Iron Maiden - From Fear To Eternity: The Best Of 1990 – 2010
Released as a companion piece to 2008’s Somewhere Back In Time, the new Iron Maiden best-of From Fear To Eternity brings the initiate up to date by covering the more turbulent periods and subsequent revival of the band. Spread over two discs to fit the ever-growing progressive influence in the music that has in turn led to ever-longer epics filling the albums, this is a hefty collection weighing in at over two and a half hours; but with nothing new for the long-time fan, it may prove a little too daunting for the less devoted.
A look at the final tracklisting doesn’t reveal any glaring omissions; everyone will have their personal favourites that haven’t made it, such as ‘The Nomad’ and ‘The Longest Day’ from a personal perspective. But all the singles are here, as well as ever-popular tracks such as ‘Be Quick Or Be Dead’ and the excellent rendition of ‘The Clansman’ from the Rock In Rio live album. Once again, all the tracks feature Bruce Dickinson on vocals, the three tracks from the difficult era with Blaze Bayley at the helm being subsequent live versions. Fairly evenly divided up between the eight albums from the last two decades, it nicely documents the metamorphosis the band underwent due to the various line-up changes. From the edgy, brash sound of No Prayer For The Dying and Fear Of The Dark, to the morose lethargic monoliths of the two Blaze albums, and finally the softer and more rounded proggy approach of the last four albums post reunion; the collection is surprisingly diverse, but always distinctively Maiden.
The problem here is that Somewhere Back In Time - despite covering only eight years as opposed to the twenty in From Fear To Eternity - was packed full of Maiden classics; here there is really only one track that you would elevate to that status: ‘Fear Of The Dark’. The majestic ‘Paschendale’ might in time reach that status, but is the only other track to make such an impact. That is not to say that the rest is not good, because there are some fantastic blasts of metal (‘Brave New World’, ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ and ‘Sign Of The Cross’ to name just three), but there is a noticeable lack of that extra pizzazz that has made the band a national treasure. With that sole exception, nothing here is going to be revered as ‘The Trooper’ or ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ have been for the last quarter of a century.