Diesel 11's Maiden Rankings

Lampwick 43

Barstool Warrior
Well at least you finally saw the light!

#24 is probably right around where I would put The Aftermath myself, as well. Maybe even a little higher. But Beast would likely fall somewhere in the 70-80 range. I really need to get around to making my own ranking one of these days...
 

Jer

The dotage of a dotard
153: Remember Tomorrow
149: Fates Warning
147: Out of the Shadows
145: Prodigal Son
140: The Longest Day
130: These Colours Don't Run

123: The Clairvoyant
115: Isle of Avalon
114: Ghost of the Navigator
99: The Prisoner
97: Starblind
96: The Wicker Man
---
38: Fortunes of War

33: Don't Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger
32: Weekend Warrior
21: Judgement of Heaven
19: The Apparition
10: Lord of the Flies
3: Como Estais Amigos
I mean this in the nicest possible way: You are completely out of your mind. :facepalm: :p
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
The Diesel 11 Rankings
End Year '18

155. Remember Tomorrow
(Harris / Di'Anno)
This song just gets worse ever time I listen to it. Di'Anno sounds really bad, it attempts a lot of introspective stuff and tries to create an atmosphere but never gets anywhere. Some lyrical things are rather questionable ("I shall return from out of the... oh?") and as a whole it's just pointless. I get why a lot of people like this, but I... don't. One of their worst songs. 1
The live version is a bit better than the studio one, but I still think it's a poor song overall.
Because I just don't like it. As far as Maiden goes, this is the absolute abyss. I get that people love it, but I really, really don't. The middle section kills whatever atmosphere it was trying build up, the lyrics are trying to create something that isn't there, and the music is quite icky. The riff that follows the verses is decent, but would have been better used in another song. In short - it's as bad as Maiden have ever gotten, to my ears.

154. Charlotte the Harlot
(Murray)
A decent opening leads into a slaughterhouse of a verse, with Di'Anno slurring things together over a vocal line that truly takes no prisoners. The chorus is only slightly better, and Paul still sounds like he's had one too many at the pub. I'd rather listen to the "CHARLAAAAAY" live version because at least it's funny. The song's bridge has some really shitty lyrics too, and as a whole, this is a cringefest. Merely decent music doesn't save this from being one of the worst songs in Maiden's discography. 1

153. Childhood's End
(Harris)
A long time ago (relatively) I'd have given this song close to a 10. Nowadays? It's unique, sure, but the drums just don't do it for me, and the verses suck. They're so simplistic it's not even funny. I like the idea behind it, but Jesus Christ, did it have to feel like they were just doing it because they needed to pad the runtime? The chorus and instrumental sections have a little bit more life but the whole song is just too bleh for my taste. More effort was required here. One of Maiden's worst songs. 1

152. The Man Who Would Be King
(Murray / Harris)
For the longest time, the one song I just didn't remember shit from. I almost wish I could go back to those times because it'd give "The Man Who Would Be King" more of an aura than it actually has. This is the most un-Maiden song the band have ever released, and while that wouldn't be bad per se, it's also completely random, has terrible verses, goes on for too long, and Jesus do the lyrics suck. Almost all of the individual pieces here are decent to actually kinda great, but they're all just thrown into the weirdest melting pot I've ever heard, and the construction is just mind-boggling. Good lord, this song could've been so much interesting, but it's only a mess at the end of the day. Definitely one of their worst songs. 1

151. Drifter
(Harris)
Worse than "Purgatory" but not quite as bland as four other songs in Maiden's discography, "Drifter" nonetheless hold's the band's worst moment... ever - that godawful instrumental piece. Eugh. Thankfully the rest is just a bit better to keep it from getting the lowest rating possible. 2

150. Purgatory
(Harris)
Heh, it's rising. Terrible lyrics, meh vocals, and laughable falsettos hold this song back a ton. But I've found at least four other Maiden songs that are worse, so it's taking one step up on the ladder. 2

149. Out of the Shadows
(Dickinson / Harris)
The most boring performance of any Maiden song ever. Even the songs I like less have more life to them. This just feels like Maiden going through the motions. Bruce sounds bored on the verses and while the chorus is better, it's still not his most lucid performance. This song tries to do some interesting things but they just go nowhere. The final double run-through of the chorus is pointless and the song could've easily ended after that change-up after chorus #3. By the time it ends I'm very much tired with it all. There are some points of interest here, but they never get their chance to shine. The only thing saving this from getting bottom marks is the fact that there are worse songs out there. But really, this is an abysmal low-point for a pretty great record. 3

148. Mother of Mercy
(Smith / Harris)
"Mother of Mercy"... hoo-boy. Not sure what everyone sees in this song, because it's never been a favorite of mine, and I'd argue it's one of the band's worst songs nowadays. There's some nice build-up before it breaks into heaviness, but the chorus is pretty bland and Bruce is straining heavily. My biggest issue aside from the vocals are the lyrics - they're pretty weak. Really, really weak. Sure, after coming off an album almost purely dedicated to songs about war, the topic might seem kinda stale, but I mean... these lyrics are just bad no matter how you slice it:

Killing on a scale to comprehend...
...comprehend what?

Within the truth that lies
Within the only thing
Bleh. But the one that takes the cake:

I don't hold with bad religion
Understand what's beneath it
Now I come to think of it
I just don't hold at all, you know it
After expertly tackling war and religion with "For the Greater Good of God", this song feels like a shitty undoing of it. Cheap anti-war song that's very bland. The only thing that saves it is the build-up and some of the guitar parts. Other than that, it's a poor showing. 3

147. Twilight Zone
(Murray / Harris)
Pretty bad verses are rescued by a great chorus, saving this song from being terrible. It's short and I think that helps its attraction. Bad idea for a single, though. 4

146. Prodigal Son
(Harris)
A lush track and the longest on the album, "Prodigal Son" isn't exactly the pinnacle of Maiden's discography, but [back-to-back Davey] solos are nice and Paul isn't terrible. 4

145. Another Life
(Harris)
Good drum intro, bland guitar entry, but the main riff isn't bad. This is actually one of Di'Anno's better performances, shockingly, and it's the music which fails it instead. The instrumental section is pretty pointless and I dislike the ending and the constant repetition, but it's not the worst thing they've done, though certainly below average. 4

144. Innocent Exile
(Harris)
Another fairly good performance from Di'Anno, and with better music than "Another Life", but still nothing much at the end of the day. Filler track, certainly. 4

143. Age of Innocence
(Murray / Harris)
"Age of Innocence" has a great chorus, but that's about the only thing it's got going for it. The verses and the rap bit are pretty bland to atrocious, and the lyrics feel like the band botched the job. I get their concerned about the modern days but Jesus, they didn't have to make them suck, did they? Again though, the chorus is great, and because of that, I think this song is lifted from really, really shitty, to merely below average. 4

142. The Longest Day
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)
I've spoken about why I dislike this song a lot. Amazing intro, building verses, explosive pre-chorus, and a bland, repetitive chorus that goes nowhere. Once it passes, the verses and pre-chorus feel trite and not even the instrumental can save this song. It's one that could have been great had it been severely edited, but alas. 4

141. Gangland
(Smith / Burr)
After the greatest of RTTH, "Gangland" doesn't quite match it. It's decent, but nothing special. 4

140. Fear is the Key
(Dickinson / Gers)
A strong opening riff moves into an intriguing verse about AIDS and everything feels rather decent if not outstanding. Then the acoustic thing comes around and it's all sorts of wonkers. Average Maiden song, nothing really too offensive, but it's not one of their best by any stretch of the imagination. 5

139. Transylvania
(Harris)
A merely average instrumental. It serves its purpose, but the other few still to come are better in every way. 5

138. The Assassin
(Harris)
The backing music is sinister and pretty great, the lyrics aren't so much. Bruce does a good job with the vocals though, and the chorus is fun, but this is as a whole just a throwaway track that's pretty weak among the titans the same band have also released. 5

137. Fates Warning
(Murray / Harris)
A pointless retread of the "Deja Vu" opening turns into a pretty interesting rocker with some intriguing lyrics in the verses, discussing man's fate and those who survive and those who perish - and why? That's something that I've always been kinda... fascinated by. Maiden don't go too far with the subject and the chorus is pretty weak, for my taste, but it's got a nice bridge and cool solos here to push it up. I think it's growing on me, but I doubt it'll get too far. 5

136. Quest for Fire
(Harris)
The cheesiest thing Maiden have ever written. "Quest for Fire" can be fun, but it's far from a classic Maiden track, and is definitely the low point of the album. 5

135. The Fugitive
(Harris)
Despite the complexity, "The Fugitive" is an average song with an average take on a TV show. The lyrics are too simplistic for my liking, but the music is a little better. 5

134. Shadows of the Valley
(Gers / Harris)
The weakest song on the album, but still pretty decent. It rips off the "Wasted Years" riff blatantly but does a good job of it. The verses and pre-chorus are kinda weaker, but the chorus itself is strong, and the whoa-oh-oh bit is cool too. Not one of Maiden's best, but firmly above average. 6

133. When the River Runs Deep
(Smith / Harris)
"When the River Runs Deep" is stuck precariously between two great epics, which lowers its ability to stand out too much. The weakest part here is the pre-chorus, but everything else is pretty solid. It's far from being one of the best rockers of the band's 21st century releases, though, but as a whole it's definitely above average. 6

132. The Man of Sorrows
(Murray / Harris)
"The Man of Sorrows" is another rather atypical song for Maiden, but it's actually pretty decent, with nothing bad going on here. It just doesn't stand out as much as it should, and feels more like a great holdover before we reach the album's real highlight. 6

131. Prowler
(Harris)
The first Maiden song ever (on an album) is hardly proof of what was to come. A bit of a bop, "Prowler" details a streaker showing off his dick to the ladies and... yeah. The music isn't bad and Di'Anno isn't terrible, but it's a pretty average song. I'll give it an extra point simply for being an important song for the boys, but it's treading a thin line here. 6

130. Wasting Love
(Dickinson / Gers)
An interesting riff leads to a repeat of the "Son of a Gun" intro. It's much better on the first song. I like Bruce's intentions here, but the lyrics just don't fully get it fleshed-out. Good vocal performance, but otherwise it's merely above average. 6

129. The Alchemist
(Gers / Harris / Dickinson)
An atypical riff opens up "The Alchemist" and I can't say I like it much. Everything else here is enjoyable, including those choruses. Still, this isn't quite Maiden's finest song, and if we're comparing it to the Bruce song, then it falls flat as well. But it's enjoyable enough to be above average for me. Something I can get into when it comes on. 6

128. El Dorado
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)
"El Dorado" used to be a favorite of mine, but it's slipped a ways. It's got a good instrumental section (with the Three Amigos trading off solos one by one! Wow!) but I don't think Bruce's performance on here is that great, though the chorus is still kinda cool. Overall, it's merely an above average track for me now. 6

127. The Educated Fool
(Harris)
This is a decent song overall, but has some "sloppy" lyrics at times and I've never been the biggest fan of the "time will flow" piece. The instrumental section is really good, though. 6

