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There comes a point and time where if one follows a veteran band long enough, redundant and even pointless non-studio album releases will start to crop up like crazy. The colloquial term for these albums is that of a “cash grab”, but often times this label won’t do justice to the situation of one of these releases. “Visions Of The Beast” is not quite a cash grab to the younger Iron Maiden fan who is not in possession of the sizable collection of VHS tapes from the band’s 80s and early 90s days, but for those who have most of these releases (despite the lower video quality) and who are not particularly fond of the material released after “Fear Of The Dark”, the appeal here is fairly limited.
Insofar as the contents of this rather posh package of CGI imagery and cardboard casing, there’s plenty of music videos that don’t get any love on MTV or VH1 (though neither channel has been interested in much apart from reality TV shows of late). From the extremely low budget and very tongue-in-cheek rendering of “Women In Uniform” with a very primitive version of Eddie, all the way to the brief reenactment of “The Wicker Man” with the spectacle of a giant burning totem, the band shows all newcomers their unique ability to be both humorous and serious without missing a beat. The videos tend to vary in quality depending on the era of the band, although a fairly good collection of camera angles and dark imagery make “Virus” and “Man On The Edge” decent in spite of being little more than band shots.
The principle problem with this collection is that, well, it’s a collection. Apart from a fairly impressive menu screen with loads of graphics that conform pretty closely to the “Ed Hunter” imagery that would immediately precede the Bruce and Adrian reunion, there’s not much here apart from a collection of videos. There’s no commentaries on any of the videos, and apart from the “Camp Chaos” variations on a few classics, which are a merging of older band footage with newly crafted 2-D animation of about the same quality as the 2nd Heavy Metal movie, little else apart from a few newer videos to tag onto the already released ones that have since appeared on multiple VHS releases. There’s a good deal to like about this, but there definitely could have been a lot more.
This can be seen as an essential purchase of a younger fan who doesn’t want to blow money on an obsolete music video collection from the 80s in a dated visual medium, but those who already know the band and have all the essential releases are probably not going to be terribly impressed by this. Why blow $20 on a DVD for a few classic songs with a slightly tweaked version of their original videos and a really bad CGI video of the worst song on the band’s worst album in “The Angel And The Gambler”? But hey, at least it’s not as pointless as “Edward The Great”, if that counts for anything.