is awesome, but he’s 20+ years older than Piece of Mind. Give the guy a break and respect him for the badass that he still is, and stop whining about the badass he WAS because he’s not hitting the same notes…2. There are more 3 part harmonies here than on BNW. And the solos are a return to form of sorts, sounding more like “classic” Maiden than BNW.3. There are more longer, drawn out songs here than BNW. Harris would do well to lose the intro/outro disease and whittle down things a bit. When in doubt Steve, simplify. Simplify.4. Nicko’s song is no letdown at all! Let’s see what else he’s got up his sleeve.5. Maiden still have fire and passion, although Harris might be a tad too inflexible with his formulas. I don’t know the man and I wasn’t there during the songwriting to see if he really runs the show with an “Iron” fist as they say, but holy s**t, Chemical Wedding about blew my d**k off compared to BNW and DOD. I’d like to see Maiden take a stab at “changing musical directions” and experimenting with more visceral songwriting that’s free of overproduced embellishments. I get the feeling Adrian and Bruce wish they could “cut loose” more. However, the varied credits on this album suggest the winds of change might be blowing as far as the songwriting goes, so lets all reserve judgement until the next album is released in a few years.6. The question everyone is asking: Can the new revitalized Maiden recapture it’s glory, or should we be waiting for Bruce and Adrian to do another kickass solo album? The answer: Hey folks, lighten up and enjoy it all. It could be worse — they might have retired after the Blaze years. Give it up for these guys and all they’ve done for us and quit knocking them down.Buy the record. It’s great stuff. Or get in your camaro and put on Powerslave. Just enjoy the music and stop being so hypercritical. Enjoy it while it lasts!

    Posted on March 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’ve been holding off on reviewing this for a while, because I wanted to soak it in, get a feel for it, make sure I didn’t miss anything. And I’m glad I did. The first couple of times I listened to this, it didn’t really grab me. There were a couple of songs that stood out, but for the most part, I found it to be a bit boring. Some songs just didn’t seem to have that special something that the Maiden classics of yore had. But I listened to it more. And then I realized…This album is just fantastic. No, really. Expanding upon the more elaborate arrangements of “Brave New World”, adding in a bit of the harder feel of the oldschool stuff, and throwing a few surprises our way, “Dance of Death” proves to be a very strong release. It’s one of their most diverse and musically ambitious albums to date. Why didn’t it register with me before? Well, I really have no idea. I suppose the album is one you’ve just got to become acquainted with. You’re not going to just pop it in, and form an opinion right away. It’s gotta sink in a bit, and sink in it did.The great songs abound. “Rainmaker” and “Wildest Dreams” are fast-paced and melodic, with the kind of vigor that the band hasn’t exhibited in years. “Montsegur” has a killer riff, and a performance from Bruce that proves he’s still got it. “New Frontier” has a sort of “Somewhere in Time” feel, with a great chorus. There are also a wealth of great epics here, such as “No More Lies”, “Pashendale”, “Face in the Sand”, and the title track. Some of these songs were the ones that took a few listens to get into, but when they finally hit me, they hit hard. My favorite from the album is probably “Age of Innocence”. Featuring a brutal staccato riff on the verses, and an overwhelmingly catchy melodic chorus, this is one of their best songs to date. The politically oriented lyrics are also a bit of a departure from their usual lyrical arsenal. The album ends on a great note with the acoustic “Journeyman”. This album as a whole is difficult to describe, because there’s just so much cool stuff going on. The guitar work is excellent (as usual), and there’s even the occasional string section here and there to enhance the killer melodies. This is the first time the band has used actual strings (until now, they were done on a keyboard), and they really work well. I would actually like to see them go into an even more symphonic direction on subsequent releases. Might not get the best reaction from the purists, but I think it’d be great.If there’s one thing I can complain about here, it’s that the production is a bit weak. While it does give the album a rawer, more oldschool feel (as opposed to the more slick and lush arrangements of BNW), it also leaves some of the music a bit pushed back in the mix. Nicko really doesn’t stand out like he should. On BNW, he was brought much further up into the mix, and it was easier to focus on what he was doing, but you’ve really gotta strain a bit more to make out the intricacies of his drumming. Steve’s bass doesn’t stand out quite as much either (although, admittedly, his basslines have been better). I’m hoping that maybe they’ll remix this album some day, but I kinda doubt it. Anyway, despite taking some time to appreciate, this is a great new release from the kings of metal. Not many bands that have been around for 20 years or more are still making music this good, so it’s a real relief to still have Maiden in the business. I caught them on their last tour, and it was possibly the best show I’ve ever seen. The youthful exuberance that these guys display in their mid to late 40’s is just amazing. I have the feeling these guys still have a few good years ahead of them.I highly recommend this to all of the fans. It may take a few spins, but it’s worth the effort.

    Posted on March 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’ve seen Maiden in concert a half dozen times. I own everything they’ve released in about three or four different formats/versions. Remastered and non-remastered. Vinyl and CD. Not to mention DVD.So I bought Dance of Death with great expectations — especially I had just seen Maiden blow away a sold-out audience in Detroit a month prior to its release.Sadly, Dance of Death is only marginally better than Brave New World. And maybe not even better. Maybe just about as good.What disappointed me about Dance of Death was its dearth of originality. Many of the songs reminded me of songs from Brave New World. (I dare any fan to deny that.) Or, worse, Virtual XI and X Factor. There’s still a lot of repetition of verses going on, bad habits from the Blaze Bayley days, I’m afraid.What saves this album, in my opinion (surely not its cheesy cover art — where’s Derek Riggs when you need him?), is the fact that it is, after all, Iron Maiden. And the classic line-up (plus one!) of Iron Maiden at that.Nobody writes music like Iron Maiden. Nobody sounds like Bruce Dickinson. Nobody plays bass like Steve Harris. Nobody showboats like Janick Gers. Nobody has the speed and melody of Dave Murray or Adrian Smith. Even when they seem to parody themselves, Iron Maiden is still light years beyond most bands today.And maybe that’s why I’ve been harder on Dance of Death than I probably should have been. This is Iron Maiden, for Pete’s sake! I’ve heard what they’re capable of. They blow the roof off concert venues when they tour. And their back catalog of music still electrifies me some 15-20 years on.That said, I must confess that “Wildest Dreams” was a blast to see performed live. And “Paschendale” is a fascinating epic of a song. “No More Lies” suffers from Brave New Worldism, sounding too much like an outtake from the previous album. But “Monstesegur” rocks and “Gates of Tomorrow” features a cool intro riff.Every track has something of value in it. It’s just that, taken as a whole, Dance of Death doesn’t surprise and delight like it could have.Still…This is Iron Maiden. So you have to buy it, anyway. It’s required. Eddie says so.

    Posted on March 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now