Dance Of Death (EMI)
By: Cam Lindsay
Ed is back, and so is Iron Maiden. After owning the British metal market for 25 years, Iron Maiden is still going strong with their thirteenth studio album. Dance Of Death sees the band picking up where they left off three years ago with the mega-successful Brave New World, which saw the return of their one and only true vocalist, Bruce Dickinson. DOD is an even stronger album than its predecessor, featuring some of their finest lyrical content since 88's classic, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. While they've always enjoyed pushing their songs into epic territories, only two of the eleven tracks here clock in under five minutes in length. One of them, first single, "Wildest Dreams", may not sizzle the way "The Wicker Man" did, but it proves Maiden have the ability to include melodies with their ferocious riffs (the track recently entered the UK charts at #6). "Monts?gur" does the same while competing for the title of their heaviest of all-time. Most attention grabbing is the Jethro Tull-isms of the title track. Prog enough to soundtrack the animated film version of The Lord Of The Rings, it's hard not to notice the contrast to the rest of the album. Oddly enough though, because it lasts over eight and a half minutes, the song becomes filled with wonder instead of cheese. Closing with the fierce shredder, "Age Of Innocence", and the bewildering "Journeyman", Iron Maiden have made the complete metal album. With all of the recent one-hit-wonder heavy metal bands now reduced to a "whatever happened to?" status (e.g. Alien Ant Farm, Papa Roach, Coal Chamber), it's a breath of fresh air to see that Maiden can still fly high without forcing Dickinson to rap or Harris to work some turntables. Sticking to their roots, this legendary metal band has written one of their best albums in a quarter of a century into their career. Can you honestly say that about the Rolling Stones?
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