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The NWOBHM was a movement which gained media recognition in the late 1970s, achieved international attention by the early 1980s, and gave way to a snowball effect which has led to the development of many different styles, and the hugely increased popularity and diversity of heavy metal music.

Heavy metal music, unlike many other music genres, has evolved and matured over many decades, proving itself to be more than a simple fashion statement. The NWOBHM represented a sudden explosion of interest in the music and experimentation within the field, which was echoed across the Atlantic a few years later in the development of Thrash Metal and its various offspring.

The way in which it arose echoes the garage band and underground music phenomenon of the 1960s, with a striking feature being that bands were usually derived from fans of the music. This created a very protective culture, in which bands strove to develop their own sounds and styles to make them stand out from the rapidly expanding pack.

This in turn bred a tendency towards a technical proficiency of a rather flamboyant nature, echoing and sometimes imitating Progressive Rock bands, who had been somewhat stifled by the explosion of punk rock earlier in the 1970s.

It has been often cited that The NWOBHM drew its energy from the preceding wave of punk rock and, due to the open nature of the music, in some cases this is true. But Heavy Metal had always had a level of driving energy, right from the early hard rock pioneers such as Blue Cheer, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult and the Scorpions through to the heavier Glam Rock acts such as Slade and The Sweet. This energy seemed to culminate in the music of Judas Priest, who were undoubtedly the most important musical influence on the NWoBHM.

What did arise from punk was the whole DIY aspect - the fact that anyone with any level of musical ability could form a band, record a demo and distribute it themselves among friends and fans, and this aspect was core to the way in which the NWoBHM grew and disseminated around the world. Metallica famously would listen to these demo tapes and decide to create their own, despite the fact that Lars Ulrich was yet to set up his drum kit, let alone play it.

Some bands, such as Diamond Head and Def Leppard even went as far as to set up their own record label in order to release their material (Happy Face and Bludgeon Riffola respectively). Many bands signed to small independent labels, and labels such as Neat records sprang up specifically to promote Heavy Metal music. A number of compilations appeared, such as "Lead Weight", "New Electric Warriors" and "Metal for Muthas".

Spearleaders for the movement, Iron Maiden, recorded a live set at the Sound House before signing to major label EMI, and were thus in the fortunate position of being able to have the EMI promotion machine available to promote their innovative and highly influential brand of metal at just the right time (Maiden had actually been in existence for at least 3 years before the NWoBHM). Def Leppard quickly got signed by Vertigo, Diamond Head were disastrously signed by MCA, and Sheffield-based Saxon signed to French disco label Carrere!

Despite often scathing critical backlash, the music was heavily promoted by the likes of Sounds journalist Gary Barton, who is credited with coining the term New Wave of Heavy Metal, Rock DJ Neal Kay, who played recordings of new acts extensively at London's Sound House, and Radio 1 DJ Tommy Vance. Magazines dedicated to the music, such as Metal Forces and Kerrang! sprang up, and later, Vance began to include a section called Rock Wars, dedicated to unsigned acts in his Friday night Rock Show.

But while the major label acts were crucial in the musics continued development and dissemination, it was the smaller acts, often acts with only one or two demos under their belts, that made the music what it was, and ensured that, while the signed acts either went on to international stardom or disintegrated completely, the music itself continued to evolve at an ever-increasing pace.

As for the musical style itsef, contrary to popular opinion, many early NWoBHM bands would incorporate 12-bar blues in their rhythm parts, and the minor pentatonic scale in lead guitar solos. This can make it hard to distinguish the music from Hard Rock, which is essentially blues rock played through high-gain amplifiers.

The bands that really stand out from this time are the bands that broke away from the hard rock traditions, modelling their compositions on structures with extended intros, outros and instrumental breaks, usually featuring extensive guitar solos.

But it was not just about how complex the music could be; Beacuse of it's origins, there was a strong emphasis on crowd involvement, and many bands wrote anthemic songs with strong, straightforward melodies with that in mind. There was also the question of band identity and originality, and bands such as Samson and Holocaust seemed to re-invent themselves and their style with each successive song.

The music covered an extraordinarily wide range of styles, almost always centered around an aggressive, high gain guitar sound, typified by the Marshall JCM 800 amplifier and Gibson humbucker equipped guitars. Vocals were pushed hard, to sound either high-pitched and scream-like, following the lead of the likes of Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple, or, less commonly, growly like Motorhead or menacing like Ozzy Osbourne.

