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Iron Maiden - "Eddie\'s Archive"
EMI 2002

Oops! Metal casket with three double CD's, extra crystal glass with Eddie's gloving eyes, plus updated family tree parchment scroll rolled in a ring. Strictly limited on 4000 copies worldwide! Don't get frustrated if you'll find this release unavailable in CD stores. I'm sure, that these three doubles will be re-released separately...someday. Let's rather talk about music. Firstly, there are no Soundhouse Tapes included!

First double CD features BBC Archives. First CD contains four pieces recorded in interesting prehistoric line up: Di'Anno/Harris/Murray accompanied with Tony Parsons (guitar) and Doug Sampson (drums). This live recording from November 1979 is a real rarity. Followed by 1982's recordings with Bruce, when Maidens were promoting their worldwide success (The Number Of The Beast) album, makes first impressive contrast to talk about. First four pieces feature Iron Maiden as a band that was very much under influence of 70's hard rock bands with their roots emerging from blues and R'N'R. This is also the case with Maiden's production at that time. Three years later they turned into a pure heavy metal band. You can find an interesting version of "Transylvania", with Dave's solo included at the end of the song, the same solo piece he had played during the previous (Killers) tour.

First CD features the band with Bruce, spitting out much more fire on stage. Lets take a look at the second CD with BBC sessions. 1980's Reading Festival with Di'Anno on vocals is far better when comparing it with the 1988's Donnington Monsters Of Rock Festival recordings. With so many recordings left unknown, or shall we say, with so many live recordings still hidden by the "band authorities" (I'm talking to you Steve!), they chose to put a recording that features Bruce with a sore throat. And you'll be able to hear Bruce with serious vocal problems on stage especially when performing pieces as "Infinite Dreams", "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son", "The Trooper" or "Moonchild". There are a couple of situations when Bruce finds himself being for a half of a tune down and behind. Bruce is desperately chasing the rest of the band and just can't catch the ball. I don't understand the band's decision to put this recording together with other rarities. If you have a Maiden England video at home, than these seven pieces from 1988's Monsters Of Rock, won't be a surprise for you at all. But nevertheless the captured sound is fantastic, featuring golden line up: Smith/Murray/Harris/McBrain/Dickinson. Enjoy Harris/McBrain perfect dream team cooperation and Murray/Smith twin guitars just prior to Adrian's departure from a band.

As much as I have complained over Bruce, the second live double CD "Beast Over Hammersmith", features him in top form. Here we have a direct proof why Bruce is irreplaceable part of Iron Maiden. With getting Bruce in the band, Iron Maiden became the purest heavy metal act of that time. Di'Anno wanted to do his lines in a punk fashioned way, Dickinson's singing style contributed the appendix of a melody that this band tried to develop. Dickinson is screaming in Hammersmith '82 like an air jet. He's full of anger. Sometimes his vocal lines are sounding very rough and almost brutal. This recording is a true document of what a fantastic live act Iron Maiden were in their best days. Iron Maiden were a shock act for that time because they were always faster on stage than in studio. Aggressive and perfectly tuned in band on stage. Chemistry just worked!

The third double CD, with Eddie featured on the front cover, being caught in the act by showing serious signs of frustrations, features "best of b-sides". For all those of you who didn't collect 1995's Iron Maiden limited edition double picture disc that was available in CD stores just for a short period (before Maiden's decision to do complete remasters), here's a chance.

Okay, although the chances of having Eddie's Archive at your home are very small, it is a must for every Iron Maiden devotee. It is not always the easiest thing to lay a path for the next generation of bands. In the case of Iron Maiden it was. Maidens were the chosen ones. They just knew what they wanted. Five youngsters chasing their big goals, by being what they are. Always on the right path. My respect!

Author:   Aleš

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