**PIC Blur-endorsed Icelandic duo move from techno to post-punk on an itchy claustrophobic debut
Manchester Evening News Arena
Let's just hope the nu-metallers scattered among the mullet hordes are only here out of perverse curiosity.
If Halford are bloated, well - tattoo my foreskin and call me Thor - Avenger Of The Northern Plains, ver Maiden are fit to burst. As only a band with their own rope-slides, fireworks, Wicker Man and Incredible Hulk-version of Eddy can be. But, the (un)intentional laughs to be had at this kitsch spectacle soon wear thin. And not just because 'Ghost Of The Navigator', 'Blood Brothers', 'Sign Of The Cross' et al are never-ending, fret-melting epics far removed from the urgency of 'Run To The Hills'.
No, for all heavy metal's supposed self-awareness, for all its claims to be a bit of tongue-in-cheek escapism, Iron Maiden seem pretty po-faced and with scant appreciation of irony. Bruce Dickinson, for instance, has a long rant about press "wankers" and their massive egos. Later, he will be hoisted up on a crucifix complete with angel's wings.
Similarly, 'The Mercenary', 'The Trooper' and 'Clansman' (Dickinson waving a battle-scarred Union Jack in front of a fantastical historical battle scene) seem like vicarious assertions of some knuckle-dragging masculinity through air-guitar and/or pseudo-mystical militaristic imagery rather than a bit of period fun. "No", Dickinson screams, "we can't let them take any more of the land of the free!" What? In case they try and ban Dungeons & Dragons?
Iron Maiden are an anachronism. There's nothing to re-evaluate. Let's just hope the nu-metallers scattered among the mullet hordes are only here out of perverse curiosity.
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