By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Motörhead, besotted with titty-bar rhythms and horizontal honky-tonking, thrive on cartoonish priapismismsLemmy the lecher abetted by gruffly swinging, shit-stained blues guitar. The Jeremiah-approved "God Was Never on Your Side" is borne aloft on a bed of plaintive acoustic guitar only to come crashing down on a shore of cataclysmic power chords. Spiritually accurate album closertribute "R.A.M.O.N.E.S." is a frenetic, frivolous, rock 'n' roll rush, but ultimately, Kiss of Death is rote Mote. Mostly everything sounds fun, but hardly anything sounds dangerous. It's 13 inconsequentially enjoyable stompers that won't keep bikers from ambling to the beer line, patiently waiting to hear "Ace of Spades."
More to my bubbe's liking, Iron Maiden's music never unclenches enough to allow any sex or fun to get in. Life and Death is a portentous juggernaut, 72 bloated minutes of precision-tooled riffs, hi-def solos, and dive-bombing vocals. But length itself is no virtue, and galvanizing as it can be to hear Bruce Dickinson shatter a vowel with his air-siren wail or the guitars do their double-teaming deedly-deedling, what kills for four minutes is dead after five and stinks past six. That's bad news when the average track here runs seven. Just like so many younger, hipper, equally self-important metal bands, Maiden wring every last ounce of vitality from their formulaguitarpeggiated intro, loud riffing, solo, rinse, repeatand then drag the remains past enjoyment into mere appreciation. Maybe that explains why, in my neighborhood anyway, Maiden icon Eddie's zombie scowl graces more chests than Snaggletooth B. Motörhead's iron smile. But hey, Sunn0))) are not a ton of fun either.
A Matter of Life and Death
Iron Maiden play the Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York, October 12 and Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey, October 13.