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Iron Maiden

Live After Death DVD

Review by Gary Hill

How many Maiden fans have not owned this on VHS? If you are talking the old school fans, the answer is probably a small number. Now for the first time it's been released on DVD. Just that fact alone would make this a "must have" for Iron Maiden's loyal fans. Lesser bands would have probably stopped there. Iron Maiden always rises above the rest, though. In this case they have added a lot of bonuses to the release.

The main video itself has not been simply transferred to DVD. Indeed, the quality here seems to be far above the original film. It was a great concert video to start, but this approaches the sublime now. The video was originally filmed in 35mm and that certainly allows for a higher quality than straight to video would have. It also makes DVD the perfect medium for this concert film. If you want a visual record of this classic metal band you just can't do much better than this. And now with it's release in the DVD format the film looks and sounds better than ever before.

They have also included a second DVD in the set. You can look at this as strictly bonus because the first disc is that good. The thing is, you don't need to dismiss DVD 2 in that way. It's quite a solid work. We start things off with a documentary the History of Iron Maiden. Proclaiming itself as the second part of their story - continuing from an earlier documentary, this is cursory at best, not reaching the level of "part one" or being extremely complete (how could it be at only sixty minutes?). Still, it is a bonus, so you can only be so critical.

Next up we get "Behind the Iron Curtain." This gives up behind the scenes footage and some great live performances of classics like "Aces High," "The Trooper" and "Run To the Hills." Clocking in at around an hour, this is another great inclusion and certainly adds to the value of the set.

We are also treated to "Rock in Rio '85," another nearly hour long featurette showcasing live Maiden. The sound on this is quite good, but the picture suffers a little. The band were on fire, though. It's another great addition, particularly when you consider that if they had stopped with DVD 1 we'd still have a winner.

We get three more bonuses, all pretty minor. The first is a short video of three live tracks from 1983. The next is a gallery that includes artwork, tour programmes and other photos. Finally we get the promo clips for "Aces High" and "2 Minutes to Midnight." The thing is, if they had left all of this bonus material out (the entire second DVD) this would be a great release. With these additions it's like Christmas and your birthday all rolled into one.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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