REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Maiden England ’88 (2013 CD reissue)

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MAIDEN ENGLAND FRONT

IRON MAIDEN – Maiden England ’88 (2013 CD reissue)

It only took 25 years, but Iron Maiden have finally released a complete 2 CD edition of their legendary Maiden England recording.  A video was released in 1989, and a truncated CD version in 1994.  These were great, but less than 100% satisfying.

The first thing you notice is the striking cover art.  This is by somebody named Hervé Monjeaud.  It resembles Derek Riggs’ Eddies enough to fit in fairly seemlessly with the 1988 era.  I wish they used the original motorcycle cover art by Derek Riggs, but at least they credit him inside as the original artist.

Also checking the credits, I was pleased to find that the audio was not remixed.  This is the same mix that Martin Birch produced at the time.  The three unreleased songs are freshly mixed by Kevin Shirley, but there’s no tampering.  This is the authentic Maiden England.

Last year when I reviewed every Maiden release in a row, I discussed Maiden England.  Please check that review out if you’re looking for a more comprehensive review of the songs and content. Back then, I gave it 4/5 stars.  I found the sound a tad muddy, I complained about the brief running time, and I didn’t like that the CD did not include every song from the VHS version.  The missing songs were “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “Can I Play With Madness”.  This edition restores them to the running order, and even adds three more songs that were cut completely from the original release!  So right there, two of my beefs have been addressed.

What about the sound?  Bloody great!  Whatever it was about the first CD release, the flatness of it, is gone.  It’s like when you take your car to the wash, how it shines.  Maiden England ’88 sounds so much better than the original CD.  And of course there’s a nice substantial booklet with photos and lyrics.  No notes from Steve or anybody else, disappointingly.  I always like those “producer’s notes” or what have you.  But that’s window dressing, this is really such a pleasure to listen to, I assure you.  As I wrote these words, Dave Murray was wheedly-wheedly-ing in my ears.  And I liked it.

With the added material and fresh sound, Maiden England ’88 takes its place alongside other Maiden classics such as Live at Donington or Rock In Rio.  Of course it cannot usurp Live After Death, nothing ever will.  Maiden England ’88 has some really awesome Maiden material that didn’t make Live After Death, such as “Still Life”, which remains dramatic and stunning.  “Killers” and “Sanctuary” are two other songs that were not on Live After Death.  Not to mention, by 1988 Maiden had two more albums to draw from.  That means you’ll also hear “Wasted Years” and “The Clairvoyant”, songs that stand strong among the old stalwarts.

The three unreleased songs are “Run To The Hills”, “Running Free” and “Sanctuary”.  These were the encores.  They are not mixed onto the end of the show, but follow a pause and have a noticeably different sound.  It’s hard to describe how the sound differs, but you can hear a change.  I’m not sure why these weren’t included on the original VHS.  Surely not for quality reasons.  The running time of the original video was 95 minutes.  Would another 15 have bumped them into a higher, tax, uhh, you know?  (120 minute tapes were common back then too.)

There’s a DVD too, but I don’t have that yet.  One thing at a time!  Send me a copy, EMI, and I’ll be happy to review it!

5/5 stars

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31 comments

  1. I picked this up as well on Tuesday. Great track listing esp as Mike said with the 3 additional songs! For sure the sound is better than the cd release fom yrs back,this is a great testament to there staying power,I mean last yr they toured N.A with a updated version of Maiden England so you know what your getting!
    Ok everyone just go the damn thing!

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  2. For some reason, didn’t buy this on my weekly Tuesday trip to my local big-box (BB) music retailer (no independent retailers in business anywhere near me…sad)…somehow was justifying I didn’t necessarily need it, even though I was impressed this place actually had a copy on the shelf. Now, after reading your post, Mike, the on-line order has been placed for it, after checking that the in-store stock was sold! Always room in my collection for more anthologized ‘Maiden, live or otherwise!!!

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  3. Well-written review, as always. Just got my copy yesterday and listened to everything except the last two songs (my work day ended before the CD did). Having never heard the original recording nor seen the video, this was new to me and I wasn’t disappointed. As you may remember, I came to Maiden’s music later than most people in my age bracket, but once I dipped my toes in the Maiden water I immediately grabbed my swim trunks and jumped right in.

