Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Lasting Impact: Iron Maiden - Live After Death

Iron Maiden is, and always will be my favourite band. Not just metal band, but as a music band. Why, well I'm not to sure about that one. Maybe it's the galloping riffs, maybe it's the progressive stuff they inject their music with, possibly because they sing about historical things and focus more often than not on real life as opposed to Dungeons & Dragons lyrics, could be Bruce Dickinsons wailing, Paul Di'anno's rasping or Blaze Bayleys bellowing, or is it Steve Harris thunk-a-dunk-a bass playing, the twin lead(now triplet lead) guitar assault that is inflicted upon us. Or maybe it is just a combination on all of that.

"... We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender ..."

Now, the first song I heard by Iron Maiden, at least the first song I remember hearing by Iron Maiden was the speed-demon of a song Aces High( But the first album I owned and listened to (in no less then a tape form!) was Live After Death. The double one no less that was recorded at Long Beach Arena, LA and London's Hammersmith Odeon. Boy did it have some killer tunes, which you would expect since it is a live album. What you don't expect though is the crystal clear production, the crunch of the guitars, to actually hear the audience participation and the bands interaction with the audience. All the songs sounds so better here then they do on their respective albums with the biggest difference being in Hallowed Be Thy Name( on Number of the Beast it sounded good, on Live After Death it sounds GREAT! All the musicianship is top-notch, I remember listening to Rhyme of The Ancient Mariner and being spellbound through the entire song.You can clearly hear that the band themselves are having a great time playing these songs, even though they just finished a tour that lasted 11 months covering three continents. It is quite simply the one of the best Live Recordings ever. It's a shame that I was only 2 when it was recorded, this is one concert I would have loved to have attended.

But with the title of this note Lasting Impacts I should maybe mention other things that this album influenced. I do think that people should not underestimate the impact a simple tape or CD can have, specially the booklet that comes with it. So many things left a lasting impression on me, there's a little poem on Edward. T. Head's tombstone "That is not dead, Which can eternal lie. Yet with strange aeons, even death may die." sounds a bit grim, but I started reading and learning about H.P. Lovecraft (No that is not a special edition of  the brown sauce) after this. Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner was an epic progressive song which was basically a condensed version of the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Winston Churchill speech at the beginning of the whole thing, and Aces High, got me to read up about WWII, the man was an obvious inspiration, just such a shame that he turned out to be all in it for the glory and was a racist who wouldn't hesitate to use mustard gas on civilians in British Mesopotamia mainly the Kurds and not to mention quite happy to let Gandhi starve. But I digress. Powerslave and Revelations got me into Egyptian Lore and mythology and so on and so forth. The other impact it had was the development of my English and how I use it. The lyrics on all of Iron Maidens songs are very well written and have this excellent flow to them. Run To The Hills got me to look at the impact of Europeans on the Native Americans.

So yeah, this album has probably made the biggest and most lasting impact on my psyche, and I am grateful for it. It did help me through my lean years and I continue to return to it like an old friend to listen to.

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