Metalville [Release date 31.01.20]
Forever known as the original Iron Maiden vocalist (and something he’s somewhat played on over the years), Paul Di’Anno and his band were asked to play this festival in 2006 and the recently discovered tapes are now given an airing. And what a lot of fun it is too.
Recorded front of house, there’s a rough’n’ready edge to both the recording and performance, but enough quality to justify release.
Di’Anno left Iron Maiden at the tail end of 1981 and has continued recording; the failed Gogmagog project aside, there’s been some quality work with Battlezone, Killers and solo as either Di’Anno or Paul Di’Anno. Plus a set with former Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton and a live album with Praying Mantis.
The live sets over the years, and this one is not exempt, have always relied heavily on Iron Maiden material. On the plus side, those first two Maiden albums are fantastic, groundbreaking, special, and are close to many people’s hearts. On the downside, it limits the material, and overlooks a lot of fantastic original material (the first two Battlezone albums and the Killers debut really are essential listening). Then there’s the AOR “Di’Anno” album which I love.
Anyway, back to this live set. While Paul’s not necessarily had the best of health in recent years, things have been a little quiet on the Di’Anno front, this album does remind us just how good the material is and, when he hits it, how good his voice is.
The album starts off with ‘Prowler’ and ‘Murders In The Rue Morgue’, before their own Impaler; while the vocals and guitars are excellent, there’s no Maiden finesse here. It’s the punk and rough metal roots all the way here.
While the crowd recognise and respond well to the Iron Maiden material, they also get and love the solo material, and tracks like ‘Children Of Madness’ are what we want to hear. ‘The Beast Arises’ and ‘The Living Dead’ are good too. Surprise cover version is Alex Harvey’s ‘Faith Healer’; not only is this track a classic but Paul introduces it stating Alex was a hero of his. Full marks there, and their own take on this track makes the album worth buying alone.
You can’t go wrong with tracks like ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ (any Lucozade drinkers out there?) or ‘Running Free’, and the addition of ‘Blitzkrieg Bob’ – where proto punk became a real thrash; this kind of fun and break from the norm is what albums like this should be about.
There’s a lot of talent here, despite the occasional ropiness, the performance is fantastic and proof there’s more to Di’Anno than Maiden.
Well worth checking out. ****
Review by Joe Geesin
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