126. No Prayer For The Dying
(Harris)
An introspective song with some interesting music and lyrics, the album's title track isn't quite the most outstanding of the band's songs, but it's pretty decent for what it is. The change-up was done better by ATSS on the second album and on here feels more like they're trying to emulate "Hallowed" again. As a whole, it's above average. 6

125. The Prophecy
(Murray / Harris)
A calm opening turns into an intriguing bit about the Seventh Son warning a village of disaster and them turning a deaf ear to him. Bruce does a great job with the vocals, and the outro is cool, but as a whole, this is the low point of the album and not outstanding enough among the rest of the discography. 6

124. Holy Smoke
(Harris / Dickinson)
A different riff than what many have been accustomed to with Maiden opens up "Holy Smoke", a fun, on-the-nose single about the televangelists of the '80s and '90s. Jeez, I wonder what this song would be like if it was written nowadays... It's pretty catchy and fun overall, but not quite as good as several other Maiden songs. Great music video though. 6

123. Chains of Misery
(Dickinson / Murray)
An interesting song that's a lot of fun but doesn't really do anything 'special'. Jer kinda sums up my opinion:
Nothing to write home about, but nothing bad here either.
6

122. Satellite 15... The Final Frontier
(Smith / Harris)
What a way to open an album. Like @Number 6 says, "Satellite 15" is an interesting way of doing something different, though I don't think it quite succeeds and could've used trimming. "The Final Frontier" is better and a really nice song overall. The chorus is great, with one of Bruce's best performances on an album of spotty performances. The instrumental section is great too. Both songs combined, this is maybe above average, with a lot of good moments but not quite something that rivals the best of Maiden. 6

121. Wildest Dreams
(Smith / Harris)
This song works well as an opener, but as far as openers go, it's also one of Maiden's weakest ("Prowler" and "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier" being slightly weaker). It's very fun but there's also not a lot to it - works on the album but not as well outside it. Above average overall. 6

120. Sun and Steel
(Dickinson / Smith)
A song that will always have a special place in my heart, and in another lifetime would have been in my Top 40. Now though, I think it's a weaker song that's still fairly strong overall and features a pretty great chorus, but there are plenty of better ones out there. 6

119. Invaders
(Harris)
The new and improved Iron Maiden announces itself with a hard-boiled opener that moves into a nice verse as Bruce introduces himself by letting loose and describing a Viking invasion. The only thing that bugs me is the instrumental, which feels like a hold-over from the last album. The chorus doesn't bother me, it's silly, yes, but hey. Maiden have done plenty of other short rockers that kick this song's ass, but it's good enough for what it is, and definitely above average. 6

118. Sanctuary
(Harris / Murray / Di'Anno)
A pretty fun song, but it works far better live. Di'Anno doesn't sound too great in studio and unfortunately brings the song down. It's still above average though, all things considered. 6

117. Running Free
(Harris / Di'Anno)
A decent song and rather fun on album, but as a whole Maiden have done many other good short tracks like this that are better. Decisively above average though. 6

116. Coming Home
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)
Some really great lyrics are backed up by some cool music, but "Coming Home", while an effective ballad, isn't quite as good as I'd like it to be, and certainly, Maiden have made several better songs. That said, it's very enjoyable and I don't think I'll ever dislike it, but again, it's not quite outstanding. Maybe one day I'll truly 'get' it. 6

115. New Frontier
(McBrain / Smith / Dickinson)
Decent song. Weak lyrics are its worst point, but they aren't the worst ever. I like the chorus here but as a whole the song isn't one of Maiden's best. Enjoyable, but merely above average. 6

114. Strange World
(Harris)
Where "Remember Tomorrow" failed, "Strange World" succeeds. A haunting track with a fairly good Di'Anno performance, this is one of the best songs on the record. Not quite as good as much of Maiden's work, but it's pretty strong overall. 7

113. Starblind
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)
Yeah, I still don't quite get what everyone sees in this song, outside of the lyrics. Bruce is kinda wonky on the intro, the song rips out a key change straight from "Infinite Dreams", and as a whole can't match the lyrics... which happen to be some of the band's best. "The preacher loses face with Christ, religion's cruel device is gone / Empty flesh and hollow bones make pacts of life but die alone..." They're really good, and I only wish something more... special could've been done to bring them to life better. The instrumental section is probably the best part music-wise. As a whole, this is just above average, but I'll be generous and give it an extra point just because I like the lyrics so much. 7

112. The Angel and the Gambler
(Harris)
Since as long as I can remember, this song has been hovering around somewhere in my Top 90, but it's started to fall for me a bit. Not that I think any of its bad, I just feel the performances are a little weak. The repetition is still perfectly fine though, and I like it overall. Just not quite as good as I once thought. 7

111. When Two Worlds Collide
(Murray / Bayley / Harris)
A song that's been growing a bit on me. "When Two Worlds Collide" is attempting a dual meaning and fails at it, but it's a fairly strong performance nonetheless and has a lot of little bits I love. Fairly strong overall. 7

110. The Ides of March
(Harris)
A surprisingly great intro to Killers despite its length, "The Ides of March" is short but oh-so-sweet. If it were longer, this may have been even better, but what we got still works well. Knocked off a point just because it's merely an intro. 7

109. Hooks In You
(Dickinson / Smith)
A really catchy releases with a lot of bite to it. Despite the subject matter, this is a fun song with Bruce really using his rasp well. I can't find any real weakness with it besides being a bit daft, but it's not the strongest thing compared to other songs. 7

108. From Here To Eternity
(Harris)
Catchy song that wraps up the "Charlotte" saga. It isn't too deep but it's a lot of fun nonetheless, and I like the way it narrates the story. 7

107. Stranger in a Strange Land
(Smith)
A decent bass intro moves into a really icy song that details the story of an explorer desperately fighting to stay alive and failing. The verses and first pre-chorus are good, but the second pre-chorus and actual chorus are weaker affairs. The solo is good but not quite mindblowing, and despite what basically everyone else says, there's at least two others on the album I prefer to it (CSIT and ATG). It also utilizes a fade-out, quite rare for a Maiden song. Overall, this is good, but lacking in some spots. 7

106. Die With Your Boots On
(Smith / Dickinson / Harris)
A great opening riff and great verses are brought down a tad by a weaker pre-chorus and chorus, but are brought up again via a stellar instrumental section and a bit of an oasis there where Bruce lets loose his voice and gives a great performance. It's pretty strong as a whole with some weaker bits. 7

105. Children of the Damned
(Harris)
A haunting track with a nice acoustic opening and a great vocal performance from Bruce, this one is nonetheless falling steadily down through my ratings. It's good, but not quite good enough. 7

104. Phantom of the Opera
(Harris)
The first sign that Maiden weren't your typical NWOBHM band, but it would be a little while before we finally got proof of that. Great bass intro here, leading to a cool riff, but that only leads to verses that are strung badly together. Di'Anno forges on courageously, but this is something that could've been better managed either with more retakes or with Bruce himself as the vocalist. He certainly does a better job live. Di'Anno sounds worse after the song's change-up, but luckily the instrumental makes up for a lot of it - it's great. This is certainly a decent offering for an early band, but it pales in comparison to all of the other '80s epics from the band and most of the ones from the '90s and 2000s as well. 7

103. Iron Maiden
(Harris)
The highlight of the debut is the band's infamous self-titled track, a staple of literally every Maiden concert ever. It's very fun and works both live and in studio, though it still pales compared to over a hundred other songs they've released. Good overall though and I can't imagine a live release without it. 7

102. Isle of Avalon
(Smith / Harris)
This is the closest Iron Maiden have ever been to writing a Rush song, and as a whole, they succeed at putting their own spin on it. The build-up here is pretty good, I like the lyrics (even if they're a bit wacky at times), and it creates some nice imagery over its span. That being said, this is far from the band's best epic, but it's good enough for what it is. 7

101. Look for the Truth
(Bayley / Gers / Harris)
A nice quiet beginning opens the song. Blaze makes a blunder in the first line, but I can overlook it. It builds up into a "whoa-oh-oh!" section which I personally like a lot. The verses are thrown together and the lyrics aren't the best, but I like the song anyway. It's the weakest on the album, but like "Man on the Edge" integral to the complete make-up. 7

100. Sea of Madness
(Smith)
At one point in time, this was a Top 5 Maiden song for me, but it's falling quite a lot since then. A great chorus and beautiful mid-section hold it up well, but I dislike Bruce's singing on the verses and as a whole it doesn't stand out enough among the band's discography to remain a favorite. Strong, but not the best. 7

99. Wrathchild
(Harris)
A classic song from the early days, but I'm not a fan of Di'Anno's vocals or the production here, the latter of which is weak... really weak. All the gut of the previous album was thrown out the window in favor of better sound quality, and it reflects poorly on the song's overall construction. Still, it's kinda neat and a deserving live staple. 7

98. Weekend Warrior
(Harris / Gers)
Okay, you all can start to rest easy now. Despite its bit of an influx a while ago, "Weekend Warrior" has fallen a bit for me. I still like it, but not so much. Chorus and solos are awesome, verses not so much. I do love the rasp on here though. Overall, it's good but not great. 7

97. Public Enema Number One
(Murray / Dickinson)
A title derided by many, but I actually like the pun and implications here. "Public Enema" is a pretty cool song with some interesting lyrics and a great chorus and solos. Not very Maiden-esque, but here it works quite well. 7

96. Futureal
(Harris / Bayley)
A nice short rocker to open up Virtual XI, "Futureal" shows that the band still has a lot of spark and fire in them. Everyone's giving their all here, including Blaze, and it's a pretty strong song. Not as good as others, but strong definitely. 7

95. These Colours Don't Run
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)
"These Colours Don't Run" is one of the three least good songs on the album, yet it's an integral part of the overall makeup, as it changes things up after the opener and feels more similar to what's to come. It isn't perfect, but it's quite strong and a pretty important song. 7

94. Speed of Light
(Smith / Dickinson)
A nice riff opens up the album's single and most classic Maiden-sounding track. Nicko uses the cowbell efficiently and signature Bruce scream gets things going. "Speed of Light" is a ton of fun, even if it isn't one of the album's best songs overall. Really cool tune. 7

93. The Great Unknown
(Smith / Harris)
A nice intro with some shockingly strong vocals from Bruce turns into a heavier piece with a lot of power to it. Despite Bruce straining to reach some of the notes, I think it's a pretty good song overall, particularly in the chorus. The solos here are atypical for Maiden but work well. As a whole, not a favorite from the record but it's really strong nonetheless. 7

92. Man on the Edge
(Bayley / Gers)
An interesting bit opens up this balls-out, speedy rocker of a song. The lyrics are a little weak but it's a really fun number all the same, with a lot of energy going for it. It isn't the best Maiden song outside the album, but on it, it's an integral part of the entire makeup. 7

91. 2 A.M.
(Bayley / Gers / Harris)
"2 AM" is quite an unassuming song. Lyrics are a little suspect, but it's a great performance overall. The instrumental section is great. Not one of the best songs on the album, but it's very strong. 7

90. No More Lies
(Harris)
I've always liked "No More Lies". It's a moody song with a lot of great moments, and the repetition doesn't bother me too much unless I'm the one singing the lyrics. Overall it's a strong song but not as good as many others from the band. 7

