Iron Maiden-Number of the Beast, The (Classic Albums) (Warner Vision) (2001)

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Released 21-Mar-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Bonus Interviews (8)
Trailer-Hallowed Be Thy Name - Rock on Rio Tour 2001
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 49:29 (Case: 80)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Tim Kirby
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Bruce Dickinson
Dave Murray
Adrian Smith
Steve Harris
Clive Burr
Nicko McBrain
Case Click
RPI $39.95 Music Iron Maiden


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles French
German
Dutch
Italian
Spanish
Portuguese
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Don't be misled by the sexy case slick - Iron Maiden: The Number Of The Beast, is another in the Classic Albums series more usually adorned with the two-tone mauve-cream covers. As such, it's a chatty reminisce of the early 80s by band members and entourage. Originally fronted by vocalist Paul D'ianno, their third album release "Number Of The Beast" featured new lead Bruce Dickinson and shot to the top of the album charts in 1982 and subsequently went platinum. Part of  the vogue of New Wave of British Heavy Metal, along with the like of Saxon, MotorHead, Angel Witch and Def Leppard, Iron Maiden fitted the classical stereotype of a hell-raising, black leather singlet and stud-sporting hard rock band. Closely following the trend set by Wishbone Ash for twin lead guitars, Maiden were also distinguished by songs with meaningful lyrics recanting, like the ballads of old, tales of good and evil and the frailty of the human spirit - well that's the hype anyway! In practice, I can't make out most of the lyrics of most of the songs but they're certainly delivered with plenty of guts 'n poses. Anyway, it's evident from the interview that they take their music seriously, both in song writing and in delivery, and as their catalogue of classic 'metal' songs testify, they rightly belong in the rock band Hall of Fame.

    Like all the Classic Album series, which were documentaries shot for TV and cable, Number of the Beast is largely comprised of interviews interspersed with snippets of the songs. Although the interviews are interesting and make the 50 minutes feature fly by, it is, as usual, frustrating to just be getting into a song when it is interrupted by another comment. The only song featured in its entirety, "Hallowed Be Thy Name" is found in the extras list. Nevertheless, you'll find excerpts of Run To the Hills, Number of The Beast, and the two songs based on Sci-Fi features, Children of The Damned and The Prisoner. Most of the live footage is taken from the Hammersmith Odeon performance of the 'Beast on the Road' tour in 1982.

    Considered to be part of the Satanic machine by the righteous, vocal, religious minority, they were cold-shouldered by the establishment, particularly the power-wielding conservative elements in the US, and as such never received any significant air-play. Their remarkable success is therefore adequate testimony to the quality of the band and their music and the years of hard-graft out touring on the road.

    The band are still going strong today although original drummer Clive Burr left after the Beast on the Road tour and was  replaced by long-time band associate Nicko McBrain. Judged by the clip from Rio 2001 they have weathered  well and, if anything, now deliver their musical punch with increased maturity and authority, whilst losing nothing of the raw edge and excitement of their earlier days.

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Track Listing

1. The Number Of The Beast
2. 22 Acacia Avenue
3. The Prisoner
4. Run To The Hills
5. Children Of The Damned
6. Hallowed Be Thy Name

Transfer Quality

Video

    The feature can basically be divided into two parts, the modern day interviews, shot with state-of the art video, and the 20 year old archival footage. The modern day footage is reference quality, the archival footage is pretty ordinary. Overall the video transfer is excellent, marred as is so often the case only by the quality of original video material.

    The feature is presented in 1.78:1 format and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The interviews are razor sharp, with good shadow detail and no low level noise. On the other hand, the 1982 video footage is murky, ill-focused and lacking in overall and shadow detail and is best watched on a small domestic TV at a respectable distance.

    Again, the interviews are well balanced with vibrant rich colours and blacks whilst the video footage is smeared with chroma noise and murky colours reflecting the limitations of colour video cameras of the day in low level lighting.

    There are very few MPEG artefacts of note indicating a high level of expertise in the transfer (and also a short feature length given the space limitations of the DVD-5 disc used). There is mild aliasing of the building balcony in the Prisoner feature at 17:38. There is also a water mark and scratch in some film footage used at 4:20.

   There aren't any English subtitles which is a shame as the lyrics are often indistinct. The interviews have poly-lingual subtitles which appear to be reasonably accurate and comprehensive as much as my schoolboy European language ability allows me to judge.

    The disc is a single sided, single layer DVD-5 so you get a nice shiny silver disc with no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The sound quality of the present day footage is excellent - the archive material fares much less well.

    There is just the one Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtrack on this disc, although the last extra provides a teasing sample of what's to come with a full 5.1 mix.

    The interview dialogue is clear and distinct whilst the archive footage suffers from muffled vocals as though Bruce Dickinson was singing through a double layer of wet socks.

   Audio and vocal sync appeared to be spot on.

    Whilst the music is fairly typical of the heavy metal genre it is played with great expertise and gusto by the band members who clearly enjoy their music and have a great rapport with the crowd. The synergy between band members is notable and there is no doubt that Bruce Dickinson is a very fine vocalist. Whilst some of the numbers have a melodic intro they all progress sooner rather than later into typical racy power-rock.

    Surrounds were used for little more than ambience with no notable output from the subwoofer. (The extra track from Rio 2001 is another matter altogether - see below)

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras are worthwhile and make up nearly half of the published running time of the DVD.

Menu

    Static selection with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded sample of Number of the Beast.

Adrian Smith & Dave Murray Twin Guitars

    4:57 discussion of the (then) innovative use of twin lead guitars

Beast Stories

    4:28 of stories from the road and how 'that number' (666) cropped up in their lives during the Beast On The Road Tour.

Reading Festival

    Brief 2:33 vignette on the importance of this event in the UK, sufficient to cause a break to return home, to headline the 1982 festival from their US tour.

Nicknames

    How Rod Smallwood became the Farmer and Bruce Dickinson Air-Raid (as if anyone really cared).

Rod Smallwood

    Testimony to the pivotal importance of the manager in the band's success.

Adrian Smith

    Adrian Smith playing solo electric (not acoustic as advertised on the slick) breaks from Children of the Damned (1:00) and Number of The Beast (1:29) - interesting for axe hero wannabes and good illustration of pick technique.

Message from Clive Burr 

    Up the Hammers (Westham F.C.) and I've got multiple sclerosis but I'm OK.

Number of the Beast from Rio 2001

    This is the highlight of the whole DVD with a sample of the forthcoming DVD release of their Rio 2001 concert. Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 with superb surround and subwoofer use - this is what multi-channel sound is all about and I for one can't wait for the full version!

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The content of the R1 release is identical to the R4 version:

Summary

    These are pretty tame interviews considering the hell-raising and heavy metal image of the band with disappointing quantity and quality of live footage - really just a source of some background knowledge for fans of the band or genre. It probably succeeds in its marketing aim as I'm just going to have to go out and buy the CD now to hear the tracks properly as well as wait eagerly for the definitive live DVD release of their Rio tour.

    The video quality of the modern footage is superb: that of the archive material is about VHS standard.

   The audio quality is just satisfactory considering the age of the archive material but is unenhanced for this release and vocals are indistinct. The interview audio is of good quality.

    The extras are good but make up nearly half the disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Lancaster (read my bio)
Monday, April 22, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-900E, using RGB output
DisplayPioneer SD-T50W1 (127cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderDenon ACV-A1SE. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTheta Digital Intrepid
SpeakersML Aeon front. B&W LRC6 Centre. ML Script rear. REL Strata III SW.

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