DJMayes' Complete Ranking Of Maiden Songs

Which song will win?

  • Run To The Hills

    Votes: 10 62.5%
  • Empire Of The Clouds

    Votes: 6 37.5%

  • Total voters
    16
  • Poll closed .

Perun

After the war?
Staff member
If anything I think The Alchemist is severely underrated - that's been one of my favorites off The Final Frontier for ages and it's always kind of glossed over. Great song!

When the album came out, everybody on this board was raving about how great it is. It completely baffled me... in my ears, it's a completely insignificant little rocker.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Great review:
64 - Lightning Strikes Twice

"Is it the rolling of thunder that scares you?" - No Blaze, it's how suddenly badass you've become. ... [etc.]

......

I'm not really sure how this song is received here. I'd probably guess most people rate it lower, but I think it's a fun shot of adrenaline that doesn't overstay its welcome.
Could be. I have it between 40 and 50. My favourite Virtual XI song.
completely insignificant
:nonono:
 
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soundwave

Educated Fool
I appreciate the time you're putting into this list, and I appreciate your well reasoned analysis, but let me go on the record and say that putting dross like Lightning Strikes Twice over CSIT is essentially sacrilege IMHO) :nonono:

(But hey, that's what makes it interesting to read. Curious to see your top 20...)
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
For me - in Maiden's current "super prog" era, it was refreshing to get a quick uptempo rocker that was really strong on all fronts (lyrics, chorus, solos etc...).
Yea, it was a necessary breather before IOA. Plus it's just such an awesome song. Had it been on FOTD it would have probably been remembered as one of the better songs from the 90s.
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
#60 - 56:

60 - Bring Your Daughter... ...To The Slaughter

And so we have our first album eliminated with No Prayer For The Dying. This isn't actually my least favourite album - that accolade goes to X Factor - but it's more a result of the album not really having any truly special songs to me.

BYDTTS is the best of the bunch though. A thumping bass and some odd guitar work make up the verses, before giving way to the best chorus on the album. It's not near Maiden's best but it's a lot of fun and showcases some of Bruce's better singing on this album.

For me this song has a couple of standout moments amongst these otherwise fun sections. Firstly is the solo, which I genuinely consider one of their better ones; take 2:44 for an example. The other magical moment is the bridge after that, with its oddly upbeat pace, tense guitars, and the 3:15 "ah-ah-ah" section, the absolute magical moment of this entire album for me.

I do sometimes think it's odd that this was the bands only #1 single. I don't have a gripe with that persay, but finding out this is the only song of the band someone knows is very odd as it is rare to see it lauded as one of their best.

59 - Murders In The Rue Morgue

An understated gem from the Di-Anno period, it's a real shame that this song doesn't get the same sort of live play that the likes of Running Free, Sanctuary and Wrathchild get as it's much better.

The near acoustic intro is an early indicator of Maiden's progression, but it (and the bombastic, slow section before the song kicks in) feel almost at odds with the rapid attack this song otherwise gets. The verses of this song are great. The guitarwork isn't particularly fancy but the progression just sounds good and works well for this song. The chorus is great also - an absurdly catchy piece with some great riffs underneath. It's a good thing it's enjoyable, given how many times it's used! The bridge between the 2nd and 3rd choruses is alright, but very short so doesn't really make a difference to my enjoyment of the song. The solos here are the worst part, and a relative letdown. Still, the energetic verses and massive chorus do this song wonders.

58 - No More Lies

No More Lies is a song I see quite commonly rated low, and which always surprises me when it is. The reason for this is that I think this song is too safe, too inoffensive to really be rated that low. There's no section of this song I think is bad, albeit no section I think is a masterpiece. It's simply a solid, if predictable, entry to the Maiden catalogue.

We kick off with a prototypical soft intro, with a simple yet enjoyable guitar riff complemented by the unobtrusive drumming underneath. This section is done really well in my opinion - it's interesting to listen to without needing to go over the top to do it.

The verse is a similar tone, and perfectly suits Bruce's delivery here. We get a slight change of pace in the pre-chorus (again great) before meeting the marmite chorus. This gets an undeserved amount of hate here. It's as good as many songs which do exactly the same thing yet get away scot free. It's magical on first delivery, and for a long time I rated this song much higher than I do now because of it. Whilst it's cooled off since then, it still works well to my mind.

The progression into the more riff heavy second verse is a nice touch here. The instrumental after the second chorus is a nice touch, and the triple solos are good even if I don't think any of them are individual standouts. I think this was a good live choice. Between the solos and the instantly accessible chorus it's got a lot going for it.

The Dance of Death album overall has a texture that I really enjoy. It's not as sharp as Brave New World (Songs from which are usually quite recognisable by the very crisp guitar) but it's got a wonderfully warm feeling. The album uses keyboards on several of the songs to great effect as well, including this one. The album is a really good showcase of using keyboards just to add a little texture to the songs without letting them get bogged down in them.

57 - The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg

I apologise here to the user who predicted this would be a top 5 song of mine. It's not at that level, but it is a really good song.

As happens so many times on AMOLAD, we get a soft intro - hard song structure. The structure works well, but I do wonder if the album would benefit from a bit more variation.

