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 .

soundwave

Educated Fool
It's really interesting to me to see people's "unconventional" favorites (e.g. you rating 'Wasting Love" fairly high).

Slightly off topic tangent - while I think Maiden has run circles around Metallica in the reunion era, one area that Maiden could learn from Metallica is setlist variance...(these lists always remind me of that - it's a shame that so many of these tunes will never grace the stage).
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
I'll refrain from commenting there due to complete lack of knowledge on the topic - I've never been into Metallica beyond a few specific songs. Anyhow, on with the list!

#40 - 36:

40 - Children Of The Damned

I've heard Children of the Damned referred to as a deep cut before. When it comes from the same album as the 3 hits yet to come, I can understand that. I've never really thought of it like that though, because it does get a lot of love from anyone I've ever spoken to about it and it still sees some love on tour setlists from time to time, such as the 2009 leg of the Somewhere Back In Time tour.

This song has a very "ballad" style intro which I appreciate in contrast to the many high octane songs on its album, though it's objectively good anyway. The guitars are subtle and leave room for Bruce to shine. Indeed, Bruce is the MVP of this song. He works wonders on the chorus as well, with some great guitars underneath that are somewhat reminiscent of Remember Tomorrow.

2:20 comes with a sudden shift of pace, with some great guitar riffs but more noticeably some great drumming from Clive really driving the song forward. The solos of this song are a real highlight. The first is relatively calm, but the second one at 3:23 is a really good solo.

After, we get my earliest memory of a "Whoa-oa-oa" section which works really nicely as part of the strong, up-tempo finish to the song.

39 - Coming Home

I don't remember an Iron Maiden song making me feel this much since Wasted Years, and I'm not sure that did either. Put simply, Coming Home achieves what it sets out to do with plenty of breathing room to spare, and has earned itself a permanent spot on my music player for whenever I'm travelling home from university or particularly abroad.

The intro riff to this song is fairly unassuming, but it's fine, and works better later on in the song. The verse riff is a wonderfully understated piece of music, without any instruments trying to overpower the song and its powerful lyrics. I do really rate Nicko's drumwork here though. The pre-chorus does kick it up but in a good way, with the guitars and Bruce gaining more power simultaneously.

Of course, the chorus is the best thing here. It is a really catchy chorus - but more than that, it's a wonderfully emotional one. I'm glad the guitars are understated here - they perfectly fit the mood of the song and frankly I think guitar heroics here would ruin it.

After an intro like pause - those keyboards work really well - we get a great midtempo guitar solo. The second solo, with increased backing guitars, works really well as the intensity of the section ramps up in sync and then transitions well into the final choruses.

38 - Afraid To Shoot Strangers

Seemingly a permanent fixture on everyone's list of the best songs from Fear of the Dark, perhaps the only surprise here is that I haven't rated Afraid to Shoot Strangers higher. For me it isn't climbing any higher for the moment but it would be a sin for such a fantastic song, with one of the bands best instrumental sections ever, to be rated much lower than this.

Afraid To Shoot Strangers did the quite intro before it became so popular. It's done really well, with multiple separate guitar lines weaving together over some ominous bass. Bruce chooses to match that mood with a very low, spooky delivery which is an excellent choice - imagine this section with the air raid siren! It's very subtle, but this intro does feel like it progresses throughout. Perhaps that's the multiple guitar lines or the time taken to loop between repeated sections, but it feels like a really nice, varied section that could go on longer without overdoing it.

Of course, it doesn't need to as 2:44 is enough build-up. Then, we get unleashed an absolutely killer guitar melody that is easily one of their best and most recognisable. Then, Infinite Dreams style, the intensity really ramps up in time for the first solo at 4:01, a blistering affair that leads into even juicier melodies.

The "Afraid!...Afraid to shoot Strangers!" section before the second solo is a strong bit, though it does pale in between the two fantastic sections it's between. It wouldn't be right to not repeat that initial guitar melody again though, so we end with that - a really strong song on a really strong note.