More was expected of bass players, who needed not only to provide a solid, rhythmic root note foundation, but to join in with ever more elaborate passages between extended musical sections, and drummers were required to be versatile enough to cope with both very slow, atmospheric music and ever-increasing speed.

The very challenging nature of the music they were writing and lack of funding for professional studio costs meant that quite often bands found it difficult to play and record their own material, so demos often sound extremely rough in these days of inexpensive computer recording environments.

But the music is frequently inspired and inspiring, contains many surprises for those who think they've heard it all, and, of course, still rocks hard!

Written by Certif1ed (May 2010)

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IRON MAIDEN Powerslave Album Cover Powerslave
4.50 | 245 ratings
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IRON MAIDEN The Number Of The Beast Album Cover The Number Of The Beast
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ANGEL WITCH Angel Witch Album Cover Angel Witch
4.35 | 45 ratings
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SAXON Wheels of Steel Album Cover Wheels of Steel
4.31 | 54 ratings
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IRON MAIDEN Piece Of Mind Album Cover Piece Of Mind
4.22 | 191 ratings
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SAXON Strong Arm of the Law Album Cover Strong Arm of the Law
4.28 | 48 ratings
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DEF LEPPARD High 'N' Dry Album Cover High 'N' Dry
4.24 | 41 ratings
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IRON MAIDEN Iron Maiden Album Cover Iron Maiden
4.06 | 172 ratings
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SATAN Court in the Act Album Cover Court in the Act
4.23 | 15 ratings
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DIAMOND HEAD Lightning to the Nations Album Cover Lightning to the Nations
4.10 | 35 ratings
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RAVEN Rock Until You Drop Album Cover Rock Until You Drop
4.20 | 13 ratings
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RAVEN All for One Album Cover All for One
4.14 | 17 ratings
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EP · 1982 · NWoBHM
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siLLy puPPy
The NWOBM heavy metal scene of the early 80s launched heavy metal music into the mainstream with bands like Iron Maiden, Saxon, Def Leppard and Angel Witch becoming some of the most popular metal acts of all time however for every success story there was a case of broken dreams that never went anywhere. This band being the perfect example.

Coming from the city of Peterborough just north of London, MITHRANDIR existed for a mere three years from 1980 to 1983 and in that time only released one single “Dreamers of Fortune / After Tomorrow" and the MAGICK E.P. which may as well have been just another single as it only featured three tracks that didn’t even make it to the 13 minute mark.

This quartet of Graham Gargiulo (vocals), Paul Chester (guitar), Keith Billson (drums) and Dale Crue (bass) sounded a good ten years behind the scene on this short three track run. Sounding more like 70s hard rock than fully developed heavy metal, somehow this band got lumped into the NWOBHM scene for its time and place of existence but these guys were clearly not ready for primetime at this stage.

First of all this is a shoddy demo quality recording with lo-fi production that does not suit the NWOBHM style as it does the murky evil sounds of black metal. The musicians weren’t very skilled at all playing rather at rather mediocre hard rock speed however the compositions themselves do sound more like what was contemporary. The absolute worst part about this band was the awful vocalist who could not hit the notes at all.

The whole thing sounds very amateurish and not even close to the quality of the bands that were already hitting the big time. It’s no wonder this band called it a day and has been totally forgotten from the annals of history however it’s worth a spin if you are interested in digging up lesser known bands that sorta suck. The songs themselves aren’t bad but the execution sure is. Pretty much a collectors thing only as this was released only once on a vinyl 7” and will probably never be again

RAVEN Rock Until You Drop

Album · 1981 · NWoBHM
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siLLy puPPy
Newcastle upon Tyne, England was clearly the hotbed of inspiration in the 1980s by not only producing the earliest extreme metal offerings from Venom but also the phenomenal success of Dire Straits and also we can add to that resume the inspirational sounds of the early New Wave of British Heavy Metal band RAVEN! Oh yeah! This band has been cited as one of the earliest that influenced the thrash metal world that would emerge. Hard to believe that RAVEN started as far back as 1974 by the Gallagher brothers, vocalist / bassist John and guitarist Mark. Almost as if RAVEN was the inspiration for the Spinal Tap film where drummers spontaneously combusted and disappeared, so too did RAVEN have a hard time keeping a percussionist but Rob Hunter had the honor of appearing on the band’s first album.

