Bruce Dickinson/The Best Of Bruce Dickinson

Best of (Bonus CD)

Paul Bruce Dickinson (born 7 August 1958) is a British singer, airline pilot, radio show host, fencer, author, and songwriter best known as the vocalist of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

Dickinson performed for some local bands including Styx (not the American band of the same name) in 1976, Speed, (1977–1978), and Shots in early 1979. He then joined hard rock band Samson later in 1979, where he gained some popularity. In this band he went by the name of “Bruce Bruce.” He left Samson in 1981, citing musical differences. Shortly afterwards, in 1981, Dickinson was hired as Iron Maiden‘s new vocalist, debuting for that band with the 1982 album The Number of the Beast.[1] During his time in that band, they issued a series of high impact releases,[2] resulting in Dickinson gaining worldwide fame, and becoming one of the most acclaimed heavy metal vocalists of all time.[3]

Dickinson quit Iron Maiden in 1993 in order to pursue his solo career, being replaced by Blaze Bayley. Dickinson’s solo work ranged a wide variety of heavy metal and rock styles. Dickinson rejoined Maiden in 1999 along with guitarist Adrian Smith. Since then, Dickinson has only released one more solo album, Tyranny of Souls. He is the older cousin of Rob Dickinson, lead singer of British alternative rock band Catherine Wheel. In his personal life, he is known for his criticism of drug use.

The Best of Bruce Dickinson is a compilation album released in 2001 by Bruce Dickinson. Two versions were released; a single disc version and a second version with a bonus disc. On the front cover, the album title is imposed upon the seal of the demon Astaroth.

Disc 1 is a selection of songs from his previous solo albums, with the addition of two new songs, “Broken” and “Silver Wings”, both of which were written by Dickinson and guitarist/producer Roy Z. Disc 2 contains rare songs, most of which have appeared as b-sides on singles. The track “The Voice of Crube” is an explanation of the various songs, narrated by Bruce (for whom ‘Crube’ is an anagram).

Disc One:

Broken—-One of the first things that you notice about this track is that it really has a remarkable Maiden sound…I have always tried to approach this solo adventure with little or no comparison to the band, but this is pretty much standard Maiden. Most of Dickinson’s material was vastly different…this particular track though carries that familiar chug-chug sound of Harris. Bruce delivers a blistering vocal…reminding me of the old days…this is great!

Tattooed Millionaire—-I can clearly remember the first time I heard this first single once Bruce had gone solo….my initial thought was Iron who? This is literally fantastic, but Bruce without the band and the band without Bruce was a huge mistake…that aside, Bruce delivers a blistering vocal that has some nice growls but most of all a nice clear chorus that reminds you why you fell in love with this voice to begin. This is pop rock, but it soars and still remains a favorite of mine.

Laughing In The Hiding Bush [Live]—-This is nice….coming across as even more aggressive live. the sound is a bit jacked though, the sound is too deeply recorded…taking a bit from the soaring guitar of Rot Z. and the sharp tenor of Dickinson. What this does deliver is a much faster and more aggressive song than as it appears on record. this is a triumph…just lacks a bit of clarity.

Tears Of the Dragon—-Beginning acoustic in nature, this is not your typical Metal…..Dickinson further explores the realms of mystery and puzzles as he allows the song to develop. the lyrical imagery is incredible…you can actually see what he sings. when he lets lose with the build up to the chorus, this is a Bruce vocal you do not hear often hear anymore…clear and soaring, this is a triumphant masterpiece of a song. Roy Z. remains…a genius!!!

The Tower—-With a huge bass intro line, this is slow to come to life but as it develops you are lost in the magnificent feel of the song. Bruce sounds like he did back on Number Of the Beast…seemingly energized by his new-found freedom from the Harris/Maiden machine. when he hits some of these notes, you wonder where Dickinson has been hiding some of these songs. This is all potential Maiden material…I understand the need for Bruce to break free for a bit and explore the other side…what we got were 4 release that were incredible…yes some of the tracks are throwaway…but some like this…..incredible!!!

Born In 58—-This has always been a really favorite song of mine…I think because it is not so serious…this is light in lyrical content compared to a lot of the stuff that you get from a Dickinson release. This has a remarkable melody that will stick in your cerebellum for hours after you hear this…this is brilliant. The vocal is again…incredible…allowing bruce to really soar at times and display a lot of acrobatics with his voice…up and down, back and forth…this is fabulous. I love this guy!

Accident Of Birth—-Taken from the second solo release from Bruce, this is another song that will stick to your ribs for quite some time…when dickinsong sings the line….”Accident Of Birth”,  the emotion and the timbre is exquisite. This is brilliant. The guitars from Adrian Smith and Roy Z. are driving and delivered with a purpose…this is fantastic…sorry I have not listened to this in such a long time.

Silver Wings—-This, from the onset has potential Maiden written all over it. This is fast..almost bordering on manic. Dickinson delivers a vocal that is maniacal and driven…this is brilliant. the highs are incredible….Bruce can deliver line after line in his distinctive timbre that just puts a a smile on your face that refuses to live. The lyrical content is a bit mystical and eerie….none the less…this pushes Bruce to deliver what we need from him…blistering and quality metal. Fantastic!

