Edward The Great
Edward The Great contains sixteen tracks of Iron Maiden’s most popular songs from throughout their history. These are the tracks that were made into groundbreaking MTV videos, that were played on weekend radio shows that highlighted heavy metal, and that hooked fans into wanting more from the band. And more they got — Iron Maiden has been going strong for twenty-five years now, and they show no signs of letting up with a thirteenth studio album coming out later this year.
While some may quibble about the choice of which cuts to include on this package, limiting themselves to their actual “hits” and trying to fit it on a single reasonably-priced CD, the band still managed to deliver quite an array of favorites. Almost every album is represented here, from Number of the Beast, through this year’s live release, Rock In Rio. From the plight of Native Americans (“Run to the Hills”), through Greek mythology (“Flight Of Icarus”), to skewering televangelists (“Holy Smoke”) and beyond, this collection has a bit of everything that Maiden has done, almost. I do question the lack of any tracks from their first two albums featuring Paul Di’Anno on vocals. Surely they could have found room for something from Iron Maiden or Killers, especially considering they spotlight their third vocalist, Blaze Bayley, for two songs during the time Bruce Dickinson was not with the band. All of the tracks sound great thundering through a large stereo. However, on first listen through my computer, the vocals sounded a bit tinny. Perhaps this was a side effect of the digital re-mastering process.
While the included booklet contains some great pictures of the band throughout the ages and lyrics to all of the songs complete with reference to the original album, I felt it was lacking. The only additional material was a nice welcome letter from Steve Harris introducing the fans to the album and the band. I would have liked a little more history on the band for new fans, and a line-up of the band for each album. It would have been a helpful reference as well as a nice piece of history.
Edward The Great is a greatest hits package by a band that respects their fans. Unlike most artists these days, you won’t find any “brand new tracks” or “previously unreleased material” here. These are their greatest hits, and a song that has never been released before can’t really be a hit, now, can it? Iron Maiden knew that their fans would already have all of their hits, since they already own the albums, so they decided to not include any “bonus” material and make their fans buy an entire album for one or two new songs. They even made the Edward The Great cover art available for download from their Web site for the fans who collect art. Edward The Great is meant to be used as an introduction to Iron Maiden. If you are a metal fan who has liked a few Maiden songs recently, this CD will give you a taste of their other work. If you have a friend who might like Maiden, give him a copy and get him hooked.
For the fans who already have every Iron Maiden album, the band has released Eddie’s Archive — a six-disc box set featuring all previously-unreleased on album material. The set consists of four discs worth of live tracks and two discs of B-sides. Also included in the embossed metal box is an Eddie shot glass and a family tree scroll wrapped in an Eddie ring. Both Edward The Great and Eddie’s Archive were released the same day (11/26/2002), to the delight of Maiden fans worldwide.
I have been a fan of Iron Maiden for many, many years. So, any quibbles I have with this CD come from wanting more, not being dissatisfied with what is here. You can’t beat the value here, with sixteen tracks from throughout their career, there is something on this album for every fan of heavy metal. If you’ve heard a couple of Iron Maiden songs that you’ve liked, pick up Edward The Great for a sample of the rest. If you already have all of the Maiden albums already, pass on this collection. It’s OK, the band understands. They want you to buy Eddie’s Archive anyway.
Iron Maiden: http://www.ironmaiden.com