From Fear To Eternity:
The Best of 1990 – 2010

Iron Maiden

Most Iron Maiden fans undoubtedly favor the group’s repertoire from the 1980s. And while there’s no denying that 1982’s The Number Of The Beast and 1984’s Powerslave are definitive Maiden albums, one look at the group’s eight studio efforts from 1990 to 2010 shows a band, despite major personnel changes, in constant motion, pushing the metal envelope. To get a closer look, the so-called ‘best of’ from that period are brought together on a double-disc collection called From Fear To Eternity: The Best Of 1990 – 2010.

After successfully establishing themselves as the premiere band of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal of the 1980s, Iron Maiden started quaking in its boots. Guitarist Adrian Smith and Bruce Dickinson released solo records and subsequently left the band (only to return in 1999). Iron Maiden pressed on, recruiting guitarist Janick Gers and singer Blaze Bayley. As it is, From Fear To Eternity: The Best Of 1990 – 2010 pretty much glosses over those low points in Maiden’s storied career. In fact, two songs Bayley originally sang on — “Man On The Edge” and “The Clansman” — are reprised live with Dickinson on vocals.

Since 1999, it’s been Dickinson, Smith, Gers, guitarist Dave Murray (yes, that’s three guitarists), bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain stoking the flames of the Iron Maiden brigade. The hits stopped coming long ago, but the group still likes to mix it up with some truly progressive metal epics. There’s the haunting “The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg,” from 2006’s A Matter of Life and Death, which begins in earnest before exploding into a myriad of razor-sharp riffs gliding around Dickinson’s winsome vocal.. A similar formula is applied to “Blood Brothers,” from 1999’s Brave New World, and “No More Lies,” from 2003’s Dance Of Death. From all three, you can appreciate the depths at which Iron Maiden is willing to go to transcend the metal trappings, and deliver on the promise of progressive music.

With 2010’s The Final Frontier, their 15th studio album, the group reasserted its ambitions to forge alliances and rise to new heights of innovation. Tracks like “El Dorado” and “When the Wild Wind Blows” carry on the tradition effectively, lending an almost timeless sheen to the band’s legacy. Some fans may complain that the group lacks the rawness of the early days. But for a band to evolve, it needs to make a few left turns off the beaten path. From Fear To Eternity: The Best Of 1990 – 2010 affirms Iron Maiden's penchant for exploration — defying mainstream expectations, while maintaining an unparalleled dominance in the world of heavy metal.

~ Shawn Perry

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