89. Caught Somewhere In Time
(Harris)
A cool opening riff kicks Maiden's sixth album off with a bit of a new sound before speeding into a faster piece that leads to the verse. Bruce is often chided for his vocals here, but I wouldn't say that they're all that bad as a whole, though not quite as good as previously. The chorus is a bit repetitive but works, but the instrumental section is where this song truly hits its stride, and is one of the band's best. It's a pretty strong song, but in a sea of strong songs, this one doesn't stand out quite as much as it probably should. 7

88. Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter
(Dickinson)
Primarily a fun song with an interesting take on a coming of age story (as that's what Bruce always thought the Nightmare on Elm Street series symbolized), "Bring Your Daughter..." is a cool track with a lot of bite and Bruce utilizing his rasp well. Great chorus here, and the Maiden version is better than the original solo song and overall just a lot of fun. Sing along. 7

87. The Clairvoyant
(Harris)
An interesting bass intro builds via a cool riff before we enter a verse detailing the Seventh Son's visions. It does a good job at that, but the music isn't quite the band's best, nor is the chorus. The instrumental section is great though, and the song is quite effective as a whole. This is one that's always been kinda wobbly in my ratings, but it's higher now than it was earlier. 7

86. When the Wild Wind Blows
(Harris)
From a storytelling perspective, "When the Wild Wind Blows" is a pretty great song. From a musical perspective, it's still pretty good. This is the most obvious Steve Harris epic 'Arry has ever written, but it works quite well, introducing characters, the setting, and takes you on a little journey before reaching a pretty shocking plot twist at the end there. It isn't among the band's best epics, but it's a strong closing to an inconsistent album. 7

85. Dance of Death
(Gers / Harris)
A really nice acoustic intro sets the scene as Bruce tells a cool story about dancing with demons and stuff. It's pretty strong from a storytelling perspective, but it doesn't have the best ending to the story as I'd like. As a song it's a bit stronger though, but I prefer the live version with Bruce's dancing and theatrics. On album it's good, but not the best epic ever. 7

84. Run Silent Run Deep
(Harris / Dickinson)
A really nice watery intro breaks into a chugging, pumping verse with Bruce narrating the tale of a submarine fighting to survive on the ocean waves. It's a great song, and with every moment you can really envision the watercrafts moving along, particularly in that solo. Chorus is great too. A strong song from the album but not quite as good as other Maiden releases. 7

83. Be Quick or Be Dead
(Dickinson / Gers)
Opening with a rapid drumbeat, "Be Quick or Be Dead" is one of the fastest songs the band has ever released. Bruce's rasp is in fine form, very sinister, and it's pretty strong overall, though not as good as others. The music video is a fave of mine. 7

82. Rainmaker
(Murray / Harris / Dickinson)
This is a pretty strong song that just so happens to be not as good as several other strong songs. It's always enjoyable but retreads itself a bit too much for my taste. Still, like I said, it's pretty strong. 7

81. Montségur
(Gers / Harris / Dickinson)
"Montsegur" is one of the heaviest songs Maiden have ever done, but it's also one of the muddiest. It would be great to hear this song with better production, as it messes with the song. As a whole, I like it, but some of the lyrics changes in the "post-chorus" feel like Bruce coming up with them on the spot. "The Pilgrim" also kinda does much of the same stuff on AMOLAD and I prefer that song to this. Still, it's good, but not quite as good as it could be. 7

80. Total Eclipse
(Murray / Harris / Burr)
This is a song that used to be a contender for my Top 10, but it's fallen quite a bit since. I think it's strong as a whole, but not quite so good as it was when I first listened to it. 7

79. Murders in the Rue Morgue
(Harris)
"Murders in the Rue Morgue" opens with a haunting intro that leads straight into a frantic verse about a shocking murder in the middle of Paris. While Steve through all the lyrics together, Paul actually carries the whole thing off quite well (though not so much in the chorus). Overall, it's one of the best of the Di'Anno era songs. 8

78. Killers
(Di'Anno / Harris)
A haunting song about the mind and actions of a psychopath, "Killers" has one of the band's coolest riffs, a schizophrenic one that perfectly helps the song sell its point home. Paul isn't at his best here, but that can't hold it back enough as a whole. 8

77. The Wicker Man
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)
A really ripping riff opens up Brave New World in the form of "The Wicker Man". The song launches the album well, introducing Maiden's new three guitar lineup and reintroducing both Bruce and Adrian back in the band. It's a great rocker with a lot of great pieces to it, yet somehow it's also the worst song on the album. And it's still strong as fuck. 8

76. The Nomad
(Murray / Harris)
A very vivid opening conjures up picture of the eastern lands before some suspect but perfectly executed lyrics take the stage. Bruce's performance on the song's chorus is epic. The instrumental section may have been ripped off from Beckett, but Maiden do it better than they did and it works quite well. As a whole, this is one of my least favorite songs on the album, but that's not saying much. 8

75. Ghost of the Navigator
(Gers / Dickinson / Harris)
A really nice soft opening guitar bit begins this song before it grows into a rumbling monster of a riff with some great Bruce singing overtop it. This song is interesting because I look at its structure as if it's Verse / Pre-chorus / Chorus / Post-chorus. It's not quite your typical song. The instrumental section is pretty good too. Strong overall; took a bit of time to grow on me but I like it a lot nowadays. 8

74. Blood Brothers
(Harris)
A really moody song that's become a fan favorite over the years, "Blood Brothers" deals with death, life, and the world at large. It's a really good song, but on the bottom half of the album for me... which isn't saying much. 8

73. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)
A masterful behemoth written about the Manhattan Project, "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns" is a contender for the heaviest song of Maiden's career. A dominating riff drives this hulking giant, and some of Bruce's more aggressive vocals are at play here. The lyrics are great at invoking the images of destruction and debris, and there are plenty of shades here to like. My one issue is that Bruce is often at odds with the music, but overall it's quite a strong song. 8

72. Lightning Strikes Twice
(Murray / Harris)
A cool, quiet, melodic opening leads to some nice quiet vocals from Blaze before erupting into a powerhouse. "Lightning Strikes Twice" perfectly captures the feel of a growing storm before it explodes, with a great performance from Blaze, a nice instrumental section, and really vivid lyrics. Pretty great song. 8

71. Genghis Khan
(Harris)
Best song of the Di'Anno era. A song so strong it doesn't need any vocals, it's great fun and a great construction of guitar riffs, bass pluckings, and drum beats. Not their best instrumental, but certainly a good one. 8

70. 22 Acacia Avenue
(Harris / Smith)
A strong song discussing prostitution and keeping up the "Charlotte" storyline, 22 Acacia Avenue is better than its predecessor in every way. Adrian truly shines, and while the instrumental feels like a bit of a repeat of "Phantom of the Opera's", it's still pretty strong all together. Bruce songs great, too. 8

69. Mother Russia
(Harris)
A chillingly beautiful intro bursts into a pumping riff as Bruce calls upon the northern land in a five minute epic like no other. "Mother Russia" evokes everything Russian like you've never heard before, and asks what will happen with it now that the USSR is tumbling to the ground. It's a great song, though its short length holds it back a bit. Great closer though. 8

68. Afraid to Shoot Strangers
(Harris)
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

67. Blood on the World's Hands
(Harris)
A long but really cool bass solo opens up the song. The verses are thrown together but Blaze expertly sings them. This is a moody, atmospheric track about all the violence and darkness in the world and it's great. The instrumental and bridge are some of the best parts. Overall, it's not quite my favorite of the album, but it's really strong nonetheless. 8

66. The Unbeliever
(Harris, Gers)
A great opening leads to a great performance from Blaze with some really good lyrics that lead to a weaker but still strong chorus. The instrumental section is the highlight here, feeling like a summation of the entire album. "The Unbeliever" isn't as good as some of the other songs on The X Factor, but it's still very strong and a great closer. 8

65. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
(Murray / Harris)
The story behind this song might be better than the song itself, but this is a real powerhouse nonetheless and a big step-up from "Out of the Shadows". Opening softly with some intriguing lyrics before crashing into another one of Maiden's heaviest riffs, it features some of Bruce's best performances on the album and is a great look at PTSD... at least, that's the way I interpret it. 9

64. Can I Play With Madness
(Smith / Dickinson / Harris)
The band called it "a bit of magic", despite the row it caused in the studio. I think I'd have to agree. Despite being a pretty simple, radio-friendly, accessible track, "Can I Play With Madness" is pretty fucking good nonetheless. Everything on here is pretty great, and it's a showcase of how strong the band is in what could otherwise be one of the lesser songs. 9

63. To Tame a Land
(Harris)
This may be Steve's song, but Bruce is the real master who "tames this land". His performance on here is excellent, and he delivers these wacky (relatively) lyrics in such style that one can't help but be impressed. While it's a bit of a weird song for Maiden musically, Dave and Adrian keep the guitars a-movin', even if it reuses some of the "Hallowed" formula a bit more than I'd like. A strong song that is a great closer to a pretty great album. 9

62. Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger
(Harris)
A symphonic opening leads to a cool guitar bit before we get the vocals. This song really succeeds at building atmosphere. There's tension, there's suspense, it's great. The frantic bit throws you right in the action and while the middle part has the most repetitive lyrics in any Maiden song, it only makes the song better. And then the solo section! This song has its weaknesses, yes, but it's also really great at the same stroke. 9

61. Where Eagles Dare
(Harris)
Talk about making an entrance! Clive was a decent drummer and a crucial part of the first three albums, but Nicko McBrain shows that he's better in every way with one of the best drum openings in metal history. It lasts a mere few seconds but is oh-so-good! The song storms into being as guitars come in and Bruce gives a sterling performance, showing that his pipes have been well-oiled since The Number of the Beast. With an awesome instrumental section and cool storytelling on display - even if it feels a bit rushed there near the end - this is a Maiden classic as a whole, and a perfect way to begin the album. There are better songs to be seen, but this is a great start. 9

60. Moonchild
(Smith / Dickinson)
An acoustic opening with Bruce's iconic "seven deadly sins" shtick starts to build up with the help of synths and guitar, before erupting into a ferocious number sung from the point of view of Lucifer himself. Bruce is showing the first song of the rasp that will be used in full on the next two albums (and Tattooed Millionaire), and it works very well, especially given the context. This is a huge song with a lot of headbanging moments, and is more sinister than most of the band's songs. It's the perfect way to open an album, and a great song beyond that. 9

59. Flight of Icarus
(Smith / Dickinson)
A great take on the classic tale of Icarus, reinventing the story with a touch of modernity. Everything sounds great here, particularly the vocals, as Bruce gives a fantastic performance here. Steve may not have liked it much, but others beg to differ - perhaps that's why it's finally been brought out of retirement again. 9

58. Heaven Can Wait
(Harris)
A great bass intro turns into a pretty great song, with lyrics that don't let up on the singer but Bruce manages to storm through them expertly anyway. A great mid-piece with a nice audience interaction section helps, and as a whole, this is a great song. I'm surprised it's as played as it is, because it feels like it should be a deep cut if anything. Still, it's pretty fucking good. 9

