Dance of Death is probably the most controversial album of Iron Maiden so far, and this in several aspects. The first thing that can be noticed, like every time a new album is released, is the cover. This particular cover, realised by an unknown artist, has been the subject of many arguments among the fans, and this even long before the album was officially released and anyone had a chance to listen to its actual content. Deemed ugly and unworthy of an Iron Maiden cover by many fans, it has caused more polemic than the cover of The X Factor, which also constituted a radical change from Riggs's artwork, and that marked the end of an era – that of the Maiden–Riggs collaboration.
This album is not by any means a concept album, but the central theme of Death is recurrent in one form or another. From the necessity to live life to its full in 'Wildest Dreams' or the urge to make things right in 'Rainmaker', to the thoughts of someone who know his time is up in 'No More Lies'. The band also proposes a detour into the minds of those who had a close encounter with Death, like this strange surreal meeting with the undead in 'Dance Of Death', or the remisniscence of centuries-old death in 'Montségur', or, closer again, the head-on crash with the absolute horrors of war in 'Paschendale'. There are of course a few off-topic songs, like 'New frontier', that deals with the manipulations of life, or songs pointing out the sorry state of the world today – a subject dear to Steve Harris – like in 'Face In The Sand' and 'Age Of Innocence'. There is even what seems to be a criticism of the "Internet Generation" in 'Gates Of Tomorrow', with the allusion to the World Wide Web and the worry that it may represent our only future.
Released: 1st, January 2003