eddie’s archive

REVIEW: Iron Maiden – The Trooper (2005 single, CD/12″/7″/download)

1703Part 35 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews! 

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IRON MAIDEN – “The Trooper” (2005 single, available on CD, 7″, 12″, and a special download with an exclusive track)

“The Trooper” was re-released as a live single, in support of Maiden’s forthcoming Death on the Road live album (up next in my series of Maiden reviews), and their then-current Eddie Rips Up the World tour. It was released in numerous formats, each with its own exclusive content. Let’s look at ’em all:

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CD Single

This, the most common format to find, contains 3 audio tracks and 2 videos. Personally, I never watch these enhanced CDs, and both these videos are available elsewhere on DVD. They are the 2003 live version of “The Trooper” from the Death on the Road DVD, and the original music video.

The 3 audio tracks are:

  1. “The Trooper” – 2003 live version from Death on the Road
  2. “The Trooper” – original album version from Piece of Mind
  3. “Prowler” – 2005 live version from the Eddie Rips Up the World tour

I love when Bruce sings the old Di’Anno-era classics, and this version of “Prowler” is exclusive to the CD format. During the Eddie Rips Up the World tour, they only played tracks from the first 4 records! That was because at the same time, they were also promoting their 2004 The Early Years DVD, which I talked about last time.

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mp3 Single

Undoubtedly, the rarest version. Since you can’t take a picture of a non-physical format, here’s a picture of the CD that I made of it!

This is what the download site had to say at the time about this odd-duck release:

To celebrate the release of their new single The Trooper, Iron Maiden are also releasing an exclusive EXTRA digital-only version of the track. Taken from their concert at Eglishollin Stadium, Reykjavik, ONLY AVAILABLE HERE complete with some very special extras!

I don’t have a clue what the extras were supposed to be, all I got was the mp3.  If there was anything exclusive such as artwork that was supposed to come with it, I’ve never found any evidence of it.  I have to discount any rumours of artwork.

  1. ‘”The Trooper” – 2005 live version from the current Eddie Rips Up the World tour, Reykjavik, Iceland

This is a slightly more frantic version than the 2003 live take, and trying to find a copy online is futile today.  I’ve had many people ask me to send them a copy.  Sorry, that’s not what this blog is for.  I don’t know what copyright laws regarding this are, but more to the point, I’m here to share my knowledge, not my music.

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7″ Single (blue vinyl)

I love this one. Here’s the track list:

  • A. “The Trooper” – 2003 live version from Death on the Road
  • B. “Another Life” – 2005 live version from the current Eddie Rips Up the World tour

Again, another Di’Anno classic from the Eddie Rips Up the World tour, and a smokin’ one at that. The only other place you could hear Dickinson sing this song is a 1982 version, exclusive to the massive Eddie’s Archive box set, which we’ve already covered.

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12″ Single (picture disc)

These 12″ picture discs are desired by collectors, but never sound as good as regular vinyl. Play it once, put it on your computer, and keep the record safe.

  • A1. “The Trooper” – 2003 live version from Death on the Road
  • A2. “The Trooper” – original album version from Piece of Mind
  • B. “Murders in the Rue Morgue” – 2005 live version from the current Eddie Rips Up the World tour

So again, a Di’Anno era classic, exclusive to this format. A couple earlier versions with Bruce singing are available on the Eddie’s Archive box set. This is the most current recording available of Maiden playing this song. Maiden generally don’t play a lot of the old Di’Anno’s anymore, excluding stuff like “Iron Maiden” and “Running Free”.

So, as a huge fan of Bruce singing Di-Anno era Maiden, and as a big fan of beautiful vinyl, gotta give this:

5/5 stars

Next time, we’ll talk about Death on the Road itself.  Stay tuned.

Note: All comments regarding trades will be deleted.

REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Eddie’s Archive (2002)

Part 30 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

IRON MAIDEN – Eddie’s Archive (2002, limited edition)

Eddie’s Archive was released simultaneously with another (!) greatest hits compilation called Edward The Great.  We’ll talk about that one next.  This is the real meat of it all!

This box set defines limited edition. I’m not sure how many copies were made, but the first printing with blue inlay was sold out nearly immediately. That’s the version I have. It was soon reissued with a red inlay to differentiate it, but even it is long out of print.