It’s also hard to believe how incredibly complex the metal universe has become and when you go back to these humble beginnings when metal was proudly and defiantly emerging from its parent hard rock sounds of the 1970s, it’s refreshing to eschew the modern murkiness of tech death metal, avant-garde excesses and progressive metal compositions that rival any Western classical masters and just go back to when heavy metal was about adolescent fantasies and party rock! RAVEN’s 1981 debut ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP was the perfect album to usher in the early world of the NWOBHM without all the philosophical existential quandaries and intellectual headiness that would follow. This album just simply celebrated banging your fucking head and rockin’ yer ass off!

Back to the band. RAVEN existed from 1974-79 as a hard rock band so got more than its share of influences from all those bands that had their heyday in that era but with patience waited seven years until its debut album was released. The band did get a lot of attention with the 1980 release of its first single “Don’t Need Your Money” and opened for many of the big players of the day such as Ozzy Osbourne, Motorhead, Whitesnake and even an early Iron Maiden. When the band finally released ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP, a heavy metal starved public was eager to embrace any band that had the gusto to take things to the extreme and therefore this debut was met with enthusiasm. RAVEN was also known for its fiery live performances and has even been referred to as athletic metal due to the bombastic nature of the band’s playing.

ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP could never be mistaken for having debuted at any other timeline than the early 1980s with simple compositions that basically take the hard rock paradigm of blues oriented riffing and simply augmented with faster tempos, more extreme guitar solos, more ambitious drumming and a somewhat goofier vocal style where John Gallagher juxtaposes macho growling vocals with sudden King Diamond-like falsettos. The tunes are all catchy but not sophisticated. The album comes off as somewhat of an AC/DC styled blues hard rock only sped up a few notches with more biting irreverence that would fuel the world of speed metal along with the darker sounds of Venom that would inspire new bands to develop the world of thrash metal.

Yeah by the standards of the 21st century RAVEN can sound a bit goofy as the band was more of an inspiration much like neighboring Venom than actually crafting anything that could be the pinnacle of achievement but sometimes just plain old good fun is enough to win the day. ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP was for all intents and purposes a really rockin’ good party metal album somewhat in the vein of the attitude of KISS but only more interesting in a musical sense. The band also paid tribute to its antecedents such as the excellent Sweet cover of “Hellraiser / Action.” In short, RAVEN perfectly caught the real zeitgeist of the early 1980s with ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP. Metal about this time was all about just getting wild and crazy without overthinking things. Sometimes less is more and in the case of RAVEN’s debut, the bold and brash performances outweigh any criticism over production values, artistic statements or avant-garde eccentricities. Basically this is just a really enjoyable good old fashioned metal classic.


Album · 1983 · NWoBHM
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I've been enjoying this female power trio's debut album these last couple of weeks. I was digging through NWoBHM bands and checking out ones I didn't know. I had never heard of Rock Goddess. Girlschool are the most famous of the British all-women's hard rock/heavy metal bands of those days. I gave them a couple of quick listens on YouTube and decided the album had to be mine.

To say that these ladies pack a wallop doesn't quite do them justice. It's more like repeated hard-ass smacks to the side of the face and boots to your glutes. Think The Runaways at their most ass kicking moments doing a whole album of ass kicking songs. Jody Turner, Tracey Lamb, and Julie Turner not only blow the doors off but they blow the furniture against the walls and the pets out the window. Let's hope this is the ground floor!

There's not much point in doing a track by track breakdown, but there is a variety in the songs as there always was back in those days. Hard slammers, heavy stompers, mid-tempo rockers, and not a power ballad in sight!

My version of the album only goes to 11. I mean there are only 11 of the tracks listed in the album's track list as provided here on MMA, making the final track "Heavy Metal Rock 'n' Roll". But there is a bonus track, a cover of a song called, "I Didn't Know I Loved You ('til I Saw You Rock and Roll)" by Gary Glitter, which sounds like just the kind of party song that Joan Jett would cover.

This is crank it up and rock the house down music! And I'll just say it here and now that I like this album much better than either of the Runaways albums I've owned.

