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Failing in the present and living in the past - 60%

kluseba, January 31st, 2011

I have no problem with old metal stars trying out something new and trying to sound modern but in the case of our frustrated and poor Paul Di'Anno that lives from his Iron Maiden past even if he blames the band for the decisions they had taken against him this is a very special file. At least, the positive point is that he is not doing another annoying copy or re-recording of the hits he had with Iron Maiden. Well, of course, that's not quite the truth as there are two live versions of two songs from that era on the disc that sound truly awful. "Wrathchild" is too fast and aggressive but the really fail comes with "Phantom of the opera" that has been cut down to a quite short version without the interesting instrumental part. The second disc of the special edition of this album included not only a good video clip but also a quite long interview about Paul Di'Anno's years in Iron Maiden. This is an interesting gem for any Iron Maiden fan without a doubt but I don't think that someone like Paul Di'Anno still deserves all that attention after all these years, all his stupid comments and all his mistakes.

But that should not be the content of this review, so let's rather talk about the music. In fact, this album is a re-recording of the album "Nomad" that Di'Anno had made under a slightly different name six years before the release of this one. This is already not a quite original idea and after copying Iron Maiden in live and studio versions, he simply copies himself instead of being finally innovating, original or at least entertaining. The only new tracks are the opener and title track, a quite atmospheric and dark gothic rock ballad that sounds really promising and the Megadeth cover "Symphony of destruction" that sounds less cool but much more emotional, crazy and driven as the original and I must say that I prefer this version to the original even if Megadeth fans will tell you the opposite so I think that this is a question of personal taste.

The problem is that Di'Anno tries to do some new trademarks and sings in a very modern hardcore style that sounds at least very particular and strange. He growls, pukes and screams like a wounded animal but it is at least emotional and fits to his somewhat crazy personality. A song like the fast head crusher "Mad man in the attic" works well in this style but the problem is that many songs on the record try to copy exactly this style and happen to sound quite similar and bore you. The only exception in the middle of the modern hardcore no man's land is the epic song "Nomad" where Paul Di'Anno sounds quite psychedelic and succeeds finally to unite his past and his present in over seven minutes. This song is a truly interesting gem to get discovered.

But in the end two brilliant songs ("The living dead" and "Nomad") plus one or two good average tracks can't excuse for many average and even at some point annoying songs and a terrible lack of creativity. Any Iron Maiden fan should really attentively listen to this album before purchasing it because Di'Anno really sounds different on this record but that's about to be the only positive point as he tries out something new even if he ultimately fails, sounds terribly and bores to death several times. But as there are at least a few well done efforts and a little glimpse of open minded structures, I still give an average rating to this.