Comparisons between this and Infinite Dreams are pretty fair in my mind - they're similar songs stylistically. Whilst Infinite Dreams is certainly the stronger song and I wish it had been played for Maiden England, this is probably the best thing they could have replaced it with. The introduction and the vocal sections aren't as strong but the instrumental section to this song is as strong to my mind.

37 - The Book of Souls

It's difficult to believe looking back but this song took a while to grow on me. On my initial run of the album this would've been in my bottom 3 alongside The Man Of Sorrows and The Great Unknown. Thankfully this has changed and I now see it in a new light but my perspective of this song is of more of a grower than the instant masterpiece many people perceived it to be.

The acoustic intro is nice, even if not earth shattering. It sets a good mood and tone alongside the background keyboards for what is effectively a quite desperate song.

Moreover, it gives a nice contrast to 0:54, when the crushing riffs come in. This is one of Maiden's heavier songs alongside the likes of Breeg, which took me a while to truly appreciate. These riffs give a sturdy backbone to the verses, complimented by Nicko's cascading drums and Bruce's inimitable vocals. 2:17 sees a prechorus section with some more melodic guitars that offset the sheer heaviness and mark a transition into the chorus. This chorus is a big grower. The keyboards work well and Bruce nails it. It ends somewhat abruptly, but this gives the heavy riff full force as it returns. The second verse is a shorter affair without the heavy groove in the middle, but both work really nicely. The chorus has some really subtle guitarwork that's very easy to miss the first time round, so I thought I'd mention it here.

Next, we slow down at around 5:10. The melodies here are great, and this is a great bridge between the main lyrical body and the instrumental, which kicks into full gear soon after. I'm down with the Loss Fer Words riff being retooled into a coherent part of a song, and a precursor to a phenomenal solo. We then get the oddly triumphant lyrical section which is nonetheless a treat on the ears, followed by some nice melodies before heading back into Loss Fer Words territory.

The second triumphant section works as well as the first, with the riffing guitars underneath giving some pulsating energy and leading into the second solo. This one is also a solid affair, with 8:44 being a particular highlight as well as 8:57.

The ending takes its time, and when it's this good, who can blame it? The guitar melodies are fantastic, and the solo playing underneath is a brilliant touch. The final acoustic section is probably necessary just to cool down but is definitely the most forgettable part of this whole affair.

36 - For The Greater Good Of God

For The Greater Good of God is a curiosity for me in that at the same time it's an instantly gratuitous song yet has some sections that need time to grow. I'm not sure I'd call it imbalanced but its placing for me is definitely in large part due to some sections I think are simply outstanding - the above song is a much better example of one that's more balanced and strong throughout.

After a short bass intro to let us know Steve wrote this song, we get to the best section right away - the vocal intro. Put simply, this is wonderful. It's beautiful, catchy, and perfectly delivered by Bruce. This has a progression throughout as Nicko comes in which makes it even better, and then we get to the incredibly catchy verses at 1:30. The riff is incredibly energetic, Bruce's singing is wonderful, and we get some guitar melodies added underneath for added pleasure. Bruce's "I don't know..." sections to end it are simply haunting.

The chorus to this song isn't as good as the verses, especially to start, but it's a definite grower. Bruce sings his heart out, and the guitars are doing some really interesting things underneath. It nails the atmosphere more than the verses to be fair to it, but it doesn't have the same infectiousness the verses, especially at the likes of 3:19, have.

So far, so good. Unfortunately, the section I think isn't as strong starts now at 4:18, with the title repetition simply not being as strong here. The guitars try to make it interesting but don't vary at all during this section. We have a nice bridging section with some buildup, but again perhaps too much repetition. To be clear I don't dislike this section but I do drift away at points during it - it doesn't keep me hooked like the first 4 minutes do.

Then we get to the solo, which is somewhere between - it's good, but not as good as the first half of the song. It matches the current tempo well and 5:50 onwards gets the tone perfectly. 6:11 gives us another, woefully short example. 6:26 onwards is the highlight of the solos. I think this section would be improved my making the solos continuous without the riffing breaking them up so much, and I'd probably do with less of this between the end and the final chorus.