DEF LEPPARD On Through The Night

Album · 1980 · NWoBHM
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siLLy puPPy
DEF LEPPARD was of course one of the original 70s hard rock bands that stepped things up and joined the first British heavy metal invasion now tagged the NWOBHM ( New Wave of British Heavy Metal). The band originated in Sheffield, England as far back as 1977 with its roots in the prior band Atomic Mass formed by bassist Rick Savage, guitarist Pete Willis and drummer Tony Kenning. After lead vocalist Joe Elliot joined shortly after, he proposed a name change to Deaf Leppard which the other members agreed upon and soon after recruited Rick Allen to replace Kenning and then guitarist Steve Clark.

The band spent 1979 touring and gaining an audience which propelled the band into the nascent NWOBHM rather quick. This got the band noticed by the Phonogram / Vertigo label (which is Mercury Records in the US) and before long the band was on the road touring with AC/DC. The five members cranked out a bunch of tunes that were recorded and released on the debut release ON THROUGH THE NIGHT which was released on 14 March 1980 and raced to the top 15 on the album chart in the UK but despite touring the US and supporting acts like Pat Travers, AC/DC and Ted Nugent failed to make a dent at this stage.

If you ask me why the band failed to make the big time at this point, it has to do with the mediocre material presented on ON THE THE NIGHT. At this stage the band sounds like a rather ho hum garage band that was just getting acquainted to the heavier sounds of metal and the entire songwriting process. In many ways this debut album sounds like a demo to my ears. The production is shoddy, Joe Elliot’s vocals haven’t reached their full potential and the tunes themselves are fairly forgettable. Anyone coming to this after experiencing the much better following album such as “High ’n’ Dry,” “Pyromania” or even “Hysteria” will be let down by the amateurish performances here. This sounds like any old bluesy hard rock band from the 70s. Generic AF.

There were three singles released: “Wasted,” “Hello America” and “Rock Brigade” but none made a dent as the band was getting its foot in the door as an album oriented hard rock band through touring. This debut was produced by Tom Allom who seems to have failed both in scoring a decent production job but also failed to harness the band’s potential and create a signature sound. That duty would go to John “Mutt” Lange who took the ship by the helm and crafted DEF LEPPARD’s sound into a heavier arena with stronger material that suited the band’s strengths. The material on ON THROUGH THE NIGHT is decent but as many times as i’ve tried to get into this one, i’m always left cold and underwhelmed by the rather average sounding tunes with the exception of “Rock Brigade.”

While the band would step things up for their sophomore release, at this point they were trying to sound like Thin Lizzy, UFO or even Mott The Hoople but didn’t quite have the magic mojo to craft interesting stand alone tracks yet. There is nothing outright bad about this album but in the company of much better material that followed, this one just doesn’t match the quality of the album’s that followed. Despite the band’s phenomenal success as a hard rock band starting with “Pyromania,” ON THROUGH THE NIGHT along with the following “High ’n’ Dry” are the only two examples of the band generating a heavier NWOBHM sound and had they continued down this road, it’s hard to tell how their career would’ve developed. For my listening pleasure i find this debut by DEF LEPPARD a bit tedious and even boring but the material is decent enough and for those who don’t mind a crappy production and straight forward heavy rock tunes then you might like this more than me.

IRON MAIDEN Powerslave

Album · 1984 · NWoBHM
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The greatest pure Heavy Metal record of it's time. While Thrash, Speed, Doom and Black Metal were taking the genre into more extreme - and dare I say interesting - directions, Iron Maiden were sticking with the tried and true and perfecting it. Here, Maiden mix the fantastic guitar work and hooks they’ve always had with a slightly speedier and more progressive sound, and it works magically. Every song on here is great, but the bookends and title track are truly special. Bruce’s voice has always been fantastic, but he sounds better than ever here, and that’s not just his range – the notes he hits to harmonize with the music are really unique here, and he’s pulling off magnificent vocal lines while still changing things up every so often to keep your brain entertained. It really is a Heavy Metal masterpiece.

