Visions Of The Beast (DVD)

Iron Maiden

Sony Records, 2003

http://ironmaiden.com

REVIEW BY: Riley McDonald

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/29/2004

I've always been dazzled with the medium known as music videos. Some of the most ear-shatteringly bad bands have been able to come up with some of the most visually astounding works of videos. Other bands make ones that are abstract and deeply intellectual. Then there's Maiden. To me, they are the greatest band in the world. To me, they are the worst video-making band in the world. It's funny how that works out, isn't it?

This collection of the band's music videos (ranging from live songs played during concerts to studio-made ones) encompasses their entire career, from the Di'Anno era to Rock In Rio. It's nice to see that they paid attention to the careers of both Paul Di'Anno and Blaze Bayley, unlike other compilations (I'm looking at you, Edward the Great).my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Unfortunately, the band kicks off this two-disc DVD set with the atrocious Skyhooks' cover "Women in Uniform." While the video is funny in its tongue-in-cheekness and unbelievably low budget, the song itself is a monotonous, redundant, insipid trek that leaves the listener begging for the end.

Things do get a little better after that, with a live version of "Wrathchild," and an interesting version of "Run to the Hills." It's good to see that the band doesn't take anything very seriously with "The Number of the Beast" (with men dressed up in red pyjamas and devil masks, waving around pitch forks) and the hilarious "Holy Smoke," but a lot of their other stuff, namely "The Trooper" (with stock footage from an old movie based on that historic charge) are, frankly, boring.

I quite enjoy the live tracks, as you get to hear (and see) the band play some old favourites that haven't made their way back into the setlists of today ("Stranger in a Strange Land" is a prime example).

In the first bit of disc two, the fun starts to wear off. The videos descend from funny to cheesy, and the sound quality on the live tracks also degrade ("Hallowed Be Thy Name" sounds pretty shoddy). However, with Blaze's songs appearing, it gives the DVD a breath of fresh air. The biggest jewel of it is a live version of the Dickinson song "Afraid to Shoot Strangers," which I personally think he sings better.

The thing that really saves this collection are the Camp Chaos videos. Those guys are geniuses. They make some kick-ass cartoons to go with "The Trooper," "Aces High," "Man on the Edge" and others. The best of which is "The Number of the Beast," where preacher-Dickinson does battle with Eddie who is also in the process of doing battle with our ole friend Satan in hell. It is truly a great moment.

In all, it's a good buy. Maybe not completely worth the $30 Canadian I forked over for it, but it's enjoyable, whether you want to rock out, or if you just want a laugh. However, if you're looking for a genuinely good collection of music videos, I do not recommend it.

Rating: B-

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