Review: Death On The Road

Listening to Iron Maiden’s 2005 live album Death On The Road has been an interesting experience. Not only have I forgotten how average this record actually is, but it also reminded me why I was so disappointed seeing the band at my first Iron Maiden gig.

Back when this tour was in full swing, I was a happy go lucky teenager who had never seen Iron Maiden in concert before and due to my unfortunate experience of the show, I never saw them again until The Book of Souls tour. The show was plagued with awful sound, the PA blew up, the band were very sloppy and the crowd was one of the most violent and unpleasant I have ever been in. Never mind the fact that the UK tour had to sit through the pish that was Funeral For A Friend. Urgh!

With personal bias aside, I have always found that Death On The Road is not a good example of how Iron Maiden are live. Through out this record you’ll hear a world class band playing sloppy enough for it to actually bring down the quality of the album. On multiple occasions you’ll hear members go out of time in songs like Lord of the Flies, The Trooper and Can I Play With Madness.  The worst offender being Nicko McBrain and Bruce Dickinson (he really can’t sing the Blaze Bayley material without choking) who both sound like they’re struggling to keep up (still a problem in 2017). But even on songs like the epics Dance of Death and Paschendale, you can clearly hear the guitarists are not playing their parts very well with rhythms that go back and forth as they struggle to keep things solid.

Death on the Road much like the live show also had a major pacing problem. Being the tour for the disastrous Dance of Death album, a lot of the songs are rather lengthy and really feel quite boring played back to back. For example, on disc one you get a nine and ten minute long songs within two tracks of another. Then disc two has three seven plus minute songs in a row only to be follow up a quick rendition of Iron Maiden and another boring seven minute long song, Journeyman. These songs are not bad (with exception of the awful Wildest Dreams), but there was very little thought put into the set list. It is one thing throwing in a few lengthy songs but you have to think about how they will flow into one another and here they just don’t.

Things go bad to worse for Death On The Road as it has easily the worst sound of any of the band’s post reunion live albums. You can tell that Steve Harris and his bottom feeding chum Kevin Shirley had their way with the album. Not only is the instruments extremely sterile but the left channel has a major clipping issue. Every time a guitar makes so much as a peep, you get an ear full of audible clicks and pops. It is absolutely disgusting to hear and it’s an utter disgrace that any band would release such an awful sounding record.

Much like every release by Iron Maiden, fans will no doubt go blue in the face defending Death on the Road. But the truth is that this is a band not at their peak, this is a band struggling to sound professional and an album that has been killed in the studio. If you’re a completionist, you should wait until someone is flogging it off for a couple of pounds. The record isn’t worth much else, if I do say so.

Rating : 5 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. Wildest Dreams (CD 1)
  2. Wrathchild (CD 1)
  3. Can I Play With Madness (CD 1)
  4. The Trooper (CD 1)
  5. Dance of Death (CD 1)
  6. Rainmaker (CD 1)
  7. Brave New World (CD 1)
  8. Paschendale (CD 1)
  9. Lord of the Flies (CD 1)
  10. No More Lies (CD 2)
  11. Hallowed Be Thy Name
  12. Fear of the Dark
  13. Iron Maiden
  14. Journeyman
  15. The Number of the Beast
  16. Run to the Hills