The Best of Bruce Dickinson (Special 2 CD Edition)
Released: 2001, Metal-Is
Reviewer: "Jesse ""Wisco"" Ruth"
BRUCE IS BACK!!! Actually, Bruce never left...EVER!!! The guy has been cranking out material for over 20 years and, whether he was with Samson, Maiden or out on his own, it has always been of the utmost quality. I'm too lazy to go and count, but he must have around 15 or so albums (not counting live albums) to his credit. That's almost an album every year! Bruce is the hardest working man in the business...he¹s like the James Brown of Metal! And now he preserves the finest moments of his solo career with a best of compilation and it's about damn time! But wait! He pushes it to the next level and gives us a bonus disc with an attention to detail that is rare these days, which is to say this album is sort of like a historical document (see "The Voice of Crube"). I say hats off to the man!
Disc one starts off with a track that one can seriously compare with the finest moments of Maiden coupled with his solo career. "Broken" has a riff sort of reminiscent of the ones found in "Hallowed be Thy Name" and/or "Genghis Khan," but lurches forward with that bottom end heaviness found on his latter solo projects. This track sent me soaring. I mean, it really has the hook and bite we¹ve come to expect from Bruce. We are then led through a dozen or so tracks that most of us are familiar with. Solid stuff and I'm surprised at how well the TATTOOED MILLIONAIRE tracks, and other early efforts, stand up to the ACCIDENT OF BIRTH/CHEMICAL WEDDING era material. Disc one has yet another new track called "Silver Wings." This one, again, sends us back into Maiden territory, all the while remaining fixed in the present. I'd have to say the track is a power metal song, of sorts, which is fitting. After all, Maiden stands as one of the most dominating influences upon the whole of power metal and to hear Bruce attack the chorus as he does...well, it's amazing. I say hats off to the man!
Disc two, the bonus disc, is a pleasure indeed. This one shows what an eclectic guy Bruce really is. It starts off with the original "Bring your Daughter to the Slaughter," which is familiar territory, but then we are given a beautiful acoustic track...one that not only proves he's a multi-dimensional bloke, but that he excels at whatever he puts his mind to. Everything on disc two is intensely interesting. Whether it be stuff that could've easily been on CHEMICAL WEDDING, haunting, gothic type tracks or hilarious stuff that we've come to expect from a Maiden/Bruce B-side, the wide variety of material helps to redefine Bruce as the true pioneer he is. Bruce has never let himself become stagnant...he always reaches for new heights. Fear of stagnation is one of the reasons he left Maiden, but it¹s also the reason he came back to the beast! More than any other Metal front man, Bruce is an artist. My definition being that of one who lets creativity, inspiration and passion be his/her guide. I say hats off to the man!
Finally, I must comment on "Dracula," the final track found on disc two. This song is the very definition of the word gem. It's not metal, it's not hard rock, it's not punk or new wave...but you know what? IT ROCKS!!! This song was the first track that Bruce ever put down onto tape. As he says himself, it's somewhat flawed, but it shows just how powerful his voice is...even on a first effort such as this. Bruce truly has one of the most important voices in metal and his legacy will be one long remembered. THE BEST OF BRUCE DICKINSON is a first step in solidifying that legacy and I say...
HATS OFF TO THE MAN!!!