57. The Prisoner
(Smith / Harris)
A great drumbeat opens the track with a fire, and the guitars sound crisp and clear here - very, very great. The verses are good and Bruce is really showing off his pipes in fine form. The chorus is where it truly hits its peak, with everything coming together to slay the past for good and showcase that this Maiden is better than anything you've ever heard before. The solo section is pretty damn great too. It's the strongest thing we've seen so far. 9

56. Face in the Sand
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)
"Face in the Sand" reuses a bit of the melody from "Dance of Death" in its intro, but I think it works quite well and feels like a summation of all we heard previously. On that note, this song feels less like a song and more like an extension of the album itself. It's got a great pre-chorus and even better chorus, and as a whole I think it's one of DoD's best songs. 9

55. Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)
(Harris)
With every instrumental, Maiden only got better and better, culminating in this blazing track, which feels like a look into the world of Powerslave and all that's in it. Bruce isn't even necessary here, and where that should feel out of place, it isn't. "Losfer Words" is a strong as fuck number with everyone present on the track giving a great performance. 9

54. Flash of the Blade
(Dickinson)
An electrifying riff opens up this simple but effective track, as Bruce tells the story of a boy who becomes a fencer. A great vocal performance and great music (including a blazing instrumental section) make this one a surprisingly great track. 9

53. Fear of the Dark
(Harris)
A great intro leads to a calm section with one of Bruce's most haunting performances. The song then erupts into a classic Maiden flurry, filled with a great riff, great vocals, great solos, and a lot of bite and power all-told. It's a live staple for a reason, and the album version is pretty damn good too. Great closer as well. 9

52. Infinite Dreams
(Harris)
Utterly beautiful lyrics here in a song that I've often felt a close connection to. It's strong overall, and the music is great, even if the change-up for the instrumental section isn't 100% successful. As a whole, this is a great song, but not quite as good as I once thought. Still, very close to top marks. 9

51. The Pilgrim
(Gers / Harris)
The first time I heard this song was a bit of a "wtf" moment for me, as it was so completely different from what I'd previously heard from Maiden and not at all what I'd expected. Since then, it's usually been at the bottom of the album for me, but somehow over the last year has risen higher and higher in my ratings to now stand right outside my Top 50. "The Pilgrim" has great drumming, fiery guitars, epic music, and a great vocal performance from Bruce. It's unassuming but god is it a great song. 9

50. Lord of Light
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)
"Lord of Light" is a heavy, sinister track about Lucifer with a bit of a Paradise Lost take on the devil. With some great quiet bits and some great heavy bits, all culminating in a rousing solo, this song is a monster. Great stuff on display here. 9

49. Tailgunner
(Harris / Dickinson)
A building piece of guitar and drums draws open the curtains on a rising sun as the engines roar into being and we see a war machine take to the skies. Bruce is finally using his rasp and he does it fairly well. The verses are pretty cool and the chorus is awesome. "Tailgunner" suffers from too many "Aces High" comparisons. It isn't reinventing it, it's just another song about planes that does things differently. A great opener. 9

48. The Fallen Angel
(Smith / Harris)
A really thunderous intro leads into a decent riff that leads into a great verse that leads to a great pre-chorus that leads to a great chorus. This song is really strong and features some great lyrics and a great performance from all involved. It's a great rocker, all-told. 9

47. Brave New World
(Murray / Harris / Dickinson)
A really nice quiet opening with some really dark yet picturesque lyrics builds into a great song based on Aldous Huxley's novel. The chorus here is excellent despite the repetition, with Bruce utilizing some really great vocals for it. Also love the instrumental section, which is one of the best on the album. I like this song a lot. 9

46. Fortunes of War
(Harris)
A quiet song that's quite far removed from "Man on the Edge", "Fortunes of War" opens with a really nice piece with Blaze singing from the perspective of someone suffering from PTSD. It gradually builds, very, very slowly, but it helps bring up the atmosphere. The heavier verses and chorus are great, and the instrumental section is awesome too. This song is pretty awesome. 9

45. The Talisman
(Gers / Harris)
A long acoustic typical Janick intro begins "The Talisman", and while I can't say it's one of the band's best, I do think it fits the song quite well. As it draws to a close, it's hard to expect the sheer force and heaviness of that sudden, thunderous crash into a chugging riff that really takes no prisoners. A captivating, frantic verse leads to a really, really awesome pre-chorus, and a few repeats later we have a change-up in another pre-chorus before reaching the chorus itself, which is phenomenal. Yes, Bruce is straining a bit here to reach the notes, but god does he succeed. To my ears, it's clearly one of his best performances since The Chemical Wedding. The instrumental section invokes a bit of The X Factor, but that's actually probably my least favorite part of the song. Overall, this is a really awesome sea-going epic, and it's higher for me now than it ever has been before. The one song on the album that can truly compete with the band's classics. 9

44. The Number of the Beast
(Harris)
Side 2 of the album opens with a chilling vocal performance by a non-Vincent Price, before the guitar and Bruce come in. The build-up leads to one of the singer's greatest screams before we rush into a great verse, chorus, verse, chorus, instrumental section. This song is awesome, and the one that truly showed that this lineup was somethin' else. Not quite as good as some of the other releases from this band, but still strong overall, even if it's gotten a little stale live. 9

43. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
(Harris)
Opening with a lush piece of music before bolting off at breakneck speed to bring the lyrics to life, this is a very '80s song (with a bit of sci-fi, perhaps?) that always seems to fluctuate in my rankings. Well, it's up currently. "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" is one of the best examples of how great the Somewhere In Time sound could be, and is a real gem in the band's discography. 9

42. The Aftermath
(Harris / Bayley / Gers)
A nice acoustic intro kicks off a heavy, plodding song that throws you right on the battlefield and keeps you there. "The Aftermath" has some of my favorite lyrics ever ("Once a ploughman hitched his team, here he sowed his little dream...") and they convey the POV brilliantly. It's a great song overall with a lot of dark, atmospheric stuff I love. 9

41. Dream of Mirrors
(Gers / Harris)
"Dream of Mirrors" is really strong. Starting heavy before going soft and then building itself back up before exploding into one of Maiden's best choruses ever, it really doesn't let up. Even the faster change-up is good, and my only real complaint is that afterwords the final chorus isn't as good as the first two rounds of it. Still, a really great song. 9

40. If Eternity Should Fail
(Dickinson)
An epic opening for an epic album begins The Book of Souls, and you can easily envision the stone monument, the empty jungle... actually, you can picture the stuff the title track is going for quite well. The only Maiden song written in drop D tuning, this is pretty heavy affair with some great vocals from Bruce which sound way better than on the previous album. The chorus is repetitive but great. The instrumental is really cool and I even like the sinister outro. Overall, this has a ton of stuff going for it and is an awesome way to open the album. 9

39. Hallowed Be Thy Name
(Harris)
For many, "Hallowed Be Thy Name" is the quintessential metal song. I disagree, but it'd be amiss to deny the greatness of this song. Opening with a tolling bell and Bruce's theatrical vocals, it builds into a monster slowly but surely. The guitar is great and Bruce's vocals are awesome. While the verse lyrics are thrown together, the new singer makes them work, taking Steve's stuff and sounded incredible while doing it. The instrumental section is pretty great too, if not their best ever, and the final lines and ended vocal are pretty damn amazing. As a whole, there's a reason so many people love this song, and I do too, but this same band has written nearly forty others I'd consider better. It's treading the lines of top marks quite well, though. 9

38. The Red and the Black
(Harris)
"The Red and the Black" nearly comes close to beating "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" in runtime, so it really needs to have something to back it up. And it does. A great bass intro explodes into a furious riff before we get to some very overloaded verses that Bruce manages to make short work of (though it's unsurprising he wanted to strangle Steve over them at first). The "whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh" chant is great, and the instrumental section here is awesome, and works even better live. The only issue with this song is the chorus, which goes on for a bit too long. I'll dock a point for that, but the rest of this song is awesome. 9

37. Gates of Tomorrow
(Gers / Harris / Dickinson)
An opening riff very reminiscent of "Lord of the Flies" kicks off this little rocker of a song. Well, it's actually over five minutes long, but it doesn't feel like that. I love the verses here and the chorus is one of the high points of the album for me. It's simple, yes, but it succeeds at what it sets out to do in spades. One of the best songs on the album, hands-down. I love it. 10

36. 2 Minutes To Midnight
(Smith / Dickinson)
Staccato riffs were all the rage back in the day, but Maiden's is arguably the pinnacle. "2 Minutes To Midnight" opens with some fiery riffing and cool drumbeats, before exploding into a mid-paced song to keep the energy from "Aces High" going, even if it's not as fast. It's a really strong number and one of the best of their singles - an awesome track all-told. 10

35. Revelations
(Dickinson)
A song I've often derided - but no longer. "Revelations" is a perfect theatrical take on religion penned by one Bruce Dickinson. Great live, and great in studio, there's little wonder it's a classic. Excellent performances from all involved send it straight to top marks, and it's one of the finest showings of how great Maiden are at crafting great lyrics together with great music. 10

34. Death or Glory
(Smith / Dickinson)
Disc 2 of the album opens with a cool drum / guitar piece that crashes into one of the coolest riffs Maiden have done in a long time. This leads straight to the first verse, and. holy. shit. is. it. incredible. My god! This song just completely takes the concept of a verse and annihilates it, it's that good. Bruce throws you right into the cockpit of a triplane and unleashes you into the aerial war zone like I've never heard another song do. The lyrics on the verses are incredibly vivid and I just really, really love it. On any other song, the pre-chorus and chorus would be weaker, but somehow they just keep going with the momentum the verses have built up. And the solos on here... goddamn, they're some of the best the band has done since who knows how long. This song is awesome, a successor to both "Aces High" and "Tailgunner" and a worthy one in every way. 10

33. Back in the Village
(Smith / Dickinson)
Yet another great fiery riff opens this song before Bruce lays down a shining example of his vocal talents for us - this song is rife with them. Great instrumental section, great music - this song is simple but so effective. Some sequels are worse than the original, but this return to The Prisoner tale is heads and feet above its predecessor. 10

32. Judgement of Heaven
(Harris)
Despite Blaze being a tad inconsistent in the intro, he still manages to give a good enough performance that perfectly emulates the thoughts going 'round in Steve's head. The heavier verses are even better, and the pre-chorus section is great. The chorus itself is cool and the instrumental section is awesome. Great lyrics as well. This song is amazing. 10

31. The Trooper
(Harris)
Maiden continue to showcase that they're better read than most metal bands by adapting a fucking poem to music. Well not exactly, but the inspiration of "The Charge of the Light Brigade" on this song is easy to see. Featuring one of metal's most acclaimed riff, great examples of the Maiden gallop, and expert musicianship all-round, this is a fiery number with a lot of bite to it. One of the most iconic metal songs ever, it doesn't even have a proper chorus, but damn if it doesn't sound great. The solos are excellent too. Even if it may have a bit of an overplayed status, this song is well worthy of the acclaim. 10

