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on 28 November 2017
At the age of 16, I had spent a quarter of my life worshipping Iron Maiden. Wishing I’d been at Long Beach, collecting every bit of vinyl they ever produced, including the Soundhouse Tapes. I saw them 4 times of the Seventh Son Tour, and I was at the last ever gig of that tour, and some might say the last ever gig of the classic years. I waited and waited afterwards at the back door of the Hammersmith Odeon hoping my heroes might come and meet a diehard. They sped past in their cars and I missed my last train home. Love affair over.

I then discovered indie, grebo, dance music, E, hip hop and our paths went other ways. I laughed at No Prayer for the Dying, and then stopped even looking up from my copy of Mojo magazine.

Bruce and Adrian came back and I heard good things but I just thought ‘ahhh cmon lads...’ give it up. Look at the elderly Rolling Stones.

In the last few months however, at the age of 45, I’ve delved back. I still can’t bring myself to buy No Prayer, but Fear of the Dark isn’t toooooo bad, even though Here to Eternity’s lyrics are godawful (grow up Bruce/‘Arry). I might even give the Blaze albums a go (I saw Wolfsbane before they were signed and they were never as exciting again).

I bought the comeback album Brave New World first and it underwhelmed me.

Dance of Death is another matter. They sound assured, confident and totally back in their stride. The music is powerful and muscly like Piece of Mind or Powerslave, without sounding dated. It sounds fresh and new like Somewhere In Time did. I’m genuinely surprised. The lyrics aren’t cheesy, the sound is varied and the songs really aren’t too long, unlike what some press reviewers have said.

So if you’re a rambling auld fart like me that bought Number of the Beast when it came out, try Dance of Death. I might even forgive them for Janick. Maybe.
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on 2 June 2016
With a lot of fans being polarised by the direction Brave New World took initially (now regarded as a classic) Maiden opted for a slightly different style going forward, namely, progressive, which polarised fans even more, although regardless of how it is looked upon now, Dance of Death was originally seen as an improvement from Brave New World, well is it?

Track 1: Wildest Dreams - It's okay, there isn't anything special about this track, nothing bad either apart from the music video which is another topic entirely, McBrain steals the show with some light drumming that packs a big punch, while it is immediately noticeable that Dickinson feels much more restrained than he did on Brave New World

Track 2: Rainmaker - A short melodic anthem that encaptures a lot of emotion into it's runtime, the stand out here is clearly Murray who penned and performs the track's lead rhythm and solo, expressing his speed and precision on the guitar, leading to a track that's main strength is it's immensely catchy guitar passages

Track 3: No More Lies - Acoustic intro reminiscent of The X-Factor but with a lot more personality, No more Lies flourishes in it's introduction with some spectacularly mesmerising guitar work and understated drumming, the first verse continues this trend, however the chorus' issue is that it really doesn't know when to end, the repetition of 'No More Lies' 8 times completely dissolves impact and holds the track back from greatness

Track 4: Montsegur - Maiden's heaviest ever track, deservedly so, a 5 minute epic that has some superlative guitar riffs alongside excellent drums and bass playing, the first 2 chorus' blister out the speaker with youthful energy leading to a interestingly devised guitar solo, however by the third chorus the song looses some of it's steam and would have benefitted from Kevin Shirley ending the song after the solo and keeping a smaller impactful anthem like 'The Mercenary' however still stands as a fantastic track

Track 5: Dance of Death - Maiden take storytelling very seriously on Dance of Death and the title track is no exception, beautiful acoustic chords lead into one New Maiden's greatest tracks, utterly drenched in a mischievous yet mysterious atmosphere as Dickinson returns with his signature theatricality, the whole band perform fanatically, particularly Gers in perhaps his finest moment on the guitar, an 8 minute opus that never looses steam and ends as strong as it starts

Track 6: Gates of Tommorow - Rubbish, honestly, an utterly pointless track of filler, Drums are the only instrument that doesn't feel incredibly restrained, even the vocals uses as over abundance of multi-layered voices, a chorus that lacks a lot of punch leads to a song that lacks focus and impact

Track 7: New Frontier - Like Gates of Tommorow, New Frontier evokes feelings of pointless filler, uninteresting lyrics waste a decent vocal performance, while instruments sound very generic and rather stock, not like Maiden at all

