Paul Dianno “The Living Dead” was released on May 16, 2006. Why I lead with this, is due to my impatience for waiting on this album… I counted the days leading up to it’s release. It was like I was eight years old again, waiting for Christmas morning to come. For the few who may not know, Paul Dianno was the original lead singer for Iron Maiden. Paul Dianno was lead vocalist on the debut “Iron Maiden” album and the “Killers” album. Of course you can count bootlegs and the “Maiden Japan” EP as well, with having Dianno as lead vocalist. If it wasn’t for Bruce Dickinson taking over as lead vocalist for Iron Maiden, starting with the “666 The Number of the Beast” album, I would say that Paul Dianno could never be replaced as lead vocalist. However, It is my Metal opinion that comparing Paul Dianno to Bruce Dickinson is apples to oranges. Why compare? They are both completely different vocalists, both in style and range. The Paul Dianno fronted version of Iron Maiden, with the first two studio albums, (mentioned above), are undisputed Metal classics, that are revered and influential to countless Metal fans and/or Metal musicians. I feel Paul Dianno shares the same equal glory among the other original members of Iron Maiden for these albums being so iconic. (Phew, I got that off my chest, now I can blab about the actual album – “The Living Dead”).
The opening track “The Living Dead” is sung with power and emotion from Dianno – yeah, you can have emotion in Metal music. Lyrically, this song tackles loneliness, hunger and human despair. (Nope, this song is not about the cult horror film classic). This tune is a heavy – very heavy ballad if you will. For every song I mention on “The Living Dead”, bear in Metal mind, that this is a very, very heavy album. Dianno sounds more hungrier, angrier and confident than ever. (That is what my Metal ears are telling me anyways). “Mad Man In The Attic” has Dianno doing a little exploring, into the world of Death Metal vocals. These growling vocals are not constant throughout, Dianno apparently was looking for some vocal horror texture and he succeeds here, in my Metal opinion. I find Dianno to be a touch reminiscent of the legendary Alice Cooper on this song. “War Machine” is a tune built on speed and dark heaviness. “Brothers Of The Tomb” has Dianno hitting the extreme high notes vocally, with some angry gang vocals added into the mix as well. “P.O.V. 2005″ is a down right Thrash Metal tune… excellent riffs and a very cool solo as well.
Dianno does a cover of the Megadeth classic “Symphony Of Destruction” – it is structured and arranged differently than the original version. The biggest difference is the vocals, plus this version is not nearly as fast overall, as to what Megadeth delivers. I like this cover for it’s diverse Metal approach though, the Megadeth original will always be the best. Two legendary Paul Dianno era – Iron Maiden tracks are included as live bonus tracks: “Wrathchild” and “Phantom Of The Opera”, the liner notes do not suggest that these live recordings were done with Iron Maiden, rather with Paul Dianno’s band. Dianno is all over these two tunes… the quality, musicianship and vocals of Dianno make these bonus tracks a worthwhile addition to “The Living Dead”.
The copy of “The Living Dead” I picked up back in 2006, has a bonus DVD that includes the video for the song “The Living Dead” and an interview with Paul Dianno. The video is dark, almost haunting with it’s imagery. Paul Dianno is shown alone, singing against the backdrop of images of strife, humanity and despair. The interview with Paul Dianno is very interesting, with really no details as to why he and Iron Maiden split ways decades ago. One neat bit of info that Dianno shared is that he feels Max Cavalera (of Sepultura & Soulfly fame) is currently the best lead vocalist in Metal today. Hey, I really like everything that Max Cavalera has done with Sepultura and Soulfly myself. I definitely recommend “The Living Dead” to any fan of Metal, especially Iron Maiden fans who want to hear some recent Paul Dianno, he did a fabulous Metal job with this album.
The Metal musicians behind Paul Dianno on “The Living Dead” are: Paulo Turin, Chico Dehira, Javier Cuevas and Claudio Duliba on guitars * Felipe Andreoli & Marcelo Bracalente on bass * Aquiles Prieser & German Rodriguez on drums.