30. Tears of a Clown
(Smith / Harris)
This was one of the first songs from TBOS I heard, and completely different from most of the Maiden songs that I listened to at the time. Something grabbed me though, and finally when I discovered what it was about nearly a year later, when I had actually listened to the band's entire discography, I was floored. I don't think that anyone can deny that Robin Williams was a comedic genius who took to heart the idea that one should leave the world a better place than before they came along. He suffered from depression from years, but always helped put a smile on someone else's face and gave hope to millions of people who watched him. That's what made his suicide so shocking. I clearly remember seeing it on my grandparents' TV set in 2014, wondering why the fuck something like this could have happened. We now know, of course, that the whole thing was hastened by Lewy body dementia, misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease, and that even had he lived, it may not have been for too much longer. This whole thing is a very different subject from Maiden's normal work, but Jesus Christ does Steve Harris execute it perfectly. He really takes everything about the event and sums it up into an emotional 5 minute song. No wonder Bruce was floored upon seeing it, it's a really emotive song with a lot of heart and soul in it. There's just something special about this song. 10

29. Journeyman
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)
Maiden's only all-acoustic song is a roaring success. "Journeyman" has some great lyrics and while the chorus may be a bit too repetitive, it doesn't hurt the song. Great end to a very weird album. 10

28. The Clansman
(Harris)
An atypical opening moves steadily into a cool piece with a quiet Blaze setting the scene for the song: the Scottish Highlands. Slowly building up until it breaks open into a pummeling epic, "The Clansman" is for many the definitive Blaze era song. Not for me, but it's very good nonetheless. The instrumental section is the best part of the song, with all sorts of great stuff going on in there. I like this song both live and in studio, but I think the performance on here is a little bit better than that on RiR. As a whole, it's just a great song. 10

27. Deja Vu
(Murry / Harris)
A soft opening leads into a melodic yet powerful bit of riffing before Bruce comes in, singing in a style he hasn't used outside of this song. The pre-chorus and chorus feature his soaring high vocals though, and the instrumental section is pretty damn great. As simple as it all is, somehow it's still awesome. 10

26. The Edge of Darkness
(Harris / Bayley / Gers)
A song that I once counted as the album's weakest, but now consider one of the album's best. The sound of helicopter blades opens the song and brings you right into the heart of the Vietnam War, with a great bass intro starting off the actual song and a dark, haunting performance from Blaze coming in next. It keeps it up when it gets heavier before changing things up a bit. The lyrics here are taking nearly word-for-word from Apocalypse Now, but they work surprisingly well and help build on the images already presented here. A great solo section leads to an emotional performance from Blaze ("And now I understand why the genius must die!") before things wind down and end as it all started. Like LC, watching the actual movie helped me appreciate this song a lot more, and it captures a lot of the feel quite well. I only wish this could be longer, but what we have is still perfect. 10

25. Only the Good Die Young
(Harris / Dickinson)
Opening with a nice bit of dual guitar and synth, "Only the Good Die Young" has some really, really great verses that lead to an even better chorus. Bruce is an expert at the theatrics woven together in this song, and helps this song keep its head up among the rest of the discography. "Walking on water - are miracles all you can trust? / Measure your coffin - does it measure up to your lust?" is one of my favorite lines in any song. It hasn't been played live and it's merely tucked away at the end of a pretty strong album, but this song is a real gem that works perfectly. The repeat of the "seven deadly sins" bit is a stroke of genius, too. 10

24. The Book of Souls
(Gers / Harris)
For the longest time, "The Book of Souls" did absolutely nothing for me. An overrated epic, I thought. But now... It opens with a cool little acoustic intro before suddenly crash into heaviness with a bang. A great couple of verses with a great Bruce performance lead to a good pre-chorus and an even better chorus. The lyrics to this song verge on the wacky, but they're somehow still really, really good and fit the song so well that it doesn't matter. The change-up into faster territory is really nice, and this is one of Nicko's best performances, IMO. Like "The Talisman", this one is higher in my rankings than it's ever been, but unlike "The Talisman", I'm unafraid to give it full marks, because there's nothing wrong here at all, and it's just a really awesome song. 10

23. The Duellists
(Harris)
What a grower. At one point my least favorite song on the album, now one of my favorites. "The Duellists" not only manages to steal the style of verse straight from "Where Eagles Dare", but it does so better than the previous one. Two songs dedicated to sword-fighting on the same album may have been overkill for many bands, but not this one. The real highlight is the three-part instrumental section, featuring trade-offs between Dave and Adrian and showcasing how deadly Maiden's dual axemen truly were. 10

22. The Mercenary
(Gers / Harris)
This is a song that took a long time to warm up to, given the really, really repetitive chorus, but somehow I've gotten it now. This song is fucking awesome. A kick-ass rocker about the morality of a bounty hunter and the pre-chorus is one of the best bits of the album. The chorus itself is great too, despite the repetition that once fazed me, and the instrumental section - while not as good as "Weekend Warrior", eh, Cried? - is great as well. This song rules. 10

21. Different World
(Smith / Harris)
Starting with a Nicko "Ayee!" before plunging into a great modern-day Maiden riff, "Different World" opens the album on a very strong note. Featuring some great singing from Bruce, unassuming yet great lyrics, and a fantastic chorus and instrumental section, this song may be the shortest on its album, but my god is it also one of the best. While it takes its song structure from "Rainmaker", it also manages to top that song at the same time. ;tldr I love this song. 10

20. The Apparition
(Harris / Gers)
A drumbeat opens the weirdest song Maiden have ever written. Literally stuffed to the gills with lyrics (with the most lines of any song on this album), "The Apparition" is a nearly four minute track that has a unique style all to its own - Verse / False Chorus / Verse / False Chorus / Instrumental / Verse / False Chorus / Verse / False Chorus ("false chorus" because it doesn't feel like a typical chorus but that's clearly what it acts as here). Bruce's performance is all over the place and that only adds to the wackiness on display. The instrumental does several different shades of things with its time, including a rare Janick wah solo. As wacky as it all is, I can't not help but love this song. It's so weird that there's a really charming attraction to it, and it'll be a cold day in hell before I give it anything less than top marks. This is still a Top 20 Maiden song for me. 10

19. Judas Be My Guide
(Dickinson / Murray)
As much as I love "The Apparition", this song is even better. Opening with a fantastic riff that moves into a bit of a solo-y section before the verse, and then the verse itself, with Bruce at his raspiest and most aggressive with some really deadly lyrics... it's great. The chorus is short but my god is it incredible. This song is just fantastic. Its runtime is on the low side, but damn does it do everything it sets out to do beautiful. I love it. 10

18. The Evil That Men Do
(Smith / Dickinson / Harris)
Beginning with a nice guitar bit before plunging into the actual song - which is really movin' - "The Evil That Men Do" is one of the album's highlights. Great lyrics, a great vocal performance, and great music make this one of the band's best songs. It's been a Top 10 song for me for a while, and while it's dropped a tad from there, it's still fucking awesome. 10

17. Wasted Years
(Smith)
An incredibly phenomenal riff opens up a pretty fucking great song about taking hold of what you've got while you've got it. Adrian proves that he's a great songwriter here and leaves his mark throughout. There's little wonder it's one of the few played tracks from the album. At one point it was my second favorite Maiden song overall, and while it's not at that spot anymore, it still remains a classic in my mind. 10

16. Still Life
(Murray / Harris)
The highlight of the album, hands-down. "Still Life" is a masterpiece, featuring hauntingly chilling music, an involving storyline, and great, obsessive vocals from Bruce. A true gem in a great discography. 10

15. The Thin Line Between Love and Hate
(Murray / Harris)
A really great opening moves into a really great verse. Despite the weird phrasing, I love it a lot. The first chorus is great too, but the soaring second chorus steals the show. After the verses and choruses end, we enter a really, really good instrumental bit, winding down for a nice performance of Bruce's as he sings the title, then get another great instrumental piece before the title is repeated again. This song is beautiful. It's awesome and the best thing on the album that isn't "Out of the Silent Planet". 10

14. Alexander the Great
(Harris)
A windy opening with an effective spoken bit moves into a slow-building but fantastic opening piece of music, that gets bigger and bigger until it literally explodes into full force as every member hits the ground running hard. Bruce narrates the life of our protagonist hero with a thrilling performance, and the song moves through sequences like a film. The instrumental section is fantastic, and one of Maiden's best by far. It's a perfect song that was meant to be played live, and I hope that one day it'll get its due in the spotlight. 10

13. Paschendale
(Smith / Harris)
A quiet beating of the drums because a tapping piece from Adrian comes in. Bruce invites us all to lend an ear with some really vivid lyrics before the crash of all guns firing on a battlefield and we do another run through of quietness and another crash that again conjures up the fears of one cast out to die in battle. Then the song gets going and holy shit are these lyrics just the best! "Laying low in a blood-filled trench, killing time 'til my very own death / On my face I can feel the falling rain - never see my friends again." You're right there with the lonely soldier in the trench, watching the cannons fire, ready to return that fire yourself. The chorus is amazing, I love the change-up from "Home, far away, from the war, a chance to live again" to "Home, far away, but the war, no chance to live again." It's simple but so effective. The start-and-stop style the song utilizes really helps sell it; the use of Blake's poetry helps craft all the pieces together. The eagle cry is crazy great, a reminder of how pointless war is at the end of the day and how we get caught up in things that are trivial and somehow still consider ourselves to be better than other animals. This song is just a masterpiece, and if there's one thing I dislike, it's the production, which is muddy, yes, but also too fuzzy for my taste. Definitely the song most affected by it, IMO. Still, I can overlook it because "Paschendale" is great despite that flaw. This song is majestic, an epic in every sense of the word. 10

12. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
(Harris)
A thunderous opening breaks into an epic piece with a lot of momentum to it before Bruce comes in with some of the most theatrical lyrics on an already theatrical album. Soaring vocals showcase how good he sounds before chorus comes in. Despite the repetition, it's still pretty fucking great. The song changes up to repeat a bit of the ROTAM style, but this is different enough to work quite well. Bruce's spoken word piece leads to build-up that culminates in one of the band's best instrumental sections. It's a masterful epic and a fucking awesome song. 10

11. For the Greater Good of God
(Harris)
This is a song I tried to get into so much for a long time, but couldn't thanks to the endless repetition on display. It wasn't until I saw the live performance of it on the LOTB in Tallinn via a YouTube upload, and somehow something clicked for me there because this song has risen greatly in utter leaps and bounds to become one of my goddamn favorite songs from the band. "For the Greater Good of God" is a timeless tale of religion, and of war, and of how the two things often are, as Bruce says, one and the same. I love it. 10

10. Sign of the Cross
(Harris)
A building intro that breaks into Gregorian chanting opens up Maiden's tenth album. It's a drastically different opener to everything they've released before it, but my god, is it brilliant. A bass lead and the voice of Maiden's new singer take centerstage before drumbeats and slow moving guitars and keyboard start intensifying the action. Finally the song just explodes into a heavy, plodding piece with Blaze showcasing how great his voice fits Maiden's new style. The verses are very typical Steve Harris but they work great, and the lyrics are an awesome look at someone awaiting the Inquisition. The chorus is simply but effective, and the long instrumental piece is amazing. It starts out chugging along, then has some more chanting over bass, then gets back to heaviness, leading to a fantastic couple of solos from Dave and Janick, before winding down and returning to the chorus before bowing out with a final stanza delivered by Blaze. This song is a masterpiece, an epic to rival everything Maiden have done up to this point. The production isn't technically 'great', but I love it anyway, because it gives the song a much bigger sound than otherwise. "Sign of the Cross" is the most atypical opener ever, but fuck me if it's not also an incredible way to start an album of this caliber. 10

