IRON MAIDEN – The Essential Iron Maiden

IRON MAIDEN - The Essential Iron Maiden


Release date: July 5, 2005

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

It is the kind of thing that instigates backroom bickering, maybe even full fisticuff confrontations that can escalate into a mêlée of epic proportions; that record that insinuates that there is an absolute collection of tracks, from any given artist, that defines their body of work at its utmost… it is The Greatest Hits Package, or in this scenario The Essential. In this case, that artist is the legendary Metal band, Iron Maiden.

Although they have not been honored with an MTV Icon award, the band has certainly proved itself to be of iconic proportion in Metal lore. In a world where top bands find their audiences accusing them of being sellouts or fading into mediocrity, Maiden fans have stayed loyal and true. Maiden-ites take their Maiden seriously, and to suggest that one song is any more important than any other when defining what is The Essential Iron Maiden should prove near impossible.

Obviously, reviewing a Maiden disc, especially a Best Of package, is insane. If you like Maiden, you love Maiden and you already own these “essential” tracks. You probably have multiple versions yourself, on colored vinyl, and picture discs, etc. You have the original pressing and then the remasters with bonus material, a couple of live versions and maybe a bootleg that sounds like it was recorded two blocks away from the venue with a drunken Spaniard screaming “Sanctuary” the entire time directly into the microphone… and if your little brother or your best friend ever thought about borrowing one of these pressings, even the Spanish bootleg, you wouldn’t think twice about removing their little finger from their hand just to let them know where you stand with your Maiden collection. If you don’t love Maiden, but think they are alright, you still probably own most of these tracks even if you just recorded your favorites from your buddy down the street, who once showed an unusual aggressiveness when you asked to borrow his Piece of Mind picture disc. And finally, if you love Metal but hate Maiden you still know every song because you cannot hang with a Metal crowd and not have had Maiden played somewhere sometime for you.

So what is The Essential Iron Maiden? Essentially, it is the singles — those two tracks released off every Maiden album since the first release Iron Maiden. “Two Minutes to Midnight” and “Aces High” from Powerslave, and “Number of the Beast” and “Run to the Hills” from The Number of the Beast. Ahh, but then “Heaven Can Wait” is on here from Somewhere in Time, although the single was “Stranger in a Strange Land.” It is a good collection, especially if you are the guy who tried to borrow the Piece of Mind picture disc from your buddy; you can now have “the hits.” Of course, the cool kids will see you as the Stuart character from Beavis and Butthead; but so be it, someone has to be.

As for the Maiden fans, those Rivet Dogs from way back, they will buy this disc because they have to. They have to have the cover art, they have to have the liner notes … they have to have all things Maiden. They will buy it grudgingly, because someone has chosen not to include “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” and yet still call this The Essential Iron Maiden. Who is it that collected these tracks and failed to recognize “Hollowed Be Thy Name” and “Revelations” as essential? You sit there now, blood boiling over, fists clenching, ready to go fifteen rounds with “Triple H” over whether or not “Prodigal Son” should have been included as an essential song or not.

The selected tracks are the original recordings featuring the singer that was in the band at the time they were recorded with the exception of the live versions of “Running Free” and “Iron Maiden” (previously unreleased version). It’s an overall very generic offering like most “greatest hits” collections. Unfortunately, there is no cool cover which is usually one of the better selling points. A solid release (how can any Maiden disc not be?), but it feels like it has been done before, just another notch in the money belt of record execs that can’t have enough revenue generating product on the market. Gene Simmons would be proud.


  • Jeremy Juliano

    Jeremy was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been involved with and has been following the Metal scene since the early 1980’s. He started out his Metal journey with heavy doses of Maiden, Accept, and Saxon. And in recent years, he has enjoyed the new age of Metal with bands like Hammerfall, Edguy, and Nightwish, to name a few.

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