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About what you'd expect - 84%

OlympicSharpshooter, March 16th, 2004

Here's the deal folks. Maiden packaged all of their videos, many of which never saw any airplay of any kind, into one big two disc set, with some nice menu's and a few extra's. Now, to review the thing.

The songs themselves are for the most part fantastic as you'd expect, this comp actually featuring more of Maiden's best than the atrocious Edward the Great hits pack released last year. You can't deny a rolecall like this: "The Trooper", "Aces High", "2 Minutes to Midnight", "The Flight of Icarus", "The Wicker Man", "Be Quick or Be Dead", "Wrathchild", "Wasted Years", "Fear of the Dark(live)", "Hallowed Be Thy Name(live)", "Run to the Hills", "The Evil That Men Do", "Infinite Dreams", "Stranger in a Strange Land"... okay, I need to sit down. Anyway, Iron Maiden has a catalogue that stands in that hallowed land of the truly iconic. Their early albums (Iron Maiden thru Piece of Mind) are unbelievable. They're untouchable.

*cough*

However, their videos are quite emphatically touchable. The video's range from good ("Holy Smoke", "Be Quick or Be Dead", "The Wicker Man", "2 Minutes to Midnight") to the laughably bad ("The Angel and the Gambler", "From Here to Eternity", "Virus", "Women in Uniform"). I mean, man, what were they thinking with the Blaze videos? Iron Maiden has had a hard-on for CGI for a while now (check Ed Hunter *bleech*), but man those are some bad effects. "Man on the Edge" at least has some cool band shots, but "Angel and the Gambler", all six or seven minutes of it, is almost completely CGI. And it's AWFUL.

And it's not just the new ones that suck. Look at "The Number of the Beast". Nonsensical clap-trap, and what was going on with Bruce's hair? The Piece of Mind vids are cool, and you gotta love em for including a rollicking version of "Wrathchild", but why was a video shot for "Women in Uniform"? "Running Free" was the single from Iron Maiden, and it's a much better song. Although perhaps it’s better that I don't have to watch it get massacred like WIU is. Both of the Powerslave videos work well, "Aces High" is one of their most famous vids, and "2 Minutes" is one of the rare instances where a full-out concept vid works for the band. Tons of Seventh Son stuff too, "Can I Play With Madness?" being particularly bad save for the fact that Graham Chapman of Monty Python fame is in it. I always hated that song too. But man, electric renditions of "Infinite Dreams" and "The Evil That Men Do". No excuse for three songs from No Prayer either, although "Holy Smoke" is absolutely hilarious. The live performance of "Tailgunner" feels weak, and the "Bring Your Daughter" vid concept (with old stock footage from a black and white horror flick) is running seriously thin after having it rammed down your throat about five times previous.

On to vid 2, lots of FOTD stuff, which is okay by me. "Wasted Love" is cheesy as hell, but still fairly powerful, and "Be Quick or Be Dead" is my hyperkinetic fav of the Maiden video catalogue. "From Here to Eternity" though...whew, this is like a terrible version of a terrible hair band video. Who comes up with this shit? Anyhoo, live versions of "Hallowed" and "FOTD", the former strong, the latter weak especially compared to FOTD from Rio included on the disk. The aforementioned Blaze videos are best forgotten, just like the albums, "Virus" being amateurish, "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" from FOTD making me long for Bruce, and the rest being awful in that Blaze-era way that requires no further words to describe. Finally, some Brave New World stuff, "The Wicker Man" awesome, "Out of the Silent Planet" weak, "Brave New World" energetic and inspired.

Special features, a bit thin. The Camp Chaos vids are fun, but no featurettes? I'd loved to hear the band talking about all the vids...why no commentaries?

Stand-Outs: Flippin’ awesome package, “Be Quick or Be Dead”, “The Wicker Man”, “Holy Smoke”