9. Powerslave
(Dickinson)
A chilling open with a quick drumbeat bursts into a ripping riff that leads to some great lyrics from Bruce before hitting a great chorus as well. A really, really awesome song about how power doesn't make you infallible, "Powerslave" is a great showcase of how great the Maiden frontman is at penning songs. And the instrumental section - holy shit! It's beautiful. A perfect song with stellar performances from all involved. 10

8. Lord of the Flies
(Harris / Gers)
As incredible as "Sign of the Cross" is, "Lord of the Flies" is even better. A really cool Janick riff opens it up before leading to a great verse with a great performance from Blaze. The lyrics are really, really good, a great adaptation of the original novel by William Golding. The chorus is great too, as is the solo and vocal bit before the final chorus. This song is just perfect. The studio version also slays the live performance from DOTR (Bruce doesn't sound nearly as good as Blaze does here), and I'd say it's the best thing they did with Blaze that doesn't have a Spanish title. 10

7. Out of the Silent Planet
(Gers / Dickinson / Harris)
Yeah, this song keeps getting better and better.
"Out of the Silent Planet" is fucking awesome. One of Maiden's best songs ever, featuring some of their best lyrics, a great chorus, great vocals, just amazing overall. I love it. 10

6. The Legacy
(Gers / Harris)
The Legacy. My only issue with this song is that the piece recycled for Empire of the Clouds fits the latter song more. And... that's really it. The build-up seems like a waste of time upon first listen, but it really isn't. It grows and builds till it explodes, and then changes up for the second part of the song. When I first heard AMOLAD, Benjamin Breeg and The Legacy were the stand-outs, the first because I had heard it before and the second probably because it was at the end of the album. But now... now I really have to say that The Legacy is the best song on the album - let alone one of Maiden's finest songs of the 21st century. It asks the questions, it attacks those who live only to have and keep power, and it provides a satisfying conclusion to a satisfying album. It's angry and it's intense, but it's also a cry out for an end to the evil of the world and the wars our evil have begun.

And forget about war - this song can be used in several other situations as well. Of late, the world we live in has suffered from several acts of terrorism, violence, and mass murder. Just this week another shooting happened at a school. The survivors and the families of those who were slaughtered unnecessarily are calling out for something to change - an increase of gun control and more safety at schools for starters. But there are also those who consider that unnecessary - let more people die, because money is more important to us. All they want to send is their thoughts and prayers. As many have pointed out, thoughts and prayers do absolutely nothing to protect innocent lives from crazy people with guns, ammunition, and a wish to kill.

This is just a recent example, and I'm only throwing this in here to help make my point - The Legacy's lyrics are poignant and fit these situations. The people in power now have no wish to help save human life, they just want power, money, and what those two things bring. The first part of The Legacy attacks these kinds of people, and accuses them for the hardships those under them have received. It also attacks them for deceiving people and buying into their system - and how are they being repaid? How are we being repaid? The entire political system is flawed, those in charge are flawed, and the future looks bleak and filled with a great deal more flaws before mankind will ever - if ever - get back on the right track. The left and the right, the black and the white, no one can get along. No one wants to get along. And no one is trying to get along.

And that's where the second part of the song picks up. We live in an uncertain world - fear, hate, ignorance, they're all leading to death. Death by bombs, death by war, death by guns, you get the picture. Some say Armageddon is near, and honestly, it looks about that bleak right now - we seem destined to live in fear. I know I am, and I know many others are as well. Still, there's a hope - can't we treat our fellow men better? A shaking of hands? Live and let live, forget and forgive? But anger and loathing is rife - it's becoming a way of life, and taking the lives of many who get in the way... and now only the dead remain.

The song picks up again - some people are just not wanting peace; their whole life is death and misery. You can see this quite clearly throughout history - the Third Reich, the Soviet Union, the Middle Ages, the Roman Empire, and currently North Korea and... honestly, just about everywhere else. No one cares that they're sending innocent people out to die - people who never wished for what is happening currently to happen, and people who didn't do anything to cause it either. It's fine to lead others to the slaughter, because hey, at least I'm not risking my neck! The only thing that they know - fight fire with fire; life is cheap. But if they do stop to think that man is teetering right on the brink.... - but do you think that they care? They benefit from death and pain and despair.

This isn't an attack at a particular individual in the political system or holding an office of power. This is an attack at all the people in the political system and holding an office of power. Some people, one would hope, are honest and striving to be the best they can be and not to abuse their power. Those people are few and far between. I honestly don't think one can just select one individual and blame them for everything that's happening - Trump, for instance, is a horrible person, but he's only the most obvious example and isn't actually worse than any of our other "leaders" are. He just seems to be because he's such an imbecile; it wouldn't surprise me if he was merely a front for the rest of the people behind the scenes pulling the ropes and sending our world on a path to Hell.

Because that's where we're headed if nothing else changes - and that's what The Legacy is saying in its final line. It's a bleak line, and almost seems like a change around from the hope the others were, but it's not untrue. They benefit from death and pain and despair - do you really think that our leaders care about what we feel? Absolutely not. It's sickening, it's horrifying, and it's enough to give any sane person nightmares. The Legacy leaves you on that note, and the album ends - finishing off with some strumming. Well-fitting.

So basically, what I'm trying to say is this - The Legacy is one of Maiden's greatest songs. It makes you think about life and where we're headed, and it sums up and wraps up the entire AMOLAD album better than any other song could.

The Legacy is a masterpiece.

10/10
I've already said all I needed to say about the song in the 'essay' above. Needless to say then that I love it, that this is one of Maiden's best songs, and that it is the perfect closing to A Matter of Life and Death. 10

5. Run to the Hills
(Harris)
An anthem if there ever was one, "Run to the Hills" opens with Clive Burr's drumbeats before we head into a fantastic riff that starts Bruce off with lyrics from the perspectives of Indians who are beaten off their land by the white man. Things change and we enter the perspective of the whites themselves, dastardly knaves who just want land and gold. The verses are great and the chorus is fantastic, one of the best things they've ever done. This is the song that made me become an Iron Maiden fan, and it works better live today than it ever has. It's perfect. 10

4. Aces High
(Harris)
A great opening leads into one of Maiden's best riff, a soaring piece that sets the scene for what's to come. A fiery Bruce storms into the listener's ear, detailing the POV of a British ace in the Battle of Britain, fighting the Luftwaffe with everything he's got. "Aces High" has the distinct title of featuring the band's best chorus, with a soaring performance of Bruce's showcasing at long last why this motherfucker is the best singer in metal history. Don't quote me on that. Great solos help bring the song to life, and when all's said and done, this is one of the band's greatest songs, a fast and furious showcasing of just how good classic Maiden is. 10

3. Como Estais Amigos
(Gers / Bayley)
I'm just... if Empire of the Clouds didn't exist this might actually be a contender for my favorite Maiden song. Emotional, effective, Blaze went out on the highest note possible. I can't listen to it and not start welling up. I just listened it and I'm still crying from the utter... I don't even know what you call it. Como Estais Amigos is a 10/10, and I'd give it an 11 if I could. Beauty.
OK so my last post was just me stating that I love this song. Now I'm actually gonna talk about why it's so great and why I love it.

Anti-war songs come in a lot of different shapes and forms. Some of them are just decrying war; some of them pertain to a specific battle, war, or event; and some of the take something specific and yet create a song that's influenced by something but that fits any kind of thing. For The Greater Good Of God fits the first one; The Trooper fits the second. Both of these are good songs, but both of them fall short in creating a truly anti-war statement and feel. Actually, FTGGOG nearly succeeds, the only issue being that fucking repetition. Take out the repetition and you have a truly fantastic song; with it in, it's merely "very good". The Trooper, however, fails on all fronts. The song is one of the least anti-war out of Maiden anti-war songs and yet it's praised the most. I mean, yeah it's great, yeah it deserves the praise, but not as an anti-war song. The Trooper is merely a song about a guy fighting and he dies. Maybe a little more to it but that's what it boils down to.

Now, I myself prefer the third category, and Maiden typically succeed with those kinds of songs. Just look through their discography - The Legacy was initially about a world leader but became instead a mammoth that's less specific and more broad, and in fact doesn't even stick completely to war. Then there's Afraid to Shoot Strangers, written about the Gulf War but still holding up today. And of course there's Paschendale. Paschendale fits both in the specific and specific-with-a-twist category. Yes, it's about a specific battle, but take all mention of the battle out and it still holds up really really well. That's what makes a great anti-war song a great anti-war song.

But when it comes to Maiden's anti-war songs, and you know I've been leading up to this - the one I've gotta go for is this five minute masterpiece called "Como Estais Amigos". Yeah, okay, let's get it over with - Argentina does emphatically not use "estais" and that's more of a Spain thing. The title should be something like "¿Cómo Están Amigos?". And I'm sure many people could gripe about how the biggest metal band in the world should have the time to figure out which countries use "vosotros" and which drop that and solely use "ustedes". I get it. What I don't get is dismissing the song solely on that basis. I also don't get how anyone can dismiss this song after hearing it (why vote 1???) but that's a different story and that delves more into opinion and this is my opinion piece and I don't feel the need currently to attack others'. But yeah; the title is a fail but not drastically. It does not impact the song at all.

Now, title issues aside, the actual song: It starts out quietly with a guitar that's almost reminiscent of the Moog synth on The Beatles' Abbey Road album. It seems a little weird on first listen, but as the listenings increase one finds that it's absolutely integral to the song and you wouldn't want it any other way. Blaze starts quietly: "Como esta amigo / For the death of those we don't know / Shall we kneel and say a prayer / They will never know we care." It's absolutely perfect beginning. You already begin to feel your heart pound, your eyes moisten, preparing for what's next to come.

The chorus is perfection: "No more tears, no more tears / If we live for a hundred years, amigos no more tears." After another bit of verse the song gets heavy - but not so heavy as to lose the beauty. Just heavy enough to remind people this is Iron Maiden.

I wanna say a couple things. Firstly, a criticism: the drums on Virtual XI range from decent to bad. The latter is most apparent during this song's verses. Not enough to bring the song down because literally everything else is utter perfection. Secondly: as much as I love VXI, I think one has to admit that the lyrics took a dive. Luckily the songs are all good enough that the lyrical genius, or rather, lack thereof, isn't as necessary here. That being said, Como Estais Amigos has amazing lyrics. All of it, each verse is beautiful. I hate to say it, but it might be because of lack of Steve. It's the only song on the album he didn't contribute to and instead Blaze and Janick teamed up to pen it, inspired by their trip to Argentina and their wonderment at the Falkland War memorials. Como Estais Amigos proves two things: that despite some of the lackluster lyrics he'd written (When Two Worlds Collide comes to mind), Blaze could actually write a great song; and that it was no false hypothesis, Janick really was becoming a great songwriter.

