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Normally I would be somebody to complain when a band ‘fills’ a single or EP with live songs. Especially Metallica and Maiden in later years (nineties) would start to suffer from this. Here however I’m pretty fond of them.
Since 1998 ‘Sanctuary’ has become a regular track on Maiden’s first album. I myself however only posses ‘old’ stuff and therefore still consider this to be a lone track in a huge discography. ‘Sanctuary’ is a pretty powerful track, albeit with lesser impressive riffs than other Di’Anno-era tunes, and it perfectly combines rock with a more flashy metal intensity.
The live version of ‘Drifter’ is great because of it’s song-a-long secton. After I first heard this track I kept singing yoyoyoyo for weeks. Yes, that catchy indeed. And this version is slightly more energetic and more raw than the studioversion would turn out to be.
Talking of raw, the Montrose cover ‘Ive Got The Fire’ perfectly shows how Iron Maiden could turn rock into metal. It’s all right here. The studio version with Dicksinson a few years later (Flight Of Icarus single) was pretty good, but this one shatters all, including the original. The energy here is unequalled. Yes, including the studio song ‘Sanctuary’ we have one of the rawest Maiden releases from the Di’Anno-era and worth getting your hands on.
For collectors like myself it has always been worth searching for live recordings with Di’Anno on vocals. There aren’t many and unfortunately the majority of bootlegs from that era sound awful. We, the fans, had to do with this EP, Live+1 and the pretty short Maiden Japan EP obviously (it took ‘til 1999 for the entire Maiden Japan concert to be released) So each rare live recording from those days is worth getting as far as I’m concerned.
The crown jewel in this EP is track numero uno, “Sanctuary.” One of Maiden’s earlier tracks and a staple in their live shows, it’s become a bit of a rarity having never appeared on a studio album (I think some versions of the Iron Maiden LP have it, but I’ve never seen ‘em). A short, punchy rocker like this would have fit nicely on their first album, but it fits pretty nice here too. Second up on the studio side is “Prowler,” which is of course the lead cut off their debut LP. A bit darker in nature than “Sanctuary,” its opening riff is the single coolest use of the wah-pedal in heavy metal. The chorus is classic, while the pick-up during the bridge is just as climactic. It’s not nearly as rare of a track, but it’s a hell of a lot cooler.
On to side two, we find a pair of live tracks. Once again, things kick off with my personal favorite Di’anno-era Maiden tune, “Drifter.” In fact, I’m fairly positive that this is the same live recording of the song as the one featured as the B-side of the “Women in Uniform” single. Still, it warms my heart to see that the band were as fond of this song as I am. More exclusively for this EP is its fourth and final track, “I’ve Got The Fire.” A Montrose cover from what I understand, it’s a pretty energetic tune as performed here.
Featuring a pair of exclusive tracks and a nasty cover rendition of Eddie knifing an older woman (Margaret Thatcher?) in a hybrid style of their first two album covers, this is a must-have.