This particular soft intro is quite haunting, with the guitar matching the mood very well. However, it's the transition from thus to the bone-crunching main riff that is the big pay-off. It's absolutely brutal, one of Maiden's heaviest moments and works. These make the verses a wonderful headbanging affair. Whilst the chorus isn't really as good as the verse, the riff carries you through it headbanging still. Bruce's soaring works really nicely in contrast to the crunch here.

4:49, the instrumental section, reminds me of another song though I don't know for the life of me which one. It's frustrating as it's a pretty good riff. 5:33 sees the solos kick off to a very menacing riff here. They match the song really nicely.

56 - Brighter Than A Thousand Suns

On the surface, I find this song very similar to the previous one - namely that both would prefer to simply melt your face off with the heaviness of their riffs compared to anything else. Comparing the two is very difficult. I think Breeg has a tastier crunch, particularly at the beginning as well as a better chorus, but this song is overall more cohesive and has a much stronger instrumental section.

Again, we have another soft intro, though this time round it's a softer version of the songs main riff. This works pretty much the same as it always does. This song chooses to use the crunch more sparingly (e.g. 0:44), saving it for opportune moments in between the frantic verse. The guitar work is very evocative in the verses, evoking a sense of panic. The "chorus" here ("Unholy union...") is honestly kind of weak in my opinion, and I'm glad that the song doesn't choose to dwell on it, getting right back into some crunching riffs.

We get some respite 2 and a half minutes in, with a slow progression behind the repetition of the songs title, slowly building into a pretty good solo. It's 4:02 that is the magic of this song though, as we transition from the crunch to a decidedly more frantic gallop. Whilst I don't think Bruce's vocals here are his best, I think they work with the breakneck guitars taking most of the attention. This then transitions into a second solo, and again it's a really nice one, with great moments such as 5:40 until it works its way back to the main riff of the song.

Of course, we've got another 3 minutes of the song left, but this is the same heavy affair we started off with. Great verses, less great "choruses". Speaking of which, what is the chorus really? The "unholy union" section is repeated more, but the "Out of the darkness" section seems more important (and much better).

Remaining Songs:


1980 - Iron Maiden


1 - Prowler -
5 - Phantom of the Opera -

1981 - Killers

7 - Killers -
9 - Purgatory -

1982 - The Number Of The Beast

2 - Children of the Damned -
3 - The Prisoner -
5 - The Number of the Beast -
6 - Run To The Hills -
9 - Hallowed Be Thy Name -

1983 - Piece Of Mind

2 - Revelations -
3 - Flight of Icarus -
5 - The Trooper -

1984 - Powerslave

1 - Aces High -
2 - 2 Minutes to Midnight -
4 - Flash Of The Blade -
7 - Powerslave -
8 - Rime of the Ancient Mariner -

1986 - Somewhere In Time

2 - Wasted Years -
3 - Sea Of Madness -
5 - The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner -

1988 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

1 - Moonchild -
2 - Infinite Dreams -
3 - Can I Play With Madness -
4 - The Evil That Men Do -
5 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son -
8 - Only The Good Die Young -

1992 - Fear Of The Dark

3 - Afraid To Shoot Strangers -
6 - Wasting Love -
10 - Judas Be My Guide -
12 - Fear Of The Dark -

1995 - X Factor

7 - Judgement of Heaven -
9 - The Edge Of Darkness -

1998 - Virtual XI

1 - Futureal -
4 - The Clansman -

2000 - Brave New World

2 - Ghost of the Navigator -
4 - Blood Brothers -
6 - Dream Of Mirrors -
7 - The Fallen Angel -

2003 - Dance Of Death

1 - Wildest Dreams -
2 - Rainmaker -
4 - Montsegur -
5 - Dance of Death -
8 - Paschendale -
9 - Face In The Sand -

2006 - A Matter Of Life And Death

8 - For the Greater Good of God -
9 - Lord of Light -

2010 - The Final Frontier

1 - Satellite 15... The Final Frontier -
4 - Coming Home -
8 - The Talisman -

2015 - The Book Of Souls

1 - If Eternity Should Fail -
4 - The Red and the Black -
6 - The Book of Souls -
8 - Shadows of the Valley -
9 - Tears of a Clown -
11 - Empire of the Clouds -
 
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mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
Very thoughtful takes this round.
Particularly enjoyed the good defence of the underrated No More Lies.
 

soundwave

Educated Fool
#60 - 56:

59 - Murders In The Rue Morgue

An understated gem from the Di-Anno period, it's a real shame that this song doesn't get the same sort of live play that the likes of Running Free, Sanctuary and Wrathchild get as it's much better.

[/spoiler]

I was fortunate to hear MITRM live on the Early Days tour - it rocked. I completely agree that it should be in the "old school" rotation part of the set list.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
DJMayes has no No Prayer for the Dying songs in his top 50.