Now why does Como Estais stack up so well and possibly so much better than many other anti-war songs? After all, it's about the Falkland War. After all, that took place in 1982 during the whole Number of the Beast thing, why bring it up again now? Well, Como Estais is a tribute to all the people who died then, needlessly because of the wickedness of the human heart. Actually, you could extend it to include anyone who's ever died needlessly because of the wickedness of the human heart. That's what I love about Como Estais Amigos and songs in that vain: yes, it's written about a specific thing, but if you take about that thing it still holds up well as an anti-war song. It's someone whose country was once moving against another country and firmly extending an olive branch to them.

How can you say it was written for nothing? How can you say you hate this song? How can you give it a 1 of all things? This song is perfect; it's both Janick and Blaze's best moment and furthermore, the single best moment in Maiden's discography, discounting Empire of the Clouds. It's beautiful. It's a masterpiece. And anyone who thinks otherwise, please go listen to this song again.

In a mere five minutes, Maiden closed the door on the Blaze albums. Yet in that five minutes they put together something that can stand for eternity. While I love what's happened since Bruce's return, there's a major part of me that wishes we could've had a longer period of the separation. Not only would we see how epic Bruce could make his follow-up to The Chemical Wedding, but also - if they could craft this thing in their "down" period, then imagine what could have happened next.

Blaze, Steve, Nicko, Janick, Dave - I love all five. They made two masterpieces: the entire X Factor album, and Como Estais Amigos. Just greatness. Outside of Empire, this song is the best thing Maiden have ever made. 10/10, no sweat.

P.S. It's interesting that song that tells you "no more tears" is the song that will love you with more tears than any other.
I've already stated why I love this song so much many times in the past. It's a beautiful, meaningful, emotionally anti-war song and a Top 3 song from the band. 10

2. Rime of the Ancient Mariner
(Harris)
So here we are. "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". The closing track to the already perfect Powerslave.

How did we get here?

From the first album, Maiden have at least attempted to go somewhere with their songs. Sure, "Prowler", "Running Free", and "Iron Maiden" aren't exactly lyrical marvels, but "Strange World" tries to do create mood and atmosphere with some heartfelt lyrics, "Remember Tomorrow" attempts the same (and fails), "Charlotte the Harlot" tries to look at a controversial subject matter, and obviously "Phantom of the Opera" is based on one of the greatest novels of all time. Note something here: "Phantom" is written from the perspective of a character in the story, warning all of the titular Phantom of the Opera.

On Killers, obviously there was less happening lyrically, but we did get another step forward in the literary songs department. "Murders in the Rue Morgue" is only partly based on the Poe short story. Actually, it takes the basics of it and rewrites it differently to fit the Killers concept. Instead of Dupin and his accomplice, we're treated to a song about a man (who may insane) finding a murder and fleeing the country because everyone thinks he did it. Different to the original, but with kind of the same thing at heart.

On The Number of the Beast, we get a double dosage with "Children of the Damned" and "The Prisoner". The first one describes an evil person annihilated to save others... or so it first seems, as they take the narrative and twist it for another meaning - perhaps witch hunts are the evil. And then the latter song is the titular prisoner describing what he's gonna do with his life from here on out.

Piece of Mind opens up its doors to give us a bunch of songs that continue what "Phantom of the Opera" set in motion. "Where Eagles Dare" is based on a movie; "Revelations" takes a Chesterton hymn and adds to it; "Flight of Icarus" rewires the classical myth; "The Trooper" retells the charge of the light brigade from the viewpoint of a doomed soldier; "Quest For Fire" is also based on a movie; and "To Tame A Land" is, of course, based on the novel Dune. Let's note something else here: Maiden's epics. "Phantom" was 7 minutes and 20 seconds long. "Prodigal Son", the longest song on Killers, was 6:05. TNOTB's, "Hallowed Be Thy Name", was 7:08, and finally "To Tame A Land" is 7:26. In other words, there was a great deal of build-up in the literary metal song category and a (more inconsistent) build-up in song length.

With the last track on Powerslave, these two combined together to bring us the monster 13 minute 45 second "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", based on one of the greatest English poems of all time.

From the first note, "Rime" is different from every Maiden epic that came before it and every epic that followed it - there is no build-up whatsoever. No soft acoustic section, no quite vocals, nothing like that. It's just "duhduhduhduhBAM!" and we're launched right into the riff. There's nothing to pad the run time. It pretty much feels like any ordinary song.

Look at these lyrics. Unlike the other songs that were based on already made works, "Rime" doesn't try to showcase different things like character views on their situation, one aspect of the story, etc. The only goal is to tell a story. And it succeeds with flying colors. Steve's song is little more than an abridged version of the original poem. Which begs the question - who likes abridged works? I certainly don't. Moby Dick isn't half as good when the whale terminology chapters are excluded, as they're necessary for the greater whole. It's almost the same with "Rime". The original poem is a masterpiece, and getting the story by reading it is better than by listening to the song, unless you're only in it to get the basics of it. That said, lyrics go hand-in-hand with music, and the music is evocative of the original poem to its very core. It feels like you're with the wedding guest when he meets the Mariner; it feels like you're with the Mariner when he shoots the albatross, when he watches his crewmates die, when he is rescued, etc.

Which almost begs the question - is "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" merely intended to draw people to the original "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"? It seems quite likely. That said, it may also be that Steve loved the poem and thought it would make a great song and actually made a great song out of it. Yeah, I think it's the latter. But I'm damned if the song isn't a great advertisement for the original poem.

Obviously another thing that makes this song work is the constant changes that occur. After the first few minutes we're plunged into nearly a different song, but it carries on the same story and the same feel. Once it ends, the bass-led quieter bit begins. This often seems to be the make-or-break moment for most people. Is it just hear to pad the runtime? Or could it be that Steve Harris knew that to expertly continue the song we would need something different to set our emotions back down low but slowly turn them back up as it progresses. Not only does it help create mood for the story, it also sets us up for what's next to occur.

As drums kick back up and Bruce and guitar come back to the forefront, we are slowly led along as the Mariner changes his tune and receives forgiveness in the form of RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The iconic scream - rivaled only by the one in "The Number of the Beast" - ushers us into the single best moment in Maiden's discography: Rime's perfect instrumental. Every bit of this is just ear candy. The guitars are perfect, and obviously, when it all ends, we return - full-circle - back to where we began, to finish the story and provide closure for us all.

Certainly there were metal epics before 1984. What Iron Maiden did with "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", however, was to reinvent what people considered and looked upon as a "metal epic". From this point forward, every epic that followed would be in the shadow of this monster of a song. Any band that released one - including Maiden with their subsequent epics - would need to strive, not to be better than "Rime", but to get damn near close to it. It changed the landscape forever in the metal scene.

If Iron Maiden hadn't released "Rime", they'd still be the greatest band of all time. If Powerslave didn't include this epic, it'd still be one of the greatest albums ever released. But with "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", both become even better than they would be otherwise. "Rime" is a good part of the reason in why Powerslave is a milestone in metal albums and why Maiden are such icons in the genre.

Finally, when I listen to "Rime", I don't feel the 13 minutes and 45 seconds that transpire. The whole thing is lengthy, yes, but you become wrapped-up in the tale, wrapped-up in the music, wrapped-up in the vocals, that by the time it's over, you feel as though maybe five minutes passed at most. It feels like a normal song... a normal song that was extended and transformed into an epic tale of bad judgement, vengeance, penance, and forgiveness. This is a song you come back to time and time again... or as Steve writes and Bruce sings: "And the tale goes on and on and on and on...."

Quite simply, "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is the only song truly deserving of the title - 'Greatest Metal Song Of All Time'.

10/10.
What can I say that I haven't already said a hundred thousand times? This song is utterly perfect and the best thing the classic Maiden lineup ever made together. 10

1. Empire of the Clouds
(Dickinson)
Well, boys and girls, we've finally reached it. 155 songs later, and we've finally arrived at the pinnacle of human creativity, imagination, and artistry - an 18 minute song about a dirigible created by a man suffering from cancer and straining to hit notes, brought to life via a simple piano, a stolen riff, repetitive pieces, and faux orchestration. When it's phrased like that, it suddenly becomes hard to see why this song is so popular, but then, that statement would be selling "Empire of the Clouds" short.

"Empire" begins the most different way possible - piano. A simple piece of piano opens the epic song up, but its simplicity is what makes it so effective. It's surprisingly emotional, painting a picture better than a thousand words could, and as it slowly builds up on itself, it only gets better. I dare you not to start tearing up - I certainly can't. The whole thing last for two minutes before anything really happens and already it's just so good. And then Bruce comes in...

To ride the storm, to an empire of the clouds
To ride the storm, they climbed aboard their silver ghost
To ride the storm, to a kingdom that will come
To ride the storm, and damn the rest, oblivion

It's the perfect prologue to what's to come. The opening lines bring forth imagery which only grows with the next stanza:

Royalty and dignitaries, brandy and cigars
Grey lady giant of the skies, you hold them in your arms
The millionth chance they laughed, to take down his majesty's craft
To India they say, magic carpet float away
An October fateful day...

These are some incredibly vivid scenes spun before the listener's eyes. You can see all the people as described, laughing and joking about the maiden voyage of the zeppelin, not yet aware of all that will soon take place.

Mist is in the trees, stone sweats with the dew
The morning sunrise, red before the blue
Hanging at the mast, waiting for command
His majesty's airship, the R101...

And there she is, the "grey lady giant of the skies" herself. Awaiting her time to shine. But watch closely here - "red before the blue" is more sinister than you may at first suspect if you glance over it. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight - red sky at morning, sailors take warning." But who has time for that when we've got the biggest aircraft ever built on our hands? Indeed:

She's the biggest vessel built by man, a giant of the skies
For all you unbelievers, the
Titanic fits inside
Drum roll tight, her canvas skin, silvered in the sun
Never tested with the fury, with the beating yet to come
The fury yet to come...

This thing is huge. It's massive. It's impressive. It's a symbol of British might and power. Yet again, no one is ready for all that will come.

In the gathering gloom, the storm rising in the west
The coxswain stared into the plunging weather glass
"We must go now, we must take our chance with fate.
We must go now, for a politician, he can't be late!"

This scene almost reminds me a bit of the tunnel disaster in Atlas Shrugged, where all the warnings have been given but "a politician, he can't be late!" Yes, it's a stretch. Still, they knew of all that could go wrong but were under great pressure to push forward. Meanwhile...

The airship crew, awake for thirty hours at full stretch
But the ship is in their backbone, every sinew, every inch
She never flew at full speed, a trial never done
Her fragile outer cover, her Achilles would become
An Achilles yet to come...

The men aboard the airships were a staunch and ready crew, but the ship itself could often be its undoing. Conditions had to be just right for things to go perfectly, and oftentimes if the wind got too strong, the thing could be tossed up and down like a balloon. On occasion, an airship could survive that, but usually it ended in disaster.

Sailors of the sky, a hardened breed
Loyal to the king and an airship creed
The engines drum, the telegraph sounds
Release the cords that bind us to the ground!

