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Classics from a Different World. - 95%

hells_unicorn, July 12th, 2007

The most recent addition to my Maiden collection has proven to be quite a treat, for a less than expected reason. It contains the most catchy and memorable of all the songs on the “A Matter of Life and Death” album as its featured track. If one were to compare it to recent releases, it is probably most similar to “Rainmaker” off the Dance of Death release, although the pre-chorus and chorus interchange is quite similar to a couple of songs on the “Brave New World” release. Its pinnacle point occurs when the song breaks into a 3 guitar harmony line just before the solo, probably one of the best instrumental sections I’ve heard out of the band since Dickinson left the fold in the early 1990s. Likewise, the Radio 1 Legends Session version of “Hallowed be thy Name” has several amazing moments to it as a result of the extra guitar being present.

But the true highpoint of this release is not the title track of the single, but instead the updated version of “The Trooper”, which features some rather intricate changes in the song. One of the problems with the older material is that it is geared for 2 guitarists, but apparently this hasn’t phased Steve Harris and company at all as they simply layer an extra part over top of the existing parts, which works in concert with the other parts rather than against them. The second time that the main theme is stated there is an additional harmony part put on top that makes for a nice transition. The first guitar solo is actually two lead lines layered over each other on the right side, sounding a lot like the old solos of the first 4 Black Sabbath albums at first, and then harmonizing in traditional Maiden fashion before the left side interjects its equal time in the solo section. However, Bruce’s vocals are what puts this version of the 1983 classic over the top; quite frankly I’d say its better than the original. Bruce’s voice is powerful, on point, and hits all of the old notes that some thought were no longer in him.

Although the Benjamin Breeg single was the promotional single for the most recent Maiden LP, this is the one to own. It has a much faster feel to it when listened to all the way through; definitely a lot closer to the older Maiden that many seem to still be hungry for. You may have a good couple years to wait before this band puts out another collection of B-sides/rarities so get yourself to whatever website you can and pick up this single, which contains two masterfully done remakes of two unforgettable classics.