DJMayes' album order of last appearance
01) No Prayer for the Dying (favourite song: Bring Your Daughter .... To the Slaughter, 60)



DJMayes' album order of first appearance

01) No Prayer for the Dying (least favourite song: Mother Russia, 160)
02) The X-Factor (least favourite song: Blood on the World's Hands, 159)
03) Powerslave (least favourite song: The Duellists, 158)
04) The Number of the Beast (least favourite song: Gangland, 156)
05) Brave New World (least favourite song: The Nomad, 154)
06) Killers (least favourite song: Innocent Exile, 150)
07) Piece of Mind (least favourite song: Quest for Fire, 149)
08) Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (least favourite song: The Prophecy, 148)
09) Iron Maiden (least favourite song: Running Free, 146)
10) The Final Frontier (least favourite song: Isle of Avalon, 143)
11) Fear of the Dark (least favourite song: Fear is the Key, 139)
12) A Matter of Life and Death (least favourite song: The Legacy, 136)
13) Virtual XI (least favourite song: Como Estais Amigos, 127)
14) Dance of Death (least favourite song: New Frontier, 125)
15) Somewhere in Time (least favourite song: Alexander the Great, 104)

16) The Book of Souls (least favourite song: The Man of Sorrows, 102)

There are no full albums in the top 100 of DJMayes complete ranking of Maiden songs.
There are no full albums outside this top 100.


DJMayes' non-album song order of appearance
01) Invasion, 153
02) Virus, 151

03) Burning Ambition, 135
04) I Live My Way, 132
05) Justice of the Peace, 124
06) Judgement Day, 114
 
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bornless1

Messiah Supreme. True Leader of Men.
Wow 4 killer songs and favorites of mine, and that heap of stinking noise pollution that is BYDTTS!! Lol. Wow how opinions differ. As I've said before "bring" isn't even music to me.
It is borderline embarrassing. Breeg and brighter, Lies and murders are awesome, at least they were ahead of ...that other song:D!!
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
#55 - 51:

55 - Montsegur

Montsegur is an underrated beast of a song that grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go.

After a strong intro, we get a verse with some really interesting guitar work underneath, particularly in the second half adding to the pace and aggression of the song. The chorus is a strong one, with Bruce's wail enhanced by the dancing guitarwork underneath. It's effectively got two sections, which feel quite different but both work, and keeps the song interesting.

After the choruses we get a quick riffing bridge, with a build up in the middle before we meet a solo playing over a slower riff. This is a great solo, with 3:37ish being my favourite part of it. However, it leads into some wonderful guitar, such as 4:07. The added guitar texture in the final chorus is a great way to finish off the entire package.

Above I mentioned that I feel Montsegur is quite underrated. In truth, apart from 3 songs on this album (Rainmaker, Dance of Death and Paschendale) I think the entire rest of the album is generally underrated. Indeed, I have 5 songs from this album yet to even list! The epics on this album are obviously wonderful but I think there are so many other wonderful, unappreciated songs that bind this album together. This album has 11 songs - if you take out the two or three worst then I would argue that this album beats any of Maiden's "classic" albums.

54 - Sea of Madness

Sea of Madness is a wonderful song. I think it's got lots of very interesting sections, and is overall just a very strong song. It's here because I personally prefer the songs above it but I can't bash anyone who rates it higher.

Instantly we get a great riff, and a very catchy bassline drops in quite soon after. This section, accompanied with some great drumwork, makes up for a very strong verse. This interesting musicianship follows into the chorus, though I don't think the vocals quite match up to the standard with the result being that the chorus isn't as enjoyable as it is impressive - though strong nonetheless.

The solos in this song are fantastic. My favourite section is straight after the first one, where we slow down for an almost poppy interlude at around 3 minutes in. The vocal "ooooh-oooh-ooh" is a wonderful touch, and the magic of this moment is quite unique to this song. The "It's madness!" section can't match what came before but is an enjoyable way of building the pace back up to get back to the verse.

53 - Futureal

Futureal, the lead single that should have been.

This song is the absolute most single worthy song produced whilst Blaze was in the band. It's short, it's snappy and it's incredibly catchy. Choosing The Angel and the Gambler was simply a bad idea, though it does give an edited single version for those who are less fond.

Futureal kicks off with its fantastically catchy main guitar riff. Once this is done, we go straight for the verse which mixes some solid speedy playing with some more renditions of that fantastic riff. The chorus uses a variation of this, supported by some fantastic vocals by Blaze, that works a treat.

This song has a solo which is, for the most part, uncharacteristically slow for a song of this pace, but it's good nonetheless, picking up pace towards the end. The instrumental interlude of the main riff afterwards is golden, and we get another go at that great chorus before it's done - all in less than 3 minutes! As far as Maiden songs go this one really is bang for your buck.

We're down to the final Virtual XI song now - The Clansman! Whilst I'm sure most people probably expected this, but how far can it go?

52 - Flash of the Blade

To my reckoning, Powerslave can be divided into 3 sections: the obvious hits, the obvious duds, and this. Flash of the Blade is the only song on the album that's not a hit that I consider particularly strong, and I'd have loved to have heard it live.

This song has an absolutely fantastic main riff. It's half the reason the song gets this high. The verses steady attack is alright (though I wouldn't say great) and I love the chorus. It's got some great vocals, and segues into the riff at the end for bonus points.

