In all honestly, the world is far from short of yet another Iron Maiden ‘best of’ compilation. Yet, as is correct for a band with a such a rabid universal popularity, their ever growing fan base continues to draw in younger and younger devotees, meaning that ‘From Fear To Eternity’ serves a noble purpose in educating a new generation of followers. Not only this, the disc also confirms Maiden‘s rolling song writing proficiency in a period of their career that is unfairly assumed to be rather lean in quality.
Taking in all tracks from all the band’s releases since 1990, it’s pleasing to say that the track listing here is not a straightforward rework of the most popular numbers. Indeed, songs such as the excellent 11 minute opus ‘When The Wind Blows’ are wholly surprising yet welcome inclusions, giving some overlooked songs an opportunity to show there worth side by side with the hits. It is perhaps Maiden‘s developing progressive nature that makes ‘From Fear To Eternity’ such a challenging, yet rewarding listen. The number of lengthier tracks provide a weighty feel to the album, confronting the audience with much to sink their teeth into, yet it is these tracks that also displays the band’s perpetual ability to push their craft. ‘The Clansman’, with its gorgeous acoustic intro and sumptuous dual harmony attack, and the epic ‘Sign Of The Cross’, are both examples of how the outfit, even through so called troubled times (these songs were originally from the largely panned ‘The X Factor’ and ‘Virtual XI’ respectably) are able to couple there signature driving sound with a brooding progressive air. The fact that these tracks, such as the aforementioned two, are represented through live renditions with Bruce Dickinson‘s vocals replacing the questionable performance of Blaze Bailey is also an album plus point.
Yet, of course, a refresher of Maiden‘s fantastic singles is never amiss, and these songs are of course all present, the oldest of which being the ever popular ‘Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter’, which still impresses with its menacing verse build-ups and a truly explosive chorus. Recent work is just as striking although. Songs such as ‘Rainmaker’ and ‘Different World’ are relatively simple numbers which are welcome in such a collection of dense and sprawling work, and still contain all the hook and bite that they did from their inception.
‘From Fear To Eternity’ is a stirring effort from the band in not only bringing together their superlative work from the period, but in also resurrecting a number of tracks that deserve a second chance in the spotlight. Spanning years in which the band are writing more challenging, yet prevailingly fantastic material, the album serves as not only an introduction to the bands recent past, but also as preparation to Maiden‘s exciting future.
Written by Tony Bliss