How to play Dance Of Death by Iron Maiden, the title track from the 2003 album.
Dance of Death is the thirteenth studio album by Iron Maiden, released 8 September 2003.
Their second studio release since the return of vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith in 1999, the album features the band’s first-ever fully acoustic track, “Journeyman”, as well as “New Frontier”, their only song co-written by drummer Nicko McBrain. As with Brave New World, its predecessor in 2000, the record was produced by Kevin Shirley, who has worked with Iron Maiden on all subsequent releases.
According to guitarist Janick Gers, the album’s title track was inspired by the final scene of Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, at the end of which “these figures on the horizon start doing a little jig, which is the dance of death”. Gers wrote most of the music and explained the concept to Steve Harris, who wrote the lyrics and most of the melodies.
Reviews for the album were generally positive with Kerrang! describing it as “stupendous stuff and concrete proof that Maiden are as electrifying and important as they have been in a long time”. Sputnikmusic were also positive about the album, giving special mention to “Paschendale”, described as “quite easily the ultimate Maiden masterpiece”. Although deeming the first three songs “refreshing yet unremarkable”, AllMusic describes Dance of Death as “a triumphant return to form for these heavy metal legends.”
Although criticising the album for its length and for not “matching the quality” of its predecessor, Brave New World, PopMatters praised the band for being able to “still easily outclass most of the younger nu-metal bands today”.
The band undertook the Dance of Death World Tour in support of the album, which included many theatrical elements inspired by the record’s songs. During the song, Bruce Dickinson would wear theatrical masks and a cape while moving around the stage; at the end he would dress as the Grim Reaper for the final chorus. During “Paschendale”, Dickinson would wear a traditional British Infantryman trench coat and helmet (although he revealed in the Death on the Road documentary that it was actually Hungarian), as worn during World War I, and the set would be decorated with barbed wire. The tour led to a live album and DVD, entitled Death on the Road, released in 2005 and 2006.
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