Unessential but excellent – as expected

Another album cycle has come to an end and it’s now time for Britain’s venerable touring machine Iron Maiden to drop the obligatory live testimonial.

Of course, being another live album from a band that’s released more than their fair share of them, The Book of Souls: Live Chapter is far from essential, but as a live statement from a band who knows how to make them (12!) it’s high quality all the way. Pulling together fifteen tracks from fourteen performances, this latest double release shows a band still very much at the height of their power. While they don’t seem to really hit their stride until ‘Wrathchild’ (though, to be fair, every song is from a different show so it’s hard to tell), once they get their steam up Iron Maiden don’t gear down until the final moments.

Typically, every performance is strong, Dickinson leading the way with a voice as powerful as ever through a two-hour set list dominated by tracks from the latest album and filled out with pre-93 classics including a couple of nice additions like ‘Children of the Damned’ and ‘Powerslave’. Again, this is hardly an essential release in the way that Live After Death, Rock in Rio and Flight 666 are, but it’s Iron Maiden, live, so you know it doesn’t suck and, for the most part, many of these tracks haven’t been aired live before or for quite some time, so there’s also that.

CD 1:
1. If Eternity Should Fail
2. Speed of Light
3. Wrathchild
4. Children of the Damned
5. Death or Glory
6. The Red and the Black
7. The Trooper
8. Powerslave

CD2:
1. The Great Unknown
2. The Book of Souls
3. Fear of the Dark
4. Iron Maiden
5. The Number of the Beast
6. Blood Brothers
7. Wasted Years