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Pointlessness is a common eventuality in the realm of best of compilations, and unfortunately Iron Maiden has seen their fair share of exploits in this regard. Topping the list is this unfortunate little puppy affectionately known as “Edward The Great”, a title that is about as deceptive as the disclosures of a government with regards to overseas black ops. The analogy towards government and politics could be drawn further into the world of democratic campaigns in the song selection department, as the platitudes are plentiful and the surprises are scarce. Part of it might be my long tenure as a fan of this band, but even for a newcomer to the band, this is unacceptable.
The typical ordering of songs by chronological release of their respective albums is not a bad one; in fact most of the better compilations tend to take this route. But unfortunately the pacing found from song to song within this format isn’t quite so well realized. The selection of Blaze era songs and “The Wicker Man” being lumped together in the listing is somewhat reminiscent to the flawed pacing of Manowar’s “Warriors Of The World” album, cramming a large amount of fast paced metal at the tail end of what is a fairly slow and safe collection of songs. Of course, it is important to note that said Manowar album offered up a full dose of solid new material, while this is a rehash of songs that anyone interested in the band will have heard and will probably own the respective albums where they can be found.
It is easy to pick on a compilation for what it doesn’t include, particularly with this band, as any amount of tree pruning will inevitably cut away something great. But what is included in this release makes it pretty easy to pick on. With the exceptions of “Infinite Dreams” and the live rendering of “Fear Of The Dark”, this is all radio-friendly material that doesn’t really do justice to the band’s abilities. The simple inclusion of something less known like “To Tame A Land” or “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” would have done this a world of good. And heaven forbid there be at least one representative from the band’s influential material with Paul Di’Anno should find its way on here.
No, this should not be titled “Edward The Great”; this should be called something more along the lines of “Iron Maiden For Dummies”, “The Idiot’s Guide To Iron Maiden”, or for a less offensive term, “The Official Iron Maiden Cliffs Notes”. There is very little enrichment here, even for the metal newcomer who prefers to keep things safe. Only the washed up 80s glam rock turned corporate suit would bother with this sort of release in order to complement his greatest hits collections of Winger and Cinderella, and it was likely that sort of mindset that was influencing Steve Harris when he decided to put this together.