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Looking back, this last decade (2000-2010) has been a very satisfactory one for Iron Maiden fans. The release of three great albums (soon four?) put them right back on the map. Naturally, these albums contain several new classic songs and it’s rather easy to argue that in Dance of Death’s case, Rainmaker is its most recognizable song. So finding this single (the standard 3-song version) was quite a stroke of luck because of the cool stuff within.
Rainmaker is the first and obvious highlight here. Starting with what is essentially the band’s catchiest riff of the decade, it develops into a solid rocker which rivals its 80s classic predecessors in coolness. The shining element here is the guitar playing, which distinguishes itself as very impressive in terms of interest and technicality. The middle of the song contains one of the band’s most fitting solos, simply because it fits right in with the nature of the song, right before the final chorus and a repeat of the amazing opening riff. Bruce’s vocal delivery is great as usual, though not his absolute best. Still, this is an unquestionably brilliant song and a Maiden classic.
The first B-side is the single’s other highlight: an orchestral version of Dance of Death. Now, the original album version is one of the most remarkable tracks there and this version adds another spark of interest due to the very tasteful integration of the symphonic parts, subtle but nonetheless noticeable and pleasant. In fact, this version adds a new level of atmosphere to the already great original.
Unfortunately, many good things have flaws and the Rainmaker single is no different: the other B-side, More Tea Vicar. This is four minutes of pointlessness. This song has Bruce rambling stuff over a few strange riffs which don’t really go anywhere and some unfocused drumming. This song is actively annoying and drags the whole thing down. I’d have preferred a live track included instead, which would’ve made the whole thing a lot more enjoyable.
So this single contains two great trucks and a pointless failure which must always be skipped lest severe irritation ensue. The only real reason to get this single (aside from completists) is to hear the impressive modified version of Dance of Death, but most people will be more than satisfied by buying the much more accessible Dance of Death album.
This song contains all of the qualities of a classic Maiden song. A very catchy main riff, fast paced with a good rhythm and intriguing lyrics on an interesting topic which make you want to sing along. If you're a Maiden fan this definitely belongs in your collection, I would also reccomend it to anybody wishing to get in to this band as it is as good a place as any to begin.
Comparing this to their previous single release this is much, much better. Wildest Dreams is a decent album track but not worthy of being a single in my opinion and not a good indication of the albums content in general.
My only real disappointment is the b-sides, which like the wildest dreams single sound liked they were cobbled together, because they were needed. Sure Dance of Death (Track 2) is a great song, but who wants to hear a version only very slightly different to the one on the album? Track 3, More Tea Vicar is good novelty value, but again it’s a case of listen to it once and forget it. I don’t understand this as Maiden surely has hundreds of live tracks worthy of inclusion. If you can, pick up a copy of the DVD version. This has good versions of classic songs The Wicker Man and Children of the Damned.