Whatever remains in Paul Di’Anno‘s topsy turvy career, the one thing that will never change is that the Londoner is one of the most important figures in the history of Heavy Metal. Famed for his four year tenure fronting a fledgling Iron Maiden, the two albums he rammed his vocals all over, the self-titled debut and ‘Killers’ are still regarded by their most hardcore following as the band’s most creative period. He continued to leave his mark in the trade with spells in band’s such as Battlezone, Killers and Gogmagog, and this Live Album is the result of a concert back in 2006 in the German town of Waltrop with The Phantom’s Of The Opera.
A performance originally thought to be lost, producer Thomas Mergler has reignited the recording to all its anarchic glory. As expected the bulk of tunage is Maiden fare, but a word of caution, don’t expect a polished product like a ‘Live After Death’. There’s no nip/tuck, everything you hear is as it was fourteen years ago. When opener ‘Prowler’ is barbarically blasted out over the baying German’s, you can nearly smell the musty leather and cheap beer fumes wafting out of the speakers.
Finesse isn’t a word that springs to mind when describing Di’anno the vocalist, but it’s his raw honesty that has, over the years, been his strongest weapon. Skull rattling classics ‘Murders In The Rue Morgue’ and ‘Remember Tomorrow’ may have sounded better of another time, but they still give you a nostalgic jolt. Proving he’s a Punk in Metal clothing, ‘Marshall Lokjaw’ no doubt heralded a teeth chipping mosh pit, and Di’Anno sounds here like he’s right in the middle of it.
For those craving the luxury of a galloping Steve Harris bass line or a Murray/Smith guitar assault, the stonking version of ‘The Phantom Of The Opera’ should well satisfy your appetite.
Less lauded tracks from his solo career such as ‘The Living Dead’ and ‘The Beast Arises’ fare very well against the big guns and don’t deserve to be resigned to Metal obscurity. But it’s the whippersnapper Maiden tunes that roar the loudest. ‘Transylvania’ and ‘Running Free’ will probably have holes poked in them by the purists, but they ring all the right bells, especially the former which is performed meticulously. A ragged and riotous rendition of The Ramones ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ will literally blow your bloody doors off and, a tune Di’Anno was born to sing, Closer ‘Sanctuary’ sound’s a lot like the Chingford legend is ready for his bed, but the playing is once again exemplary and shows great respect to it’s parent version.
‘Hell Over Waltrop‘ has in parts a devil may care attitude, but that’s how most Metal fans like their Di’Anno anyway.
2. Murders In The Rue Morgue
4. Remember Tomorrow
5. Children Of Madness
6. Marshall Lokjaw
7. The Living Dead
8. The Beast Arises
9. The Faith Healer
10. The Phantom Of The Opera
12. Running Free
13. Blitzkrieg Bop
14. Running Free