    This era is probably my favorite because I’m such a prog-rock fan, and this is when they really explored that side of their music. If I have any complaint it’s that the mix is a little trebly, but that’s only a minor gripe, and it will probably sound better on my home system rather than the desktop micro-system in my office. I was surprised to not find “The Trooper” on this release, since I thought it was a staple of every Maiden concert. It’s definitely one of my favorites, but it’s not really missed since there are so many other versions out there.

    I got the DVD set as well but probably won’t get to watch it until next week. The packaging is really nice, with a giant poster on one side and liner notes/photos on the other side, all folded up.

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    1. “As you may remember, I came to Maiden’s music later than most people in my age bracket, but once I dipped my toes in the Maiden water I immediately grabbed my swim trunks and jumped right in.”

      Same here, but without the trunks. :-)

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  4. I had this in my hand at the HMV last night, but I didn’t jump. I was waiting for your review because I knew it had arrived at your place yesterday. ;) And now I’ve read this, I wonder. It looks great, but so does every other live Maiden set, really. Having not followed them all along and only gotten into them last year, it still sounds like I need Live After Death first.

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    1. I know my opinion won’t hold as much weight as Mike’s, but as someone who came to Maiden’s music later in life and then made up for lost time, there’s no doubt in my mind that “Live After Death” should be the first live Maiden album you own. I have 6-7 others now, including the BBC recordings in the “Eddie’s Archive” box set, and as good as they all are, none of them are quite as amazing as “Live After Death.” It has to be one of the best live albums of all time, in any genre.

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      1. Your opinion definitely carries weight, and thanks for the input. It’s adding up to my needing to get LAD. I’ll be in Toronto on Sunday for some record shopping and a Bad Religion concert (on Easter Sunday, no less!), and will have my eyes open for a copy.

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        1. Not sure if you still collect vinyl, but if you can find an original copy of Live After Death I highly recommend it. It was one of my first 4 Maiden LPs when I gave them a shot in the late-90s, and the gatefold sleeve brought me back to my teenage years. The CD packaging is good but doesn’t capture the enormity of the record. Of course, the music is amazing no matter what format you choose. Hope you find it soon. Enjoy your record shopping excursion and concert. That is an ironic band to see on Easter.

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        2. I do love me some vinyl, and from the sounds of it, I’ll be needing both the vinyl and the cd! I’m more likely to find the CD – my last couple of trips to the city have seen a lot of 180gram reissues at silly high prices, not so many original vinyls like there used to be. When vinyl made a ressurgence, all the old stuff was bought up. Let’s blame the hipsters! Haha.

          And, I have to assume that the CD was remastered along with the rest. I’ll be wanting the old one, not the RM. It’s a thing I have, wanting to hear it as close to the original as possible. I don’t like when they go in and “fix” things and then soak the fans into buying the same thing over again. Anyway.

          The Bad Religion show is gonna be awesome. I’ve listened to them for years but never seen them live. And seeing them on Easter Sunday is an added bonus. I streamed the new record on the youtubes, it sounds great. Can’t wait for the gig.

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  5. Your enthusiastic review has only heightened my anticipation for this. I’m glad they’ve not remixed the original tracks. I’ll be buying this on Monday, I should think! Can’t wait.

    I really like the new cover. I like how they’ve included the original on one of the CDs but I always thought it was a terrible cover! It just looked rushed to me.

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  6. I can not wait to see this concert on dvd! and I can not wait for two concert IM I will see this year!!!! (in Lodz, Poland and Bucharest, Romania).. I was considering to go also to Istanbul but it would be too crazy :)))

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  7. Interesting. I own all the classic Maiden albums apart from SSOASS, and I’ve been looking to try and kickstart my love for Maiden again. Thanks for taking the time to write this even though you have reviewed it before, Definitely going to pick this up as I really need an overhaul in new purchases!

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    1. If you are looking to kickstart your love for a performer, usually just head to this blog, the next thing you know, you’ll be digging through your collection to find anything and everything produced…Mike has that effect on the ears!

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  8. U know Mike I noticed the audio difference as well,prob cuz u pointed it out maybe that’s from those 3 songs sitting in the vaults or perhaps it’s from a different night as the show was recorded at 2 different nights

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    1. Plus two different producers doing the mix. It makes sense that it would be the case. I personally don’t mind, before an encore there’d normally be like five minutes of nothing anyway :)

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    1. No problem man! Tomorrow’s update won’t be until 9 anyway!

      I have been posting earlier as its nice for some of the overseas readers, but it’s great that it’s good for some Canadians too!

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