Death on the Road (Sanctuary)
by Tim Den
Another live album to recap another Iron Maiden world tour because, as bassist/backup vocalist Steve Harris said in an interview recently, “every show from here on out is precious.” Having mentioned how the band are getting up there in age and won’t be able to perform live for much longer, the beloved metal kings give us Death on the Road as another souvenir (following the recent releases of The Essential and The History of Part 1: The Early Years) of their graceful aging process. Included are the staples – “The Trooper,” “Hallowed be Thy Name,” “The Number of the Beast” – but also surprises such as a lot of entries from the underrated Dance of Death. “Paschendale” still sounds choppy and uneven, but “No More Lies” and “Rainmaker” are even more powerful live. For me, the inclusion of “Lord of the Flies” alone makes this worth the bucks. A usually overlooked album cut from the Blaze Bailey era (understandably so, since the original version is a tad lackluster), it gets a rebirth here via Bruce Dickinson’s mighty pipes (though guitarist Janick Gers trips over the main riff a few times). Singing the pre-chorus and the chorus in a higher octave makes it absolutely soar, even if the band had to lower the key from G flat to E for it. I’d love to hear “Futureal” receive this treatment (preferably without the key change): That vocal line is just BEGGING for Dickinson’s makeover.
Death on the Road is by no means essential, what with the plethora of Iron Maiden retrospectives and live albums already swamping the market. But if you’re a diehard, it will serve you proudly.