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Bruce Dickinson
The Best of Bruce Dickinson (Special 2 CD Edition)
October 2001
Released: 2001, Metal-Is
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: CrashTest

What more can be said about the man who reigns at the top of the metal empire? THE voice of heavy metal. Eh, what’s that you say? Ronnie James Dio and Rob Halford have a better claim to the highest accolades? Nonsense! As much as I worship those two, you gotta admit that RJD hasn’t made a really killer album since the 80s and, while Halford can claim two outstanding albums in a row, he essentially made two Priest albums without the band actually backing him. The Human Air Raid Siren can not only claim several incredible albums in a row, (I speak of Accident of Birth (4.5/5), Chemical Wedding (5/5) and Scream For Me Brazil (4.25/5)) BUT he has done this while creating a sound totally distinct from that of his former mates. On top of that, said albums have been superior to anything Maiden has done since Seventh Son. But enough of the idol worship, let’s hit the review ...





What you’ll find on CD 1 are eleven classic Dickinson tracks and two new songs. The better of the two new offerings is the anthemic Broken, which picks up right where CW left off in both sound and feel. The other new offering is Silver Wings, a song which thematically blazes the same trail as songs like Aces High and Tailgunner. As for the previously released tracks, a glimpse is offered of the spectrum of music that Dickinson has made on his own. For those unfamiliar with his older stuff, it will surprise you to learn that it’s not all metal. Dickinson took some risks and experimental turns that actually hold up rather well. I speak mainly of songs like Tattooed Millionaire and Born In 58, both of which lean more toward classic 80s rock than metal.



The second CD is nothing to get too excited about unless you’re a big Dickinson fan, as I obviously am. As with most “bonus” discs, the material isn’t exactly stellar or it would’ve been released properly in the past. Thus, while CD 2 offers some interesting stuff, it’s the sort of thing you may listen to once or twice before losing interest. The more intriguing tracks to be found are the original Dickinson version of Bring Your Daughter ... to the Slaughter, Man of Sorrows and Dracula, a demo track which was Dickinson’s first visit into a recording studio in 1977. The track entitled The Voice of Crube is actually a monologue in which Dickinson explains how the songs on CD 2 came to be and why he included them.



Overall the package is a fantastic retrospective of Dickinson’s solo career. It allows people who don’t want to collect the albums previous to AOB to get the better songs from those albums. Now if only Dickinson would give us some more solo stuff BEFORE doing anything else with Maiden!
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Bruce Dickinson
The Best of Bruce Dickinson (Special 2 CD Edition)
October 2001
Released: 2001, Metal-Is
Rating: 5.0/5
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!!!
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