without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Iron Maiden with Dickinson is THE Iron Maiden. This single (and any other Dickinson era Maiden album) prove this in superb ways. This single contains the mammoth of a song "Run to the Hills", and the lesser known, underrated, "Total Eclipse."
"Run to the Hills", with all it's glory and popularity is without a doubt one of Maiden's best songs (not counting the long songs). It starts out with the famous, instantly recognizable drum beat that gets you read for the ride. The guitars and bass come in with a simple yet catchy riff, followed by Dickinson's singing. The song then picks up pace when the verse starts, and then leads up to the awesome chorus that is a staple of the song. This process repeats once more before the solo kicks in, and then takes away to the chorus again. The song ends with an out tro accompanied by a nice scream by Bruce.
Now the better part of the single (also a better song then RTTH) is "Total Eclipse". It has a very dark atmosphere that suits the song's lyrics well. The riffs are also pretty simple. There is no complex riffing, and there is no over the top technicality that will make you pierce your eyes out from all the confusion. The best bits of the song are when Bruce sings the following lines before the solo:
"Around the world the nations wait for some wise words from their leading light
You know it's not only madmen who listen to fools
'Is this the end?' the millions cried clutching their riches as they died
Those who survive must weather the storm"
and after it:
"Gone are the days when man looked down,
They've taken away his sacred crown
To be so free, it took so long,
It's not the journeys end, it's just begun"
I am also wondering why the band decided to drop this song off the album instead of some other one because it easily beats "Gangland" or "Invaders". This single gives a great taste of what "The Number of the Beast" is about, and also gives us a song that wasn't on the original release. Overall a good single, but if you have the full album, there is no point in listening to this, unless you want to hear "Total Eclipse".
I love Iron Maiden’s most famous album, The Number Of The Beast, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a problem with it. That being, that if three filler songs were removed, it would probably make for the best EP of all time. Therefore, my problem with this release is that both the A and B sides are two of those weak filler songs, the other one being the one which is commonly accepted as the weak point of the album, ‘Gangland’.
Don’t get me wrong, both of them are respectable NWOBHM songs and contain Maiden’s trademark duelling guitars, soaring vocals and lyrical splendour, but they are nothing spectacular – the simplicity of ‘Run To The Hills’ naturally appeals to the mainstream more than the vast majority of the metal genre, with its memorable chorus, the melody of which is based around basic chromatic progressions.
Its verses are somewhat unusual for Maiden, in that the sole focus is Dickinson’s vocals, with a few simple riffs seeming to have been thrown together as a background for a preconstructed vocal melody. It’s nowhere near Maiden’s usual standard that out of 4 or 5 riffs, the only one which really catches attention on its own merit is the one used twice in the middle 8 section, and even that has Dickinson mirroring its melody an octave (or two, I’m unsure) higher.
The complete lack of a guitar solo is somewhat disappointing – the catchy virtuosity which is often displayed here during Maiden’s songs is sorely missed. In a song where the only real attraction is the vocals and lyrics contained therein, any technicality would be desired merely to make the song anything more than pleasant background music, or indeed a shallow crowd-pleasing stadium filler.
‘Total Eclipse’ is far superior, yet still somewhat lacking; I feel the main problem is that the main verse riff is, as with the chorus of ‘Run To The Hills’, nothing more than a simple chromatic progression. That said, there is at least a solo to sweeten the deal a little, and an interesting one at that. The song overall, however, is far from memorable, perhaps the worst one taken off TNoTB in that respect, but is enjoyable to listen to.
“Run to the Hills” is undoubtedly Iron Maiden’s most recognizable song. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to the enormous praise its legions of fans bestow upon it. Off The Number of the Beast, the song is probably one of the weakest, though it is by no means bad. A victim of radio overdose, it has overshadowed much of Maiden’s storied career in the eyes of narrow-minded “fans” that somehow comprise a large portion of Maiden’s more mainstream fan base.
The main problem with the song is its unrelenting cheesiness. It’s not as much the lyrics as it is the delivery. The plight of the Native Americans makes an excellent lyrical topic, as proven by Judas Priest’s “Savage.” However, Dickinson’s insipid chorus melody may be one of the most grating performances he’s ever done. Meanwhile, the second and third verses are delivered very well (though this can’t be said about the first verse). Dickinson’s chieftain-like howl before the final chorus fits in perfectly in an Indian-themed song. The guitar lines are also quite cheesy, though the drums work excellently with the overall theme. “Run to the Hills” contains its greatest moment in the guitar solo, which is incredibly classic and probably one of the most famous metal solos short of “The Trooper.” Steve Harris closes the song well via one of his trademark bass jams.
What really dominates the show, though, is “Total Eclipse.” The dark atmosphere in this song is up to par with some of the bleakest songs Sabbath has done. Dickinson really carries the song with his malevolent delivery of the apocalyptic lyrics. The chorus is particularly demonic and memorable. The opening riff exemplifies what the song is about: depressing yet entertaining and unrelenting heavy metal. Additions such as the little scale in the middle of the second verse keep things fresh, and the solo ranks among Maiden’s very best – it’s insane and mania-inspiring, while the following vocals show just what Dickinson’s operatic training makes him capable of. It’s strange Maiden decided to make this a B-side, as it makes The Number of the Beast that much greater. “Gangland” would have made a much better choice. Luckily “Total Eclipse” is now readily available on the remastered edition of the album.
Thus concludes one of Maiden’s better singles. Though it doesn’t technically contain any rarities or even covers, the semi-rarity it does possess makes it more valuable in a Maiden collection because of its absolutely godly status. There’s not really a necessity to obtain this now that “Total Eclipse” is available on the album, but that’s not really the point of this kind of single. If you see this, don’t hesitate to pick it up – it’s worth every penny.