Review Summary: Not a necessary release for Maiden, but a fine EP nonetheless.
The No More Lies EP was a ‘thank you’ to fans, and came in a limited edition gift box. It was released March 29, 2004, about half a year after Iron Maiden’s thirteenth studio album, Dance of Death was released. The EP contains 4 songs off Dance of Death, of which 3 are alternative versions. No More Lies is the only original studio track.
The title track starts off with a melodic riff that is reminiscent of Maiden’s later style, and is comparable of the intro’s to tracks such as Ghost of the Navigator and Blood Brothers from Brave New World. No More Lies continues to build up in the same fashion as the aforementioned tracks, starting off with softer vocals and guitar, before moving on to the larger, harder-hitting part of the track, which in this case begins with Bruce yelling out the chorus. His ageing is clearly noticeable from this moment onwards, but his vocal delivery is still fresh and powerful, and does fortunately not disappoint. The instrumental contributions are excellent, featuring the superb guitar harmonisations that Maiden have become known for, as well as some classic soloing. The track fades out in the same soft way it started. Overall, No More Lies is representative of and a perfect introduction to the Dance of Death record, or depending how well you know Maiden, to their newer style. While it may be nothing groundbreaking, it is an excellent track nonetheless.
Arguably Dance of Death’s finest track, Paschendale has been give an extra twist by turning it into an orchestral version, and this might be just what the track needed. When you think about it, an epic-structured song like Paschendale naturally screams orchestra. The band possibly regretted not making the studio version orchestral, and thus we are now pleasantly surprised. While the brought-in section does not dominate the song, it powers up the feel and gives an extra edge to it. Another striking point about Paschendale is, orchestral version or not, that Bruce’s older voice works tremendously well with it, more than his younger voice would have. He sounds more mature, and puts down a performance that proves we need not regret too much that he has aged. The orchestral version is the better of the two, but it might be difficult to get your hands on it physically, since there are a limited amount of copies of this EP.
Where Paschendale’s orchestral version is slightly better off, the new version of Journeyman is not as good as it’s Dance of Death counterpart. Journeyman was the first all-acoustic song Iron Maiden had ever written, so it seems logical to make the alternative electric. Unfortunately this doesn’t do the song that much good, as the acoustic gave the song a distinctive feel, which was somewhat Eastern and suited the lyrics greatly. This does not mean that the altered track is bad or uninteresting by any means, but an improvement hasn’t really been made either. What version you like better is a matter of personal taste.
Age of Innocence… How Old? is hilarious. Drummer Nicko McBrain was fooling around while the band was recording Age of Innocence for Dance of Death, and decided to do the singing for once. The result is brilliant and will invoke many laughs on the listener’s part. It would be useless to describe the track, just go experience the fun yourself. I’m sure you can also find the song online. Of course, this gets a top mark for entertainment but has no musical value.
So, how does this all add up? The No More Lies EP is a great introduction for those who haven’t given Dance of Death a listen, but good luck getting your hands on it. People who already have Maiden’s thirteenth should definitely pass on this, but I highly recommend downloading or listening the orchestral Paschendale and Age of Innocence… How Old? if you haven’t already.
+ Paschendale [Orchestral]
+ Nicko McBrain’s brilliant performance on the final track.
- Journeyman [Electric]
As an introduction to (new) Maiden: 3.5/5
As a stand-alone album: 2.5/5
Up the Irons!