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Many people ask who needs such a greatest hits compilation. Well, I am one of those who need that kind of compilation. I am a really big Iron Maiden fan and I wanted to discover some stuff that the band members had done out of thye band and that's why I bought a couple of discs of Blaze Bayley's solo works, one or two discs from Paul Di'Anno and this compilation of the solo works of Bruce Dickinson as some of the less recent discs are hard to find and are also quite expensive in their new edited limited editions. I think that this disc gives you a good overall view on what Bruce Dickinson has done in his career and if you are not an absolute fanboy, this compilation could even be everything you need to listen to and know. Of course, many fans will claim that a couple of their favourite songs are not included on that disc but that's probably the problem of any compilation album as any fan has different personal favourites. But as an introduction or overall presentation, this disc really offers anything you need. As for the collectors and fans, the second disc is a very interesting gem as it includes rare stuff such as Bruce Dickinson's first steps as vocalist on the track "Dracula" from 1977 or the legandary original version of Iron Maiden's later number one hit success "Bring your daughter... to the slaughter".
But I prefer to talk about the first disc only as the limited special edition with two discs is rather hard to find and if you should be lucky and get your hands on the double disc version you shouldn't hesitate to buy this version. Concerning the first disc, there are songs from all solo albums up to "Chemical wedding" included as well as two live tracks and two brand new songs.
The opener "Broken" is one of those new songs and sounds quite modern with some sound and voice effects and spacey verses that lead to a powerful chorus. The guitars are doing some amazing harmonies that may remind you of the main band Iron Maiden without being a copy of it. I think that this song sounds fresh and straight without being ordinary and derserves its place as an opener on this compilation. The other new song is called "Silver wings", a good average song but nothing truly outstanding. Lyrically, the song reminds of "Tailgunner" and has a nice intro as well as a catchy chorus.
Two songs of the first solo albumk "Tattooed millionaire" are included on this disc. The sound of that album is quite comparable to Iron Maiden's "No prayer for the dying" and is more of a hard rock than a heavy metal record. The main difference is that Bruce Dickinsons screams are more passioante and angry on his solo albumk as on the rather weaker album of the British heavy metal legends. The two songs "Tattooed millionaire" and "Born in '58" are both great. The first track is a catchy hard rock number with guts and some interesting lyrics while the second one is a very melodic and melancholic hard rock ballad with a fine and memorable chorus.
Two songs are taken from the follow-up "Balls to Picasso" that continued the hard rock direction of the first solo album but had a couple of surprises. "Laughing in the hiding bush" is a rathe rordinary song but the live version included on this compilation is faster and more intense than the original studio version and worth watching it. "Tears of the dragon" is one of the most diversified and emotional heavy metal ballads ever made and includes a stunning guitar solo, an amazingly authentic performance by Bruce Dickinson and a couple of sensitive lyrics. This song is a truly emotional masterpiece that any heavy metal fan should know.
Only one song from the third record called "Skunkworks" is included on this disc and I think this is a sad thing as it is an underrated album that open minded metal fans may truly adore while traditional purists may feel disappointed. The album sounded different than the other, had some really spacey and progressive elements as well as a modern sound that approached a grungier sound and got far away from traditional heavy metal or hard rock. "Back from the edge" is one of the catchier and more commercial songs from that records and gives us a glimpse at what Bruce Dickinson had tried to experiment at that time with a completely new band, new sound and even a new haircut.
Three songs are included from the "Accident of birth" record, a return to the roots of melodic heavy metal. The title track soundss still quite modern and industrial and I find it rather annoying. "Road to hell" is a melodic metal song without any charm and uniqueness and probably the worst track on this compilation. Only the diversified and slightly progressive "Darkside of Aquarius" is an interesting track and grows more and more on me.
Three more tracks from "Chemical wedding" are included on this compilation, a dark heavy metal album with conceptual trademarks. The title track is a dark and catchy song that presents a very unique and new side of Bruce Dickinson while "The tower" could have easily been a modern Iron Maiden song with its rhythm orientated bass intro, twin guitars and melodic chorus. "Book of Thel" is included as an interesting live version where Bruce Dickinson can truly show his talent, passion and stunning vocal range. It is a good choice to include this live version as it is more emotional than the studio version and a surprising highlight at the end of the compilation.
All in all, this is not the most perfect choice for a compilation album as some songs like "Road to hell" or "Accident of birth" are less interesting but the most important and stunning stuff like the unforgettable "Tears of the dragon" or the autobiographic "Born in '58" is included on the disc. If you are an Iron Maiden fan that would like to discover what their singer has done elsewhere, thsi album is the perfect choice. If you are a true fan boy and collect any Iron Maiden item, the special edition with two discs is a true gem for you. In that way, both sides shall be satisfied a part of the ones who already have all the solo albums and singles in their collection which is surely quite rare. For most of the people, this album is a quite interesting and entertaining one and if you like the voice of Bruce Dickinson, you must get and will surely adore this compilation.