The outro is, like the intro, wonderful. The ending bass really isn't necessary though.

Remaining Songs:


1 - Prowler -
5 - Phantom of the Opera -

7 - Killers -
9 - Purgatory -

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 -

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 -

9 - Lord of Light -
1 - Satellite 15... The Final Frontier -
8 - The Talisman -

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

Black Bart

Ancient Mariner
I've only just noticed this but you must really rate The Evil That Men Do to have listed it twice! :p
I hadn't noticed! ;) So I get to choose another one... [thinks hard]...I add "Revelations"(how could I forget that one?). :)
 
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DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
Potentially controversial one tonight, folks. Apologies in advance.

#35 - 31:

35 - Moonchild

Moonchild is the biggest winner of the Seventh Son album for me in the sense that it's the one that's grown the most. My initial opinions of it were that it was a cool song with a god-awful chorus. The chorus is the only thing about it my opinion has changed on since then, but that change has been enough to skyrocket it from the second worst song on this album up to the top half and the top quarter of Maiden songs overall.

Whilst I hated on the Seventh Son speech in my review of Only The Good Die Young, I'm much more receptive to it here. It works much better as an opener, both in studio and as a live opener. The intro in general is great. The keyboard only stuff is interesting, and the guitar chords add some extra gravity here and there. When they kick in full time alongside the drums at 1:17, it's a magical moment that's woefully short. Of course, the shredding verses it leads into are adequate compensation. The music is really interesting here. Vocals are fine, though lyrics are quite cryptic.

The chorus took ages to grow on me - I originally found it almost painful to listen to. Nowadays it's very catchy, with some fun keyboard and guitar underneath - I had to acclimate to Bruce's pitch here.

The bridge is good, with the 3:24 section (similar to the verse) the stronger section and a good lead-in to the strong solo sections of this song. The basswork leading up to and including 3:55 is a phenomenal part, and 4:08 represents my favourite part of the solo proper.

My largest complaint with the song is probably one I have with the album as a whole - I find the bass is quite low, and it does make some of the songs, including this, lose their touch unless played quite loudly.

34 - Purgatory

Purgatory is out, leaving the title track as the sole representative remaining from Killers. Unlike the above, Purgatory is a song that's been on a downward trend. It's pacing and structure makes it instantly accessible, but doesn't leave it with a massive amount of room to grow.

Given the opening riff lasts a total of 7 seconds, I'm not even sure there's enough for me to comment on - other than the fact this song really doesn't mess around. So I'll start with 0:07, and the main riff. To me, this sounds like an early precursor to The Trooper - the guitars in particular. We may not have the bass gallop, but the bass is still a powerful presence underneath. Dianno delivers a fine performance here, with some of the higher pitched singing he indulged in more on this album employed to great effect. The sheer pace of this song makes it incredibly catchy and the verses are where this pace is employed to best effect. I have no idea what Maiden's objectively fastest song is, but this one does always come to mind.

The chorus here is very catchy, largely due to some very clever guitar riffs underneath. The solo that follows isn't, but that's largely because the main riff of the song is so much catchier. We then get the "Please...take me away" bridge, featuring some interesting pacing and guitars and a great falsetto to end from Dianno.

Getting back to the verse is not a bad idea when the verse is so strong, so here we are again before another rendition of that beautiful chorus and a final rendition of the bridge, with some added bass towards the end and a nice drum outro.

33 - Tears of a Clown

I love this song for many of the same reasons I love Coming Home, as both are really emotionally resounding songs. This one, however, is a bit stronger on a musical level to my ears.

The intro to this song is good, but not a standout one. The verses on the other hand are a wonderful midtempo affair, with guitars used to restrained but good effect over the main riff of the song. The pre-chorus section adds some keyboards in for extra tension, and Bruce keeps his singing restrained here. The second verse has some magic moments though - "Who motivates the motivatooooooooooooor?", anyone?

The chorus is beautiful. The lyrics, and the delivery of them, are simply wonderful. It's paced extremely well, and the keyboards do a really beautiful job here.

