IRON MAIDEN – The Book Of Souls [Live Chapter] (2017)
IRON MAIDEN will release “The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter” on November 17th, a live recording comprising 15 songs captured during ‘The Book Of Souls World Tour’, which covered 39 countries across six continents during 2016 and 2017, and was seen by over two million fans. ‘The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter’ will be released physically in CD, deluxe CD & vinyl.
Produced by Tony Newton and Iron Maiden founder member and bass player Steve Harris, the album is based on this year’s set list and is a faithful record of the epic show, including six songs from ‘The Book Of Souls’, the band’s most recent studio album, along with many other classics and fan favourites.
‘The Book Of Souls World Tour’ was a huge undertaking, not least for Bruce Dickinson who started the tour singing in public for the very first time since recovering from throat cancer.
He also piloted Ed Force One, upgraded last year from a Boeing 757 to a 747 so the band could go further and faster to visit some new cities and fans all round the world.
“The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter”, is true ‘world wide tour album’, as almost every track was recorded in different countries.
This meant listening to literally hours upon hours of tapes from every show, to select material and construct a sound that would run consistently across the whole album and capture the excitement of a new country ever visited by IRON MAIDEN like El Salvador, alongside such regular favourites as Donington (England) or Wacken (Germany).
While it’s admirable that Maiden continue to showcase large swathes of new material in concert rather than simply ‘playing the hits’ like so many of their peers, the two ‘Book Of Souls’ tracks that kick off “Live Chapter” don’t have quite the same potency as the group’s time-tested classics. In person, that’s not as problematic, as the excitement of seeing the band in the flesh initially outweighs their song selection – but while ‘If Eternity Should Fail’ might be a serviceable opener in concert, it’s a bit of a drag on Live Chapter, with awkward vocal reverb in the beginning verses and a tempo that’s too deliberately out of the box.
Similarly, though there’s a certain charm to the dirt-under-the-fingernails highway rock of ‘Speed Of Light’, it’s ultimately too perfunctory for a band this ambitious.
When the familiar, bouncy groove of ‘Wrathchild’ kicks in, however, you want to echo the Irish crowd’s cheers.
From there, Live Chapter travels to Montreal, where Bruce introduces ‘Children Of The Damned’ en français. Interestingly, despite the Book Of Souls tour beginning and ending in North America, Children… marks the continent’s lone inclusion on Live Chapter.
Another Book Of Souls double-shot follows, but this time with better results.
The infectious ‘Death Or Glory’, in which Bruce hilariously orders Polish fans to “climb like a monkey,” makes a compelling case to remain in the band’s set on their next tour, while the enthusiastic crowd participation on the 13-minute ‘The Red And The Black’ dispels the misconception that Japanese audiences are reserved.
The second disc kicks off with another Book Of Souls two-fer: ‘The Great Unknown’, recorded in Newcastle and described by Bruce as “a song about spatial awareness,” and the lumbering title track, the Donington performance of which radiates a doomier vibe than its studio counterpart.
We then journey to Brazil, where a predictably rabid crowd threatens to drown out the band during ‘Fear Of The Dark’; then Argentina for ‘Iron Maiden’, to Germany’s Wacken festival for ‘The Number Of The Beast’; and back to Donington for ‘Blood Brothers’.
You are probably thinking, how many times do you need to hear the same IRON MAIDEN songs recorded live, again? Well, put aside that jaded outlook and open your mind to realize that this is a really great chronicle of a special period of IRON MAIDEN’s career.
At this point, they have seen so much, so naturally the setlist is going to be as diverse as possible, right? Yes! That in mind, “The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter” sounds just like being at an Iron Maiden show without actually being there.
It is incredibly crisp, clear, wonderfully mixed, and most importantly, captures the live experience perfectly!
1 – If Eternity Should Fail (Live in Australia)
2 – Speed of Light (Live in South Africa)
3 – Wrathchild (Live in Ireland)
4 – Children of the Damned (Live in Canada)
5 – Death or Glory (Live in Poland)
6 – The Red and the Black (Live in Japan)
7 – The Trooper (Live in El Salvador)
8 – Powerslave (Live in Italy)
1 – The Great Unknown (Live in Newcastle, England)
2 – The Book of Souls (Live at Download Festival, England)
3 – Fear of the Dark (Live in Fortaleza, Brazil)
4 – Iron Maiden (Live in Argentina)
5 – The Number of the Beast (Live in Germany)
6 – Blood Brothers (Live at Download Festival, England)
7 – Wasted Years (Live in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil)
Bruce Dickinson – vocals
Dave Murray – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar
Janick Gers – guitar
Steve Harris – bass, keyboards
Nicko McBrain – drums