May 29, 2008

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Iron Maiden, Somewhere Back in Time: The Best of 1980-1989
Sony Records, May 13
In my let’s-scare-Mom-to-death days I never really dug the kids who were into Maiden, the band who, along with my preferred Judas Priest, crafted the New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound. Like the guys in Maiden, there was something prissy about their fans — their hair was too straight and satiny, and they didn’t understand the essentialness of doomy chug-chug riffs.

You become what you hate the most. I used to hate it when record reviewers would say that such-and-so-band’s best effort was their crappily produced debut album, but now I must step forward and give a nob-gloved hail to original Maiden singer Whatever-his-face, because the best things on this collection are live versions of “Phantom of the Opera” and “Wrathchild” as sung by Bruce Dickinson while wielding his imaginary singing sword.

Aside from that it’s a remastered fricassee, with “Number of the Beast” and other Eddie-the-Corpse-Boy salutes making nice with mummy-metal opus “Powerslave,” unhateable angst-anthem “Wasted Years” and the ever-pointless “2 Minutes to Midnight.” B+Eric W. Saeger