This song's biggest accolade is the best solo section on this album in my opinion. It's a beautifully evocative piece, and wonderfully builds up to 3:31, one of the bands best solo sections in my opinion for the sheer feel of it all.

The outro chorus is wonderful, and the choice for a modified chorus, with sections such as 4:37, was a great idea over just another repetition.

Of course, I should mention the late Robin Williams here. I think this song succeeds in being a genuine, heartfelt tribute to the man which is a real achievement. However, it does this in a fashion which I think will give this song some genuine staying power, where it could otherwise have felt very much like a piece of the times.

32 - Phantom Of The Opera

Yes, you read the title correctly. This song has not made my top 25. Indeed, it is not even my favourite song from the debut album - an accolade that goes to Prowler, the only remaining song from the album. Whilst you're sharpening the stakes, take a read as to why.

Firstly, I'd like to address that this is an excellent song. I'd completely agree with anyone who says any band should be proud of putting out a song of this quality at any point in their career. However, Maiden have done a lot of songs, and I just don't think this is magical as some of their other work. Parts of it certainly are - the verse and chorus sections of the song are some of the best the band had ever done. However, I find the instrumental section comparatively disjointed, with some excellent moments mixed in with some that I just don't think are on par with the rest of the song. On top of all this, I've never felt Dianno does the song justice, and much prefer his delivery on some of the other songs.

The intro riff is instantly recognisable, leading into a lovely short melody before the songs main riff. This riff is a masterful piece of work, with the sections at e.g. 0:51 breaking it out wonderfully. The verses are great alternating between the slow intro riff and the main riff to great effect, with the choruses mixed in to break it all up. It follows incredibly well, has some beautiful contrast, and in particular there's some really aggressive, quality drumwork from Clive.

2:06 sees an odd but fun change of pace, with a surprisingly tense riff. Paul doesn't sell it as strong as the guitars do unfortunately. 2:53 sees the solo section, and honestly I'm nowhere near as fond of it as others. It's at complete odds with the massive energy the rest of the song has. The melody section at 3:26 is a much stronger piece of work, with some really nice bass underneath.

4:35 is the next bit of the song where I think it really picks up. The driving guitar riff is expertly done, and the guitar melodies to follow nearing 5 minutes work beautifully to lead us into the second solo. I prefer this one, particularly around 5:42, but I still don't think it's as good as the guitar work in the non-instrumental sections of the song.

6:25 sees us back to the magical part of the song to finish.

31 - The Trooper

Whilst I imagine Phantom raises more eyebrows, this is the song I perhaps feel more apologetic about. The Trooper is not just a classic - it is one of the classics. Whilst it absolutely lives up to that reputation live (It gets the crowd going a bit too much for my tastes) I've always been comparatively lukewarm about the studio version. It's a fantastic song, to be sure, but I just don't adore it to quite the same degree as the songs above.

As far as riffs go, this song has some of the most recognisable ones in Maiden's entire catalogue. The intro riff causes utter chaos live, and I have personal bad memories of it from being second from the barrier. The 0:12 riff (flag riff) has got to be one of Maiden's best and most iconic riffs, even if it is so similar in feel to Purgatory.

The use of silence in the opening verse to this song is a masterful touch, and is probably the best moment of the song to me. The galloping verses are fun, but I think have been done better elsewhere. The chorus is almost a religious moment live, and it works excellently in the studio too, though I feel it's grown thin over time.

This song does have some of the best solos Maiden have put out there, with a stunning urgency and aggression at e.g. 2:35 that perfectly suit the song.

I feel like I've not got a lot negative to really say about this song, so am struggling to appropriately convey my position on a song that I do think is rightfully one of their best despite my comparatively low ranking, to everyone here. You know how this forum feels about Run To The Hills? If you replace Maidenfans with DJMayes and Run To The Hills with The Trooper then it should still work.

