REVIEW: Iron Maiden – A Real Dead One (1993, plus single)

Part 17 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!  NOTE:  This album was later reissued as part of A Real Live Dead One.

IRON MAIDEN – A Real Dead One (1993)

When Maiden hit the road for what was to be Bruce’s farewell tour, it did not go as the band intended.  There were some positives:   Because this was Bruce’s farewell, the band decided to pull certain older tracks out of the box, and record them for the next live album, A Real Dead One.  But three of the four other Iron Maiden members (Janick Gers being the sole holdout) have accused Bruce of sabotaging that last tour.  I’m sure this is all water under the bridge now, but Maiden were furious that Bruce seemingly stopped trying, barely sang, and underperformed on certain stops on the tour.  Only the big gigs, with the cameras and the press, did Bruce put any effort into singing, claimed the band.

Whatever the case may be, Bruce did turn up for the tracks on A Real Dead One.  And Maiden stacked the deck with great tracks, stretching from the first album to Powerslave.  And those older seldom heard tracks that Maiden pulled out of the box?  Yeah!  You get classics like “Remember Tomorrow”, “Where Eagles Dare”, and “Prowler”.  None of those songs were on the immortal Live After Death (neither was “Transylvania” or “Sanctuary”!) so that brings added value to this album, as a companion piece of sorts.

But it could never live up to the legacy set by Live After Death, and although it’s certainly better than A Real Live One, I can’t say I play this too frequently.   The band are on fire and playing as furiously as ever.  The solos are nothing if not sublime.  Steve and Nicko gallop forward driving the whole thing.  That’s all well and good.  The vocals don’t seem mixed high enough to me.  Bruce’s voice is also obviously wearing with age.  It happens.  I think the album has a better overall sound than A Real Live One however.

I don’t think “Remember Tomorrow” needed backing keyboards, although Dave and Janick’s guitar work is beautiful.  I love Janick’s noisy chaotic solo that still somehow fits the song.  I also love Nicko’s drum work and fills.

“Hallowed By Thy Name” appropriately closes the album, and was also the album’s single.  The fantastic cover art shows Bruce being killed by Eddie, a trick they would try live for their final gig (and more on that when I get to it).  “Hallowed” had two unique live B-sides:  “Wasted Years” and “Wrathchild”!  Both are worth having.  “Wrathchild” probably could have been on this album, and “Wasted Years” definitely should have been on A Real Live One.

Derek Riggs came back for the cover art.  DJ Eddie seems to be spinning discs in hell, at 666 FM!

Even though this was Maiden’s second live album of 1993, it was not their last!  Stay tuned…

3.5/5 stars

Below:  Note Bruce promoting his cousin Rob Dickinson’s new band, Catherine Wheel!  Also seen, the CD for the combined A Real Live Dead One release.

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17 comments

  1. By the time I got to these live albums, they were already re-released as a double-disc set (“A Real Live Dead One”), so I guess I never thought of them as separate releases with different purposes. As I mentioned in my comment to your post on “A Real Live One,” I didn’t love most of the performances, especially compared to “Live At Donington” from the same tour. I’m curious to see what you think of that live album. Have you reviewed it already (I wasn’t able to find it here), or will you be getting to it in the future?

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  2. Well Rich, that album is up next in my chronology. You can imagine how surprised I was when it came out — “Didn’t Maiden already release two other live albums this year?” Not to mention the original front cover smacked of bootleg, and there was no booklet originally. I honestly did not know if it was official or not (no internet to look such things up).

    I bought Donington instead of these two at first, and stay tuned for its eventual review!

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  3. Nuthin comes close to Live After Death,Nuthin but having said that,this isa band that’s kinda on its last legs on its first go round of success that is waning well in North America anyways.
    I bought this pretty much the day it came out….once I seen Where Eagles Dare was on it I was sold kinda,but man where is the production another sounding bootleg ???
    Yeah and there goes Janick into another soloing dimension but u what …I’m ok with that….!
    Hahahaha…..
    And hello to Live At Donnington…..

