Iron Maiden - ‘Dance Of Death’ (EMI)

19 Jan 2004

latest lp-release from rock warlords of insanity; release - '03.
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Iron Maiden - 'Dance Of Death'

Younger readers may know of Iron Maiden solely due to a reference to the band in Wheatus' tongue-in-cheek, angst-lite anthem 'Teenage Dirtbag'. Or, alternatively, from some sort of 'vintage' garment manufactured by Top Man, emblazoned with the Maiden logo.

Surely no-one can argue that the previous does a massive disservice to Bruce Dickinson and his troops, who since the late 1970s and over the course of thirteen studio albums, have stood firm in the face of irony, fashion, and restraint. And, sure, 'Dance of Death', like their entire body of work beforehand, is as ludicrously Spinal Tap as rock comes.

Blurred pictures of naked ladies in suggestive poses fill the album sleeve. Over half of the eleven tracks pass the six-minute mark, and mostly contain equally epic guitar solos within them. And all whilst the first single release from this album, 'Wildest Dreams', showed Iron Maiden at their most accessible.

Yet, there are tracks on 'Dance...' that simply make 'Wildest Dreams' seem akin to S Club 7 (sic: S Club now numbers 8 members - Pop-Ed). These include an eight and a half minute opus called 'Paschendale' and the absolutely preposterous title-track ('... and I danced and I pranced and I sang with them/All had death in their eyes/Lifeless figures they were undead all of them/They had ascended from hell"). Yep, Iron Maiden defy rational explanation.

But 'Iron Maiden' and 'rational explanation' shouldn't really ever appear in the same sentence. Loved by millions across the globe - yes, the 'Maiden stand apart from both logic and critical analysis in a way virtually no other band can.

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