This song also has some wonderful instrumentals. The pre-solo guitar licks are great fun, and there's some great bass work (and alright guitar work) before we reach 2:53, a wonderful part. This song does seem to eschew the standard solo structure, but these sections are a great alternative. On top of this the main riff is as good or better than most of their solos, so it isn't necessary at all.

Whilst I can't complain about it not being a single when it comes from the same album as the likes of Aces High, I do think this would've made a good single.

51 - Only The Good Die Young

My thoughts of Only The Good Die Young feel very much a continuation of those for the song above. It's a great song that's unfortunately been overshadowed by others on its own album.

There's no need to mess around here, as the song bursts straight into gallop alongside some gorgeous guitar work for an intro. This song has some of the best verses of the entire album, with a delicate mix of atmosphere and relentless pace thanks to the contrast between the bass' furious gallop and the guitars gorgeous melodies. The vocals are great, and this is a really easy song to sing along to.

The chorus is a bit more bombastic, but easy to sing along to, with some great guitar melodies, particularly in the second half of the chorus where the song progresses.

Only The Good Die Young follows this up with a gorgeous solo and a wonderful (bass?) section at 1:53. It's comparatively short but effective. Thankfully we get a short outro solo before an "ending" that I think would've served really well as the ending to the entire album.

I'd say my only qualm with this entire song is the fact we have to sit through the spoken word at the end again. Whilst this works fantastically as an intro, as an outro it just doesn't. I'd be comfortable saying I'd play this song a lot more if this part was cut off, and it'd quite probably jump up a fair amount too.

Remaining Songs (Top 50!)


1980 - Iron Maiden


1 - Prowler -
5 - Phantom of the Opera -

1981 - Killers

7 - Killers -
9 - Purgatory -

1982 - The Number Of The Beast

2 - Children of the Damned -
3 - The Prisoner -
5 - The Number of the Beast -
6 - Run To The Hills -
9 - Hallowed Be Thy Name -

1983 - Piece Of Mind

2 - Revelations -
3 - Flight of Icarus -
5 - The Trooper -

1984 - Powerslave

1 - Aces High -
2 - 2 Minutes to Midnight -
7 - Powerslave -
8 - Rime of the Ancient Mariner -

1986 - Somewhere In Time

2 - Wasted Years -
5 - The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner -

1988 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

1 - Moonchild -
2 - Infinite Dreams -
3 - Can I Play With Madness -
4 - The Evil That Men Do -
5 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son -

1992 - Fear Of The Dark

3 - Afraid To Shoot Strangers -
6 - Wasting Love -
10 - Judas Be My Guide -
12 - Fear Of The Dark -

1995 - X Factor

7 - Judgement of Heaven -
9 - The Edge Of Darkness -

1998 - Virtual XI

4 - The Clansman -

2000 - Brave New World

2 - Ghost of the Navigator -
4 - Blood Brothers -
6 - Dream Of Mirrors -
7 - The Fallen Angel -

2003 - Dance Of Death

1 - Wildest Dreams -
2 - Rainmaker -
5 - Dance of Death -
8 - Paschendale -
9 - Face In The Sand -

2006 - A Matter Of Life And Death

8 - For the Greater Good of God -
9 - Lord of Light -

2010 - The Final Frontier

1 - Satellite 15... The Final Frontier -
4 - Coming Home -
8 - The Talisman -

2015 - The Book Of Souls

1 - If Eternity Should Fail -
4 - The Red and the Black -
6 - The Book of Souls -
8 - Shadows of the Valley -
9 - Tears of a Clown -
11 - Empire of the Clouds -
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
DJMayes' album order of last appearance
01) No Prayer for the Dying (favourite song: Bring Your Daughter .... To the Slaughter, 60)

DJMayes' album order of first appearance
01) No Prayer for the Dying (least favourite song: Mother Russia, 160)
02) The X-Factor (least favourite song: Blood on the World's Hands, 159)
03) Powerslave (least favourite song: The Duellists, 158)
04) The Number of the Beast (least favourite song: Gangland, 156)
05) Brave New World (least favourite song: The Nomad, 154)
06) Killers (least favourite song: Innocent Exile, 150)
07) Piece of Mind (least favourite song: Quest for Fire, 149)
08) Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (least favourite song: The Prophecy, 148)
09) Iron Maiden (least favourite song: Running Free, 146)
10) The Final Frontier (least favourite song: Isle of Avalon, 143)
11) Fear of the Dark (least favourite song: Fear is the Key, 139)
12) A Matter of Life and Death (least favourite song: The Legacy, 136)
13) Virtual XI (least favourite song: Como Estais Amigos, 127)
14) Dance of Death (least favourite song: New Frontier, 125)
15) Somewhere in Time (least favourite song: Alexander the Great, 104)

16) The Book of Souls (least favourite song: The Man of Sorrows, 102)

Top 100:
There are no full albums in the top 100 of DJMayes complete ranking of Maiden songs.
There are no full albums outside this top 100.


Top 50:
There is one full album outside the top 50 (No Prayer for the Dying). All other albums have at least one song in the top 50.

