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Maiden United - Empire Of The Clouds

Maiden United - Empire Of The Clouds

Label : Painted Bass Records | Archive under heavy / power metal

Release type: Full-length CD

Sjak : When in 2006 bass player Joey Bruers was asked by the Dutch Iron Maiden fanclub to do a special show, he probably wouldn’t have guessed that in January of 2018 this initiative would be standing in the Royal Carré Theater in Amsterdam. At first the big audience still reacted somewhat sceptical on the idea to create acoustic versions of Iron Maiden songs, but the great musicianship, the originality of what was offered and the passion with which things were performed caused these doubts to disappear rather quickly. Because of this Maiden United was capable of releasing three very beautiful albums (‘Mind The Acoustic Pieces’ from 2010, ‘Across The Seventh Sea’ from 2012 and ‘Remembrance’ from 2015) and doing lots of (international) shows of which the already mentioned performance in Carré was without a doubt the highlight until now.

Of course they also wanted to do something special for this particular show and they have definitely also done that with a great interpretation of the long, epic Maiden tune ‘Empire Of the Clouds’, of which Iron Maiden themselves have said that they will never perform this track in a live setting. Because of the very positive response to this, they have decided to release a special double EP, on which both the studio version as well as the Carré performance of this song are to be found, supplemented with the track ‘Killers’. In reality it’s already very hard to keep this long epic type of songs interesting for the listener in an electric setting and as such the assignment for Maiden United is even harder, but they effortlessly prove that they are capable of doing just that for the whole duration of the song.

Especially ‘Part 1’ with its spoken intro and instrumental continuation is a challenge, but still you are and will remain captivated from the very first second. The most interesting parts of the song are however ‘Part 3’ and ‘Part 4’, in which the last moments before the crash and the actual crash of the R101 are being displayed. Both musically as well as vocally this is done in an excellent way and especially the vocal contribution of Wudstik sounds very convincing. The frequent use of narratives will maybe be regarded as “overdone” by a number of people, but personally I think that this has a lot of added value. On the second disc parts two, three and four are to be found as they were being played in Carré in January of this year and due to the almost palpable nice atmosphere and the great musicianship this version is even a bit stronger than the studio version in my opinion. The double EP is closed by a lovely version of ‘Killers’, causing me to conclude that the acoustic concept of Maiden United still works and that they have delivered a very interesting EP with this ‘Empire Of The Clouds’ record, that will even be appreciated by the most sceptical Iron Maiden fans. A very worthwhile release…

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