Though From Fear to Eternity: the Best of 1990-2010 spans Iron Maiden’s least inspired era (well, Ok, the 90’s), absolutely nothing should be taken away from this material. Beginning with 1990’s No Prayer for the Dying, it was clear that vocalist longtime Bruce Dickinson was on the outs, looking for greener pastures perhaps, a sentiment that lingered through 92’s Fear of the Dark. During this period, the material lacks a certain something as you’ll notice throughout From Fear to Eternity: the Best of 1990-2010 as it soirees into No Prayer material (“Holy Smoke,” “Tailgunner,” “Bring Your Daughter…to the Slaughter”) as well as Fear tunes (“Fear of the Dark,” “Be Quick or Be Dead,” “Afraid to Shoot Strangers”). After Dickinson ultimately left the bands’ ranks, he was replaced by Wolfsbane’s Blaze Bayley, who was less than forgettable to say the least. The new Maiden lineup released the X Factor in ‘95 (“Man on the Edge,” “Sign of the Cross”) and Virtual XI in ‘98 (“the Clansman”). Ironically enough all tracks included from the Bayley fronted albums are live versions without Bayley on the microphone. Go figure. Dickinson finally returned to the fold in 2000 on Brave New World, and the music surely benefitted from his presence – just check out “the Wicker Man,” “Blood Brothers” and “Brave New World” for proof of that fact. The band followed up Dickinson’s return with Dance of Death in 2003 (“Paschendale,” Rainmaker,” “No More Lies,” “Dance of Death”), A Matter of Life and Death in 2006 (“Different World,” “the Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg,” “For the Greater Good of God,” “These Colours Don’t Run”) and finally, the Final Frontier (“El Dorado,” “Coming Home,” “When the Wild Wind Blows”) released just last year.
From Fear to Eternity: the Best of 1990-2010 represents the last two decades of Maiden’s existence, and even though it may not quite live up to the first one (the 80’s), the music they wrote, wrapped up here neatly in a nice little package, is still vastly more than worthy of a listen. Listen, if you’re a Maiden fan, don’t pigeonhole yourself in one decade, take the time to explore the others while letting From Fear to Eternity: the Best of 1990-2010 be your guide to the Iron Maiden timeline.
Go Download: “The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg”