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Right so you've got the albums... now get this! - 87%

Wez, May 13th, 2004

The first thing that should be made clear about this 2 DVD set is that it is essential for anyone who doesn't own any old VHS tapes with the Iron Maiden videos on. And even if you own the enhanced reissues with the CD-ROM videos on, you should get it anyway, for increased video quality and some that were not present on the CDs. There are a couple missing such as the live clips from around the first couple of albums and the Live After Death footage (the Live After Death video should get reissued as a DVD!). No biggie though.

The older VHS owners and Maiden fans could probably live without owning this. The few Camp Chaos videos as extras really don't hold up as strongly as the originals to make them necessary material, though the end of the Aces High video featuring Lars just has to be seen I suppose! They're enough for a few chuckles. The menu kind of takes a moment to work out what you're doing, you have to select the various Eddie heads to find out what section of the DVD they are for, which is kind of unnecessary.

It is pretty much every Maiden promo video made, from the low budget early vids, through the kind of dated and restricted special effects of the mid 80s classics, through the kind of lavish sets covering the mediocrity of some of the early 90s period, and finally though the tacky, outdated CG of the late Blaze era to a stop after Rock In Rio. It's a mix up of super classics, some other fairly fun songs and some tripe too. I got a glimpse of the eras of the band after Seventh Son before making that plunge into buying the albums. And also put me off the Blaze Bayley albums for all eternity, except Futureal, a good song and good enough video. I'll otherwise probably never watch them again (I did try, and watched them all several times!). There's much fun to be had still, it's not all a reapeat of "The Angel and the Gambler" and it's tired and outdated CG showing off. The Wicker Man is not perhaps as good as it might have been, I just can't get into the feel of it so much, but love the song. The early 90s videos have a lot of redeeming qualities, such as the pure comedy and silliness of "Holy Smoke", featuring Steve Harris playing bass on a moving tractor, Dave Murray performing a blistering solo whilst standing in a stream complete with wellies, topping it all off with Bruce's facial expressions and it makes the song a little more than it probably would be on album. The smutty old early 90s feel of "From Here To Eternity" does a decent enough job to the same effect. The older videos should really need no reviewing, each is a classic despite their age and budget, and are always great to watch. It may be a gateway into Maiden though no "greatest hits" package, I don't think there has been one from this band I've been satisfied with anyhow.

I think that a potential fan of Iron Maiden should pick some albums first, then heed this recommendation to go out and buy it. Far from perfect with a little disappointment on the menu and extras side, there's not too much and those Camp Chaos vids gets tired after a while. It's the best thing if you don't want to spend your time and money locating those old out of print VHS copies, which for a newer or less than die hard fan probably won't be a priority.