Darkside Of Aquarius—-All of this overt mystical stuff can get a bit trying sometimes…there are some songs…like this one…where i have no idea what Dickinson is singing about. None the less, you take the Metal as the Metal comes…this is pretty spectacular…if only for the heavy ‘familiar’ bass line and the soaring voice of the Golden God. This is fantastic…when bruce really hits the chorus this just makes you yearn for the old days…although this is pretty much an unreleased Maiden song…the bass line is too familiar to deny.

Chemical Wedding—-the title track to one of the most overlooked and under appreciated Metal releases of its time, this is just what you get when you buy this release. This is quality Metal that was ignored by too many people…except us purists that love the voice. To me, this is much heavier and Metal oriented than anything that Dickinson had released up to date in his solo outing. This is mysterious, moody and brilliant!

Back From The Edge—-I hate the sound quality of this song from the very onset….it sounds like everything except the drums are muted…what is up with that? The voice even sounds more removed than it should be…the mystical content is hard to devour and the song really falls flat for me. I don’t understand the production problems…come on Roy…what is up?

Road To Hell—-Returning to full on Metal form, this has also always been a favorite track of mine. I love the aggressive quality that Dickinson has with his voice…he is driven and sings like a man possessed. the chorus is so damn catchy and addictive that you will remember the refrain to this song years after you hear it for the first time. The music is outstanding…reminding me more of Priest than Maiden, this really fits the mood and the vocal.

Book Of Thel [Live]—-Another of those songs that I really do not understand, I just try to tune into the musical and vocal delivery instead. Dickinson tackles things that are far beyond my reach intellectually…often leaving me wonder what the hell. But I buy the stuff anyways. This captures Bruce at his best…in a live setting…the music is faster and the voice is pushed even further…the crowd urges on everything and the result is fantastic. Even if I haven’t a clue!

Disc Two:

Bring Your Daughter….To The Slaughter—-Dickinson must have retained rights to this song? Why it is included on here is beyond me….at any rate….this is a pretty spot on rendition of the original…even without the remarkable bass of Harris.

Darkness Be My Friend—-Acoustically based and sounding like a live take, this is brilloiant…perhaps worth the price of the dual disc edition of this collection. Bruce sings in a tone that is so crystal clear and dechipherable you really have a chance to dwell on the lyrics…the acoustic Tull styled flute is magnificent. Perhaps this is auto-biographical…this is fantastic.

Wicker Man—-An interesting solo rendition of what would later become the ‘come-back’ single for the rejuvenation of Maiden, Dickinson delivers a rough version of the song that admittedly enough was really amped up by the bass of Harris. the vocal is very different..allowing you to see the true birth and development of a song. this is interesting and worth the price of the dual disc…this is interesting and unique. Hmmmm!

Real World—-Hard and driving, the guitars on this track are fantastic. The leads come in and supply a magnificent melody that really shapes the song. Dickinson enters the fray with perhaps his clearest and highest vocal to date on this comp, joined on the chorus by Smith, this becomes huge and unforgettable. Magnificent.

Acoustic Song—-This is as it says…..acoustic and full of the emotional, human songs that Dickinson is capable of writing. there is a bit of mysticism involved…hinting at the ideas of past lives joining together in new life…whatever…..its a great song none the less.

No Way Out….Continued—-This begins rather odd….there is a massive amount of atmosphere. Bruce enters with a vocal that turns me off right from the first listen. i don;t like the vocal or the lyrical content…all of this vampire stuff is beyond me. this is ok, but one I skip over every time.

Midnight Jam—- Ok,,,,this is odder than odd. Reminding me of a long-lost track from other bands, there is nothing unique or special about this. Why must artists put all of this throw away shit on records and profit from something they would not put on a proper release….bullshit!!!

Man Of Sorrows—-This is nice…beginning slowly, the music is rather generic… is the nice powerful vocal from Dickinson that carries the magnificence of the song. This is emotional, real and relatable. I love this. Kudos….when the song really opens up you are blessed for listening thus far. I’m almost positive this showed up elsewhere…I have to track this down.

Ballad Of Mutt—-Just weird and a waste of listening time…..ugh…jeez!!!

Re-Entry—-Again, acoustic and obviously a song that was in the process of being developed, I’m not sure why this was included in such a rough form. the voice is nice…the drums even better…but overall, this is too rough to really appeal to me.

I’m In A Band With An Italian Drummer—-WTF……ugh!

Jerusalem [Live]—-It seems odd to deliver such an acoustic based song in a live setting, but none the less the crowd from Brazil seems to love it. This is a rip off from so many other acoustic songs…the sound is to familair to be entirely original. This leaves me disappointed…the high point is the crowd interaction…Brazil loves this man.

The Voices Of Crube—-Whatever……!!!!! This is a huge 13 minute spoken word that explains all of the songs on the second disc. None of it which really clears up why this is included here. I love you Bruce, but this is a bit indulgence.

Dracula—-Full of airy sounds and mystery, this fares no better than most of the other things on this disc….this is a real disappointment for anyone except for the most die-hard of fans….and even I am disappointed. This is shite!

Disc One: **** out of 5

Disc Two: ** out of 5



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