The top 30 remaining songs are below. The next 5 will be done soon, and from then on I'm going to do each song individually. Whilst guessing the top 25 may seem a bit silly now, do speculate on which 5 you think won't make it. Hearing other peoples expectations here is always an interesting part of this thread and there's a much better chance of guessing which 5 out of 30 won't make it rather than which 25 out of 100 will.

1 - Prowler
7 - Killers
5 - The Number of the Beast
6 - Run To The Hills
9 - Hallowed Be Thy Name

2 - Revelations
3 - Flight of Icarus

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

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

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

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

9 - Lord of Light
1 - Satellite 15... The Final Frontier
8 - The Talisman

4 - The Red and the Black
8 - Shadows of the Valley
11 - Empire of the Clouds
 

soundwave

Educated Fool
I agree with you on the Trooper. I remember when I first heard Piece of Mind in the 80s, I thought "this is a cool tune"...but I never expected it to ascend to "legendary hero status" all these years later (I always assumed Flight of Icarus would earn that distinction).
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
I agree with you on the Trooper. I remember when I first heard Piece of Mind in the 80s, I thought "this is a cool tune"...but I never expected it to ascend to "legendary hero status" all these years later (I always assumed Flight of Icarus would earn that distinction).

I've always assumed FOI didn't make it simply because Steve's insistence on playing it wrong (I firmly believe that Bruce is right on this one and the song shouldn't be sped up) meant it didn't get the same sort of live rotation.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I agree with you on the Trooper. I remember when I first heard Piece of Mind in the 80s, I thought "this is a cool tune"...but I never expected it to ascend to "legendary hero status" all these years later (I always assumed Flight of Icarus would earn that distinction).
I heard The Trooper for the first time in 1991, when playing my Live After Death double LP. That version has the best Bruce live vocals from all versions I have ever heard (these might have been redone in the studio, who knows), and maybe from all live songs I have ever heard. The man screams all his guts out, great energy and passion. In comparison I found the studio version a bit tame. I got never bored with The Trooper in later years and have often used it as a reference when comparing different bootlegs (if I wanted to judge the quality of the recording).

Flight of Icarus made it in three tours in a row, but in the last (Somewhere on Tour) it only lasted a few gigs (probably three) and then it was gone from the setlist. 1986 was the last time! I'm glad I saw the song at a Bruce gig though!
 
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I've always assumed FOI didn't make it simply because Steve's insistence on playing it wrong (I firmly believe that Bruce is right on this one and the song shouldn't be sped up) meant it didn't get the same sort of live rotation.
You gotta understand Steve. As much as he denies it, I'm convinced that deep down he was a bit bitter that the first single he did not write was the one to break them in the States.
 

Black Bart

Ancient Mariner
You gotta understand Steve. As much as he denies it, I'm convinced that deep down he was a bit bitter that the first single he did not write was the one to break them in the States.
True. However, it turned out that the B-side (the cover of Jethro Tull's "Cross-eyed Mary") got more airplay in the US than "Flight of Icarus" itself.
 
True. However, it turned out that the B-side (the cover of Jethro Tull's "Cross-eyed Mary") got more airplay in the US than "Flight of Icarus" itself.
Yeah, from what heard the Tull version of "Cross-eyed Mary" has always been a staple of US classic rock radio, and you only need that a lot of DJs at the same time think "hey guys look what a cool thing there is in the B-side" to have such an effect.
I remember something similar happening with some songs in Spanish radio in the 80s; the 7'' single was supposed to be the radio friendly version but in some cases most DJs opted to play some version in the 12'' maxi single which they thought was cooler.
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
Time to bring it down to the final 25!

#30 - 26:

30 - The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner


Where did this song disappear to? It's a real shame that this song only got played once, because it's a beautiful song that I've never felt gets the press it deserves. I don't personally understand why, but there you go. It's my second favourite from the album for a reason.

The intro to Loneliness is just beautiful. The guitars here are absolutely sublime, the bass complements it beautifully, and the rapid yet unobtrusive drums work fantastically. The sense of build-up as the chords come in also works great.