Track 8: Paschendale - Arguably one of Maiden's greatest ever anthems, 8 minutes of pure Maiden penned by Smith, an unusual structure helps it stand out amongst the drab of preceding tracks, Bruce gives the best performance of his from the album, some ultimately 'Badass' lyrics give the track a very anthemic feel and was a hit on tour as a result, Smith's guitar licks and small riffs in amongst the verses add layers of production to the track, with a incredible mid-section that evokes Maiden's ability to write historical epics, and ensures it never looses it's steam like No More Lies or Montsegur, a modern classic

Track 9: Face in the Sand - Suffers The X-Factor fate of interesting to downright melodic acoustic introductions before devolving into nothing of interest apart from some impressive Bass work from Harris, the song doesn't have a sense of build up so it blows it's own steam load too early on

Track 10: Age of Innocence - Lacking even the interesting acoustic introduction, Age of Innocence feels too like filler, some interesting lyrics can't save it from feeling like an overblown mess, eventually devolving into something that feels like lyrics from a bad punk band, and riffs from baby's first metal album

Track 11: Journeyman - The mesmerising acoustic introduction returns, sadly unlike The Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Journeyman is devoid of much emotion at all, the chords being played seem like they are saying the opposite of the lyrics being sung, like other tracks from Dance of Death, the song lacks a point, and never truly goes anywhere, still more enjoyable than tripe like The Unbeliever, but not a Maiden quality album closer

Dance of Death suffers from the worst case of filler in the bands history, and while it never is truly 'awful' it's still disappointing, meanwhile the highs are incredible, Dance of Death and Paschendale are phenomenal tracks that don't belong on the same album they originate from, ironically one is named after it, some other tracks such as Wildest Dreams, Rainmaker, Montsegur, and No More Lies make it worthy, but the last 3 tracks are Barry worst any time, sound production and a pretty even 50/50 split of filler and killer means Dance of Death is above Virtual XI but never reaches the highs of Brave New World, so what next for 'New Maiden'?
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on 29 December 2013
I assumed this album wouldn't be as good as the greats, like seventh son of a seventh son, or number of the beast. But THIS is my favourite Maiden album now, it is simply outstanding.

(I am only highlighting a few songs)

"Rainmaker" is full of power, though it isn't heavy, it is very nice to the ears.

Another great goes by the name of "Journeyman" again, this isn't in the traditional style Maiden are known to produce, however it is very energetic in it's own way. and if you are ever in a depressed mood, this will certainly make you feel better.

Passchendaele (Well, they call it "Paschendale") Is rather unique but still in the British metal style.

"No more lies" has strong vocals and the chorus will get you singing along. I wouldn't call it the best, but definitely a great.

Dance of Death is the name of the album and I know why they chose that name, "Dance of death" is simply a must listen, Maiden sometimes make songs about adventures or rather mystical stories. A good example is "Still life" (In Piece of mind) But Dance of death really goes for the story telling and the general feel. I am very pleased with it.

"Montsegur"? I think it is a bit over-rated although VERY CATCHY. I love it. :)

All in all, Dance of Death is by far superior to other albums like Fear of the dark (And fear of the dark is a must get in my unpopular opinion) I cannot describe how amazed I was when I finished listening to it. I give this 5 stars. Effort= 10/10 Musical Talent= 9.4/10

Maiden, you did NOT disappoint me. The Album in general deserves a solid 9.8/10 A few guitar solos were same-old same-old, but awesome nonetheless.
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on 12 September 2003
Having listened to this album several times, it strikes me that whilst there is not a bad track on the album, neither is there anything truly memorable either, especially in comparison to Brave New World. I find it mildly astonishing that some reviewers think Dance of Death is a better album. It has nothing to match the aching beauty of The Thin Line Between Love and Hate and Brave New World (the song), or the ridiculous but funky Nomad. On the other hand, Dance of Death is a million times better than the dreadful Blaze albums, and considerably better than Fear of the Dark.
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on 25 January 2011
I bought this when it first came out and am posting a very long term review here now mostly because it still infuriates me that such a wonderful album of, in my opinion, Maiden's best songs since they reformed, is so badly let down by the production.

