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Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls - Live Chapter

Iron Maiden
The Book of Souls - Live Chapter
by Marcos "Big Daddy" Garcia at 12 January 2018, 2:11 PM

Well, let’s be honest from the beginning of this review: IRON MAIDEN is the greatest Metal band of the world. This is due many facts, especially their history, built with many perseverance, hard work and steel will from the bassist Steve Harris (the band founder and leader). They supported hard times on the changes of vocalists, the trial of tours with lack of conditions, and many more. Today, they are great, and they are the ones who introduce the greater number of young fans to Metal (I am one of them, who became a Metallian after seeing the cover and hearing “Piece of Mind”, back on 1983). And what could we wait for their latest live album, “The Book of Souls: Live Chapter”?

Well, a great part of the band’s fans (who see them more as a religion than as a band) will ask my editor-in-chief to kick my butt out of Metal Temple, but this double CD is a fine example as a colossus can fall under its own weight.As I don’t need to introduce you to the band’s musical style (please, every Metalhead knows what IRON MAIDEN plays), I’ll explain what is their greatest mistake: the tracklist.

The sextet has a great set of classics on their shoulders. But the choice of songs is pretty strange, because there are 6 songs from “The Book of Souls”, occupying space that some classics would fill. And it’s truly weird to see the lack of songs from “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”, “No Prayer for the Dying” and all other albums before “Brave New World”. And one more thing in this aspect: again the band repeat some classics that some fans are full of, as “The Trooper”, “The Number of the Beast” and the annoying “Fear of the Dark”. They could be replaced by other classics that they don’t play since long, as “Revelations”, “Flight of Icarus”, “Two Minutes for Midnight”, “The Evil that Man Do” and “Only the Good Die Young”! And Blaze Bayley songs are totally absent! Seems like something that a fanatic (especially those who cried for Bruce’s return on the 90s) would expect for, but not a true fan, someone who loves the Beast for long years.

Another mistake: only 16 songs. By the gods, on “Live After Death” double CD version there are 20 songs. It’s a waste, let’s speak frankly. The sound quality is not bad at all. Steve Harris and Tony Newton produced the album, with the last one making the mix, and Ade Emsley did the mastering. It sounds good and clear, with the tunes from a live show, but the rhythm guitars are in a low volume that doesn’t fit on a band with such colossal money structure behind them. Some rumors say that Steve holds control of everything, so I think he must leave things on the hands of the producer and focus his attention on playing and composing. At least, Kevin Shirley isn’t with the band anymore, and we hope the things will stay in this way.

The band alive works very well. Steve is a war tank, and Dave, Adrian and Janick are really good guitarist (please, stop complaining about Janick. Grow up, kids!), Nicko still plays in a solid and technical way, and Bruce still has some problems singing on shows (sorry, but his lack of lessons as a singer takes its toll on songs as “The Trooper”, “Iron Maiden” and “Wasted Years”, and others that aren’t on the album, especially those with very high tunes and with fast tempos), but he sings, at least, 70% of what he sings on a studio.

As I mentioned in the beginning, the greater problem of the album is the tracklist.  Recorded at many shows from the “The Book of Souls World Tour”, we can hear that energy isn’t the problem as well, because the live versions for songs as “If Eternity Should Fail”, “Speed of Light”, “Death or Glory”, “The Red and the Black”, “The Great Unknown” and “The Book of Souls” are really very good, but it’s a gross mistake to put two longs songs as the two last ones on a live album (even being a double album as this). But the classics songs are showing that the Beast is on its comfort zone, playing some successful songs with slower tempos compared to their original versions (as “Iron Maiden” and “Wasted Years”), but remembering what I wrote above: these songs are expected for fanatics, but other classics would fit better. But to hear once more “Wrathchild”, “Children of the Damned”, “Powerslave”, and “The Number of the Beast” is a very good experience (even with the lack of breath from Bruce in many parts).

Oh, are you frustrated and revolted from my words? I am due the quality of “The Book of Souls: Live Chapter”. The best we can do: to wish that IRON MAIDEN can call younger and ambitious producers that made excellent works as Andy Sneap, Jens Bogren or Fredrik Nordström, let them work freely, because this album is a symptom that the band is going to a bitter end. On the countdown for the storm of fans’ complains, and for the kicking in my ass.

Originality: 5
Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 3
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Disc 1:

1. If Eternity Should Fail
2. Speed of Light
3. Wrathchild
4. Children of the Damned
5. Death or Glory
6. The Red and the Black
7. The Trooper
8. Powerslave

Disc 2:

1. The Great Unknown
2. The Book of Souls
3. Fear of the Dark
4. Iron Maiden
5. The Number of the Beast
6. Blood Brothers
7. Wasted Years
Lineup:
Steve Harris - Bass
Dave Murray - Guitars
Adrian Smith - Guitars
Janick Gers - Guitars
Bruce Dickinson - Vocals
Nicko McBrain - Drums
Record Label: EMI Records
     


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