And then all hell breaks loose with one of Maiden's fastest gallops, complete with some cool guitar licks on the side. It's a little too rapid for Bruce in my opinion, but this improves when we get to the chorus, which is absolutely chilling. Bruce is further complimented by some beautiful guitarwork underneath.

The instrumental bridge after is cool, and the rapid fire drum section at 2:15 is great. The section after could come from any Somewhere In Time song, but it's enjoyable nonetheless.

The 3:06 vocal bridge is fantastic, and this has the best lead in to any Maiden solo ever ("Push myself on"). The rest of the solo struggles to match up to those absolutely incredible first few notes, but it is an enjoyable solo.

We get another frenetic verse, and another chance at that wonderful, wonderful chorus before the outro. Like the intro, this is a great bit of work, but I'm not sure works quite as well with the progression going in reverse, and is perhaps a tad long.

29 - The Evil That Men Do

This song needs a warning on the box that tells you to play it loud. I say this because it wasn't immediately obvious to me how good this song was until I heard a live version, where all the instruments were turned up and you could really feel the full impact of the song.

What can I say about the intro riff to this song? If there were only one time to air guitar to Iron Maiden, this would be it. It's a beautiful melody, the calmness of which belies the way the song explodes in about 20 seconds.

This is driven by some really strong bass and drums that are way too low in the mix without the song being really loud, but makes for some fantastic verses. Bruce absolutely crushes it, with some of the catchiest lyrics he's sang ("And I would pray for her"). The pre-chorus section is a lot of fun, being both inherently repetitive yet constantly switching around for something easy to sing along to yet not likely to grow boring any time soon. The guitar melodies underneath are sublime.

The chorus to this song may be one of their most repetitive, but between the guitars and Bruce's delivery, who cares? It's wonderful, and the final chorus does do an excellent job of mixing it up without really changing much.

Post the second chorus, we get a really interesting riff before heading into the solo. I'm not too hot on the solo to be honest, and think it's probably the worst bit of the song, but it is a really good song.

28 - Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

I can't say I've been looking forward to doing this particular review. To help, I'm pulling in a quote from LooseCannon regarding the individual song commentaries:

9: For songs that you love and you know aren't quite superb; for songs that you know are masterpieces that aren't quite your favourite.

From this, Rime is the textbook definition of a 9 from the second part. I have no interest in sitting and arguing whether or not it's a masterpiece, because I concede it is. From the length to the concept to the drawing of lyrics direct from the poem, this song is one of the cornerstones of Iron Maiden's musical legacy. We can go on for days but after this the fact of the matter is that I don't enjoy listening to it as much as the songs that are above it.

The intro of this song is comparatively unassuming given the massive undertaking that's about to occur. It's a good riff, with a solid mid tempo pace. Bruce gives a solid delivery, with special chills reserved for lines such as "the mariner kills, the bird of good omen", and the guitar melodies provide some interesting variation to accompany sections such as 0:53 and 1:06 which stop this extended verse section from growing stale. What I've said above applies for pretty much the entirety of the intro. The "day after day" section gives us some interesting vocal variation.

3:02 sees a Trooper-esque vocal solo, followed by some quick riffing, and this structure forms the basis of an enjoyable section for the next minute of the song. Objectively I don't really enjoy the riffs, but in this place it's done well and it was getting about time to switch from the main riff.

After this we see a bass solo that's alright, followed by some more riffing up until 5:00. It's perhaps obvious from my tone that I'm lukewarm on these - there's nothing wrong with them but I don't see them as nirvana on the ears either.

After this, we're at the creaky ship section. This is often the bit that seems most controversial, but I quite like it. It nails the atmosphere, and sees some delivery of the actual poem to chilling effect with the bass and guitars delivering some perfect notes to complement the creaking. Given that this song isn't really one of the bands fastest I don't think it ruins the pacing of the song at all.

7:32 sees my favourite section of the song. The guitar riffs are beautiful, Bruce's vocals are at his best, and the restrained drumming from Nicko works. It all builds up to the centre point of the song - the "RRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNN!". It is a magical moment, though not Bruce's best scream (Sorry, but nothing beats Number of the Beast there) and leads into the instrumental section.

