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Somewhere Back in Time: The Best of 1980-1989

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Average Rating
★★★½☆
(38 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • IRON MAIDEN release another best of. Why? Well, they are touring this summer so why not release a cd to make some money, right? IMO they don’t need to do this, they are turning into a money machine. We can buy the new DVD (Live after death) and be happy with that. This compilation is only worth the money if you have to have everything Maiden! There are no rarities on this one just plain old Maiden which is great but…

    2 stars for the cover!

    Posted on December 12, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Is a check from the cashing of such needless and unneccesary compilations such as these. In 1995, Best of The Beast came out in a deluxe package and with many of the same songs, and with superior tracking. In 1999, Ed Hunter came out (a video game nevertheless) with another greatest hits type package (of course at least packaged with a game, as mediocre as the game was), then with Edward the Great and The Essential Iron Maiden to follow. Now this. That makes 5 greatest hits packages for Iron Maiden to date. I understand they wanted something to promote the tour and vice versa, but this is definitely pathetic on their part. How about some alternate versions for a change? Demo tracks? B-sides? Something to stand as an incentive for the cynical ones like I, who see this as a pathetic cash-in. Oh yeah, I just remembered the “First Ten Years” collection from 1990 or thereabouts. That makes six.

    Posted on December 11, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The Good
    1980-1989 was the “golden era” for the British heavy metal legends, BUT…

    The Bad
    ANOTHER IRON MAIDEN HITS ALBUM?! For crying out loud. It seems after every new Iron Maiden studio album, it’s immediately followed by a greatest hits collection (The Essential Iron Maiden [2005], Edward the Great [2002], Eddie’s Archive [2002], Best of the Beast [1996]). I can only hope the group has no control over that, because what Iron Maiden fan doesn’t have all these songs? What songs you ask? “Number of the Beast,” “Aces High,” “2 Minutes to Midnight,” “The Trooper,” “Waysted Years,” “The Evil That Men Do,” etc. All the songs included here have appeared on every Iron Maiden hits compilation that came before this one. In addition, there have already been two, that’s right two double disc best of collection by Iron Maiden that include a much more vast collection of fan favorites. And would it kill them to include studio versions of “Phantom of the Opera” and “Iron Maiden?”

    The Verdict
    If you’ve always wanted to check out Iron Maiden but have waited this damn long to do so, Somewhere Back in Time is the best of the best material the band has to offer. However, if you are a fan of the group, you already have this material (four times over), and you should feel insulted that they’re trying to milk you for another $12. The songs deserve a 5 out of 5, but for the album itself….

    Posted on December 11, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • If not always the most popular, Iron Maiden was the best heavy metal band of the 80’s. Glam and hair metal may have been ‘in’ but for those who wished to delve deeper than fast cars and girls, chose Maiden. Often composing songs based on classic novels and containing some blazing musicianship with a sense of melody, Iron Maiden was at the top of their game in the 1980’s. Their songs often delivered messages or philosophical musings about life, death, history and war. Yes, they were the thinking man’s heavy metal band. The truth is that none of this would matter if they didn’t possess the sophisticated and epic song structure that quite easily put them ahead of the pack. “Somewhere Back In Time” tries to summise all of these traits into a one disc package. As many of Maiden’s best songs were quite lengthy you can imagine that the anemic 14 tracks listed here leave something to be desired. Of course with a band like Maiden you will never be able to put all of their best songs from the decade onto one disc so this attempt is obviously directed towards the casual fan, as the die hards own all of the classics represented here, and on THAT level, it does succeed. Maiden, however, was an ALBUM band so it seems a crime to pinhole them to just these songs.

    This compilation focuses on the first 8 Maiden albums, all from the 1980’s, which was inarguably the group’s pinnacle years. Please note that on the first two albums, Paul Di’Anno was the original lead singer, later replaced by the more popular Bruce Dickinson starting with “The Number of the Beast” in 1982. None of Di’Anno’s orginal studio cuts made it onto this collection. The live versions from “Live After Death” with Dickinson on vocals were used instead.

    Iron Maiden (1980)-The tracks represented from the group’s debut are all in their live versions with Dickinson on vocals from “Live After Death”(1985). The songs include “Phantom of the Opera” and “Iron Maiden”. “Running Free” is one of the band’s classics that is not included on this set.

