Considered by the majority of Metalheads as THE live-album, "Live After Death" was released in 1985, being recorded during the "World Slavery"-tour in which the MAIDEN set hundreds of stages afire all over the world.
Quite probably, what caused this to be so worshipped from the Metallers over the years as well as a mandatory MAIDEN-release (much more than "No Prayer For The Dying" or "The Crappy Factor") is that it came totally on time. In fact, I can't mention another live-album as timely as this. What I mean is that "Live After Death" has the matchless property of capturing the band at the top of its game. In those years, MAIDEN ruled the world of Heavy Metal, they were the greatest, and their leadership into our beloved musical style was undisputable. This (and possibly more) is stated and claimed along every minute of this release, gettin' you aware of the impressive prowess of these fellows.
After this live-album, they began to go downhill. Don't get me wrong, 'cos "Somewhere In Time" and "7th Son Of A 7th Son" are plain masterpieces on their own ("Somewhere..." even being my all-time MAIDEN-fave-album), but when they were released the Metal-movement was way too changed and grown-up to be still represented by these Brits. As always happens, the sub-genre had developed itself and a lot of newcomer bands had opened the gates to many evolutions, bringing the lesson taught by MAIDEN to the logical consequences.
Well, by the way this writing isn't meant to be an essay on Metal as a rule (who knows, maybe one day I'll write one, but for sure not today), but it's just a review. So, I'll give you straight: the whole double-album smokes. The tracklist covers nearly all the best MAIDEN-songs to date, each and every song on there being a band classic and a milestone for Heavy Metal, too.
Moreover, the live feel adds more power and energy to the overall sound, and the execution of the musicians is top notch, chock-full with tons of guitar-duels and harmony-leads by the most imitated, but never equalled couple of guitar-players in Metal, along with trademark galloping bass-lines from Mr. Steve Harris and soaring vocals from no one else than the Air Raid Siren.
While listening to this, you can really close your eyes and imagine being among the crowd... (lemme guess... perhaps the nutty as a fruitcake-fan who screams "motherfucker!" at the end of "Revelations" was just you! LOL), and in my opinion you can't say the same for many live-albums out there.
All of the songs are outstanding, as you can easily guess, and picking up this or that fave is just dumb beyond words, 'cos this is pure Heavy Metal-heaven from start to finish. Just think about your favourite MAIDEN-songs. They're all here to fry your ass.
All in all, "Live After Death" is one of the very few live-albums that plays an essential role into the discography of a band, and into the history of a musical style as well. If you're a Metalhead, either way you already own it or you're a Nu-Metal 'shipper. 'Nuff said.
Bottom line: a hour and a half of absolute fun; you will be playing this one over and over.
Note: "Live After Death" has been released several times, the last being in 1998 into a double-disc-format full with enhanced stuff. However, the present review is settled on my very old (and extremely used up) double-length vinyl-edition coming directly from the vault, that's why I didn't talk about the production nor the eventual re-mastering work of the record. In the end, if you're looking for this, I definitely recommend picking up the Castle Records-1995 reissue (but I guess that could be a tad hard to track down) which, though being a single CD with the last 5 tracks cut off, at least comprises three more tracks which weren't included in the original version (namely the instrumental "Losfer Words", "Sanctuary" and "Murder In The Rue Morgue").