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Paul Di'anno - "The Living Dead" (2-CD Set)

Paul Di'anno - "The Living Dead" 2-CD Set cover image

"The Living Dead" track listing:

1. The Living Dead
2. Mad Man In The Attic
3. War Machine
4. Brothers Of The Tomb
5. POV 2005
6. Nomad
7. S.A.T.A.N.
8. Cold World
9. Do Or Die
10. Dog Dead
11. Symphony Of Destruction
12. Wrathchild (Live)
13. Phantom Of The Opera (Live)

Reviewed by on February 5, 2007

"Any fan of Iron Maiden and the great legacy of music contained therein needs to have The Living Dead in their collection"

Former Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Dianno's The Living Dead was previously released as 2000's Nomad but has been repackaged as a two CD set, with a few tracks added on the first disc and on the second includes the title track's music video along with an in depth interview and a short documentary titled The IRON MAIDEN story ('79-81)& beyond! Produced and written by Dianno himself with Brazilian guitarist Paulo Turin, The Living Dead is The Beast's return to center stage with the kind of desired effect his worldwide fans have come to expect from the legendary metal vocalist: both heavy and melodic with plenty of shredding guitar solos.

The rest of the studio players involved are Chico Dehira, Javier Cuevas and Claudio Duliba on guitars, along with Felipe Andreoli & Marcelo Bracalente on bass guitars. Aquiles Prieser & German Rodriguez do great work at holding down the hard and steady drums on each song. Working from the old school way of his glory days with Iron Maiden, Dianno cuts loose from the start with 'The Living Dead', 'Mad Man In The Attic' and the double-bass driven 'War Machine.' One would even dare say that Dianno surprisingly captures some of the Bruce Dickinson-era Maiden sound here, which is compelling observing the past history of both vocalists being considered as two totally different singers. This proves to the whole music world that Dianno has always been the far superior vocalist between the two, with the very fact that everyone knows Dickinson - as truly great of a singer and peformer as he always has been - has never been able to match the gritty street punk snarling Dianno provided on early Maiden classic such as 'Killers' and 'Wrathchild'. True metalers like myself that have been following this talent from the start will consider this a a very special moment of sheer vindication.

The album doesn't have a weak spot through the next set of rippers, 'Brothers Of The Tomb,' POV 2005 and 'Nomad,' clearly the highlight tune of the collection. 'S.A.T.A.N,' 'Cold World,' 'Do Or Die' and 'Dog Dead' are just as solid and give us some great riffs and Rob Halford-esque falsetto vocals. Dianno has said that he once recorded a cover with Dave Mustaine for 'shits and giggles' and has included it here. For fans of the original version they will certainly find it suspect, but being such a bonafide Dianno lover, I couldn't help but find myself head banging to Paul's stab at it. He is a much more talented singer than Mustaine by far obviously and that benefits many of the vocal parts where he is able to reach greater highs and even sounds meaner too. Though the overall sound mix of this cover falls a bit off the mark.

The very best and the biggest treat of all is saved for the end, however, when Dianno struts his great work from early Maiden on two live offerings here for 'Wrathchild' and 'Phantom of The Opera' and let me just say that though this isn't the original Maiden lineup throwing it down with him, it's still better than anything Iron Maiden has released since Piece Of Mind. And yes, I was at both that tour and Number of The Beast before I even had pubic hair. Any fan of Iron Maiden and the great legacy of music contained therein needs to have The Living Dead in their collection. Keep on upping those irons, Paul!

Highs: 'The Living Dead', 'Nomad' and 'S.A.T.A.N.' are as solid of tracks as Dianno has ever produced.

Lows: The production mix of Megadeth's 'Symphony Of Destruction' appears to have been done by a rookie engineer or perhaps he Paul had just got him too drunk.

Bottom line: Break out the old studded leather gauntlets and start headbanging, The Living Dead is The Beast's return to great form.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)