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I’m No Art Critic, but… - 75%

DawnoftheShred, October 7th, 2008

There’s really no other way to describe the cover for this Maiden single except to say that it is the shit. A highly detailed image that recalls the Phantom of the Opera, it shows a very dramatic Eddie pose, a beautiful landscape that carries onto the back cover, and a bizarre, futuristic, pipe organ in Eddie’s likeness. This kind of makes up for the fact that there aren’t any exclusive studio tunes on this release.

The A-side track is none other than Maiden’s biggest hit “Run to the Hills” live from the Long Beach Arena in ’85. Like all their early live tunes with Dickinson, it kicks ass. Bruce sounds great, the guitar sound is sharper than on the studio version, and the track just ripples with the energy that comes from a live Maiden performance. The B-sides are a pair of live tracks recorded at the Hammersmith-Odeon in ’84. First up is “Phantom of the Opera,” which is always a treat to hear with Bruce on vocals. I’m not sure what it is, but every live recording of Maiden from the 80’s slays. Youth perhaps, but whatever it is, it’s the reason these tracks and Live After Death absolutely destroy later recordings like the Live at Downington and A Real Dead One. The solo bit on this track is particularly intense and Steve’s bass tone is perfect. But anyway, after that scorcher is “Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra),” the super-catchy instrumental from Powerslave. Once again, it sounds excellent; guitars, bass, and drums perfectly fusing to forge the tightest instrumental in Maiden’s career.

I’m personally satisfied with the studio versions of these songs, but for those that enjoy Maiden’s live output, these tracks are fantastic. And did I mention the cover art rules?