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Iron Maiden - "Dance Of Death"
EMI Records 2003

New effort is far less enthusiastic in comparison with "Brave New World" (2000). It simply can't fully convince. Work was done to fast. Music style? It is typical Iron Maiden record and it is good record again. But it suffers a lot because band hurried too much. I'm working so hard, everytime I play new Iron Maiden CD, to find some creative energy input and "life" vibrations.

And production? Sometimes riffs are forced too much in front and therefore twin guitar melodies are not sounding clear. "Brave New World" sounded crisp and alive! "Dance Of Death" tries to sound dirtier in order to capture true alive feel, but unfortunatlely it mainly fails in achieving that goal. Anyway I must point out two songs that saved a day for Iron Maiden. First one is the title track. Typical Iron Maiden epic full of diverse Celtic double/triple guitar harmonies. It opens with atmospheric intro and this atmosphere rises with spine tingling effect. Atmosphere reaches its boiling point in long instrumental middle section. It also contains many diverse rhythms that are picked over with guitar double harmonies. Everything fits together phenomenally and this is truly another classical masterpiece. An orchestral arrangement spices thing up and helps in building full sound. Good job!

The second masterpiece is called Paschendale. After Dance Of Death, a second highlight from new record. Bruce's vocal performance outstands here. Massive sound wall between riffs and orchestrations is well balanced in Paschendale. Song is again assembled from diverse rhythms and includes lead breaks from all three guitarists. It opens and ends with great atmospheric intro theme. It joins everything we would ask from Iron Maiden.

Bruce sings as he sings. He is still air raid siren after all these years. Rhythm line is still one of the best that metal world had ever seen. So, what's the problem? Band does not use all guitar devices. New album confirms as previous one, that two guitarists in band's line up are more than enough. Face In The Sand sounds also very promising. It captures battle rhythm drive, with aggressive Steve's bass in center position, and riffs are really ripping the air here. Gates Of Tomorrow contains in chorus the same rhythm drive as Loneliness Of A Long Distance Runner.

Age Of Innocence opens with killing riff, but chorus is hard rock fashioned those Iron Maiden? Are you getting "serious" with ages? This chorus is quite shocking move and not Iron Maiden style at all. But anyway, not bad piece at all. Final song is Journeyman. It is acoustic track. Prodigal Son pt. II? Acosustic guitar rhythm is really fashioned in that direction. It offers interesting experience with another great orchestra involvement. It is too long (nothing unusual in Maidens nineties and present musical orientations). There are no solos included and song still reaches the length well over seven minutes.

Lack of ideas is major problem for Iron Maiden right now. I think that Iron Maiden should in fortune use their old trick and offer an album with only eight songs. "Dance Of Death" could easily contain one long epic piece with length over 15 minutes if Maidens would decide to glue together three shorter pieces that were released on record. Anyway "Dance Of Death" is good record. It is surely not among Maiden top albums, but you won't find a bad moment here. Let me end with special advice to Iron Maiden guys: "Please put some balls into it next time!"

Author:   Aleš

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