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  4. Maiden were really churning out the live albums and videos at this point weren’t they? I have this but I can’t honestly remember ever listening to it. Maybe once… So I’ll take your opinion on this one as gospel! I do remember being more into the Donington set at any rate.

    It’s funny about Bruce’s voice wearing with age at this point as his vocals on Maiden’s recent tours and albums have been much stronger. So I can’t help wondering if his lack of enthusiasm is showing through at this point after all.

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    1. Can’t wait to get into Donington, and beyond that. I haven’t actually written it yet. I’m a little bit at a standstill now, I’m caught up publishing everything Maiden that I’ve written! I’d better get crackin’ eh?

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      1. Yeah, what are doing wasting time talkin’ to me?! Get back to work! Haha

        Do you have quite a lot of stuff already written? Did you have another blog before this or have you always written stuff? Just wondering how you achieve your prolific output. I struggle to put up a post a week!

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        1. Well there’s my old Amazon reviews, I think I did 400 or 500 there, but it’s a mixture of books and movies and discs, and of poor quality compared to what I try to do now. Everything I’ve poached from my Amazon account has either been heavily revised or completely re-written from scratch.

          However most of what I post now is brand new content; all I can tell you is that my wife is kind enough to leave me alone on most Saturdays and I can write away. I have a vacation next week and I plan on using it for rocking, writing, and excersize!

          As for the Record Store Tales, I’ve been writing those for over 10 years. Some were published to a prior blog on iam.bmezine.com, a body modification website. Most have never seen the light of day until now.

          But thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it. The problem with the bmezine blog was that really, people just used it to check out pictures of other people, and music was definitely like 3rd or 4th on the topics of interest there. Of that music, the kind I like wasn’t especially popular. It was the early 2000’s and all anybody was talking about was emo and punk on that site.

          I had a sub-blog on that site called School of Rock, my code-name was Dewey Finn (from the movie, get it?) but sadly there was no way for me to save those blogs, and it’s all lost. I used to post daily “rock lessons” like for example the history of Black Sabbath, or a list of great Les Paul players, whatever I felt like!

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        2. That’s great, I’ve never done any reviewing or anything before. I did something akin to the Noise-some Notes on an old Tumblr I had and have since deleted but that was about it.

          Picking a day and doing loads is a good tactic… seems to work for you too! It’s one thing just cranking out posts but there’s obviously a LOT going into yours and they’re all of a great standard. Impressive stuff!

          Never seen School of Rock, don’t know if I can put up with Jack Black for more than 5 mins…

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  5. Maybe I should review School of Rock. If you’re not a Black fan, well, it would hurt a bit. But the music was SO FUCKING GOOD. Ramones! Kiss! Zeppelin! I think the first time Zep released a song for a movie. And the original music wasn’t bad either.

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    1. School Of Rock is a great movie. One of those watch-it-whenever-it’s-on-TV movies. Jack Black can get tiresome sometimes, but this was the perfect role for him. He was also amazing in High Fidelity. FYI, I believe Almost Famous was the first film to get clearance for Zeppelin’s music (in 2000). I know that Jack Black famously pleaded Jimmy, Robert & JPJ for the use of “Immigrant Song” and he was obviously successful.

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        1. OK take a chance on School Of Rock. I liked it a lot. I mean I know every lyric and every line off by heart now.

          I love when he asks what artists the kids like.

          “Christina Auguilera!”

          “What? No!”

          “Puff Daddy!”

          “NO!”

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      1. You’re right Rich. It was the famous plead that had me thinking it was a first. But Almost Famous did indeed come before it. And I agree, perfect role. And actually an OK movie for kids to watch, if you have young ones just starting to get into music.

