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Death on the Road

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★★★½☆
(35 Reviews)

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  • Believe it or not, before this was released, this legendary British heavy metal band already had seven live albums and at least three greatest hits compilations under their belts. So was it really necessary to release another live album? Do we really need another version of “Run To The Hills” or “Hallowed Be Thy Name?” Anybody who isn’t a diehard Iron Maiden fan would say nah. One could even make the case that Maiden’s last two compilation discs (“Death on the Road” and the ironically titled “The Essential Iron Maiden”) were “sell-outs,” or desperate attempts to rake in more money.

    But, fortunately, six of the songs on here are from Maiden’s 2003 album, “Dance of Death” (since this was recorded on the “Dance of Death” Tour), so, therefore, the live versions of these songs hadn’t been heard before.

    And “Death on the Road” is still a great live album. Frontman Bruce Dickinson’s vocals are top-notch and the rest of the band are in fine form, as well. Bruce really has a wonderful voice, and, as he shows here, his vocal chords are very elastic. Songs like “Wildest Dreams,” “Rainmaker,” and “Brave New World” are very exciting because Bruce’s almost soulful vocals triumph over running rhythms which consist of fast guitars and energetic drum beats. Elsewhere on the first disc, “Wraithchild,” “Dance of Death,” and “Paschendale” feature great, wild solos, and “The Trooper” and “Lord of the Flies” put catchy “Oooh-oh-oh” sing-alongs on top of walls of wailing guitars.

    Later, Bruce digs deep for a lung-stretching vocal performance on the ultra-catchy and famous tune “Hallowed Be Thy Name.” Other highlights on the second disc include the slowly solemn “Journeyman” (which is complete with hand claps and crowd singing), and the soaring, perfectly executed, last two songs (“The Number of the Beast,” and “Run to the Hills”). Even though we’ve already heard these songs plenty of times on other discs, no Iron Maiden concert is complete without them.

    It’s a great performance, but is it worth buying? Well, if you’re a casual Iron Maiden fan, you probably don’t need any of their live albums; you could probably be suited just fine with “Number of the Beast” and/or “Powerslave.” But diehards should pick this up. If nothing else, just buy it and throw it on the pile so you can say you have a complete Iron Maiden collection.

    Posted on February 18, 2010