DJMayes' non-album song order of appearance
01) Invasion, 153
02) Virus, 151

03) Burning Ambition, 135
04) I Live My Way, 132
05) Justice of the Peace, 124
06) Judgement Day, 114
 

soundwave

Educated Fool
I think everything in your #51 - #55 could be classified as the "hidden hits" or the "why the hell aren't in these in the regular set list rotation" tunes :D
 

bornless1

Messiah Supreme. True Leader of Men.
Agree completely with sound wave . This is a fivesome' of killer rockers that juuuust miss being huge hits. For different reasons for some.
Ive always shook my head at those who don't hold Montsegur higher, it just explodes from the start and is heavy throughout. It and SOM would be singles if off lesser albums with weaker competition IMO. This group feels right being together and placed about right in the countdown.
DJ I'll have to say, your list is very intriguing and your descriptions/reviews are more interesting than previous lists'. Great job kid.
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
It's time to start digging into the top 50. Numbers 50-26 will be done in sets of 5, as usual. When I get down to the top 25 songs, I will start doing them one at a time, and hopefully say a bit more about each.

#50 - 46:

50 - The Prisoner


I'd like to start this with a personal anecdote about this song. The program/film that the intro was taken from was well before my time, so I never saw it. One of my university lecturers, however, has, and he used the intro from the show in one of his lectures (how it related to a mathematics lecture on computational mathematics I forget, but that's tangential) to which my immediate reaction was "Hey! That's The Prisoner!"

Ahem. In any case, it does serve as a great spoken word intro to the song. Surprisingly it's reasonably popular live as well as Number of the Beast, despite the two sharing this and my personal feeling that this sort of intro wouldn't work as well in the middle of a set. This gives way to Clive's emotive drums and a short but sweet riff. The build up of the drums throughout this intro works nicely and makes the transition to the faster, main riff much more smooth.

This verse riff is solid, but lacks a bit of variety until the pre-chorus, which has some really cool bass. The actual chorus juxtaposes it nicely, with more relaxed guitar and smoother vocals that blend seamlessly.

After the second chorus, at 3:43, we get a beautiful guitar break before the solo. This section is very catchy whilst simultaneously serving as a great transition between the chorus and the solos. These are pretty awesome solos, particularly the second one which just lets rip. This entire section is not only the best part of the song but one of the best instrumental parts from the entire album.

49 - Wildest Dreams

This is definitely one a lot of people rate lower, and to some extent I can understand this. What I can't understand is the abject hate it sometimes gets. Sure, it's not winning any awards for musical technicality or lyrical vision. But once you've got past the fact this isn't trying to be either of those things I still think it's a fun, cheery little song with lyrics that, whilst not quite Rime, are still quite poignant. I mean this in the sense that I love this songs sense of happiness, its playfulness, and its optimism. This feelings permeate a fair amount of the reunion era work, and are something I really enjoy wherever they appear.

In any case, on to the song. I'll give it to you that Nicko counting down is not the most exciting start to a song Maiden has ever produced, but if nothing else it does give a pseudo-live feeling. The intro riff is instantly enjoyable, and even more so when it builds up to the main verse. The verses of these songs are fantastic, and I have no qualms about belting them out loudly wherever I go.

The chorus here reminds me of some of Judas Priest's songs; and indeed "out on the road" seems a prototypical early heavy metal ideal repeated here. It's not a technically impressive chorus but it's catchy enough and as before, I love the lyrics to the song which improves it substantially in my books.

The solo to this song is surprisingly strong, and segues wonderfully into the slowed section at 2:35. This section just works wonderfully in the context of the song, building up gradually until we go for the chorus a final time, but with added guitar work that makes it much more interesting musically on top of how much fun it already is to sing.

48 - Dream of Mirrors

Another notch in Janick Gers' impressive belt of songs, Dream of Mirrors is a lengthy song that spends its time not pushing boundaries but simply delivering the goods.

After a short, bombastic vocal intro, we meet a beautiful main riff. The gallop here is quiet yet definite, brooding so you can hear every note. The guitar repeats a simple yet catchy tune that blends in with the moody basswork below, and Bruce does some more restrained singing here to great effect. This is a tune that always feels like it has two bass guitars playing. I imagine I'm getting confused with one of the guitars or the bass drum but it's a nice part. This has a nice progression into the second part of the verse, a slight uplift without the gallop before getting into a section that very easily passes for a chorus. These are really nice sections and you could make a great song with them alone, but the song doesn't stop there. Upon return to the second verse the guitar has acquired an edge, one mimicked by the bass at 2:30 as we progress through it. At 2:48 the guitar crunch kicks it up a notch before 3:07 delivers the true chorus - and damn is it catchy.

We take a short break from the build-up the rest of the song has been preparing to repeat the fake chorus again, and then a verse with more punchy drums and noticeably higher vocals from Bruce. It's a nice alternative build-up, complete with the crunchy guitars before we get to the main chorus again.

5:47 sees a very sudden shift in pace within the song, with the gallop picking up pace and some swift guitar work in between Bruce singing altogether more frantically. The way this goes into the main chorus at 6:39 works wonderfully, and the drums in this section are very punchy and a treat to listen to. We then get some nice guitar riffs with a crowd-pleasing "Whoa-oa" section before we hit the solo of the song, and then return again. We get a final run of that chorus before we touch upon the slower sections again for a more calm outro.