Inside you will find three individually packaged jewel cases, each containing 2 CDs for a total of 6 discs. These three “double albums” (for lack of a better term) are:

BBC Archives
Beast Over Hammersmith
Best of the B’Sides

The main reason to buy this set are the first two albums, BBC Archives and Beast Over Hammersmith.  To me, the Best of the B’Sides only scratches the surface of the treasures to be found on the numerous Iron Maiden singles and EP’s.  And as loyal LeBrain readers know, I’ve talked about ’em all.

BBC Archives contains numerous goodies. It starts off with a rare four song session by an ealy version of Maiden featuring Doug Sampson (drums) and Tony Parsons (guitar). Listening to “Sanctuary” as an example, you can tell it’s a guitar player you’re not familiar with. This is Parsons’ only recording with Maiden, but “Sanctuary” was previously released on the very rare NWOBHM compilation that Lars Ulrich put together.  I love the pure fire and raw youth of these early recordings.  “Transylvania” feels very different from its album incarnation.  You can tell it’s a different drummer.  And of course since it is the BBC, they are expertly recorded.

From there it’s a scorching ’82 set with Dickinson at Reading. Then back to 1980 for a Di’Anno Reading set, and finally to 1988 for a Seventh Tour of a Seventh Tour (Donington) recording. All of these are pure smoke and it’s great to hear Bruce in peak voice. Unfortunately, on this album alone, you will hear “Iron Maiden” four times!  It is what it is.  You wouldn’t want them to leave any tracks out, would you?

Next disc has the ’82 Hammersmith show. A couple tracks from these were issued as B-sides on the “Run To The Hills” single from Rock In Rio. Anyway, like the BBC discs, this is pure smoke. It is a pleasure to finally have a full concert with Clive Burr on drums and Bruce in top form. Of course you will hear “Iron Maiden” and numerous others again. With a box set of this nature it’s inevitable. If you’re a Maiden fan, you don’t care.  Do you?

Finally, the B’Sides.  Everything here has been made available before on singles.  There is nothing truly “unreleased” here as far as Maiden goes. There’s also nothing that is previously unreleased on CD unfortunately, like Maiden Japan or “I Live My Way” from the “Man On The Edge” 12″ single. For me, these discs are more just a “best of”. There are some cool tracks here such as the Montrose cover “I’ve Got The Fire”. (Maiden chose Dickinson’s version rather than Di’Anno’s, which is fine.) Other highlights include the pop metal goodness of “That Girl” and “Reach Out”, as well as originals such as “Burning Ambition” and “Invasion”. The covers that Maiden selects are mostly obscure enough (Nektar? Marshall Fury?) that they may as well be originals.

Then you get some of Maiden’s little-known jokey material: “Sheriff of Huddersfield” for example. I’m not sure how well it works as an overall listen. I prefer the singles in their original context, personally. As I mentioned, this is far from a complete set, and you can argue all you like for what you would have included. Certainly you can make solid arguments in favour of the Thin Lizzy cover “Massacre” or the rare “I Live My Way”.

Each CD jewel case features its own extensive booklet with photos, Derek Riggs cover art, and liner notes, with the exception of Beast Over Hammersmith. That one contains a booklet which is a reproduction of the original tour programme! Works for me! Otherwise, there is no book for the box set itself.

What you do get includes a neat scroll with the Iron Maiden family tree on it, wrapped inside a metal ring. (I’m sure this family tree is loaded with errors like the previous one included inside A Real Dead One, I’ve never bothered to check.) You also get this cool shot glass with Eddie’s face in the bottom. A cool treat. The box itself is a shiny tin masterpiece. It snaps shut securely and it is very detailed and cool looking.

What are you willing to pay for this set? That’s entirely up to you, but if you don’t have it, expect to pay through the teeth. Personally, to me it’s all about the music. Decide how much you’re willing to pay for approximately four discs of previously unreleased Maiden and purchase accordingly.

For me? 4/5 stars!

REVIEW: Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast (1982, 1996 bonus disc)

Part 5 in my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

IRON MAIDEN – The Number Of The Beast (1982, 1996 bonus disc)

One of Maiden’s greatest album covers happened to house a great album inside.  There was a segment of Maiden fans that were very much against the replacement of Paul Di’Anno, but Bruce Dickinson was undeniably the right man for Iron Maiden.  Formerly known as the ridiculously monikered “Bruce Bruce” of rival band Samson, Dickinson fit in quickly and triumphantly.

