Iron Maiden – ‘The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter’ (Warner Music) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Wednesday, 22 November 2017 04:40

iron maiden live albumAnother touring cycle, another live album from Iron Maiden; water remains wet, Bruce still wants you to scream for him, and the world keeps on a’ turning.

 

By now, fans can be fairly confident that a live project will emerge from the heavy metal behemoths a couple of years after the most recent studio release.  And so it is with ‘The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter’, chronicling the extensive world tour in the wake of 2015’s critically acclaimed double album.   The debate as to whether yet another live album from the band is all that necessary is moot; at the end of the day, these compilations are for the diehards, and in that regard, this one ticks all the right boxes.

 

For the last few years, Maiden has been consistent in adhering to album-centric tours, followed by a more standard ‘greatest hits’ routine before the next studio release.  ‘The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter’, rather obviously, falls into the former category, with the majority of the record leaning on the titular new material.  For the most part, these songs sit effortlessly alongside the rest of the band’s back catalogue; however, there are a couple of missteps in terms of the actual structure of the setlist when observed in the context of a live recording. 

 

‘If Eternity Should Fail’ is considerably more effective as the opener to a studio album than that of a live one, its lackadaisically elongated intro sounding a little too tentative as a kick-start to a show.  This isn’t helped by the distracting reverb effect plaguing Bruce Dickinson’s vocals throughout this extended portion of the song.  Alas, it’s a minor quibble on a track that boots off mightily once the main verse section begins, peaking with the galloping mid-section.   ‘The Great Unknown’ and ‘The Book Of Souls’ played back to back proves to be a misjudgement, with the two epic-length tracks testing the patience of even the most ardent follower of the band.  However, ‘Speed Of Light’ sits far more comfortably with the older cuts, particularly when directly preceding the ferociously-charged live staple, ‘Wrathchild.’   Of the material from ‘The Book Of Souls’, the standout is clearly ‘The Red And The Black,’ a stunning new addition to the Maiden’s live arsenal.  Steve Harris’ ominous bass intro explodes into a rousing main riff, before the folk lead guitar melody and chorus incite crowd participation that easily rivals ‘The Trooper’ and ‘Fear Of The Dark.’  Given the calibre of the songwriting in question, that’s no mean feat.

 

 

Of course, there are sprinklings of older songs throughout the runtime, several of them already mentioned.  Aside from the more regular inclusions, ‘Children Of The Damned’ is a surprising and enjoyable deep cut, while ‘Powerslave’ is a wonderfully snarling indication of just how heavy the band can be when firing on all cylinders.  The performance of ‘Blood Brothers’ from 2016’s Download festival showcases Iron Maiden at the height of their bombast as a live act, as well as being the sole entry from the band’s post-millennium catalogue, aside from the ‘The Book Of Souls’ material.  The song remains an emotionally stirring, incessantly melodic mainstay of their sets; the perfect half-way house of their earlier NWOBHM sound and the more recent foray into more prog-tinged territory.

 

It goes without saying that ‘The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter’ is only an essential for the avid Maiden aficionado.  It can’t quite rival the incredible heights of ‘Live After Death’ or ‘Rock In Rio’, but there’s enough on here to justify why the band remains just as unwaveringly beloved by their fans in 2017. 

 

‘The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter’ is out now.  You can get your copy HERE.

 

Iron Maiden will bring their ‘Legacy Of The Beast’ tour to the Uk on the following dates:

 

Tuesday 31 July – Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Metro Radio Arena

Thursday 2 August – Belfast, SSE Arena

Saturday 4 August – Aberdeen, Exhibition and Conference Centre

Monday 6 August – Manchester, Arena

Tuesday 7 August – Birmingham, Genting Arena

Friday 10 August – London, O2 Arena

 

Tickets for all dates go on sale at 9am this Friday (24 November).

 

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