Music Reviews

Iron Maiden

Dance of Death


When Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned to Iron Maiden, the fans rejoiced. 2000’s Brave New World marked a return to form for the band. Fans also appreciated the releases that followed: live performances on CD and DVD (Rock in Rio), a greatest hits collection (Edward the Great) and a box set of rare songs (Eddie’s Archive). However, while the re-release of older songs was welcomed, there was some worry that Brave New World was a fluke. The pressure was on for the group to produce a follow-up that would continue that high level of a total Iron Maiden experience. So, how does Dance of Death compare?

From an immensely singable opening track (“Wildest Dreams”), through the heaviest Maiden song since the early ’80s (“Montsegur”), to the first song written by drummer Nicko McBrain (“New Frontier”), Dance of Death proves that Iron Maiden can still put together a complex and compelling album with a little something for everyone. They can create convoluted epic songs (like the title track and “Paschendale”) as well as they did with the songs that first hooked me back in the ’80s. They can still provide the same two- and three-part guitar harmonies that inspired an entire generation of metal guitarists, as heard here on “Rainmaker.” And they can still write powerful mid-tempo numbers like “Gates of Tomorrow” that will create new Maiden fans in an instant.

While Dance of Death is a complete and powerful album, it is not without its flaws. A common nit-pick I have with metal songs occurs once or twice on this album: over-repetition of lyrics. I often skip “No More Lies,” simply because the title lyric is repeated far too many times near the end of the song. Also, the absence of many songs under five minutes limits the commercial radio potential without editing. However, these are minor annoyances on an overall excellent album. Dance of Death may be my favorite Iron Maiden album since Somewhere in Time. Try it. Buy it. Spread the word.

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