From the first song, “Invaders” (a history lesson on the Norman invasion), The Number Of The Beast does not disappoint.  “Invaders” is a storming opening, but not nearly the quality of the next number:  “Children of the Damned”.  Along the lines of the older “Remember Tomorrow”, this song proved why Bruce was the man for the job.  The dramatically powerful music is only enhanced by Bruce’s wail.  They nicknamed this man “Air Raid Siren” for a reason.  “Children of the Damned” still sends shivers up my spine…

Another classic, “The Prisoner”, follows.  Significantly, this is the first Adrian Smith co-write on the album, and in Iron Maiden.  He has three co-writes on the record, and Adrian’s writing lent a melodic hard rock side to the band.  His composition style is unique from the other members of the band, and identifiable.  “The Prisoner” starts with that famous intro:  “We want information… information… information!”  The band had McGoohan’s permission to use it, and effective it is!  It’s a catchy, singalong Maiden song, the kind of thing that worked great live.  And Bruce really delivers on that chorus.

Charlotte the Harlot makes her return on “22 Acacia Avenue”.  The lyrics boast, “You can tell her that you know me, you might even get in free.”  But it’s not as simple and straightforward as that anymore, as Maiden have grown musically, so have they lyrically.  Another character, perhaps a family member, turns up and asks Charlotte, “isn’t it time you stopped this mad life?”  But if you’re not paying attention to that because the song rocks so hard, I understand.  This one too bears the stamp of Adrian Smith who was no doubt responsible for those terrific riffs.

With the addition of Smith and Dickinson, the band had obviously grown and intensified.  But the next two songs, opening side two, blew the doors off.  “The Number of the Beast” and “Run To the Hills” were a double whammy:  two awesome singles in a row that would help send the band off into immortality.  I’m not saying that with a shred of hyperbole.  If you’re reading this and don’t know these two songs, then I don’t know what’s wrong with the world!

I won’t dwell on either song.  Yes, “Run To the Hills” is one that I never need to hear again, but I’m sure glad I heard it the first time.  It’s the song that got me into the band.  I absolutely loved the video for “The Number of the Beast”, and those chiming opening guitars.  Then Bruce screams, and we’re off to the races.  Great song, awesome video, funny too.  This is the kind of image that people have of Maiden, that persists forever:  Bruce, long red hair flowing like a precursor to Axl, that fringe of his in front, and those spiked armbands. Classic!

“Gangland”, the only unremarkable song on the album, is a co-write between Adrian and drummer Clive Burr!  My understanding is that with 20/20 hindsight, Steve would have preferred to have “Total Eclipse” on the album instead.  “Gangland” does have a good bridge, but is otherwise pretty stock.

Finally, “Hallowed Be Thy Name”.  I remember this was misspelled “Hallowed By Thy Name” on the old cassette that my buddy Bob had, so I thought that really was the name.  “Hallowed” was to be Steve’s new 7 minute epic, something he’d become known for.  “Hallowed” is one of the best epics, and something that absolutely required the vocals of Bruce Dickinson to bring to complete fruition.  Bruce nails that mournful slow opening, and then absolutely lets rip with some pretty intricate words.  Seriously, do you ever try to sing along at album speed?  I always trip up words somewhere.

“Mark my words, believe my soul lives on don’t worry now that I have gone, I’ve gone beyond to seek the truth.”

And to sing it at his volume with that much emotion?  Unbelievable.

And that’s the album.  The 1998 remasters tacked on “Total Eclipse” as a bonus track, and it’s here on my bonus disc.  This was the B-side to “Run To the Hills”.  My younger sister actually had this single and I don’t know why.  (Kathryn, comment below please!)  “Total Eclipse” was actually performed live, and can be found on the Eddie’s Archive box set.  It’s a mid-tempo rocker with a fast breakdown in the middle, come solo time.  It’s catchier than “Gangland”, and is also co-written by Clive Burr, with Dave Murray and Steve Harris!

The bonus CD this time only has two tracks.  That’s all they released at the time, two singles, two B-sides.  The second B-side is a stunning live version of “Remember Tomorrow” with the new guy singing.  I always prefer Di’Anno, because he co-wrote the song, for his voice, and made it legendary to start with.  But Bruce is no slouch.  Much like Dio used to sing Ozzy’s stuff with more skill and range, so does Bruce in this case.

You’ll notice one guy is absent in the writing credits:  Bruce Dickinson.   Due to lawyers and rigamarole with his old band, Samson, he wasn’t legally able to write with Maiden.  Don’t worry though, he’ll make up for it on the next album!

I don’t want to give Beast a perfect 5/5 score for two reasons.  One, “Gangland”.  Two, better things were still to come.  There has to be room for improvement.  Therefore:

4.7/5 stars