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Headbanger buyer’s guide to Rammstein and Iron Maiden

Updated June 29, 2017 - 4:33 pm

There’s bang for your buck, and then there’s mushroom clouds for your money.

It’s the latter that Iron Maiden and Rammstein provide for the longhair dollar.

These two international metal favorites, who put on some of the most over-the-top live shows the genre has ever seen, are hitting Vegas mere days apart.

For the cost-conscious rager, this means making a tough decision about which show to attend.

Thankfully, we’re here to help by comparing these tours on the criteria that really matter:

Fighting fire with more fire

Look, a true, full-on, heavy metal arena rock spectacular needs fire, fire and more fire, garnished with a side of fire, topped off with a healthy dollop of fire. For dessert, did you save a little room for fire? As if you have to ask — and don’t skimp on the flames.

To be in metal heaven, it has to feel like hell, basically. If you’re not sweating out your Budweiser as fast as you can suck it down thanks to all the flames bursting from the stage, then you must be at the Ice Capades or something.

No act knows this more than Rammstein, whose shows are the apogee of legal arson, the envy of every forest fire. Where to start? How about frontman Till Lindemann’s dual-armed flamethrowers? Wait, dude doesn’t wield a flame-spouting bow and arrow and shoot fire above the crowd, does he? What, is that a rhetorical question? Seriously, the local fire marshal is going to earn combat pay come Saturday.

Now, Maiden are no slouches when it comes to the pyro, but compared to Rammstein, they’re like a Post-it note tossed into a furnace.

Advantage: Rammstein

Gnarliest stage prop

Eddie, the leering demon who’s always having really bad stuff happen to him on Iron Maiden album covers, isn’t just the band’s longtime mascot, he’s one of the snarling faces of metal, period. He’s as synonymous with the genre as disapproving parental units, shirts without sleeves and a blind hatred for Supercuts. On every Maiden tour Eddie makes an appearance, often brought to life in animatronic form to tower over the band. His presence is strangely reassuring, kind of like heavy metal comfort food or chicken noodle soup for the blackened soul.

Rammstein, on the other hand, has many fantastic props, chief among them: a giant phallic-shaped cannon that blasts foam into the crowd at the climax of the show. Relax, prudes, it’s not what you think — wait, yes, yes it is.

Advantage: Maiden

Sweeter frontman stage move

It’s called the “Till Hammer”and it lives up to its name: Lindemann’s go-to stage move is to hunch over and pound his fists into this knees as if his patella owed him money, hit on his girlfriend when he wasn’t looking or, far worse, questioned his commitment to pyromania. The backstory behind the move is nearly as awesome as an open bar: Early in Rammstein’s career, Lindemann would rage so hard, often at awkward angles, that he’d frequently dislocate his kneecap. He’d then hammer it back into place without missing a beat. The move became as much a staple at Rammstein shows as dirty words delivered in German.

Now, Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson doesn’t have one defining stage move, but that’s only because he has so many: He is easily heavy metal’s most hyperactive 58-year-old. He’s a blur on stage,waving flags, climbing lighting tresses, constantly enjoining the crowd to, “Scream for meeeeee (insert name of your city)!” He never stops moving. Imagine a shark who teaches aerobics class for other sharks, then zips himself up into a man suit afterward: That’s Bruce Dickinson.

Advantage: Maiden

Rating the warm-up acts

Everybody loves some heavy metal parking lot action, where you pound brews, make new friends while pounding brews, berate passers-by for not pounding brews, and pound brews while pounding brews.

But you’re not going to have much time for that here, as both shows have worthy openers that justify getting in the venue on time.

Prefacing Maiden will be Sweden’s Ghost, a killer band fronted by a fellow dressed as an evil pope. Their hook-heavy hard rock is music to Satan’s pointy ears, all blasphemy and cowbell, with their latest record, “Meliora,” easily of one of the best of 2015. This is what the Dark Lord cranks when cruisin’ hell in his sweet stoner van, you know, the one with the mural of a dragon fighting a wizard painted on its side.

As for Rammstein, they’re bringing along Korn, one of the bands that first brought them to the States, having recruited Rammstein for their inaugural “Family Values” tour in 1997. Also on the bill: Stone Sour, whose frontman, Corey Taylor, has a home here. We’ll give him some local love.

Advantage: Rammstein

Final verdict: It’s dead even.

You’re going to have to find a way to go to both shows, apparently.

Go ahead, spend the grocery money.

What, you have to feed your family?

Let them eat metal.

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

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