Upon rereading this, my own reaction to this is "why is this only #48?". I do think this song is wonderful, both in studio and live. However, I don't tend to listen to it as much as this high praise probably implies, and certainly not as much as I used to. The reason for this, or at least my gut reaction, is that the song grew old, perhaps due to the number of times it reuses motifs (e.g. 2 separate choruses, used at least 3 times each) and so nowadays this song is one I enjoy on occasion rather than having it as one of my most regular songs in rotation.

47 - Can I Play With Madness

A long time ago I had a friend who said this was the only Iron Maiden song she could stand listening to - yes, the use of the past tense "had" was deliberate.

Still, to some extent I can see where she was coming from. I have a bit of a tendency of labelling certain songs as Maidens attempt at a certain sound/genre, and this is certainly the closest to pop I think they ever came. After Run To The Hills, The Trooper and maybe Fear of the Dark this is one of the earliest songs I introduce people to Iron Maiden with - as whilst it is not necessarily their most representative, it has a strong case for their most accessible. I've seen it get quite a bit of hate for it, but I don't care because it's a very catchy song.

A very short vocal intro sees the band wasting no time in heading straight into the main verse. The tone is light and Bruce's vocals aren't particularly harsh, so it is very easy on the ears. It also sees Bruce trying some interesting vocal tricks, such as around 1:39. The chorus here is wonderful. It has some wonderfully catchy lyrics to sing to, with the keyboards doing some interesting tricks underneath. I honestly think it's one of their best, and it works a treat live.

I think it's a shame the instrumental section isn't longer with a much longer solo, but I think this is part of the poppy appeal of the song, particularly at 2:52. The delay of the instruments as the chorus begins anew is a nice touch, as is the option to end on the chorus rather than adding a needless outro.

Beyond what I've said already, I think I enjoy this song for similar reasons to Wildest Dreams - this one is also very upbeat, albeit here it is achieved with the tone and the keyboards rather than the lyrics and the song itself.

46 - If Eternity Should Fail

Speaking of fantastic choruses, how about this one? I've always felt that if a song has you singing along on your first ever listen then you know it's a good one, and this one manages it easily.

First off, this song has a wonderful intro. It matches the album theme with aplomb, but moreover it hits you like a tank and dispels any fears that Bruce's singing isn't what it used to be, or as bad as on The Final Frontier. It's an absolute tour de force.

We follow this up with some fantastic verses. As usual, the lyric structure makes it clear this is a Dickinson song, with lines that are catchy and easy to sing along to. The instrumentation works a treat as well, with a mid paced bass gallop and some subtle yet tasty guitar riffs going on underneath. Bruce absolutely nails it as well, especially with his pre-chorus wails.

The chorus, as touched upon above, is fantastic. It's bombastic, it's fun, and it gets stuck in your head and doesn't let go. For the first couple of renditions this is largely down to Bruce's formidable singing, though it does get joined by some great guitar later on in the outro choruses that make it even better. Whilst this song is only #46, its chorus, particularly the outro choruses, rank in the top 10, easily. The instrumental section of this is a bit different, perhaps reflecting the fact it was originally a solo song. This isn't necessarily a complaint though, as it's still a pleasure to listen to.

If Eternity Should Fail does, however, have one big problem - and that's the Necropolis outro. It sounds cool for the first couple of times, but wears thin very quickly. I get that it is probably good in the context of the album it was intended for, but it just doesn't work here and so simply acts as a somewhat annoying stopgap between the end of this song and the start of the next. If I could cut any part of the album it would be this, as it would improve this song as a standalone piece of work whilst also improving the flow of the album.


1 - Prowler -
5 - Phantom of the Opera -

7 - Killers -
9 - Purgatory -

2 - Children of the Damned -
5 - The Number of the Beast -
6 - Run To The Hills -
9 - Hallowed Be Thy Name -

2 - Revelations -
3 - Flight of Icarus -
5 - The Trooper -

1 - Aces High -
2 - 2 Minutes to Midnight -
7 - Powerslave -
8 - Rime of the Ancient Mariner -

2 - Wasted Years -
5 - The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner -

1 - Moonchild -
2 - Infinite Dreams -
4 - The Evil That Men Do -
5 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son -

3 - Afraid To Shoot Strangers -
6 - Wasting Love -
10 - Judas Be My Guide -
12 - Fear Of The Dark -

7 - Judgement of Heaven -
9 - The Edge Of Darkness -

4 - The Clansman -
2 - Ghost of the Navigator -
4 - Blood Brothers -
7 - The Fallen Angel -

2 - Rainmaker -
5 - Dance of Death -
8 - Paschendale -
9 - Face In The Sand -

8 - For the Greater Good of God -
9 - Lord of Light -

1 - Satellite 15... The Final Frontier -
4 - Coming Home -
8 - The Talisman -

4 - The Red and the Black -
6 - The Book of Souls -
8 - Shadows of the Valley -
9 - Tears of a Clown -
11 - Empire of the Clouds -
 
Last edited:

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
#50 - 46:

50 - The Prisoner


I'd like to start this with a personal anecdote about this song. The program/film that the intro was taken from was well before my time, so I never saw it. One of my university lecturers, however, has, and he used the intro from the show in one of his lectures (how it related to a mathematics lecture on computational mathematics I forget, but that's tangential) to which my immediate reaction was "Hey! That's The Prisoner!"
I had that with To Tame a Land while watching Dune (at that moment not familiar with the lyrical context of the song). "Huh, Caladan, Arrakis? That's To Tame a Land!" :)
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
#45 - 41:

45 - Rainmaker

Rainmaker is one of Davey's better songs and one of the better short songs from the reunion era. energetic and full of great musical ideas the entire way through, with the end result being simply a really tight, well made song.