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IRON MAIDEN Live After Death

Movie · 1985 · NWoBHM
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siLLy puPPy
Universally cited as one of the absolute best live albums of all time, LIVE AFTER DEATH is the first live album / video release of IRON MAIDEN’s classic early Bruce Dickinson years and was recorded during their “World Slavery Tour.” Despite lasting a whopping 331 days, this double LP album only took two venues as their source for representing their electric live performances. The first 13 tracks were recorded at the Long Beach Arena in California, USA and the remaining five tracks were taken from a night at Hammersmith Odeon in London. While LIVE AFTER DEATH was released both as audio LP and video VHS in 1985, the two aren’t exactly identical in content. The audio LP originally contained 18 tracks (one of which is “Intro: Churchill’s Speech”) but the VHS visual experience only had 14 tracks. Unfortunately when LIVE AFTER DEATH was originally released on CD it was too long for a single disc and instead of simply issuing a double disc, EMI unwisely decided to cut the last five tracks which included the Odeon performance, therefore it is highly advisable to obtain the Sanctuary remastered version which was released as a double disc and retains the entire run of one classic song after another.

LIVE AFTER DEATH is the absolute perfect live album. I very rarely put live albums high on my list of favorites because more often than not something or many things prevent them from capturing my attention and worthiness as essential. If it’s not the weak production values then it is the inability of the band to capture the magic that is manufactured in the studio. That is not the case here. IRON MAIDEN was at the pinnacle of their creative prowess at this point and after several outstanding and classic albums to mine for material, they perfectly execute these live performances and offer every little ounce of excitement heard on the studio releases. Bruce Dickinson nails the vocals and the thundering trio of Steve Harris’ bass and the guitar synergy of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith accompanied by Nikko McBrain’s stellar drumming style doesn’t get any better. While most of the tracks are performed rather faithfully to their studio versions, there is plenty of live improvisation taking places as well. Standout moments include Bruce’s attempt to get audience participation on “Running Free” and another great difference can be heard on “Revelations” where the tempo is upped and Bruce changes the vocal phrasing to make the track sound different and refreshed.

The video release offers all the theatrical visuals of the tour. The “Powerslave” album was based on ancient Egypt and likewise the stage was Egyptified to the max with sarcophagi, hieroglyphs and a mummified Eddie embellished with ridiculous amounts of pyrotechnics. The tour was a smashing success and this release whether it be audio or video is the perfect testimony to the genius that went into every single detail. The sound and mixing is perfect as well as Martin Birch found the perfect balance of every cast member and delivered one of the most satisfying production jobs for a live release that i have ever heard. In the visual department Jim Yukich perfectly captured two nights in Long Beach showing a great band doing great things at the peak of their game. Another piece of perfection with this one is the brilliant cover art of Derek Riggs surpassing previous album themes of Eddie as the mascot by incorporating those themes of previous albums covers and then putting it all on steroids. The spread of the album is breathtaking in content and color with the boldness of the yellows and blues. Every aspect of talent on board with this release guarantees to wake the dead. I cannot find one negative thing to say about it. It is true that Bruce doesn’t hit every note exactly as on the studio version every single time but when he doesn’t he offers interesting new ways of interpreting the classics. This is simply one of the most perfect live releases i have ever encountered and even MAIDEN themselves haven’t even come close to achieving similar results. Masterpiece.

IRON MAIDEN The History Of Iron Maiden Part 1: The Early Days

Movie · 2004 · NWoBHM
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Iron Maiden - The Early Days (2004), subject (1976-1983)

Such an amazing band!

I'm in love with Iron Maiden now for 10 years, it al started when I was eleven years old. I saw the band live once, during the tour to promote this dvd. This was the best show I've ever seen and might see in my live.

On this super-complete dvd we've got lot's of interesting Iron Maiden material, covering the first four albums and some footage of the band before the first album.

The Early Days documentary. This 90 minutes of documentary that shows the prehistoric times of Iron Maiden. All former band members are discussed, the reason line-up changed, the circumstances they were in, who the material came to be, etc. This way we learn that there was an Iron Maiden that only had Steve Harris playing in it of all the current members. Interviews with the now unknown former members (1976-1979) are done in nice settings and it's nice to hear their stories. Steve Harris reflects on a lot of subjects and early member Dave Murray is also to be seen in some interviews. The old footage and photo's are nice for Iron Maiden fans. This documentary also shows a short making of of the first four albums and the line-up changes that occurred during that period. This dvd is a real threat for fans and it's fun to watch for people who are new to the band. The process of the creation of such an important band is interesting and fun to watch.

