AL­BUMS

The Book Of Souls: Live Chap­ter

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Contents -

Iron Maiden, Air­bourne, An­ni­hi­la­tor, Evanescence, Quick­sand, Sinsaenum, Moon­spell, Pow­er­man 5000, The Dark El­e­ment and Stat­ues are among those brought be­fore the Ham­mer judges.

WARNER/PARLOPHONE

Bri­tain’s metal be­he­moths doc­u­ment their lat­est global jaunt

Over a 17-month

pe­riod that be­gan last Fe­bru­ary, Iron Maiden’s Book Of Souls World

Tour took the band to 39 coun­tries, dur­ing which they played 117 con­certs to more than two mil­lion fans. To com­mem­o­rate the tour, the group have re­leased their 12th live al­bum, a com­pos­ite of 14 per­for­mances across an in­cred­i­ble six con­ti­nents.

Those who saw the tour know what to ex­pect here – a 15-song set that de­votes nearly half of its 101-minute run­ning time to ma­te­rial from Maiden’s 2015 dou­ble-al­bum, The Book Of Souls. The other half is es­sen­tially a master­class in Metal 101, fea­tur­ing clas­sics such as The Trooper and Wasted Years per­formed with pre­ci­sion and power. There’s an­other im­por­tant stat that will go un­men­tioned – the num­ber of times Bruce Dick­in­son de­liv­ers his famed “Scream for me!” bat­tle­cry. Nev­er­the­less, it’s prob­a­bly best to not to treat Live Chap­ter as a drink­ing game, as Pow­er­slave alone will cause se­vere im­pair­ment.

While it’s ad­mirable that Maiden con­tinue to showcase large swathes of new ma­te­rial in con­cert rather than sim­ply ‘play­ing the hits’ like so many of their peers, the two Book Of

Souls tracks that kick off Live Chap­ter don’t have quite the same po­tency as the group’s time-tested clas­sics. In per­son, that’s not as prob­lem­atic, as the ex­cite­ment of see­ing the band in the flesh ini­tially out­weighs their song se­lec­tion – but while If Eter­nity Should Fail might be a ser­vice­able opener in con­cert, it’s a bit of a drag on Live Chap­ter, with awk­ward vo­cal re­verb in the be­gin­ning verses and a tempo that’s too de­lib­er­ately out of the box. Sim­i­larly, though there’s a cer­tain charm to the dirt-un­der­the-fin­ger­nails high­way rock of Speed Of Light, it’s ul­ti­mately too per­func­tory for a band this am­bi­tious. When the fa­mil­iar, bouncy groove of Wrathchild kicks in, how­ever, you want to echo the Ir­ish crowd’s cheers.

From there, Live Chap­ter trav­els to Mon­treal, where Bruce in­tro­duces Chil­dren Of The Damned en français. In­ter­est­ingly, de­spite the Book Of Souls tour be­gin­ning and end­ing in North Amer­ica, Chil­dren… marks the con­ti­nent’s lone in­clu­sion on Live Chap­ter. An­other Book Of Souls dou­ble-shot fol­lows, but this time with bet­ter re­sults. The in­fec­tious Death Or Glory, in which Bruce hi­lar­i­ously or­ders Pol­ish fans to “climb like a mon­key,” makes a com­pelling case to re­main in the band’s set on their next tour, while the en­thu­si­as­tic crowd par­tic­i­pa­tion on the 13-minute The Red And The Black dis­pels the mis­con­cep­tion that Ja­panese au­di­ences are re­served.

The sec­ond disc kicks off with an­other Book Of Souls two-fer: The Great Un­known, recorded in New­cas­tle and de­scribed by Bruce as “a song about spa­tial aware­ness,” and the lumbering ti­tle track, the Don­ing­ton per­for­mance of which ra­di­ates a doomier vibe than its stu­dio coun­ter­part. We then jour­ney to Brazil, where a pre­dictably ra­bid crowd threat­ens to drown out the band dur­ing Fear Of The Dark; to Ger­many’s Wacken fes­ti­val for The Num­ber Of The Beast; and back to Don­ing­ton for Blood Broth­ers, be­fore which Bruce says, “The mes­sage that we send is that no mat­ter how many peo­ple you try and kill, life, love, laugh­ter and mu­sic will go on.” We will drink to that.

FOR FANS OF: JU­DAS PRIEST, IN FLAMES, AVENGED SEVEN­FOLD

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