Perhaps controversially, I don't think this is the musical masterpiece of a section I often see it described as. The solos are good with highlights like 9:45, but as earlier I find the riffs underneath kind of dull. They remind me of The Duellists which isn't a good thing, given how low I rated that one.

I'm not going to really describe the section after; the same stuff as before applies. I think the return to the main riff works well. The ending itself is a nice one. It is a fairly quick ending for such a long song but doesn't come across as too abrupt here.

I guess all I have left to say is an apology. I know the forum adores this song, but it's not the first one rated much lower than expectations and with this one I do at least see why everyone rates it so highly. Remember again that this is out of 160 songs - I do genuinely really enjoy this song for it to have made it this far. I respect the scale, the ambition, and the musicianship of it all. But ultimately this is a list of my personal favourites over anything else and so it wouldn't be right to rate this any higher.

27 - The Fallen Angel

I'm not going to argue with The Wicker Man being on the setlist given that it was the lead single, but choosing The Mercenary over this (as far as I can tell from Rock In Rio)? I don't understand. I don't understand why this is the song the album chose to shaft. I spend an unhealthy amount of time wondering why anyone dislikes this song, which in my opinion is infectiously fun.

The opening riff is lukewarm up until the guitars fully thunder in, I'll grant you. Is the verse as good as some of the above? Perhaps not, but it's not one of their worst either, and it's pretty short.

What I want to talk about here is the chorus. It's incredible. The riff here is superb, and when we get a repetition with some fantastic guitar melodies underneath it's even better. I've not done a list of my favourite Maiden choruses but this would be very high, no question. It gets the song this far single-handedly.

Well, not quite. The solo's decent too, with an interesting contrast in the second half. Like the verses it's not up there with the chorus, but this song is like a sandwich. The verses and solo are the bread, a vehicle, here to carry the delicious, delicious chorus.

26 - Prowler

My early experiences with Maiden were largely in the form of a selection of their hits, as dictated in a way I can't remember. I later moved to get the complete albums of anything I had the songs off of, which gave me every album from 1982 - 1992 as well as Brave New World.

For the rest of the albums, I either got them on release (The Final Frontier, The Book Of Souls) or I heard specific songs from those albums that I enjoyed enough to test the water of the entire album. As you'll have guessed, Prowler is the song that did this for the debut album (through Prowler 88, actually) but it did more than this. It was the song that got me into the Dianno era as a whole, one I'd previously avoided due to the lack of Bruce. It's easy to say that the band had changed lineup several times in the albums I'd listed having, but it's not quite that simple - if you're not as avid a fan and don't have as keen an ear on the music, it's not easy to even tell something has changed, particularly as Steve/Dave are always there and that both of the drummers/guitarists were excellent. To draw a parallel with another band many people here are fans of, I wouldn't know Dream Theater had a new drummer just by listening to the music. Vocalists are for me the hardest thing to adjust to when they change.

This song features some of the bands best guitar work - not bad for the opener on their debut album. 0:06 is a magical little melody, over some restrained but fun guitar riffs. The main verse is full of this kind of melody, and it makes for an absolutely stunning piece of work. The secondary verse isn't as good, but we soon get to the chorus, where the guitars become magical again.

1:27 sees a bridge with some further stunning guitarwork, followed by a sudden build at 1:47 to lead into an absolutely phenomenal solo. This solo is beautifully aggressive and fast, and the tempo here is incredible. The Dianno era generally feels quite raw and energetic, and the solo encapsulates this perfectly.

Earlier I mentioned Prowler 88. For balance I'd like to mention it again and say I don't think it's anywhere near as good as the album. Having Bruce is a big seller, but otherwise the glossy nature of the production doesn't suit this song - the contrast between the beautiful guitar melodies and the raw riffs are part of the magic, and you just don't get that so much in the rerecording.

The debut is out! It's not seen any songs into the top 25 but it doesn't see any songs particularly low - well, except for one of the songs from the album that's a hit, anyway! Even that song is fun if I'm in the right mood, and this is a fairly consistent album with some lofty heights.

