My Life With Iron Maiden
My introduction to Maiden was Run to the Hills, which I’ll assume was the way it happened with most metalheads older than 35. I had seen their album covers in stores but wasn’t able to buy albums at that time (80-82–I was 10-12!). But I heard Run to the Hills and thought it was a cool song but never heard anything else from Number of the Beast. I remember when Piece of Mind came out and Circus magazine had given it a great review. Right after I read that review I heard the Trooper on the radio. I hated it and still do. Because of that, I never gave the album a chance. 1984 rolled around and my Mom and I flew to Pittsburgh to see some relatives. At the Pittsburgh airport I bought Powerslave and Bark at the Moon on cassette but couldn’t listen to them because it seemed that no one in my extended family up there had a working cassette player. After I returned home, I popped Powerslave in the player and was hooked. It is my favorite album of all time. I’ve owned several copies on vinyl and cassette as I kept wearing them out. Now follows an album by album review of my favorite band of all time (1980-1988 anyway).
Iron Maiden – 1980
Raw, powerful, Di’Anno is on fire. It is a bit goofy in places but what metal band wasn’t in 1980? I don’t like the instrumental at all and Running Free, Sanctuary and the title track bore me a bit. I adore the rest of it, expecially Strange World and Prowler. It’s a damn fine debut by a band.
Killers – 1981
I’m no fan of instrumentals in general and don’t like the ones on this album although I know them by heart after listening to this album so many times. I don’t even skip them as I feel that this album needs to be played in its entirety to get the full feel of it. Standout tracks are Killers, Purgatory, Murders in the Rue Morgue and Drifter. The addition of Adrian Smith was a good move. He and Dave just seem to fit well together. Steve’s bass work on this LP is probably his best ever. I love the production, so raw. As with the S/T LP, I don’t like Clive’s style that much. He likes to repeat his drums fills over and over within the same song. Drives me crazy. This is probably my #2 favorite Iron Maiden record.
The Number of the Beast – 1982
Damn! Who is this guy? Bruce Bruce! As with the above 2 records and Piece of Mind, I was in backtracking mode after hearing Powerslave. I basically bought all four of them at one time. Whatever, back to this LP. There’s not a stinker in the bunch although Run to the Hills has been played to death and I could probably live without Invaders (incredible bass work). My faves are certainly 22 Acacia Avenue (duh), Children of the Damned and The Prisoner. I love Adrian’s influence on this album. I ranted a while back about Iron Maiden including Total Eclipse in the recent re-release versions. Granted, it may very well be my favorite Maiden song, but after listening to that album for 20+ years and hearing that song in between Gangland and Hallowed Be Thy Name, it just doesn’t work for me. I don’t own that version and don’t plan on ever owning it.
Piece of Mind – 1983
Does Iron Maiden think they are Kiss? That’s a lot of records in 4 years! This album is awesome. Damned near perfect if it wasn’t for The Trooper. What was worse was that all of us cover bands in the 80s always wanted to play it. Beyond that song, perfection. Still Life, Revelations, Sun and Steel, To Tame a Land, everything. Totally badass. The is probably Maiden’s most powerful record. I do love how they took a Christian hymn and made Revelations out of it. Growing up in church, my best friend and I found it in our hymnal and used to always put notes in the offering plate to see if the preacher would actually put it on the list to be sung one Sunday. It never happened. I think he was on to us. Not to mention the addition of Nicko McBrain. That man is awesome and was the reason I wanted to become a drummer. He was probably the greatest influence on my playing and getting to Meet him in 1988 and play his kit was awesome.
9.9/10 (The Trooper hurt the rating)
Powerslave – 1984
I don’t know how much more I need to go on about this one. I hear people throw the term filler when talking about this record quite often, but whatever. Dorks. Even the instrumental is tolerable. I love it, actually. The album is perfect although I always thought the production was lacking a little.
Somewhere in Time – 1986
I was so excited when I read about the release date of this album in Circus magazine. I knew the owner of Unicorn Records really well and back then they would get new releases a week or so before the actual release dates. I went in the day before this was to come out and he sold me a copy. I almost cried. I was itching to hear it (the rash subsided). I put it in the cassette player of my 66 Nova 4-door and drove around listening to it. I didn’t know what to think. It was so very different than any other Maiden album and it took me quite a while to digest it all. But after a few listens, I fell in love with it. Wasted Years, Sea of Madness, Deja Vu and Heaven Can Wait are definitely my favorites. There are no songs that I don’t like but Alexander the Great does get skipped every now and then. Unfortunately this is where Maiden really started repeating the choruses way too much.
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son – 1988
WTF? I also got this one prior to its actual release date and it was such a let down. The repetition, the weak songs and the sheer whimpyness of this album left me flat. Moonchild and Infinite Dreams are tolerable. I only listen to it about once a year now and it’s mainly for nostalgia reasons. I don’t like it, I never will. I saw the tour, however, and it was awesome.
No Prayer for the Dying – 1990
Janick Gers? Who? What do you mean Adrian left? Honestly, I think I may have cried when I read about “H” quitting the band. My memory is hazy though. I bought this album with a lot of reluctance. Overall it’s a silly record. Hooks in You? Bring Your Daughter…to the Slaughter? Holy Smoke? Ewww. Again. WTF? I do like Run Silent Run Deep, Mother Russia, The Assassin and Fates Warning but the rest blows. Gers blows. I saw the tour and was disappointed. Gers blows.
Gers blowsFear of the Dark – 1992
Why did I buy this? I knew what I was in for yet I still bought it. Curiousity killed the cat. WTF? I actually just had to go to Wikipedia to see the tracklisting for this. Judas Be My Guide was OK. Terrible album cover.
Gers blowsThe X-Factor – 1995
Blaze Bayley? I had Wolfsbane’s debut and thought it was decent, but I couldn’t see him as a fit for my Iron Maiden. While I commend Steve for going out on a limb and trying something different (unlike Priest did with Ripper), it was a failed experiment. The album sucked. You know what? It still does. I listened to a CDr version a while back and it’s horrible. Another rotten cover.
-10/10 Gers blows
Virtual XI – 1998This one ranks very higly! On the suck scale, that is. I can’t even talk about it.
-3,456/10 Gers blows
Brave New World – 2000
Adrian is back! Bruce is back! Gers is gone! Oops. They’re keeping him? Really? Three guitarists? C’mon, man. Do they think they are a southern rock band now? Whatever. I was excited about the aforementioned prodigal sons. Other than their patented chorus repetitions, it was a decent album overall but I rarely listen to it.
5/10 (psst…Gers still blows!)
Dance of Death – 2003
What’s with the album cover? Rainmaker was an OK song and I sort of like Gates of Tomorrow but overall this album reeks!
1/10 (see final comment for Brave New World)
A Matter of Life and Death – 2006
I didn’t want to hear it but I bought it out of sheer curiousity. Man, what a surprise! I love this one. I think people hate this one more than any of the Bayley albums. I love it and still listen to it often. Bruce sounds great.
8.5/10 (even Gers doesn’t annoy me too much on this one…but he still blows)
Subscribe to comments with RSS.