Afraid to Shoot Strangers

How good is Afraid to Shoot Strangers on a scale of 1-10?

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Feels like a forgotten epic in some way, at least for me. A good song, but took a while for me to appreciate the first section of the song, but now i love it. The melodies in the second part are magical, both the one at 2:43 and the one at 4:18.

This songs problem is the translation. I don't think they work that good. And the lyrics are a bit repetive in the second part of the song aswell.



Ancient Mariner
9. One of the best on the album thanks to the absolutely killer 2nd half.


Previous Albums:

Iron Maiden - 6.67

8 - Prowler
6 - Sanctuary
7 - Remember Tomorrow
6 - Running Free
9 - Phantom Of The Opera
7 - Transylvania
4 - Strange World
6 - Charlotte The Harlot
7 - Iron Maiden

Killers - 5.91

6 - The Ides Of March
6 - Wrathchild
6 - Murders In The Rue Morgue
5 - Another Life
5 - Genghis Khan
5 - Innocent Exile
8 - Killers
5 - Prodigal Son
8 - Purgatory
6 - Twilight Zone
5 - Drifter

The Number Of The Beast - 7.56

6 - Invaders
7 - Children Of The Damned
8 - The Prisoner
7 - 22 Acacia Avenue
9 - The Number Of The Beast
10 - Run To The Hills
6 - Gangland
5 - Total Eclipse
10 - Hallowed Be Thy Name

Piece Of Mind - 7.44

8 - Where Eagles Dare
9 - Revelations
9 - Flight Of Icarus
7 - Die With Your Boots On
8 - The Trooper
7 - Still Life
6 - Quest For Fire
6 - Sun And Steel
7 - To Tame A Land

Powerslave - 6.75

8 - Aces High
7 - 2 Minutes To Midnight
3 - Loss Fer Words
7 - Flash Of The Blade
5 - The Duellists
6 - Back In The Village
9 - Powerslave
9 - Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

Somewhere In Time - 8.00

8 - Caught Somewhere In Time
9 - Wasted Years
8 - Sea Of Madness
8 - Heaven Can Wait
8 - The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner
7 - Stranger In A Strange Land
8 - Deja Vu
8 - Alexander The Great

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son - 8.25

7 - Moonchild
9 - Infinite Dreams
9 - Can I Play With Madness
9 - The Evil That Men Do
10 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
6 - The Prophecy
8 - The Clairvoyant
8 - Only The Good Die Young

No Prayer For The Dying - 6.90

6 - Tailgunner
6 - Holy Smoke
8 - No Prayer For The Dying
7 - Public Enema Number One
7 - Fates Warning
7 - The Assassin
6 - Run Silent Run Deep
8 - Hooks In You
8 - Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter
6 - Mother Russia

Fear Of The Dark

7 - Be Quick Or Be Dead
8 - From Here To Eternity
9 - Afraid To Shoot Strangers


Ancient Mariner
I didn't get this song at first, but now I love it. A wonderfully intriguing beginning, a beautiful middle, and a killer second half.


Ancient Mariner
The problem with this album is how uneven it is. Afraid to Shoot Strangers is a fantastic song, the calm first part is really intriguing, and the instrumental part is one of Maiden best ever! Loved it live in 2013 no matter what people said about it not belonging to that era.


clap hands

Afraid to Shoot Strangers is a brilliant piece of progressive songwriting from Harris. Told in three distinct musical parts, the lyrics discuss the fears of a soldier heading overseas to fight in a war in which he wants no part. The moody first third of the song segues into a romping harmony riff that stacks up there with the classics before kicking up into a full-on Maiden barnburner. It’s a song portentous with change as it really sounds like the type of track that would fill the next two albums with new singer Blaze Bayley.

I have a soft spot for Afraid to Shoot Strangers as it was the first Maiden song I ever played with a band. Our drummer loved Dave Matthews and he was not happy with our selection.


Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
After a rough start for the album, we finally get back to the standard of quality you would expect from a Maiden album. I love the guitar melodies throughout and Bruce's vocals are haunting. I also really dig the steady drum beat during the first verses, slowly getting more intense. Great buildup that pretty much set the template for modern Maiden. It's proof that Maiden could've stripped down their sound without dumbing it down too. This is still raw sounding Maiden (with the exception of the string synths which really don't add anything anyway), but it's still interesting and exciting to listen to. It's also an epic sounding track that isn't all that long.

I also like when Maiden write songs that don't repeat themselves. There aren't a lot in the catalog, but there are some songs that would've benefitted from being written like this (The Longest Day comes to mind first). This song continues to build literally until the end. I think that's great.



Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
The second best song on the album, an excellent feature that has interesting rhythms for Iron Maiden. Although not quite a perfect song (I always felt it was begging for a bit more of a second verse, in the faster pace), but still very darn good.



Much, much better after the terrible start to the album.

Beautiful mellow verses and great lyrics. Sounds a bit Pink Floyd. Then that tremendous lead guitar melody around the chorus. Solid if unspectacular uptempo mid instrumental. Then back to the lush melody again. Great song with a powerful theme.


Number 6

Ancient Mariner
This is what I consider the only true epic on the record. No, I don't consider "Fear of the Dark" an epic, as most people tend to (it's not an epic, just a long song). So, about "Afraid To Shoot Strangers". It's brilliant. Not as brilliant as 'Arry's best epics ("Hallowed...", "Rime..."), but still brilliant. The instrumental interlude before the solos reminds me a lot of the same part in "Hallowed...", actually, but it's different enough to keep the song interesting without feeling overdone. The solos are simply amazing, the lyrics are geniously written, and Bruce delivers a truly touching performance here. 9.


A great song. The emotional lyrics clearly refer to the Gulf War, but they’re still pretty timeless, as they could probably describe any war with human involvement. Great riffs and solos too. 9/10


Love in anger
A nice, dreamy intro leads into a couple rounds of soft but husky verse vocals...and then we're suddenly in a completely different song.

A simple melodic groove underscores an even simpler, sparse chorus...and then we're suddenly in a completely different song again.

Some OK soloing leads into a catchy harmonized interlude and a louder version of the chorus. Bruce is sadly all over the place and out of key here.

Some better soloing gives way to the second part of the song with the softer chorus again, wrapping up on a synth swell.

I've never really understood the love for this song, because it's disjointed and has some weaker performances in it. It's not bad, but aside from being an unusual style for Maiden, it's far from being special. 6/10.

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
A moody opening with some great lyrics from the mindview of someone about to go to battle moves forward until the song really starts moving with heavier guitars and drums. Bruce sounds good on here despite singing primarily in a low voice, but the instrumental section is where the song really hits its stride. Overall, this is a classic but not quite as good as three other songs on here. 8


Out of the Silent Planet
Great song and one of my favorites. The instrumental work through the whole song is flawless - great melodies, solos and drums..... the twin-lead guitar harmonies are one of Maiden's very best, without any doubt! Not so much singing from Bruce after the intro. Maybe the intro is a bit too long. A classic from Maiden. 10/10


Ancient Mariner
Something I don't think was widely discussed at the time was Adrian's addition to this track when it was re-introduced in the set during the Maiden England tour. Instead of going with Dave and Janick during the guitar melodies during the chorus part, he decided to follow Steve's bass line and play a riff based on that part during this section.

I thought that was interesting and that it added something fresh to the song.


Educated Fool
Something I don't think was widely discussed at the time was Adrian's addition to this track when it was re-introduced in the set during the Maiden England tour. Instead of going with Dave and Janick during the guitar melodies during the chorus part, he decided to follow Steve's bass line and play a riff based on that part during this section.

I thought that was interesting and that it added something fresh to the song.
What a great video that bring back great memories from that tour. Along with SSOASS, that was the highlight of the show for me.

It is crazy to think that Maiden have only played 8 songs from the 90’s since Bruce and Adrian came back. This was a real deep cut!