Your top 25 is as follows:

Killers
The Number of the Beast
Run To The Hills
Hallowed Be Thy Name

Revelations
Flight of Icarus

Aces High
Powerslave

Wasted Years
Infinite Dreams
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

Judas Be My Guide
Fear Of The Dark

Judgement of Heaven
The Edge Of Darkness

Blood Brothers
Dance of Death
Paschendale
Face In The Sand

Lord of Light
Satellite 15... The Final Frontier
The Talisman

The Red and the Black
Shadows of the Valley
Empire of the Clouds

What does it look like? There are 12 "classic era" songs if you include up to Fear of the Dark (I do) and 10 reunion era songs, so no significant disparity. Non Bruce albums don't really pull their weight which is to be expected as I have clear preferences in vocals, but X Factor has done surprisingly well given how much I profess to hate the album.
 
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Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I have only three of your top 25 songs in my top 25, although I made that a few years ago, there's a chance only two are left now since one new song might land into it. Will make a comparison with your top 50 as well, later on. For now:

I hadn't expected to see The Evil and Fallen Angel outside of your top 25. The latter song, simply because it was from the current line-up (thought more than one from BNW would be there) and the former because you were so positive about the strongest four songs in a row in Maiden's career, and the Evil was one of them. Because Fallen Angel didn't make it, I was wrong about a few other expectations, doing the math. I'm pretty sure the remaining songs from the 5 I listed should appear soon.

Top 25:
There are 3 full albums outside the top 25 (Iron Maiden, No Prayer for the Dying, Virtual XI). All other albums have at least one song in the top 25.

(I also have 3 albums outside of my top 25, when I made it)

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)
03) Iron Maiden (favourite song: Prowler, 26)

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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soundwave

Educated Fool
My top 25 is essentially a rogues gallery of Maiden tunes. Sure, I like the classics just as much as everyone else, but I also adore stuff like the Prophecy, Back in the Village, and even *gasp* The Apparition. I guess I'm an oddball on that front...

BTW - glad to see The Fallen Angel get some love. That song should be a setlist anchor/staple in my humble opinion.

I'm also curious to see your write up on Shadows of the Valley. I've tried to give that song a second (and third ) chance since so many seem to love it, but I can't get into it as much as the rest of the tunes on that record.
 

Black Bart

Ancient Mariner
30 - The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner

Where did this song disappear to? It's a real shame that this song only got played once, because it's a beautiful song that I've never felt gets the press it deserves. I don't personally understand why, but there you go. It's my second favourite from the album for a reason.
Having heard the bootleg featuring this song, I think it is a real "party breaker", the kind of song which you can really get into in your armchair with headphones on for example, but not in the context of a live show. In other words, it really did not function well in the setlist where it was. (http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/iron-maiden/1986/hala-pionir-belgrade-serbia-43d4ef5b.html

I wish they had tried it at another place in the setlist before dropping it though.
 
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DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
My top 25 is essentially a rogues gallery of Maiden tunes. Sure, I like the classics just as much as everyone else, but I also adore stuff like the Prophecy, Back in the Village, and even *gasp* The Apparition. I guess I'm an oddball on that front...

BTW - glad to see The Fallen Angel get some love. That song should be a setlist anchor/staple in my humble opinion.

I'm also curious to see your write up on Shadows of the Valley. I've tried to give that song a second (and third ) chance since so many seem to love it, but I can't get into it as much as the rest of the tunes on that record.

I didn't realise Shadows was a favourite to be honest - I hear a lot of disagreement on that one. I think it's great with verses I obviously love based on my love of TFA's chorus, a strong chorus of its own and 5:50 being the absolute best moment on the new album, but it does also have a kind of disappointing solo section.

I'll write this up in full when we get to it but a killer song in my book.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I disagree Black Bart. I don't think it's just the song itself that's problematic. I think Maiden didn't feel comfortable playing the song. Check this very well executed cover, beautiful live performance.

Maiden might have done it twice. We do not have (a) bootleg (info) from the second gig.
 
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