The Rainmaker riff is great, so why not have it as an intro? It works excellently here and prevents unnecessary bloating, getting straight into the verses. These are solid affairs, with Bruce doing an excellent job over some simple but catchy guitarwork.

The first pre-chorus is comparatively dull instrumentally, but vocally a really nice section. The main chorus is very catchy, with some subtle guitars underneath the vocals that makes this song merit another listen. The transition from this chorus into another pre-chorus is odd, but works and this time around has some extra guitars to make it a bit more interesting than before.

The solo starts at just 2 minutes! It's a really strong first solo, with excellent pacing and a great transition into the second slower piece. The choice to go for another chorus without the prechorus is a good one as it melds together a lot better, but we get another pre-chorus with even more tasty guitar licks underneath to finish off before a final repeat of the main riff.

It occurs to me that it's probably not entirely clear which parts I'm referring to as which. For reference, when I say "pre-chorus" I mean "And I dream, of the rain..." and the chorus I take to be "You tell me we can start the rain..."

44 - The Clansman

And Virtual XI is gone, before X Factor no less! I don't think many would argue with this, but it may seem strange given my strong preference for Virtual XI. The simple truth of it is that the top end of X Factor contains a couple of songs I really enjoy even if I hate the style of a large part of the album. Virtual XI does have some highlights (this song and Futureal in particular) but in general I think of it as an album that (given I like the two obvious culprits) doesn't have an immediate loser to me.

The intro to this song is not it's strongest - it isn't all that distinctive from the many others that share it, and it's not until 0:29 that it's clear to me that yes, this is definitely The Clansman playing.

I do like softer intros though. In this ones case, I think the atmosphere suits the song perfectly, and the songs guitar riffs are very memorable. Blaze does a great job on the verses singing in a much softer register, and the contrast when he starts "soaring" works nicely and is stronger for it. These verses are well supported by the bass and the occasional guitar melodies to break them up. This has a fantastic live chorus, and I don't think the studio version quite does it justice, though it's excellent and Blaze definitely delivers. I'm not sure how I feel about the second verse as the softer one worked really nicely.

After the second chorus, the guitar melodies playing are some beautiful work, and takes us up to around 4:15. The "progression" here doesn't really work for me, but the solo starting 4:33 does. It's excellently done, and the section starting 4:58 is a highlight, feeling like it's leading to another chorus but suddenly stopping for a breather. We get some more of the characteristic guitars, and then a great singalong bridge ("No, we're the land of the free") which slowly progresses, leading into a crunchy "Whoa-oa-oa" section which works well live, but not as well in the studio version. Some more great guitar melodies follow, and then we get to 7:22 - the killer chorus, now with some added guitarwork that just works wonderfully. This, and the final chorus at 8:12, are the pay-off in this song and my favourite parts by far.

Whilst this song does have a wonderful Rock In Rio performance, I have tried to rate it using the album version as reference. However, I do prefer it with Bruce singing. This isn't just because Bruce is the singer I prefer - I feel Virtual XI tries to steer closer to the "usual" Maiden sound than the much more experimental X Factor and the songs on the album (as evidenced by any video I've seen of Bruce singing them) suit him well.

43 - 2 Minutes To Midnight

It's a great song to be sure, but quite how this managed to become one of the bands biggest live staples and the most played song off this album (seriously, even more than Aces High?) honestly eludes me. I have a friend who considers this a top 5 song and this placing the most controversial one on this entire list!

The riff to this song, used in the opening, is obviously iconic (even if I've definitely heard multiple songs from around the same time using very similar ones) and to give credit to it, it is a great riff. It functions as a nice intro, whilst also working well for the verse. Thank goodness Bruce delivers here, as without him this riff could get stale. The pre-chorus sees a seeming variation of it again, but also has some wonderful basswork going on underneath it.

The chorus is one of their best. Bruce crushes the title repetition, with the rest of the chorus ensuring it's not a simple copypasta. The guitarwork underneath it is also very strong.

As far as the solos go, this one is great - especially the very end at 2:59 - but doesn't quite see the change of tone I'd have liked when so much of the song is on this tone. The rest of the instrumental doesn't massively interest me, to be fair. I'm stunned the song works so well live given I'd have thought up until 4 minutes this section was a complete buzzkill.

I used to like this song less, but I found it was me simply not playing it loud enough - you need it for that riff to really deliver the kick it has, as well as the full force of the chorus. These two things about the song are masterclasses, but to me they are paired with a less interesting instrumental section and a song without enough twists and turns for me to rate it any higher.

