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Did a robot make this compilation? - 43%

SpyreWorks, February 23rd, 2010

...because that's what this seems like. Although having the most famous and most fun Iron Maiden songs on here, the compilation adheres to a strict "2 songs per album" rule, which is ultimately the downfall of the compilation and the reason it's a piece of shit. It's as if a computer program picked the two most famous songs from each album then put them together, and this wouldn't really be a problem, except for the fact that the title of this album is "The Essential Iron Maiden", not "A Taste of Maiden" or something like that. Most of the songs on this compilation aren't essential by a long stretch. The essential Iron Maiden stuff was from the beginning of their long career, and the problem is that great songs such as "Hallowed Be Thy Name", "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", "Powerslave", "22 Acacia Avenue", "Children of the Damned" and more are all deprived of spaces in the compilation while globs of shit that no one cares about occupy them. One other thing that irks me is that two classic songs "Running Free" and "Iron Maiden" are live versions. Why!? The original studio versions are a lot better and fit much better into a compilation!

Despite all that though, this is still an Iron Maiden release, and the songs are of course, quite awesome regardless. Loud and epic singing, melodic guitar harmonies, powerful and tight drumming and great bass work. The worst parts on the compilation are the Blaze Bayley-era songs. "Futureal" is pretty bad, "Sign of the Cross" is infinitely boring and "Man On the Edge" is painful to listen to (you can tell how hard Blaze is trying to be Bruce, and he fails at it so badly that you have to pity him). The only good Blaze song is "The Clansman", which is a calm epic. The best songs are undoubtedly the earlier ones, from pre-1990s Iron Maiden. "Run to the Hills", "The Trooper" and more are all great and famous songs, but as I said before, SO MANY AMAZING SONGS ARE MISSING.

If the creators of the compilation had put a little thought into compiling songs, then classic and truly essential songs would liberate their spots from the bland and unwanted musical turds of more recent years. Despite all this, it's still a good listen if this is your first Iron Maiden purchase or if you just want to see what all the fuss is about, and in the end, it's still Iron Maiden, none of the songs are THAT bad. But this is a compilation, not an album, and I'm reviewing the selection of songs and how they fit with the title, and my official conclusion is that this compilation sucks.