Iron Maiden
Dance of Death


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
September 13th, 2006 | 149 replies | 42,988 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


Iron Maiden has been around for a long time, a very long time. They were formed on Christmas Day in 1975, went through dozens of lineup changes until they settled on their most stable lineup 8 years later. Most bands are not even around for that amount of time, but somehow, the UK metallers survived their growing pains and made it as one of the most successful heavy metal bands of all time. It's currently September of 2006, and just a few short/long (take your pick) weeks ago the band released their 14th album, A Matter of Life and Death. After listening to it constantly the last couple weeks, I decided to look back on Maiden's previous efforts, of course starting with 2003's Dance of Death.

Like the new Maiden album, Dance of Death seems to be one of those albums that will receive plenty of praise and at the same time, plenty of criticism among fans. As with both Brave New World and A Matter of Life and Death, this album contains longer tracks with plenty of soft intros, winding interludes, and time changes that can change on a dime. Though Steve and Co. haven’t completely mastered this new take on song writing, through songs like Paschendale, Dance of Death, and Face in the Sand, Iron Maiden shows that not even Father Time can slow them down, or at least, not yet.

Dance of Death features a few surprises, a few new elements that have not been present on any of their other albums. First off, Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain's first ever writing credit comes on the album. The song, titled No Frontier, is surprisingly better than one would think, though certainly not a classic Iron Maiden track. No Frontier starts off weakly, but eventually round out to be a pretty enjoyable track. Notable is both the very catchy chorus, and the two energetic solos from Smith and Murray. The other surprise is the closing track, simply titled Journeyman. Never before has an all acoustic song been found on an Iron Maiden album, and the band decided to change that here. Journeyman is an impressive mid-paced 7 minute outer with excellent lyrics. The song is very epic sounding, especially the long build up in the middle of the song, with an emotional feeling to it that is only matched by the likes of Paschendale. Though the song contains no solo, it is among my favourite songs off Dance of Death and certainly one of the best.

Interestingly, the Dance of Death album contains not only Iron Maiden's best song, Paschendale, but it also contains one of their worst, a track titled Gates of Tomorrow. With its boring, uninspired riffs, annoying rhythm, and bad lyrics, Gates of Tomorrow is a very forgettable track and does not represent the attitude of Dance of Death very well at all. On the other hand, Paschendale gives listeners a real taste of what the album tried to accomplish. With its heavy riffs, operatic vocals, melodic instrumentals, emotional lyrics and atmosphere, Paschendale is quite easily the ultimate Maiden masterpiece. Along with the likes of Hallowed Be Thy Name, Powerslave, and Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Paschendale has Maiden achieving their full potential in a track that best exemplifies the theatric moments the band was shooting for on the Dance of Death album.

Though the album contains many long epics of at least 6 minutes, Iron Maiden does not forget their past. No, there are a couple tracks that pay homage to their past efforts. The likes of Montsegur and Rainmaker remind fans of the highly energetic 80's sound that had become such a hit among metal fans. Montsegur in particular could easily fit on the Piece of Mind album and not look out of place. Wildest Dreams and New Frontier are also shorter songs similar in structure to the previously mentioned tracks, and contain many of the same high energy characteristics.

With Dance of Death, Iron Maiden sought to continue their musical growth, taking the long prog rock influenced sound found on their reunion album Brave New World, and adding a new epic, theatrical twist to it. With cuts such as the title track and Paschendale, they certainly succeed, producing an album that although long, is very interesting to listen to. Don't let the terrible art work deter you from purchasing this album, as it deserves a spot in your CD collection.

Recommended Tracks:
Paschendale
Dance of Death
Rainmaker
Journeyman



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user ratings (1313)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Mikesn
Emeritus
September 13th 2006



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Only No Prayer for the Dying and Fear of the Dark left, I'm pretty sure.

tom79
September 13th 2006



3367 Comments


Another solid Maiden review. I don't have this album yet, but Rainmaker is a great song. I'll download the recommended tracks sooner or later. Paschendale will probably be sooner.This Message Edited On 09.13.06

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

Thor
September 13th 2006



10186 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Your reviews always own. Keep it up.

Shadows
Moderator
September 13th 2006



2530 Comments


This album has the worst cover art I've ever seen.

Bfhurricane
September 13th 2006



6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very good review. The one thing I completely agree on you on is the lack of Maiden's effort on Gates of Tomorrow and their upmost effort on Paschendale.
Though Im not sure Id call Paschendale Maiden's best song ever (maybe but its tough) its definitely top 3 with Fear of the Dark and Hallowed be thy Name

Intransit
September 13th 2006



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[quote=shadowsfallen]This album has the worst cover art I've ever seen.[/quote]
you obviously havent glanced at the new Norma Jean record. Good review btw

Bron-Yr-Aur
September 13th 2006



4405 Comments


anal sex.

Bron-Yr-Aur
September 13th 2006



4405 Comments


doubley so

south_of_heaven 11
September 13th 2006



5433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Um...that was out there Bronny...

Mike: Good review again. And yes folks, 'Paschendale' is all that and more. Specially the 'Orchestra Version'...ohhhh...orchestra

Bron-Yr-Aur
September 13th 2006



4405 Comments


the truth...... is out there

Angmar
September 13th 2006



2689 Comments


one of my favs is monstegur which is one of thier hardest songs IMO

smokersdieyounger
September 14th 2006



672 Comments


Really good review, haven't heard this record in years, but will pick it up soon as I'm seeing maiden in December.

Apocalyptic Raids
September 14th 2006



810 Comments


Meh, I don't really like this album much at all.

And yeah, the cover art is some of the worst I've ever seen.

Mikesn
Emeritus
September 14th 2006



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

The cover art is awful, but even Iron Maiden has worse.

Namely: The X Factor

metallicaman8
December 26th 2006



4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album has the worst cover art I've ever seen


http://www.sputnikmusic.com/album.php?albumid=11596

Zizzer
July 17th 2007



915 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hmm, how did I know that link in the post above mine would lead to Norma Jean's Redeemer?

I just got this album yesterday and I'm quite pleased. I would also say that this is a very good review of the album. My favorite songs are Paschendale and Journeyman so far.

Yazz_Flute
July 17th 2007



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

How good is this album compared to older maiden? I only own NOTB, POM, and Powerslave so far. Powerslave would have to be my favorite. Should i get this? Or should i get another IM album before it? Give me suggestions.

Digging: Eskaton - 4 Visions

ConorMichaelJoseph
November 6th 2008



1870 Comments


DoD= win (I'm too tired to write more elaborate comments,but nobody seems to look at this anymore)

Nagrarok
January 4th 2009



8197 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album has the worst cover art I've ever seen.
Even the cover art for the Paschendale single is WAY better than this. Only The X Factor is worse.

Underachiever
March 18th 2009



150 Comments


Just got it, but my hopes are high. Brave New World was quite good.



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