Iron Maiden
Nights of the Dead: Live in Mexico City


2.5
average

Review

by TheMoonchild USER (152 Reviews)
November 24th, 2020 | 23 replies


Release Date: 11/20/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Time to ban Warner Music from the Iron Maiden group chat.

Anyone who has seen a show from Iron Maiden's Legacy of the Beast tour knows that it may very well be the band's best tour yet. Pulling out the stops and taking the band's theatrics and performances to the extreme, it boasted giant inflatable spitfires and Icaruses, enough costume changes to make Lady Gaga's head spin, stage dressings that resemble a battlefield, a giant cathedral and Hell itself, and so much more. It also boasted the band's best set list to date, pulling AMOLAD-era material, two Blaze era songs acting as the concert's "set pieces", and even the first inclusion of "Flight of Icarus" since 1986. It also had its currently senior aged musicians playing like men half their age, particularly Nicko McBrain, who makes it impossible to believe he's pushing 70 with his monstrous drum performance. Based on everything I've just listed, this sounds like the perfect recipe for a live album. Theoretically, we should have Maiden's best live album ever.

And yet, for some reason, it just isn't. The writing was on the wall when the band announced the release a scant few months prior, and singled out concert opener "Aces High", featuring one of the most badass performances of this slice of Metal gold smothered by a particularly limp sounding mix. While the lack of bass drowning the rest of the band out was a welcome change, something just didn't sound right. The whole thing seemed to be Bruce, some semi-guitar sounding noise in the background, and drums. And even then, it proves to be the least of this release's worries.

The culprit here seems to be a mix of bad mixing and production choices. Nights of the Dead was recorded over three sold out nights in Mexico city, near the end of the tour, and the problems found with such releases are well on display here. The performance is great for the most part, but the fact that Steve Harris and Tony Newton decided these performances were the best representation of those three nights raises suspicions. Bruce hits the notes but sounds more strained than ever, and these moments really do rear their ugly head - "Where Eagles Dare" is a fine example of this. While he obviously sounds better than he did on A Real Live Dead One, which this release often reminded me of, both the decision to choose his most strained performances for key tracks and him often being drowned out consistently now everything presented here increasingly difficult to appreciate. The worst part is, too, that his best vocal performances, along with Nicko's insane performance on display, are things that everybody expects going into a live release, and as a result, tracks like "Sign of the Cross", live powerhouse "The Clansman" and "Flight of Icarus" feel like after thoughts in the grand scheme of things. And as I already have mentioned, the poor mix from Tony Newton does not much to help, as the crowd's presence reduced to a smother whisper, and guitar mixing sounding like an afterthought (the biggest offender here being "For the Greater Good of God") leaves me wondering why they even bothered.

Add to this probably one of the laziest album covers since Live at Doningtown '92, minimal marketing, the inclusion of a poster featuring future dares that will likely not happen due to Covid, and the decision not to include a visual counterpart, and you get a live release that is less of a representation of a band whose prime seems to never end, and more a towering monument to the fans' worst fears about Maiden's decision to sign with Warner Music and MusicGlue, and corporate greed. Who knows, maybe when all is said and done, Maiden will decide to give us a proper release with an IMAX-worthy concert film, and the new studio album that all of us have been waiting for. But it looks like that day will take a while to arrive.



Recent reviews by this author
Sub Urban Thrill SeekerYes Magnification
Linkin Park Minutes to MidnightPsychosexual Torch The Faith
Green Day Father of All MotherfuckersLauryn Hill MTV Unplugged No. 2.0
user ratings (17)
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
TheMoonchild
November 24th 2020


1276 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Easily the most disappointing release all year, and their most disappointing concert album yet. I do not say that lightly as someone who has seen several shows from the tour.

SymbolicInTime
November 24th 2020


6992 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I usually ignore live albums, but spotify has actually been cramming this one down my throat. That + this review made me check a few songs. And yeesh I could not agree more with your critiques

zakalwe
November 24th 2020


32748 Comments


Bruce does sound a bit haggard on this.

Titan
November 24th 2020


21724 Comments


The only way Maiden could attract me to a new live album is if there were a few Somewhere In Time tracks on it.



Titan
November 24th 2020


21724 Comments


That cover sucks as well

Titan
November 24th 2020


21724 Comments


Good review Moon, enjoy a positive

SymbolicInTime
November 24th 2020


6992 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

FTGGOG on here definitely piqued my interest but it sounds like assssssssss

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2020


22930 Comments


Yeah, great review man. I haven't heard it yet but looks like they deserved better. An IMAX concert would be incredible, and a new album... well, as much as I would love to have a last one, my hopes (that is good) are rather low.

Digging: Radio Supernova - Takaisin

TheMoonchild
November 25th 2020


1276 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thank you man!



Apparently its already recorded and they did so in summer 2019 before they kicked off the American leg of the tour, in Paris (which was probably easier for them to do because Bruce has been living there since 2018). But I'm taking that with a grain of salt as I would have assumed they'd have just released it already.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2020


22930 Comments


Didn't know Bruce was living in Paris!

The new album might be stalled by Warner maybe because they wanted to release this live album first, while the pandemic subsides (lol) so they have the choice of touring the new one short after release. We'll see!

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2020


13120 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I found this review both perfectly harsh and 100% on point. Excellent write up. There's a bb code boo-boo in the third paragraph, but largely you've articulated the issues with this recording.



In parts, Bruce seems to nail lyrical lines, while most points highlight he's no longer aging well.



Pos'd.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2020


15457 Comments


Best metal band ever, but Live After Death is all I need.

Good work, pos'd.

Digging: Asphyx - Necroceros

TheMoonchild
November 25th 2020


1276 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm sure this was just near end of tour exhaustion. In 2018 I did four consecutive dates (Zurich, Lisbon, Madrid, Trieste) and he was on point at all of them. 2019 I did Montreal and he was still on point. Edmonton and Calgary were back to back shows and he sounded knackered near the end of the Calgary show, but two days later in Vancouver he was back on track.



My guess is they need to space out the dates a bit more. During Rush's final two tours they spaced out the dates to the point of sometimes allowing g a whole week off. I dont think that would be too big an ask; Bruce ain't 40 anymore and needs to rest. I can also tell too that back to back dates will be a rarity if non existent in the future.

Nagrarok
November 25th 2020


8645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice work. I especially agree about the mixing, this needs way more guitar.

TheMoonchild
November 25th 2020


1276 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Also coding error fixed



And thanks!!!

TheMoonchild
November 25th 2020


1276 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Also worth noting too that this year was all stadium dates with no back to backs so it seems they may have learned this too. I'm hoping lockdown is doing Wonders for Bruce and his ability to fine tune it a bit more

rockarollacola
November 26th 2020


526 Comments


Aside from a few notable exceptions, I seriously have no use for live albums. I'd rather just listen to the studio versions instead of B-grade re-recordings with worse production and obnoxious crowd noises. Going to a see a live show is great, but listening to a live show second hand and by myself kinda depresses me.

SymbolicInTime
November 26th 2020


6992 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm in the same boat and this particular recording will crank that feeling up to 10

Emms
November 26th 2020


4 Comments


Wow, great review TMC. Bruce is my hero, but he needs to sing within his fading range...Like he does on his solo gear. Tour fatigue probably hasnt helped this one either

Digging: Noises of the wickeD - Dive Bar Blues

Butkuiss
November 26th 2020


4689 Comments


Look, I'm the biggest maiden apologist here, but I don't understand why they constantly need to release live albums with near identical tracklists lmoa.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy