REVIEW: Iron Maiden – The Essential (2005)

Part 38 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

SAM_1658

IRON MAIDEN – The Essential (2005)

…And the era of Maiden compilations had begun.  And I did buy them all.

The Essential is a series.  I have The Essential Johnny Cash as well as others.   So, this one was not put together by the band.  There’s no Eddie on the cover, no exclusive content, no liner notes from Rod Smallwood nor Steve Harris.  Instead there are liner notes from Lonn M. Friend of RIP Magazine.  They’re aimed at newbies, but at least all songs get full musician and writing credits.

Much like 1996’s Best of the Beast, the tracks are reverse-chronological.  This time, it works better than on Best of the Beast.  The cool thing is that this means you start with the incredible epic “Passchendale” from Dance of Death.  What an opening.  Every album (studio and live) is visited, including four Blaze Bayley tracks.

Everybody bitches about what tracks should have been left off, and which should have been included.  Here’s mine:

1. I would have included no Blaze tracks, and instead included live versions of Bruce singing them.

2. Those are the only times I would have included live tracks.

3. I could do without “Holy Smoke” and “Bring Your Daughter”.  Give me “Tailgunner” instead.

4. Give me “Stranger In A Strange Land” instead of “Heaven Can Wait”.

But that’s about it.  You get a healthy mix of hits along with great album cuts such as “Wrathchild”, “Killers”, and glory be, “Phantom of the Opera”!  Those, plus “Passchendale”, make this a passable greatest hits disc.

Tracklist is below, but only you can decide if this one’s worth buying.  I bought it for “the collection”.  As far as a complete career-spanning set goes, this is about as close as it got without having to buy multiple sets.  However it’s now out of print, so the point is moot.

3/5 stars

Disc: 1
1. Paschendale
2. Rainmaker
3. The Wicker Man
4. Brave New World
5. Futureal
6. The Clansman
7. Sign Of The Cross
8. Man On The Edge
9. Be Quick Or Be Dead
10. Fear Of The Dark
11. Holy Smoke
12. Bring Your Daughter..To The Slaughter
13. The Clairvoyant
Disc: 2
1. The Evil That Men Do
2. Wasted Years
3. Heaven Can Wait
4. 2 Minutes To Midnight
5. Aces High
6. Flight Of Icarus
7. The Trooper
8. The Number Of The Beast
9. Run To The Hills
10. Wrathchild
11. Killers
12. Phantom Of The Opera
13. Running Free (Live)
14. Iron Maiden (Live)
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19 comments

      1. Well, as I’ve learned going through all this stuff, Maiden is one of those bands that had obvious hits and favourites. It might take a few compilations to please everybody. Plus, they make even ore money off guys like you!

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        1. Yes indeed they can. They next two comps, which we’ll get to obviously, if taken as a set, are about as good as it gets. Not perfect but this is Maiden after all and to be perfect you’d have to buy all 15 albums!

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  1. Aerosmith and Kiss are the ultimate compilation whores!
    Sure Maiden was/is getting there but at least when they do its cool..hahahahaha…
    This one I passed on ,Beast Of The Beast was good enuff for me!

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  2. These Essential series CDs are usually a little bit better than most compilations out there. I don’t think this looks like one of the better ones though. Maiden just aren’t the sort of band that benefits from these kind of things. Studio albums, singles, live albums… that’s the essential Maiden. I do have Essential Toto though!

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        1. Then again Maiden’s the same. There was a Springsteen one that I was interested in, I believe it came with a bonus 3rd disc of rarities. I may be wrong on that but that’s how I remember it.

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  3. The Springsteen is, indeed, a 3CD set. Doesn’t look too rare, though. Amazon has it for $15. And I saw it last time I was at HMV. I’d pick it up, if I had the funds, just for the rare stuff. His b-sides are better than most peoples’ a-sides. I haven’t yet got it, though, because I have the box set that goes from 1st album to Born In The USA, so there’d be a ton of overlap. Still, I wouldn’t say no if I saw it and had no other plans for $15 of discretionary cash.

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