Published Apr 21, 2009There's something redeeming about watching metal icons Kerry King, Tom Morello and Lars Ulrich praise New Wave Of British Heavy Metal originators Iron Maiden. Even they look up to the seminal sextet as Gods of the metal hierarchy. And rightfully so; Maiden have managed to re-establish themselves as one of the world's most important, respectable and enigmatic bands in rock's history.
It's moments like watching those metal greats gush that ensures documentary Iron Maiden: Flight 666 is a wonderful, albeit unobtrusive, peek into the ordeal that was the band's 2008 Somewhere Back In Time Tour. For it, Maiden commandeered a Boeing 757 airliner, packed it with gear and crew, and circumvented the globe for 23 sold-out shows around the world in just over a month.
Following them for the duration, filmmakers Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn (Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, Global Metal) relate this precedent-setting stint from their trademark standpoint as fans first, documentarians second. The duo mesh together snippets of concert footage, backstage antics, off-day relaxation and the inevitable interviews to share the experience in a seamless, engaging film. To that effect, the directors forego a history lesson, expecting anyone wanting to sit through two hours of Iron Maiden to have at least a passing acquaintance with their 30-plus year saga.
That said, those yearning to see McFadyen and Dunn expose a farcical, Spinal Tap side to Maiden are in for disappointment. The film focuses on the spectacle of just pulling everything off. Through the lens, we watch these affable gentlemen carry on as if such travels are the norm, jest with one another and catch a subtle glimpse at the rather un-extraordinary experience of travelling 70,000 kilometres, rockin' out to the masses.
Still, with endless streams of perfect performances, incredible sound and the compelling down-to-Earth nature of both the band and the directors, Iron Maiden: Flight 666 is vital for any fan, be it of Maiden or film in general. (Banger Productions/EMI)