somewhere back in time

REVIEW: Iron Maiden – From Fear To Eternity (2011)

Part 44 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

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IRON MAIDEN – From Fear To Eternity (2011 EMI)

One thing that you need to be aware of:  If you’re a Maiden die-hard, From Fear To Eternity was not designed for you. This, much like Somewhere Back In Time, is for new fans only. (Although a bone was thrown to us die-hards, more on that later.)

This is a decent compilation.  The reason I bought it was to “complete the collection”, and of course the great cover art (by Melvyn Grant once again). The cover pays homage to Maiden album and single covers of the past 20 years. The only one I didn’t see represented in some way was The X Factor, but see if you can spot a clue.

This collection is a joy to listen to from start to finish. I won’t go over the details with a fine-toothed comb, but there are plenty of fan favourites here: “Passchendale”, “Benjamin Breeg”, “The Clansman”…and these are not short songs, folks! Of course there were the hits, all big in Europe if not here in North America: “Bring Your Daughter”, “Wicker Man”, “Different World”, “Man On The Edge”, “Afraid To Shoot Strangers”, “Tailgunner”. There are also a slew of personal favourites such as “Be Quick or Be Dead”, “For The Greater Good of God”, and “Where The Wild Wind Blows”. Really it is very hard to find fault with this collection, or the running order.

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In fact my only beef is the lack of inclusion of the ballad “Wasting Love” which I still have a soft spot for. Also I was surprised that “From Here To Eternity” is not on here, not a personal favourite song, but it did lend its title to this album!

Finally, one touch that I enjoyed was substituting the Blaze Bayley era songs for live versions with Bruce singing. After all, Maiden are out there touring now, and new fans don’t need to be confused by a different singer. This means that you’ll get the live version of “Sign of The Cross” from the Rock In Rio album. But what’s really cool is that the live “Man On The Edge” was only released as a B-side to “The Wicker Man” single, so this is its first album release. A little extra bonus for the Maiden die-hard who may have missed that single a decade or so ago.

I strongly recommend this collection to new Maiden fans, as there is really not a bad song in the bunch, and it’s a great listen from front to back. For die-hards, you already have (most of) these songs, so if you feel like picking it up for the cover art like I did, it’s still an enjoyable listen.

3.5/5 stars.

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REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Somewhere Back In Time (2008)

Welcome back.  This is part 41 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!  As mentioned when we talked about The Essential Iron Maiden, we are now in the compilation years.  I won’t spend as much time on these hits discs as I did studio albums.

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IRON MAIDEN – Somewhere Back In Time (2008)

Once again, Maiden have geared a hits disc to the newbies who have never bought anything by the band before.  The overall concept was cool.  As they did on the Eddie Rips Up the World tour, Maiden chose to take a look somewhere back in time, and only play songs from a certain era.  This time, the band brought back the Powerslave imagery, and chose only to play songs up to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (and cheating by also playing “Fear of the Dark”.

I personally felt this was a very smart move, since many fans (whiners) had complained that on the A Matter of Life and Death tour, the band had played that entire album.  You want oldies?  Well now you got them so stop yer whinin’.

To promote the tour, Maiden issued this Somewhere Back In Time disc.  All songs feature Bruce Dickinson on lead vocals, so that means live versions where the old Di’Anno material is concerned.  Like it or not, you can at least understand Maiden trying to promote the singer that the newbies were going to be seeing live.

I loved the touch of kicking off the album with “Churchill’s Speech” as I don’t think they have ever devised a better way to open a Maiden concert.  Then, into the Live After Death version of “Aces High”.  It seemed an odd choice for opening a hits album.  From there, you’re into a non-stop onslaught of Maiden classics.  “Two Minutes”, “The Trooper”, “Wasted Years”, even “Children of the Damned” and “Phantom of the Opera”!  I can’t find too much fault with the overall track selection, or sequence.  Those who dislike live versions are getting four:  three Di’Anno songs, plus “Aces High”.

Sure, you could argue for certain inclusions.  “Where Eagles Dare” or “Heaven Can Wait”, perhaps?  “The Clairvoyant” is also missing.  These are nitpicks.

The album also comes with full lyrics, descriptive liner notes, and even a cool poster with new artwork on it.  The poster I have is for the Canadian tour — don’t know if other countries got their own posters, or none at all?  It’s hard to fit the poster back into the jewel case once opened.

Good value for new Maiden fans, old fans only need to own if they’re looking for “the complete collection”.  But even for new fans, this is really only a starter.  Eventually you should really get the albums.

2.5/5 stars