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There are bands that you cannot judge by general standards since they have set their own standards. This is why they enjoy being "the titan" or "the giant" band in the metal scene, but also the reason they face the most violent demise when they can't decide where to stop. Iron Maiden still is the no.1 top-class metal band that has ever existed on this planet no doubt, especially if we take the long 10 year period between 83 and 93 into account, the time they exposed their fans to constant and intense thrashing without mercy by throwing nine albums (seven studio and two live - Real Live/Dead One omitted) one after another that were worth a whole discography each. But in 95, with The X Factor, Maiden began to suck, with Virtual XI they sucked more and by Brave New World they had become Charlotte The Harlot themselves. By releasing Dance Of Death, they are turning the copyright holder of many albums, The Iron Maiden Holdings, into 22 Acacia Avenue. My God, I have never felt so distant to a band that I nearly worshipped just a few years ago.
The thing the sickens me most in this album are the never ending intros of tracks. A clean guitar begins the music, and some time later Bruce Dickinson accompanies it, but they go on tingling there for minutes but still no hint on where the hell the fucking song may be. They wait until you begin to crawl in stomachache and then unleash the most boring, incompetently imitated Iron Maiden riffs one after one (well, those "one"s take a long time to end, anyway). This is what they call "Maiden's new style". To hell with that. A combination of new generation, depthless, standard music and poorly imitated old Maiden riffs cannot be considered a new style, a new direction, or a new whatever the fuck it is.
Might be because of his age, or his loss of excitement, or the music itself, Nicko seems to have lost his energetic drumming and transformed into a standard drummer, even abandoning his trademark alien rhythms. Bruce Dickinson's voice is still good when taking into consideration the general music scene, but music scene comparisions doesn't apply in this case, does it? This is Iron Fucking Maiden, as Dickinson says. Well, supposed to be, I shall say. Guitar work sound mechanical to me (of course played clean and excellently, you cannot expect those guys to mess up any riff), it just doesn't have that kind of vibration within - the one we know too well from the 83 - 93 era.
Getting old is no excuse, if you are old just quit it. This is not what people are expecting, and when you cannot meet expectations, you go, that's the rule everywhere. I think a few release later, even the Iron Maiden logo will not be enough for many highly adaptive fans out there, and the violent demise I have mentioned earlier will take place in the form of "one of the most lame NWOBHM albums ever". There is a lot of difference between "You remember Maiden? They fucked us up," and "Do you remember Maiden? They fucked it up." Well, Maiden has obviously fucked "it" up.
Though being a song of extreme repetition both musically and lyrically, Rainmaker shines as a pearl within the shitty mud of Dance Of Death, and can even be inserted somewhere in the playlist that contains The "True" Iron Maiden.