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  6. I like the crowd shouting along with Vincent Price to open the show. But holy, Bruce’s voice was SHIT through that opening of Number. Did he have a cold? I’d believe it, he sounds brutally bad. Whatever, the crowd was into it; he really should have let them sing it. Almost sounds like he’s coasting, wishing they’d pump up his mic volume, not taking the vocals high when he can take them low… damn. The band, of course, nails it. The Trooper rolls around and the crowd noise is gone when it suits the studio fixers. Again. I hate that (I’ve said that before). A ripping version from the band, but Bruce still sounds like hell. Uninspiring, so far, is Mr. Dickinson. That guitar solo! I keep saying that about these guys, but damn! Prowler confirms my fears that this entire rcord is gonna be a stellar blast from the band but a horrible showing for their vocalist. Maybe he’s off in the mix, too. I mean, there is a lot going on, a lot with which to compete, but that still doesn’t make up for his taking the easy way out as often as he does, not holding notes, not reaching for the high notes we expect. Maybe a live DVD of this show would show that he was actually running around at full speed and all of these complaints are moot because he was giving it this much, all the while doing sprints and jumping jacks or whatever. Transylvania is the best track here. It’s absolutely GREAT musicianship, and the dude’s not singing.

    Remember Tomorrow wasn’t a highlight for me when I heard it on the record, and this version’s slow bits plod painfully. The up-tempo bits, of course, kill. The guitars, AGAIN! Hot damn. But those screams he gives out after the 5:00 mark are just bad. Better left alone, man. Where Eagles Dare’s middle section is more proof positive that this band could kill as a completely instrumental metal band. People would still come to rock the fuck out, I swear. Sanctuary messes with the crowd noises again, but at least the vocals seem to (finally) be warming up a bit. When they stop one minute in, to introduce the band… I dunno. Odd timing, seven songs into a 12 song set. Whatever. Listen to that insane guitar, again! Makes it all okay. Even when that last little bit about 1:30 from the end makes it all fall apart before the go off on a gallop again. I wonder if that was planned? Probably. Ill-advised, anyway. Just rock it, man. Stop mucking about. So then that track leaves us hanging abruptly and Running Free comes bouncing in. It’s alright, I guess. Lots of crowd participation. Not a main track in this set.

    Run To The Hills’ intro was way too fast, which makes sense to me – means he doesn’t have to hold notes. The rest of the tracks blasts along well enough but man, that’s it, I’m done with this guy here. Every song I’m writing how he’s not able to do it. Sure, it’s a tough-as-hell job, and the recorded versions are tough to live up to, night after night. I know I sure as shootin’ couldn’t do it. But it’s the reason he’s there, and he’s missing the notes. Ugh. The rest of this is just going to hit my ears music-only. 2 Minutes To Midnight is pretty faithful to the record, though it seems like they dragged it out long. I could be wrong about that. Iron Maiden ends the main section of the show with one of those long, drawn-out crashing closings. The crowd chants along for a while until they comeback and do the obligatory encore. Hallowed Be Thy Name saves the whole thing. Not THAT’S what we needed! Sure, the bass sound is… clunky? Something off about it. And it’s shit that he saved the best vocals for the last track. Guess he knew it was time to go home soon, have a cup of tea and not have to yell so much. But this is the best song here (the only one I’d pull for a mix), the only one that clicks and says MAIDEN! To have to sit through the rest, waiting for it? Nonsense.

    Overall? This one really is a real dead one, alright. All thanks to the abyssmal vocals from Mr. Dickinson. I have this mental image of him running backstage after the show and collapsing. Oh well. Kudos to the rest of the band, they nailed it, song after song. Not a fan of this one.

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  7. First of all that’s not Vincent Price. I don’t know who it is but I can find out. Definitely not Vincent.

    I agree about the crowd noise aspect too. But yeah, Bruce was probably running around from one side of the stage to another…Maiden live albums sometimes make more sense when you see the live video too! (In this case, no video exists)

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