Dance of Death (album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dance of Death
Iron Maiden-Dance of Death.jpg
Studio album by Iron Maiden
Released 2 September 2003
Recorded January – February 2003 at Sarm West Studios, London, UK)
Genre Heavy metal
Length 67:57[1]
Label EMI
Columbia Records (US)
Producer Kevin Shirley, Steve Harris
Iron Maiden studio albums chronology
Brave New World
Dance of Death
A Matter of Life and Death
Singles from Dance of Death
  1. "Wildest Dreams"
    Released: 1 September 2003
  2. "Rainmaker"
    Released: 24 November 2003

Dance of Death is the thirteenth studio album by English heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released first in Japan on 2 September and then 8 September 2003 in the rest of the world excluding North America (where it was released a day later). The album was recorded on magnetic (analogue) tape.[2]

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 their only song co-written by drummer Nicko McBrain, "New Frontier". As with its predecessor, 2000's Brave New World, the record was produced by Kevin Shirley, who has worked with Iron Maiden on all subsequent releases.


The band first confirmed that they would be working on a follow-up to 2000's Brave New World with producer Kevin Shirley on 27 November 2002, announced alongside a small set of European tour dates for the following year.[3] On 6 January 2003, Shirley confirmed via his website that the band would begin recording that month,[4] followed by the announcement that the basic tracks had been completed on 5 February[5] and that the release was to be mixed in April.[6] On 31 May, the band announced that the album, recorded at Sarm West Studios, would be entitled Dance of Death,[7] after which the release date was issued on 17 June.[8]

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 "Dance of Death", 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.[9] 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),[2] as worn during World War I, and the set would be decorated with barbed wire.[9] The tour led to a live album and DVD, entitled Death on the Road, released in 2005 and 2006.

The computer-generated cover art was provided by David Patchett,[10] who allegedly asked for his name to be removed from the album's credits after the band decided to use an unfinished version,[11] which was received negatively.[12]

The album was released as a DVD-Audio disc in 2004, including 5.1 mixes of each song.[13]


Drummer Nicko McBrain made his song writing debut on Dance of Death.

Dance of Death is the only Iron Maiden album to date in which drummer Nicko McBrain has a songwriting credit, having co-written "New Frontier."[14] As a born-again Christian, the track expresses his concerns with human cloning, stating, "I personally believe that God created man and it's only God's right to create a human being because only He can give you a soul. When man attempts to make man then it's a monster in a test tube."[14] This also makes it the only Iron Maiden album to date in which every member of the band receives a songwriting credit.

"Montségur" was based on the fall of the Cathar stronghold of the same name, which fell during the Albigensian Crusade in 1244.[15] Dickinson, who wrote the song's lyrics, states, "There is so much great stuff and so many great stories throughout history that you can make parallels with the modern day – particularly when history repeats itself as often as it does – that it makes for some very colourful subject matter."[15]

"Paschendale" is about the Battle of Passchendaele which took place during the First World War. It was written by Adrian Smith, who usually contributes to the band's shorter, more "commercial" songs, but decided to write what he describes as "a traditional Maiden epic."[16] It features strong progressive rock elements, including its length, detailed structure, and multiple tempo changes throughout the song. Dickinson comments, "the beauty of 'Paschendale' isn't in the epic-ness of the song – although you have to admit it is a powerful and stirring body of music – but the detail."[16] In live performances, Dickinson introduces the song with a passage from Wilfred Owen's "Anthem for Doomed Youth".[9][17]

Iron Maiden performing "Dance of Death" in 2011.

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."[15] Gers wrote most of the music and explained the concept to Steve Harris, who wrote the lyrics and most of the melodies.[14]

"Face in the Sand" is based on the media coverage surrounding the Iraq War, taking place as the album was being recorded.[18] Dickinson explains, "I remember thinking about the desert sands as an image and how it moves and shifts with time. Specifically what I was thinking was that whatever empires you tend to build – whether they are British, American, Iraqi or whatever, they'll all crumble and fade away into something else. So, to my mind at least, the best thing you can hope for, if you were to leave anything behind, is just an imprint in the sand."[18] The song is notable for being the first and only Iron Maiden track in which McBrain uses a double bass pedal.[16]

The final track, "Journeyman", is Iron Maiden's first and only fully acoustic song. According to Dickinson on the Death on the Road live album, it is about "the whole process of writing and being a musician,"[19] although Mick Wall describes it as "a wistful tale of carpe diem."[18] The song was originally recorded with electric instruments, however, as Dickinson states, "after all the battering that we've given the listener over the last hour of music it just seemed right to play out with something totally unexpected and left field."[18] The original version appears on the No More Lies EP.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[20]
BBC Music favourable[21]
BW&BK 7.5/10[22]
Exclaim! favourable[23]
Kerrang! 5/5[24]
PopMatters favourable[25]
Sputnikmusic 4.0/5[12]

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."[24] Sputnikmusic were also positive about the album, giving special mention to "Paschendale", described as "quite easily the ultimate Maiden masterpiece."[12] 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."[20]

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."[25]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Wildest Dreams"   Adrian Smith, Steve Harris 3:52
2. "Rainmaker"   Dave Murray, Harris, Bruce Dickinson 3:48
3. "No More Lies"   Harris 7:21
4. "Montségur"   Janick Gers, Harris, Dickinson 5:50
5. "Dance of Death"   Gers, Harris 8:36
6. "Gates of Tomorrow"   Gers, Harris, Dickinson 5:12
7. "New Frontier"   Nicko McBrain, Smith, Dickinson 5:04
8. "Paschendale"   Smith, Harris 8:27
9. "Face in the Sand"   Smith, Harris, Dickinson 6:31
10. "Age of Innocence"   Murray, Harris 6:10
11. "Journeyman"   Smith, Harris, Dickinson 7:06
Total length:


Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes.[1]

Iron Maiden

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dance of Death (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 8 September 2003. 
  2. ^ a b "Documentary". Death on the Road (DVD). EMI. 6 February 2006. 
  3. ^ "Iron Maiden announce 2003 European dates". 28 November 2002. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Iron Maiden To Begin Recording This Month". 6 January 2003. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Iron Maiden Complete Basic Tracks for New CD". 5 February 2003. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Iron Maiden to Begin Mixing in April". 21 February 2003. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Iron Maiden: New Album Details Unveiled". 1 June 2003. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Iron Maiden Announce European Tour and Release Date". 29 June 2003. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 380. ISBN 1-86074-542-3. 
  10. ^ a b Iron Maiden (6 June 2011). "Album List: Dance of Death". From Fear to Eternity Booklet. EMI. 
  11. ^ Porter, Tom (22 July 2010). "Iron Maiden: a gruesome history of graphic artwork". MusicRadar. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c Stagno, Mike (13 September 2006). "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "Iron Maiden release special souvenir EP". 28 January 2007. 
  14. ^ a b c Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 374. ISBN 1-86074-542-3. 
  15. ^ a b c Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 373. ISBN 1-86074-542-3. 
  16. ^ a b c Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 375. ISBN 1-86074-542-3. 
  17. ^ Campbell, Iain (March 2009). Bayer, Gerd, ed. "From Achilles to Alexander: The Classical World and the World of Metal". Heavy Metal Music in Britain. London: Ashgate Publishing: 118. 
  18. ^ a b c d Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 376. ISBN 1-86074-542-3. 
  19. ^ "Journeyman". Death on the Road (DVD). EMI. 6 February 2006. 
  20. ^ a b Monger, James. Iron Maiden – Dance of Death at AllMusic. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
  21. ^ Jones, Chris (8 September 2003). "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death Review". BBC Online. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  22. ^ Henderson, Tim. "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death". BW&BK. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  23. ^ Palmerston, Sean (December 2003). "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death". Exclaim!. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  24. ^ a b Lawson, Dom (12 September 2003). "Kerrang Dance of Death Review". Kerrang!. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  25. ^ a b Begrand, Adrien (1 October 2003). "Iron Maiden: Dance of Death". PopMatters. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  26. ^ "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death". ARIA Charts. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  27. ^ "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death". Ö3 Austria Top 40 (in German). Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  28. ^ "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death, Belgian Charts (Flanders)" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  29. ^ "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death, Belgian Charts (Wallonia)" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  30. ^ a b c d "Iron Maiden- Billboard albums and singles". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  31. ^ "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death". Tracklisten. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  32. ^ a b c d "Discography Iron Maiden". The Official Finnish Charts. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  33. ^ "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death, French Charts". Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (in French). Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  34. ^ "Iron Maiden > Longplay-Chartverfolgung". Media Control Charts (in German). Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  35. ^ "Top 50 Greek and Foreign Albums: 5-11/10 2003" (in Greek). IFPI Greece. Archived from the original on 9 October 2003. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  36. ^ "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death". Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  37. ^ "Dance of Death- Oricon" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  38. ^ "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death, Dutch Charts" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  39. ^ "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death, New Zealand Charts". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  40. ^ a b "Discography Iron Maiden". VG-lista. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  41. ^ "OLiS: sales for the period 08.09.2003 – 14.09.2003". OLiS. 22 September 2003. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  42. ^ "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death". Associação Fonográfica Portuguesa. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  43. ^ a b c "Iron Maiden". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  44. ^ a b "Iron Maiden – Dance of Death" (in German). Swiss Hitparade. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  45. ^ "Iron Maiden UK Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  46. ^ "Artist Chart History – Iron Maiden". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  47. ^ "Representando a la Industria Argentina de la Música" (in Spanish). CAPIF. Archived from the original on 31 May 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  48. ^ "ABPD – Certificados" (in Portuguese). Brazilian Association of Phonograph Producers. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  49. ^ "Musiikkituottajat – Tilastot – Kulta- ja platinalevyt: Iron Maiden" (in Finnish). IFPI Finland. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  50. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Dance of Death')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  51. ^ "Top 75 Combined Repertoire (Albums): 30/11-06/12 2003" (in Greek). IFPI Greece. Archived from the original on 9 December 2003. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  52. ^ "IFPI > Guld & Platina År 2003" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Svenska Gruppen. pp. 1–5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 May 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  53. ^ "BPI: Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  54. ^ "Iron Maiden – "Wildest Dreams"". Ö3 Austria Top 40 (in German). Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  55. ^ a b "Discography Iron Maiden" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  56. ^ a b c "Discographie Iron Maiden". SNEP (in French). Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  57. ^ a b c "Iron Maiden Single-Chartverfolgung". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  58. ^ a b "Irish Singles Archive". IRMA. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  59. ^ a b c "Iron Maiden songs". FIMI. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  60. ^ "Iron Maiden – 'Wildest Dreans'" (in German). Swiss Hitparade. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  61. ^ "Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive 13 September 2003". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  62. ^ "Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive 6 December 2003". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  63. ^ "Iron Maiden – 'Wildest Dreams'" (in German). Swiss Hitparade. Retrieved 27 August 2013.