Another year, another Maiden live album. Since their seminal classic Live After Death, it seems the band releases a new live album with less impact on each successive attempt. It certainly isnâ€šÃ„Ã´t a bad album, just more of the same.Maiden still sounds incredibly fresh, as tight as ever. However Kevin Shirley (knob twiddler for the last few Maiden discs) still does not know how to properly produce or edit three guitars. When Smith, Gers, and Murray play at once, there is sometimes a washy sound to the instruments, which also interferes with Dickinsonâ€šÃ„Ã´s vocals.
That said, the band is still in fine form. The classic numbers that everyone knows and loves (â€šÃ„ÃºRun to the Hills, â€šÃ„ÃºWrathchildâ€šÃ„Ã¹, â€šÃ„ÃºIron Maidenâ€šÃ„Ã¹, â€šÃ„ÃºThe Trooperâ€šÃ„Ã¹) are all performed exactly as one remembers them, full of head banging vigor and energy, even if Bruce canâ€šÃ„Ã´t hit all the high notes he once could. The real surprises in the set list involve the newer pieces and some rarely-heard tracks.
The songs from Dance of Death range from excellent war epics (the ten minute â€šÃ„ÃºPaschendaleâ€šÃ„Ã¹) to songs that translate horribly when played live, such as â€šÃ„Ãº Dance of Death,â€šÃ„Ã¹ where the catchy jig-like Celt sound comes as forced and painfully boring. The rendition of â€šÃ„ÃºLord of the Fliesâ€šÃ„Ã¹ (a Blaze-era tune) would be one of the highlights had Dickinson not screeched out his replacementâ€šÃ„Ã´s vocals with all the power of Chester Bennington.
For newer or casual fans, Live After Death and Rock in Rio are all the live Iron Maiden that is required. However, for the fans and diehards, Death on the Road does make a welcome addition to the catalogue.