There can’t be a shrewder band manager in music today. He goes by the name of Rod Smallwood and he is without a shadow of a doubt the seventh member of IRON MAIDEN. Not Eddie or the guy they get in to play keyboards, off stage. Make no mistake it’s Smallwood that clunks the gears, pulls the chains of the mighty MAIDEN merchandising machine, the guy that brings out these ludicrous best of packages to an army of fans so loyal that if Steve Harris painted portraits with his feet, Smallwood would find a way of re-issuing the prints until his death bed.
I’ve gone over this before and I will again, since 1996 MAIDEN have now issued four best of albums and two live albums. And be under no illusions come the end of this stadium tour, that which supports this self-gratifying piece of work, we will see yet another live album. You might have already spotted that the track listing for this album defers from the live set… it’s that uncanny man Smallwood again.
I can’t for a second believe that Harris, Dickinson, McBrain, Murray, Smith and Gers are contented about this blatant rip off. They don’t need the money and they certainly don’t need to sell more concert tickets. I can only guess that EMI is trying to re-coup some of the eighty million quid they shipped to ROBBIE WILLIAMS.
Smallwood can prattle on about introducing MAIDEN’s music to the younger generation all he wants. MAIDEN albums have never been out of print and since anyone under the age of twenty-one downloads from I-Tunes or illegally, the thought that MAIDEN’s recorded output in the 1980’s was out of reach is either ignorance or an audacious piece of brevity on Smallwood’s part that beggars belief.
I’ve also noticed that somebody is also trying to remove the name of Paul D’ianno from the annals of MAIDEN lore. Surely he sang on ‘’Wrathchild’’, ‘’Phantom Of The Opera’’ and ‘’Iron Maiden’’ and not Bruce? Of course these have been lifted from ‘’Live After Death’’ so subsequently the need to pay him for his contribution to a band he made history with is negated.
And yet from the Derek Riggs artwork through the rumble of ‘’Churchill’s Speech’’ to the glory of ‘’The Trooper’’ and the bombast of ‘’Run To The Hills’’, I feel myself being, once again, coerced into the warm, comfortable arms of the MAIDEN family, buying their CDs, their vinyl’s, t-shirts and concert tickets and whilst I totally disagree with this release, IRON MAIDEN is still the greatest living embodiment of Heavy Metal this world has ever known. Even if Rod just emailed to tell me to write that.
(Online June 14, 2008)