    Killers (1981)-The lone song representing “Killers” is the title track in a live version, again taken from “Live After Death” with Dickinson on vocals when it should be Di’Anno.

    The Number of the Beast (1982)-Iron Maiden’s commercial breakthrough and Bruce Dickinson’s first that is well represented on this collection by containing the title track, “Children of the Damned”, “Run to the Hills” and the death row tale “Hallowed Be Thy Name.” Personally I feel that “The Prisoner” was overlooked but there is no argument that the best songs were chosen.

    Piece of Mind (1983)- Oh let the travesties begin!!! The lone song from this release is “The Trooper”. Great choice BUT where, oh WHERE are “Die With Your Boots On”, “Where Eagles Dare”, “Flight of Icarus” and “To Tame a Land”? C’mon, maybe you can’t fit them all but only one song from this classic???

    Powerslave (1984)- This album gives us “Aces High” (in the live version from “Live After Death”), “2 Minutes to Midnight” and “Powerslave”. For time contraints, Maiden’s best song ever, the 13 plus minute “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is not included.

    Live After Death (1985)- Winston Churchill’s speech is taken from this release before seguing into “Aces High.” See above for other track selections.

    Somewhere in Time (1986)- “Wasted Years” is the sole representation here. An argument can be made for “Sea of Madness” or “Stranger in a Strange Land” but the best track was chosen from this release-a song about living in the present as the line protests “Realize you’re living in the golden years.”

    Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)- Maiden’s concept album that is best heard as such. However, a few standout tracks have been chosen in the likes of “Can I Play With Madness?” and “The Evil That Men Do.” What this collection is missing from this release are the two other songs that, in addition to the ones previously mentioned, also worked their way into the UK top 10 and those songs were “Infinite Dreams” and “The Clairvoyant”.

    Iron maiden was too prolific a band to capture their entire essence on one disc, even by narrowing it down to one decade. “Somehwere Back in Time” does succeed in capturing Iron Maiden at their peak but in no way is it complete. If you’re a casual fan and are interested in hearing Iron Maiden, pick this up for a taste. If you have the extra cash you can also opt for the better but not perfect 2 disc collection “The Essential Iron Maiden”. Just like Pringles, however, you can’t have just one and you will be finding yourself tracking down those original albums, for that is the only way to truly appreciate the glory that was Iron Maiden.

    Posted on December 11, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I graduated High School in 1987. I was a metal head. I wore my jean jacket with studs, boots, long hair, and a fast car. I’m currently 39 and bald. I drive the speed limit. And I’m paying a mortgage.

    But I still love to relive some of the better metal of my youth. Amazingly, Maiden is not only still around, but still hugely popular. This collection really whet my appetite. If it lived up to it’s title it would actually profile the exact moment of my youth.

    Is it needed? No, there are countless Maiden collections. Many have these tunes all collected in a 2-cd “best of” compilation. So why on earth would you buy something new that is, in reality, a scaled down version of a set that has more than twice as many songs for an extra 4.00? Because for someone of my age, this is truly the best, “best of” compilation out there. I don’t doubt that Maiden has been producing face-melting riffs all these long years. But I have not followed them.

    For me, this set chonicles my youth. The Trooper? Wasted Years? Can I Play With Madness? Ryhme of the Ancient Mariner? Holy cow, this set has got it all. Nothing but classic Maiden. Not bogged down with the newer stuff.

    If you’re a younger fan than by all means, buy one of the 2-CD sets that chronicle the band’s metamorphasis over the years. But if you’re just looking for classic Maiden with no tracks that you’ll skip because they’re too new to recognize, then drive right in. I know every single song on this CD and it saves me from dragging out my 2-cd set and skipping over all the new stuff. This is finally a Best-Of CD that I can put and and enjoy from the first track to the last.

    And in all seriousness, this is obviously not the “complete” hits from the 80-89 era. Growing up we actually used to listen to the albums all the way through. There wasn’t itunes so you could just buy what you wanted. But if you had to have a greatest hits from this era, then this is about as good as it gets without making it yourself. Kudos to the band for honoring it’s more senior fans. We’re the ones that helped put Maiden on the charts to begin with.

    And for you kids out there just getting into Maiden, if you want to know what launched Maiden to the world stage, this is the perfect primer. I love this set. I’ll take this over any 2-CD best of set any day.

    Posted on December 11, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now