A New Maiden in a New Era
Iron Maiden at RPM in Toronto, February 11, 1996
with Fear Factory

by: Alain M. Gaudrault
These war horses refuse to surrender. After twenty years in existence, metal veterans Iron Maiden are still recording, still touring, still marching on despite lineup changes and shifting trends in musical taste from a fickle public. This latest tour is a milestone as it is the first one featuring new vocalist Blaze Bayley. Paired up with relative newcomers Fear Factory, the show attracted a wide variety of fans.

Fear Factory's set was decent, but personally, their mediocre sophomore (and latest) album release has led to mediocre performances. The crowd was visibly and audibly enthralled when the band played selection from their debut album, _Soul of a New Machine_. The newer material from _Demanufacture_, particularly the Head of David cover "Dog Day Sunrise", wasn't nearly as impressive, and didn't translate very well in a live setting. A good, solid set nonetheless with few surprises.

Ten o'clock rolled around and the main attraction rolled out to be greeted by enthousiastic fans, excited about the show, wary of the new frontman's capabilities in a live setting. Not having been impressed with the vocals on the band's latest opus, _The X Factor_, I didn't expect much but was relieved to find that Bayley seems to fit in just fine with Maiden, and did excellent renditions of such Maiden classics as "Wrathchild", "Hallowed Be Thy Name", "The Trooper", and "2 Minutes to Midnight", as well as more recent Maiden offerings. Bayley shined on the group's latest songs, of course, and even gave them an edge I found was lacking on the recording. I came away from their set wanting more, and even considering picking up their latest slab to give it another chance. And isn't that what touring's all about?

(article submitted 14/3/1996)

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