Clearly the songs and great performances have shone through as most of the reviews are very positive but I wanted to add this for people who care...if you don't there are 100s of other reviews to read ;o)

In my opinion the worst thing Maiden did was to get Kevin Shirley and the worst thing Kevin Shirley did was to allow Steve Harris to push him in a direction that made what was once a huge arena-sound into recordings that sound like they were done in a small dead room. I know 'arry is the boss but producers are there to stand up to them on occasion.

I've noticed many posts (of Shirly-era Maiden) where fans have commented that Bruce's vocals sound strained (etc.) these days. Well, Bruce may be having a harder time, but I doubt it. It's Shirely's and Harris's unsympathetic dry production. When I first heard the album it sounded like it was mixed with all of the EQ and FX in bypass and the compressors on full!

Now Shirley has a penchant for this style but, in fairness, when left alone and not pushed to extremes, can do a good job - Shirley's work with Dream Theater springs to mind.

And Shirley did bring a nice bit of weight to the Harris's bass which I felt was the only area somewhat lacking in the Martin Birch productions.

Now Shirley can make Maiden sound good, very good, his live mixes of Flight 666 were superb (unlike Death on the Road which looked wonderful...) and that's how Maiden is meant to sound. Big.

But for some reason, on recent albums, this being the worst, corners are cut. I'm not convinced the band playing live in the studio (unlike the Birch overdub approach) gives us a better product. Harris's instructions to Shirley to not bother with mastering (this album) and to use the studio monitor mixes (AMOLAD) beggar belief.

I notice in a recent of Shirley's blogs, he alludes to Adrian Smith not being too keen on the mixes for The Final Frontier...but Harris overruled him every time.