Said the coxswain, "Sir, she's heavy; she'll never make this flight."
Said the captain, "Damn the cargo! We'll be on our way tonight!"
Groundlings cheered in wonder as she backed up from the mast
Baptizing them her water from the ballast fore and aft
Now she slips into our past...
More incredibly vivid scenes from Bruce as we watch the R101 launch and sail away into the distance. The opening piano piece returns again, only this time on guitar, before we suddenly reach a piece tapping out the SOS signal in musical form. This moves through and builds on itself until it changes into a fairly bright piece to show the ship sailing along, but in the distance the cloud is ever growing. The SOS bit returns quickly and moves into another piece as we see the storm cloud overtaking the ship, before the SOS bit returns again and ushers in a riff taken blatantly from "The Legacy"... but it shockingly works even better, showing the ship starting to lose itself in the flurry.

Suddenly the song gets faster as we see the ship being tossed and turned in the wind, before we return to "The Legacy" riff and get a great solo from it. Then the heaviness returns, this time with Bruce's vocals:

Fighting the wind as it rolls you
Feeling the diesels that push you along
Watching the channel below you
Lower and lower into the night
Lights are passing below you
Northern France asleep in their beds
Storm is raging around you
A million to one, that's what he said

The ship is being conquered by the storm. Another piece leads us into the next verse.

Reaper standing beside her
With his scythe cuts to the bone
Panic to make a decision
Experienced men asleep in their graves
Her cover is ripped and she's drowning
Rain is flooding into the hull
Bleeding to death and she's falling
Lifting gas is draining away
Oh my god, what imagery is presented in these lyrics! Such utter poetry, showing the tragic death of the airship and all those aboard her. The song changes-up in a simple but effective piece signifying the crash, before Bruce returns with:

"We're down, lads!" came the cry, bow plunging from the sky
Three thousand horses silent as the ship began to die
The flares to guide her path, ignited at the last
The Empire of the Clouds, just ashes in our past
Just ashes at the last...
The opening piano bit returns again and builds into a rushing climax:

Here lie their dreams as I stand in the sun
Over grounds where they built, and the engines did run
To the moon and the stars, now what have we done?
Oh the dreamers may die, but the dream live on!
Such passion. The culmination of all we've been building up to. Utter perfection. And then, as an epilogue:

Now a shadow on a hill, the angel of the east
The Empire of the Clouds may rest in peace
And in a country churchyard, laid head to the mast
Eight and forty souls, who came to die in France...
What can I possibly say about this song that can properly express how much I love it? What "Paschendale" is to LooseCannon, what "Rime" is to Foro and Number 6, and what "Hallowed" is to so many fans of Iron Maiden, so to is "Empire" to me - a work of art that transcends music as a whole and is, for lack of a better word, perfection. It's the culmination of a career that, despite its ups and downs, is still as strong today as it was back in the day, if not more so.

I'd love to give this song higher than a ten if I could, because it deserves it. I don't know how Maiden could possibly top this song, but I'd love to see them try. 10
 

Collin

Chasing Ponce De Leon's Phantoms
The Diesel 11 Rankings
End Year '18

155. Remember Tomorrow
(Harris / Di'Anno)




154. Charlotte the Harlot
(Murray)


153. Childhood's End
(Harris)


152. The Man Who Would Be King
(Murray / Harris)


151. Drifter
(Harris)


150. Purgatory
(Harris)


149. Out of the Shadows
(Dickinson / Harris)


148. Mother of Mercy
(Smith / Harris)


147. Twilight Zone
(Murray / Harris)


146. Prodigal Son
(Harris)


145. Another Life
(Harris)


144. Innocent Exile
(Harris)


143. Age of Innocence
(Murray / Harris)


142. The Longest Day
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)


141. Gangland
(Smith / Burr)


140. Fear is the Key
(Dickinson / Gers)


139. Transylvania
(Harris)


138. The Assassin
(Harris)


137. Fates Warning
(Murray / Harris)


136. Quest for Fire
(Harris)


135. The Fugitive
(Harris)


134. Shadows of the Valley
(Gers / Harris)


133. When the River Runs Deep
(Smith / Harris)


132. The Man of Sorrows
(Murray / Harris)


131. Prowler
(Harris)


130. Wasting Love
(Dickinson / Gers)


129. The Alchemist
(Gers / Harris / Dickinson)


128. El Dorado
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)


127. The Educated Fool
(Harris)


126. No Prayer For The Dying
(Harris)


125. The Prophecy
(Murray / Harris)


124. Holy Smoke
(Harris / Dickinson)


123. Chains of Misery
(Dickinson / Murray)


122. Satellite 15... The Final Frontier
(Smith / Harris)


121. Wildest Dreams
(Smith / Harris)


120. Sun and Steel
(Dickinson / Smith)


119. Invaders
(Harris)


118. Sanctuary
(Harris / Murray / Di'Anno)


117. Running Free
(Harris / Di'Anno)


116. Coming Home
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)


115. New Frontier
(McBrain / Smith / Dickinson)


114. Strange World
(Harris)


113. Starblind
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)


112. The Angel and the Gambler
(Harris)


111. When Two Worlds Collide
(Murray / Bayley / Harris)


110. The Ides of March
(Harris)


109. Hooks In You
(Dickinson / Smith)


108. From Here To Eternity
(Harris)


107. Stranger in a Strange Land
(Smith)


106. Die With Your Boots On
(Smith / Dickinson / Harris)


105. Children of the Damned
(Harris)


104. Phantom of the Opera
(Harris)


103. Iron Maiden
(Harris)


102. Isle of Avalon
(Smith / Harris)


101. Look for the Truth
(Bayley / Gers / Harris)


100. Sea of Madness
(Smith)


99. Wrathchild
(Harris)


98. Weekend Warrior
(Harris / Gers)


97. Public Enema Number One
(Murray / Dickinson)


96. Futureal
(Harris / Bayley)


95. These Colours Don't Run
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)


94. Speed of Light
(Smith / Dickinson)


93. The Great Unknown
(Smith / Harris)


92. Man on the Edge
(Bayley / Gers)


91. 2 A.M.
(Bayley / Gers / Harris)


90. No More Lies
(Harris)


89. Caught Somewhere In Time
(Harris)


88. Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter
(Dickinson)


87. The Clairvoyant
(Harris)


86. When the Wild Wind Blows
(Harris)


85. Dance of Death
(Gers / Harris)


84. Run Silent Run Deep
(Harris / Dickinson)


83. Be Quick or Be Dead
(Dickinson / Gers)


82. Rainmaker
(Murray / Harris / Dickinson)


81. Montségur
(Gers / Harris / Dickinson)


80. Total Eclipse
(Murray / Harris / Burr)


79. Murders in the Rue Morgue
(Harris)


78. Killers
(Di'Anno / Harris)


77. The Wicker Man
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)


76. The Nomad
(Murray / Harris)


75. Ghost of the Navigator
(Gers / Dickinson / Harris)


74. Blood Brothers
(Harris)


73. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)


72. Lightning Strikes Twice
(Murray / Harris)


71. Genghis Khan
(Harris)


70. 22 Acacia Avenue
(Harris / Smith)


69. Mother Russia
(Harris)


68. Afraid to Shoot Strangers
(Harris)


67. Blood on the World's Hands
(Harris)


66. The Unbeliever
(Harris, Gers)


65. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
(Murray / Harris)


64. Can I Play With Madness
(Smith / Dickinson / Harris)


63. To Tame a Land
(Harris)


62. Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger
(Harris)


61. Where Eagles Dare
(Harris)


60. Moonchild
(Smith / Dickinson)


59. Flight of Icarus
(Smith / Dickinson)


58. Heaven Can Wait
(Harris)


57. The Prisoner
(Smith / Harris)


56. Face in the Sand
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)


55. Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)
(Harris)


54. Flash of the Blade
(Dickinson)


53. Fear of the Dark
(Harris)


52. Infinite Dreams
(Harris)


51. The Pilgrim
(Gers / Harris)


50. Lord of Light
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)


49. Tailgunner
(Harris / Dickinson)


48. The Fallen Angel
(Smith / Harris)


47. Brave New World
(Murray / Harris / Dickinson)


46. Fortunes of War
(Harris)


45. The Talisman
(Gers / Harris)


44. The Number of the Beast
(Harris)


43. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
(Harris)


42. The Aftermath
(Harris / Bayley / Gers)


41. Dream of Mirrors
(Gers / Harris)


40. If Eternity Should Fail
(Dickinson)


39. Hallowed Be Thy Name
(Harris)


38. The Red and the Black
(Harris)


37. Gates of Tomorrow
(Gers / Harris / Dickinson)


36. 2 Minutes To Midnight
(Smith / Dickinson)


35. Revelations
(Dickinson)


34. Death or Glory
(Smith / Dickinson)


33. Back in the Village
(Smith / Dickinson)


32. Judgement of Heaven
(Harris)


31. The Trooper
(Harris)


30. Tears of a Clown
(Smith / Harris)


29. Journeyman
(Smith / Harris / Dickinson)


28. The Clansman
(Harris)


27. Deja Vu
(Murry / Harris)


26. The Edge of Darkness
(Harris / Bayley / Gers)


25. Only the Good Die Young
(Harris / Dickinson)


24. The Book of Souls
(Gers / Harris)


23. The Duellists
(Harris)


22. The Mercenary
(Gers / Harris)


21. Different World
(Smith / Harris)


20. The Apparition
(Harris / Gers)


19. Judas Be My Guide
(Dickinson / Murray)


18. The Evil That Men Do
(Smith / Dickinson / Harris)


17. Wasted Years
(Smith)


16. Still Life
(Murray / Harris)


15. The Thin Line Between Love and Hate
(Murray / Harris)


14. Alexander the Great
(Harris)


13. Paschendale
(Smith / Harris)


12. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
(Harris)


11. For the Greater Good of God
(Harris)


10. Sign of the Cross
(Harris)


9. Powerslave
(Dickinson)


8. Lord of the Flies
(Harris / Gers)


7. Out of the Silent Planet
(Gers / Dickinson / Harris)



6. The Legacy
(Gers / Harris)



5. Run to the Hills
(Harris)


4. Aces High
(Harris)


3. Como Estais Amigos
(Gers / Bayley)




2. Rime of the Ancient Mariner
(Harris)



1. Empire of the Clouds
(Dickinson)
Be honest. How long did it take you to make this post?
 

frus

Barbed Wire Hen
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LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
I'd probably put it about the same, but the mid-50s for me are likely in the 8s range.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
"Infinite Dreams" was a song that first had to climb up to make its way into my Top 10, but it's had a steady decline in my rankings since then. I don't think it's destined to drop much further but we'll see how that all turns out.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
How did you manage to rank all of the songs, exactly? Did you just start handing all of them 1-10 grades and then ranked the ones with the same grade mark?
It's the other way round, actually. I rank the songs and then the ratings I give them correspond with that. When I rank them, I'm really just comparing all the songs together. First I rank them according to album, then I start compiling them into a bigger list. This time around I rank the albums from 1980-1992 and then 1995-2015, and then just put both lists together into one. Using a preference revealer would also be an option for someone who finds ranking the songs hard.
 

soundwave

Educated Fool
I'm always impressed when people do a complete ranking like this. I could probably do a top 10 and a bottom 10...but everything else in between is so fluid for me depending on my mood.
 
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