Paul Di'Anno

Nomad

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It isn't hard to understand why Bruce Dickinson worked out so well when Iron Maiden hired him to replace Paul Di'Anno in the early '80s -- the two singers have very similar vocal styles. As a post-Maiden solo artist, Di'Anno was never a huge commercial success; nonetheless, he has provided some worthwhile solo projects -- one of which is Nomad. Recorded in Brazil (his adopted home) in 2000, this CD finds the veteran headbanger working with a group of younger musicians (including guitarist Paul Turin, who co-produced Nomad with Di'Anno). After all these years, Maiden continues to influence most of Di'Anno's writing -- and yet, Nomad isn't a carbon copy of his work with Maiden. The title track and the melancholy ballad "The Living Dead" are quite close to Maiden's early-'80s output, but those songs are the exception instead of the rule -- most of the time, Nomad's approach could be described as Maiden by way of Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. "P.O.V. 2000" (an anti-racist, anti-Nazi commentary) is especially Anthrax-like; the tune definitely has the sort of punkish, street-smart vibe one expects from that band. And "Dog Dead," Nomad's least Maiden-sounding track, is outright alternative metal -- in fact, the tune is surprisingly hip-hop-ish and wouldn't be out of place on a Limp Bizkit album. "Dog Dead" isn't the sort of thing one would expect from someone who reached his commercial peak in the early '80s, but Di'Anno actually sounds quite comfortable making an unexpected rap-metal detour. Nonetheless, "Dog Dead" isn't typical of Nomad on the whole. Di'Anno hasn't forgotten his '70s/'80s heritage, and this generally respectable outing acknowledges his past without being totally enslaved by it.

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