LIVE AT THE RAINBOW, Filmed at The Rainbow, London, December 1980 This is pure gold! This set shows Iron Maiden playing seven songs from their first two albums, though Killers wasn't record yet. This particular part of dvd is mega-essential because of the wild performance of lead singer Paul di'Anno. There isn't any better footage of the band in this phase of the band! Iron Maiden plays very motivated, the songs are great and the people enthusiastic. They were so good in their early days! As I said, essential for both fans and people who like the metal/hard rock genre.

BEAST OVER HAMMERSMITH, Filmed at Hammersmith Odeon, London, March 1982 One of the early shows Iron Maiden performed during the time Bruce Dickinson had joined the band and The Number of the Beast came to be. Iron Maiden plays unbelievably motivated and this can be seen as the one of the highlights of Iron Maiden's and vocalist Bruce Dickinson's career! Most tracks are from The Number of the Beast and the material is fresh! It's also nice the band included the important b-side Total Eclipse in their set. Essential metal footage.

LIVE AT DORTMUND, Filmed at Rock and Pop Festival, Dortmunde, Westenfalle, Germany, 1983 This concert was recorded during the Piece of Mind tour. Most songs originate from this album. Though the footage is almost as good as the Beast over Hammersmith from 1982, it's lacks some of it's bombastic enthusiastic power of Hammersmith. Still this is a very interesting show and fans will appreciate this very much!

EXTRA'S The first five clips of Iron Maiden and some top of the pops performances are nice, but they are less hard to find then the gigs on dvd one. Still a great bonus to complete the release.

LIVE AT THE RUSKIN, Home Video filmed at The Ruskin Arms, 1980 This is home video footage of the band in an early stage. This might only appeal to hard-core Iron Maiden fans for it's historical value.

Conclusion. This is the meaning of completeness! This is everything I could ever ask for, concerning the theme of this dvd. Five stars without doubt. Every fan should own this and others might be surprised on how energetic and complete this release is.

IRON MAIDEN Live After Death

Movie · 1985 · NWoBHM
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Iron Maiden - Live After Death DVD (2008)

The ultimate metal-concert.

This live footage is simply amazing. The biggest energy-boost ever recorded! The good thing is I recently re-discovered this live concert. I've been fan or Iron Maiden since I was eleven years old and had discarded this live album because of the vocals. At that time I though they weren't good enough. And though I still thing the vocals on songs with high- pitched vocal lines aren't perfect, I totally missed out on the amazing sound of the band.

This dvd represents a very good piece of evidence of how much Iron Maiden was of a live- band, instead of a studio-band. Even simple tracks like Running Free and Sanctuary sound simply amazing live. The guitars-bass-drum-combination has so much power in it. Unbelievable... and all songs are classics.

And yeah the vocals of Bruce Dickinson are sometimes less good then on the albums, but on other moments he's even more powerful and dramatic. His performance is a total surrender to the what the public wants to see. A god-like metal-concert. The aim for all metal-bands, the promise of the NWOBHM, the promise of rock: a divine all-important rock show. Somehow the album-versions of the songs gain on a new dimension: The Iron Maiden live experience. I've never got this feeling on any other live dvd-set. I saw Iron Maiden live once, and it is still the best live concert I've ever seen (though Magma was pretty amazing too!).

Iron Maiden alway had the better songs, the masterful musicianship, the intelligent compositions and the wide range of emotional depth. The band allowed a controlled portion of sophistication into their energetic music, which makes is so interesting for fans of the progressive genre. This makes them a really unique band in the metal-genre. On top of that I really like the personalities of the band members.

This concert, as can be concluded from my fanboy-review, is a highlight of Iron Maiden career. It's is important however to be aware of the fact the band had more highlights in their long career. The early-days dvd shows some extremely good moments of the Paul Di'Anno era (with Clive Burr on drums!), the Seventh Sun album shows some very good progressive moments (another highlight!), the mature X-factor album has some great art-rock influences and the gathering of six band-members in the Brave New World period can also be seen as an artistic and energetic zenith.

Well this manifestation of the final expression of the promise of intelligent heavy metal can not be rewarded with a lower rating than the five star rating. Buy.

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