Well, this is without a doubt one of the best Heavy Metal live albums, maybe even the best of them! "Live After Death" by "Iron Maiden" was released on October 14, 1985.
After the release of "Powerslave" in 1984, it was already clear to even the greatest skeptics that "Iron Maiden" is the biggest heavy metal band in the world.
As befits its status, "Iron Maiden" has embarked on its biggest tour, one of the longest and most intense for a rock band to date. The "World Slavery Tour" began in Warsaw on August 9, 1984, and lasted 331 days, during which no less than 187 performances were made. During the tour, the band visited places where they had not performed before and became the first heavy metal band to play behind the "Iron Curtain". The highlight of the tour was the band's performance in Rio, where they played for the first time in front of an audience of no less than 300,000 people !!!
Both the stage and the set were grandiose on every scale and corresponded with the main theme of the album "Powerslave" - Ancient Egypt. The stage was adorned with Egyptian sarcophagi and hieroglyphics, and a mighty representation of Eddie as a mummy that towered proudly above the stage. The show itself included effects and invested pyrotechnics including the character of Eddie who came to life at the height of the show and emerged from the mummy. The combination of the amazing scenery, the length of the show, and the careful selection of songs, together with the theatricality, virtuosity, and meticulous playing of the band members, have made this tour one of the best and most famous tours of "Iron Maiden". Under these circumstances, the expectations from the band to release a live album that would sum up the tour were high, especially when by that time the band had not released any official live album.
The double album documents the band's performances at the Long Beach Arena in California, from March 14 to 17, 1985, when the fourth side of the album was recorded during the band's performances at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on 8, 9, 10 and 12 October 1984.
This album gives us a glimpse into how this mighty band sounds and looks at its peak (the Long Beach shows were also recorded on video and released on VHS). A live album that conveys directly and authentically what was happening on stage. A live album that really sounds "alive". The band's classic lineup that includes Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Bruce Dickinson, and Nicko McBrain sounds direct, tight, and remarkably accurate here (except for Bruce Dickinson's little stumbles when sounded a bit strenuous in some of the songs, and rumor has it he was sick while recording them). The chemistry between the five friends is well felt and even those who do not watch the VHS tape knew to tell that it just goes through the speakers.
The song list consists of the band's best "hits" from all five albums it has released so far. From the iconic opening with the speech of Winston Churchill which puts us in the gates of "Aces High", we are witnessing a heavy bombardment of hits: "2 Minutes to Midnight", "The Trooper", "Flight of Icarus", "The Number of the Beast", "Run to the Hills", "22 Acacia Avenue", "Children of the Damned", "Hallowed Be Thy Name".
The Paul Di'Anno era is also well represented with "Wrathchild, "Running Free", "Phantom of the Opera" and of course "Iron Maiden" and it's impossible without mentioning the two epic songs "Powerslave" and "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" that apparently steal the show.
This amazing show is conducted by a magician-producer Martin Birch whose abilities have already been proven on the band's studio albums, but he also knows a thing or two about producing live albums, he nevertheless worked on one of the best - "Made in Japan" by "Deep Purple".
This short summary would not be perfect if we did not mention the album cover which is one of the most beautiful and meticulous the band has ever created. Derek Riggs painted Eddie rising from the grave and next to him is his tombstone engraved with an alleged quote from "H. P. Lovecraft" when this time the painting also has the back cover and includes a lot of hints and mentions from previous covers.