For a modern style, Brave New World wasn't bad...maybe Shirley was treading carefully back then but Dance of Death, full of Maiden's most catchy songs in recent times, deserves to be remixed (or at the very least remastered - I made my own version just so I could listen to it!) so Maiden fans can appreciate it in all its glory.
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on 10 March 2004
After a 2 year hiatus Iron Maiden returned in September 2003 to retain their rightful crown as the greatest Rock band of the day
The album opens with the catchy 70's style rocker Wildest Dreams' and is of course unmistakably Iron Maiden. This leads straight into track 2, which has one foot firmly in the Euro Metal sound which they themselves along with Manowar influenced heavily. Track 3 is the first of the three seven plus minuet epics and the only to be penned singel handedly by bassist and lead song writer Steve Harris. Tracks 4 to 7 are all classic Maiden tracks which all have leanings to the prog metal sound first used by Maiden on 2000's Brave New World. The title track Dance Of Death based on Edgar Allan Poe's novel The Masque Of The Red Death, is another stunning epic made even better by Bruce Dickinson's voice that seems to improve with every album. Track 8 is the 8 minuet long Paschendale which blows away ever other war song Iron Maiden have ever produced (and they've done a few)
The album ends with the song that has been the most anticipated of all. The first all (gasp) acoustic Iron Maiden song, which somehow doesn't sound out of place on the album and manages to complement the rest of the tracks on the album. It's not the typical album finisher but at least it stop anyone complaining that Iron Maiden always sound the same.
So, After all the hype does DoD live up to it? Well in a sort answer yes. It's without a doubt Maiden finest album since 1988's Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, and heavily improves on 2000 Brave new World. The newly placed 3rd guitar does not sound as wasted, Adrian
Smith once again is pulling out the same quality of solos that made him such a guitar god back in the 80's. Janick Gers has also found a style of playing that now compliment rather than copies Dave Murry's style of soloing. Which of course still sound like a pure explosion of energy. Steve Harris (bass) and Niko McBrain (drums) show once again why Maiden have the best rhythm section of all metal bands, while Bruce Dickinson(vocals) adds the 'Spinal Tap' to the songs which make what they are, pure classic Iron Maiden heavy metal, which is still as relevant today as it was 20 years ago.
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on 19 March 2015
This is the best Iron Maiden album of all.
Yes I know that's a huge statement to make given their back catalogue and with Maiden being the best band in the world that makes this one of my favourite albums ever made.
So how, you ask is this better than Number Of The Beast? Because it holds your attention for longer and it has everything you could possibly want in ahard rock record. For someone who loved the band through their heyday of albums 3 to 7 I don't make this statement lightly.
There are short fast songs with stunning melodies such as Rainmaker and Montsegur and there are longer, enthralling songs like the title track and Pascendale which captivate you with haunting lyrics and hooks galore. There's even an acoustic song to close the album down, a first for the band.
The sound on this record really is perfect with all instruments sounding perfect but brought together really does take hard rock to a new level. You can fully understand why Steve Harris wanted three guitarists all those years ago. The production, engineering and artwork are amazing and of course Bruce is in great voice.
The album as a whole really does draw you in and holds your full attention for throughout the near 70 minutes of musical precision and high perfection. For all the doubters, do the playback test. Play DOD immediately after NOTB or Powerslave and see how it holds up. You'll thank me.
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on 14 October 2003
Put simply, 'Dance Of Death' is Iron Maiden's best album since 1988's 'Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’. Heavier and darker than 'Brave New World', this is as passionate and fired-up as the band has EVER sounded.
First single and opening track 'Wildest Dreams' is arguably one of the weakest tracks on the album.'Rainmaker', with its explosion of triple-guitar harmony histrionics and another devastating chorus, is one of the finest songs Maiden has ever recorded.’No More Lies' is the kind of song that Steve Harris has been attempting to pull off for years: a punchy and progressive seven-minute epic, which sound like the modern day 'Hallowed Be Thy Name'...yes it's that good. Three tracks in and anyone still doubting that Maiden has recaptured the magic of their heyday should be foaming at the mouth by now.
Now the only weak moment 'Montsegur' - although possibly the heaviest thing to appear on a Maiden album since the band's early days; is awful. Bruce sounding like he's auditioning for Spinal Tap on this one. The title-track is another one of Harris' convoluted epics, with strong shades of 70's prog legends Jethro Tull. 'Gates Of Tomorrow' and 'New Frontier' follow; both shamelessly commercial and surging, mid-tempo bursts of muscular melody and percussive bluster. The latter features the first ever writing credit for drummer Nicko McBrain and positively reeks of single potential. Next comes 'Paschendale' another epic and one of the strongest tracks; eight minutes of structural invention, cavalier aggression and lyrical poignancy.
The final three tracks on 'Dance Of Death' are all stunning. First come 'Face In The Sand' - a stately, kick-drum powered waltz with a dash of orchestral elegence.Then 'Age Of Innocence' delivers the album's most gripping affecting melody, allied to a crafty, world-weary lyric.
'Journeyman' brings the album to a close with sweeping strings, understated dynamics and another chorus to die for.
It's all stupendous stuff and concrete proof that Maiden are as electrifying and important as they have been in a long time. Ten years ago, it was unthinkable that they could make more albums of this quality. Metallica must have listened to this album and wept..This is their second out-and-out belter in a row, Long may they reign.
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VINE VOICEon 21 October 2010
Riding on a mostly unprecedented second wave of success Maiden were in high spirits, writing and playing as if they were a band entering the studio for the first time. They seemed to be hitting a new creative peak and the skilful songwriting and ear for a hit from the previous album continued into this, their 13th release. This would be a more progressive album that the last with attempts at a uniting them- how death unites us all and the following belief that perhaps this should make us treat each other more equally in life. With a few big singles, guitars on overdrive, and Dickinson singing like a man possessed Dance Of Death is another storming album which showcases the best points of the band and hints at things yet to come.

`Wildest Dreams' kicks off the album in energetic fashion. This is upbeat and has more of a rock or classic metal heart at its core. The lyrics convey speed, hope, and the old rock standard of going as fast as possible to be free. The love of playing and writing looks like it has been pulled over from their last release with this breathless opener. The video for the single is fun too.

`Rainmaker' is the next single from the album, another high paced, high energy song with catchy verse melodies and a bombastic chorus. The band sound, if anything, more urgent than they did on BNW and these opening tracks are a confirmation of the band's return to form, as well as showing that they still have an ear for a hit. The three pronged guitar attack adds great depth to the solos here and elsewhere.

`No More Lies' is the first epic of the album and is one of the band's best. Opening with a triptych of riffs which mark the different phases of the song it is brilliantly constructed and shows metal at it's most musically intelligent. The song was released as a `thank you' EP to fans- few better gifts have been given by the band through the years. After a bubbling opening with an undercurrent of anger the song explodes into charging rhythms before some excellent solos.

`Dance Of Death' has typically Maiden storytelling lyrics, this time done with a smile and confidence that it subverts the cheese of their early period. The folk style introduction gives the feeling that this is an old, yet timeless story. As each verse progresses the song builds, instruments come and go, the keyboards and strings growing, Dickinson growling ever more loudly. We then get the superb middle section which does manage to convey the image of a mad dance swirling around a lone figure, riffs colliding and Dickinson's throat almost imploding. Follow this with a mammoth solo and the conclusion of the story and we have another classic.

`Gates Of Tomorrow' starts with an echoed riff and flies off quickly, notable for the dueling vocals rather than guitars. Once more we are presented with a memorable chorus, more great riffs, and more energy.

`New Frontier' starts in top gear with driving guitars and machine gun drums. This is the first song (!) that Nicko co-wrote and it is pretty good. For some reason it is one I tend to forget about but enjoy when I play the album. The chorus is great but perhaps it is the verses which lack something catchy which make the song slip from my memory.

`Paschendale' is perhaps the most remembered song on the album, and may be the most respected song the band have written (at least until their next album). A somber tale based on the World War 1 battle it may be the best epic the group have written. Although they have covered the themes many times before, never before have the lyrics hit the mark so painfully well, and rarely before has the music and tone merged together so well to convey the gruesome final moments of dying at war. The band crunches through various phases and it may be the angriest the band have ever sounded. Dickinson's new growling vocals work very well here, sounding like a ragged Sergeant dragging his men towards certain doom. For the casual listener the solos should not sound tagged on as they may on other songs and most will appreciate the construction as the song ends on the quiet note that it began on- after the chaos of the middle, of war, our fallen hero can join his lost comrades in peace.

`Face In The Sand' opens with almost the exact same tune as the title track, only changing after thirty seconds and building to something monstrous. The way the various instruments come together here is superb, showing a band in complete control of every facet of their existence, at the top of their game, and pretty much trampling over everything else. The lyrics satirize and spit at modern life, at greed, at the false, at the passive. More wonderful melodies and mood making guitars.

`Montsegur' is amongst the heaviest tracks on the album, filled with crunching riffs and stretched vocals. It is probably the weakest song on the album- there isn't anything wrong with it but it lacks some of the great melodies and force which other tracks have.

`Age Of Innocence' slows the album, a quieter (for a while), darker song. Again the sights are set on modern life, politicians, and the effect on normal people as well as how we should strive to make a difference and not sell ourselves as we only have this life. While the lyrics are biting the song hits its stride when it moves towards the chorus with yet more brilliant melodies. It is rare for a band to pack this much into their careers never mind into one album as the band do here.

`Journeyman' is the band's first fully acoustic song in a long time, if not ever, and may seem at first like a strange choice to close the album. Of course, with a band on this sort of form the choice is absolutely correct- the journey of the band, the listener, and all the main characters is over. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful songs the band have written- hopefully not too many of the more macho metal fans will be put off. With a perfect string accompaniment Bruce sings both being a band, making a life out of the art, and about life at large- The Dance Of Death may have passed but the parade of life continues with you at the front making every decision and choosing which way to turn. Naturally we get one final great chorus, a host of melodies, and not a hint of a solo- perfect.

Maiden cemented their return to form with this release and proved that they were still a, if not the, dominant force in heavy metal. Any doubts that they were past it had passed and the group were free to embark on yet another huge world tour to millions of devoted fans free of any worries. Even though most songs here are long to the casual fan this and the previous album are amongst their most accessible and are a good place to start for the newbie.
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on 27 October 2003
I've been a fan of Maiden's music for many years now but have struggled to like any of the post Fear of The Dark studio albums as much as their earlier stuff. However, as a true fan, I bought Dance Of Death and with one hearing couldn't believe this was the same band that had dissapointed me with their last outing, Brave New World. It's brilliant! There is a good deal of classic Maiden with pounding riffs and epic-like songs. There is also some orchestral music on a couple of the tracks and it sounds much better than Metallica's attempt to mix orchestra and guitars. And the final song is a Maiden rarity as it is completely acoustic. All in all this is easily one of Maiden's best albums and I just hope they have more to come.
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