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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.