For those who need a one-stop covering Maiden’s oft-overlooked latter career-half (so far), this does the job admirably. While some may nitpick the odd omission (Futureal, anyone?), the 23 songs here reflect how Maiden developed their prog edge over the decades, moving from raging, chart-topping belters such as Bring You Daughter To The Slaughter to the relative repose of the nine-minute For The Greater Good Of God and 11-minute rhythmic gyration of When The Wild Wind Blows.
For every punchy single (the opening The Wicker Man, with its intricate drum pattern melded to urgent riffage and full-throated vocal pomp) there’s a more cerebral masterstroke, such as the monastic, Eastern-leaning roust of Sign Of The Cross. It, along with select cuts from the Blaze Bayley interregnum, are reborn in the live arena, with Bruce Dickinson back at the helm, making very much his own the likes of the Celtic reel The Clansman.
While Maiden rarely deviate from their triple six-string matrix (Boston don’t need keyboards, why do we?), quality qontrol remains high, even leading to a Grammy for the trad stomp of El Dorado, while Paschendale and others add an orchestral panache, and Blood Brothers serves as a rousing, passionate call to arms. Post-1989 proved to be a brave new world indeed.