42 - Wasting Love

I'd like to big this song up as an early indication of Janick's songwriting prowess, but it's probably unfair given he had his fingers in many pies, good and bad, during the recording of this album. This is for me the first really strong song he did. Of course, it stands out as an oddity but in this case that's a good thing.

After a quick melodic guitar intro, we are introduced to one of the most restrained verses the band has ever done. The lonely guitar works really well in conjunction with Bruce's voices, and the sparse bass means it's really effective whenever it's used.

The contrast between this and the chorus is massive, and to fantastic effect. Bruce lets rip with the full power of his voice, and together with the introduction of the drums and the full guitar crunch this is a huge drop and a wonderful moment. Put simply, it's a very powerful chorus. It's slightly lessened further on as the drums remain from this point, but is formidable nonetheless. The second verse also sees Bruce delivering some much more powerful vocals in line with it.

After the intro guitars again, we get a short riff before one of the more unique solos in the Maiden catalogue. It's a masterstroke and one of my personal favourite solos.
I really enjoy how some solo guitars stay in for the final chorus as well, giving it that extra bit of power.

41 - Ghost Of The Navigator

I've seen a lot of argument about whether this or The Talisman is the better song. For me, it comes down to this: Navigator is much tighter and focused, but Talisman gets the atmosphere and the storytelling done a lot better.

This song has a great opening riff, with a lovely build at 0:20 and then again at 0:36 that makes for a really strong intro. We get to shredding at 0:50 for a great verse. This is one of Maiden's more aggressive shreds and it's done really well, though I'm not sure it is entirely the right atmosphere and I wouldn't have thought of seafaring had I heard it initially as it's much more metallic.

The chorus to this is a grower, not a shower - as many of the "slowed down" ones are. For my part I think it's weaker, though the more melodic section that follows ("take my heart...") is great.

The one section this song does have over its competitor is the solo section. The solo is pretty strong, particularly at e.g. 4:58, but it's the 5:05 riffs after that really win it for me. These are very catchy with lots of energy and atmosphere, though this dissipates all too quickly as we return to the slower chorus for a final run.

Remaining Songs (Top 40; has this become a charts show?):


1 - Prowler -
5 - Phantom of the Opera -

7 - Killers -
9 - Purgatory -

2 - Children of the Damned -
5 - The Number of the Beast -
6 - Run To The Hills -
9 - Hallowed Be Thy Name -

2 - Revelations -
3 - Flight of Icarus -
5 - The Trooper -

1 - Aces High -
7 - Powerslave -
8 - Rime of the Ancient Mariner -

2 - Wasted Years -
5 - The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner -

1 - Moonchild -
2 - Infinite Dreams -
4 - The Evil That Men Do -
5 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son -

3 - Afraid To Shoot Strangers -
10 - Judas Be My Guide -
12 - Fear Of The Dark -

7 - Judgement of Heaven -
9 - The Edge Of Darkness -

4 - Blood Brothers -
7 - The Fallen Angel -

5 - Dance of Death -
8 - Paschendale -
9 - Face In The Sand -

8 - For the Greater Good of God -
9 - Lord of Light -

1 - Satellite 15... The Final Frontier -
4 - Coming Home -
8 - The Talisman -

4 - The Red and the Black -
6 - The Book of Souls -
8 - Shadows of the Valley -
9 - Tears of a Clown -
11 - Empire of the Clouds -
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
DJMayes' album order of last appearance
01) No Prayer for the Dying (favourite song: Bring Your Daughter .... To the Slaughter, 60)
02) Virtual XI (favourite song: The Clansman, 44)

DJMayes' album order of first appearance
01) No Prayer for the Dying (least favourite song: Mother Russia, 160)
02) The X-Factor (least favourite song: Blood on the World's Hands, 159)
03) Powerslave (least favourite song: The Duellists, 158)
04) The Number of the Beast (least favourite song: Gangland, 156)
05) Brave New World (least favourite song: The Nomad, 154)
06) Killers (least favourite song: Innocent Exile, 150)
07) Piece of Mind (least favourite song: Quest for Fire, 149)
08) Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (least favourite song: The Prophecy, 148)
09) Iron Maiden (least favourite song: Running Free, 146)
10) The Final Frontier (least favourite song: Isle of Avalon, 143)
11) Fear of the Dark (least favourite song: Fear is the Key, 139)
12) A Matter of Life and Death (least favourite song: The Legacy, 136)
13) Virtual XI (least favourite song: Como Estais Amigos, 127)
14) Dance of Death (least favourite song: New Frontier, 125)
15) Somewhere in Time (least favourite song: Alexander the Great, 104)

16) The Book of Souls (least favourite song: The Man of Sorrows, 102)

Top 100:
There are no full albums in the top 100 of DJMayes complete ranking of Maiden songs.
There are no full albums outside this top 100.

Top 50:
There is one full album outside the top 50 (No Prayer for the Dying). All other albums have at least one song in the top 50.

DJMayes' non-album song order of appearance
01) Invasion, 153
02) Virus, 151

03) Burning Ambition, 135
04) I Live My Way, 132
05) Justice of the Peace, 124
06) Judgement Day, 114
 
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