Paschendale (8:27)

Cover of Dance Of Death

From Dance Of Death and 11 other releases

Paschendale is a song by the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden from their 2003 album Dance of Death. It is the eighth track on the album, following “New Frontier” and preceding “Face in the Sand”. The song has a length of 8 minutes, 28 seconds, and includes three guitar solos played by Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers respectively.

The song, sharing similar lyrical ideas with both “The Trooper” and “Aces High”, describes a young soldier who dies in the Battle of Passchendaele, the Third Battle of Ypres campaign, during World War I, and his experiences. Paschendale begins with drummer Nicko McBrain’s rhythmic tapping on the hi-hat, simulating the Morse Code used for communication at the time. The song then alternates between sections of loud and soft dynamics, reflecting life in the trenches of World War I, which alternated between fighting and periods of boredom for the soldiers.

The muddy conditions of the battle are reflected twice in the lyrics, with the lines, “In the smoke, in the mud and lead” and “Drown in mud, no more tears.” The machine gun, a relatively new weapon on the battlefield, is referenced in the line “Rapid fire and the end of us all.” The barbed wire that was used by both sides to impede the movements of the enemy is referenced twice, in the lines “Lifeless bodies hang on barbed wire” and “Dodging shrapnel and barbed wire.” The line “Surely a war no one can win” recognizes the stalemate that was occurring on the Western Front of the war, where the battle took place.

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