By Bob Nalbandian

Eddie's Archive (Box Set)
Edward The Great (The Greatest Hits)

"Eddie's Archive" is a magnificent collection of "lost goodies" throughout Maiden's career. If all you die-hard Maiden fans out there thought that you had another "Greatest Hits" collection on your hands - think again. This collection is for the old-timers and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

The box-set is presented in "Eddie's casket" - a treasure-chest box made of Metal (of course!) with Eddie's head on the lid, staring right at you with his evil, red eyes. The box contains the long awaited release of 18 live tracks from "The Beast On The Road," recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon exactly 20 years ago. "Murders In The Rue Morgue," "Total Eclipse" and "Another Life" are just a few of the tracks included on this disc and, as any true Maiden fan knows, the band haven't performed these songs live since that tour, which makes the collection very rare. "The Beast Over Hammersmith," as the double-CD is called, also contains a mini tour-program from '82 with comments from the band about their then "new" album, The Number Of The Beast!

The sound quality on this one is good, but not perfect. The fact is the BBC Archives included on this CD, with 9 songs from that very same tour, actually sounds clearer and fuller. Dickinson does a better job too, perhaps because of the fact that it was recorded at the prestigious Reading Festival in England. He had played and recorded a live album with Samson the previous year in '81, and I guess his goal was to top that performance - which he did! He is amazingly energetic and it might actually be the best live recording I have ever heard with Maiden, including the fabulous Long Beach Arena performances on "World Slavery Tour", which became the Live After Death album.

Paul DiAnno appears on the BBC Archives on 4 classic tracks recorded for the BBC Radio 1 "Friday Rock Show" in late 1979. These versions of "Iron Maiden," "Running Free," "Transylvania" and "Sanctuary" will definitely bring a tear to older fans eyes. At this point, Iron Maiden were basically only known in the London club scene where they played locally at the Marquee and other venues. The hunger for success is evident in this recording, which is surprisingly crisp and clear.


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