By Bob Nalbandian

The Essential Iron Maiden
Sanctuary Music

Talk about mass overkill. Not only has Iron Maiden just released The Essential Iron Maiden 2-CD set, the band are scheduled to release later this month...wait for it Long Beach...yes, another live CD! Apparently, this one was recorded in Dortmund, Germany from their recent world tour. What, this makes it Maiden's 5th or 6th live release to date? I mean, I f**kin' love Iron Maiden and they are unquestionably one of the great live metal bands of all-time but who are they (or, should I say the record company) kidding...I mean, even the biggest classic rock/metal bands...Zeppelin, Sabbath, The Who, AC/DC...have released only two or three live records throughout their careers which span years longer than Maiden's career. But what irks me is that Bruce Dickinson is constantly (and rightfully) bitching about the corporate media and retailers who overly exploit themselves just to make a buck, which I quite honestly feel Iron Maiden is doing with the release of their forthcoming live CD. I speak my mind only because I respect the guy so much (you got to respect any man who puts that drama-queen reality-show deuschbag in her place and who is willing to hitchhike across town in the middle of the night to spin metal tunes at an LA nightclub---thanks again Bruce!) Anyway this is a review of The Essential Iron Maiden CD so let's cut to the chase and get right down to it. Disc two is 'essential Maiden,' disc one is 'mediocre Maiden.' The first disc pretty much spans the second half of Maiden's (mediocre) career and the second disc contains the Maiden classics. I find this to be a major flaw, particularly if their goal is to attract new fans. If I was a young fan that has only heard of Iron Maiden but never heard their music, I would put the first CD in and think to myself "this isn't the great metal band I've heard so much about!" before I even got around to playing the second disc containing the true classic hits. Personally, I would have chosen better songs but hey, what's 'essential' to some people might not be 'essential' to others. If you're really looking Maiden's greatest hits, I recommend you check out the Ed Hunter box set.


One thing has got to be said about the Sunset Strip-metal vocalists and musicians from the '80s...they know how to endure and persevere. Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, there's just know stopping them in their attempts to relive the hi-life of the late '80s hair-metal era. Tracci Guns, Jizzy Pearl, Stephen Pearcy, Lizzy Grey, and countless others are still going at it. They may alter their sound, style or image a bit as a sign of the times, but they still hold their faith as whiskey swilling Hollywood rockers in the truest form. And you can't help but to respect that. Beautiful Creatures is no exception, led by ex-Bang Tango front man Joe LeSte the band just released their second album Deuce on Spitfire Records. (The band's debut CD was released back in 2000 on a major label but they were dropped soon after). Many have stated that Beautiful Creatures is yet another band riding on the success of bands like Velvet Revolver, Jet and the Darkness, but in the band's defense, their debut CD was released prior to the success of the aforementioned bands. Although not musically as strong as Velvet Revolver they are more original sounding than Jet and far less annoying than The Darkness. LeSte's vocals sound stronger than ever before (not near as amateurish as when he was with Bang Tango) and former Flotsam & Jetsam guitarist Mark Simpson spits out some tasty leads while producer/rhythm guitarist Anthony Focx's ravishing riff-work holds down a solid foundation alongside bassist Kenny Kweens and drummer Timmy Russell. Deuce is a strong effort definitely worth purchasing. Beautiful Creatures are the new-breed of old-school Hollywood rock. Love it...hate it...accept it.

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