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 .

Heisenberg

Prowler
Been really enjoying this list so far, can't wait to keep reading. I'm particularly interested to see where Satellite 15/The Final Frontier ends up being placed, that is one I didn't think would make it this high!
 

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
28 - Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
5fcedff018ae5331a8d022add098c36d.jpg
 

Brigantium

General of the Dark Army
Staff member
Revelations is one I just don't get. I mean, it's Maiden, and it's good, but I can't rave about it. But it seems extraordinarily popular.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Revelations is one I just don't get. I mean, it's Maiden, and it's good, but I can't rave about it. But it seems extraordinarily popular.
I hear you Brigs.

This song probably has the least variation of all Maiden/w Dickinson songs from the eighties. The progression is very predictable, monotone (constantly the same chords) and repetitive.

The "ta da da" theme runs though the whole instrumental mid section. When I hear it, I wait til its over quickly. And that isn't a good sign when I'm listening to Maiden. Instrumental sections are usually for me highlights of the song. Not this time. The whole thing just "happens" and doesn't go through any interesting direction.

I'd give it a 7, because of its nice lyrics and well done vocals, plus I should not forget the acoustic contribution as well. But not higher. An 8, 9 or 10 is for a song with more excitement, less repetition and more variarion.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
I see mckindog has been possessed by one of our fallen mods. :D
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
After the short intermission that was Wacken we're down to our regular programming and starting the top 25.

I'll be going through songs one at a time here, and hopefully expanding upon them a bit further than other songs up until this point. There'll also be a list of the current ones ranked and which songs are remaining on each post for easy access.

25 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

With this song, I'd quite like to reference back to another Maiden epic - Alexander The Great.

Not that I think these songs are closely similar, but I do think that there's a loose similarity between them in that both songs are perhaps best known for their instrumental sections, and less so for the song fitted around it. In this sense, I think Seventh Son is what Alexander should have been - not in the sense that its instrumental is necessarily better (though I do prefer it) but more that I think that the rest of Seventh Son really compliments the fantastic instrumental much more.

I've a gripe with this song I'd like to get out of the way early though, and that's the lyrical content of the song. In itself it is perfectly straightforward but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me in the context of the album. I've heard a couple of theories regarding it:

1) This should really come between Moonchild and Infinite Dreams in the tracklisting but was moved to improve the flow of the album

2) Songs 1-4 deal with the Seventh Son, not the Seventh Son's Seventh Son (Confused yet? I am) whilst 5-8 follow the title protagonist

I like the former suggestion in that it seems to make the most sense to me from a continuity perspective, but the second would also be interesting. Can any scholars of this album advise? Is there a correct way to make this song fit into the entire album or is it nothing more than a relic of the album (per the band, somewhere) only being "half" of a concept album?

Anyway, enough preamble. The actual song. The opening sounds very regal (is that a choir? If not it's a good impression) but I find it's the riff starting at 0:49 which really conveys the gravity of this song in the place of the album. It's got an incredible tension to it, which Bruce's delivery complements. The mid-verse "ooooh..." section contrasts this with a more regal soaring section harking back to the intro, that Bruce nails whilst the guitar keeps driving underneath. Keyboards throughout add a hell of an atmosphere to the song, and I'm glad Kenney is on stage on the recordings of this I've seen live so that we can fully appreciate him.

If there's a worst point to this song it'd be the chorus, as it is repetitive, but the delivery is good and there's some good guitar work underneath.

After the second chorus, the tension increases. Bruce's long drawn out note is haunting, and the guitar melodies over the keyboards are wonderful.

Now, we have the build-up. The keyboards are absolutely magical here, but massive credit has to be given to Steve and Nicko for the fantastic beat they lay underneath. Bruce's voiceover is top-notch too. The choir-esque sounds return, along with some guitar riffs underneath - the restraint here works wonders, and this entire section does a fantastic job of slowly building up without losing an ounce of that tension, even when the guitars are on full tilt and the drums become a bit more aggressive nearing 7 minutes before it finally breaks. I'm not too sure about the guitar melody that follows, but the solo after is heaven.

The tone of the solo does it for me, I think. In terms of actual moments, 7:38 is even better, with the 7:49 riff an oddly contrasting one that's still devilishly catchy. Another solo follows with the quality tone of the first, leading up to the incredible choir moments at 8:38. The last minute of this has some absolutely wonderful keyboard tones accentuating the guitars.

A strong contender for my favourite moment on the album full stop is the very last riff played on this song. It's simply electric. I'm not even sure if I'm upset it doesn't play more - perhaps the beauty of it is that the song climaxes so perfectly, and with such finality, at the very end of the song. Whilst it's perhaps not a traditional song structure, I think it was a very sensible choice to end it here, at the end of the solo. Very simply, there's no way the songs chorus could've followed it up.

Infinite Dreams is the sole Seventh Son song remaining (and hence my favourite from the album, but that's certainly not a controversial choice). But how far can it go?

Top 25:

25 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
24
23
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

Songs Remaining:

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
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
 

soundwave

Educated Fool
A
I've a gripe with this song I'd like to get out of the way early though, and that's the lyrical content of the song. In itself it is perfectly straightforward but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me in the context of the album. I've heard a couple of theories regarding it:

1) This should really come between Moonchild and Infinite Dreams in the tracklisting but was moved to improve the flow of the album

2) Songs 1-4 deal with the Seventh Son, not the Seventh Son's Seventh Son (Confused yet? I am) whilst 5-8 follow the title protagonist

I had always assumed that the title track was something akin to a cinematic flashback/memory sequence. Kinda like you often see in film where the protagonist will have a memory/dream sequence midway through a movie that helps to highlight their internal struggle, and to fill in the gaps about their history that the audience didn't initally see.

The middle part of the song really gives me that vibe (the spooky ethereal buildup and spoken word part by Bruce just paint a "flashback" moment in my head).

My wife though thinks the song is more like "OK class, now let's review where are in the story" :bigsmile:
 
Last edited:

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
#24 - The Edge Of Darkness

If I had to give The Edge Of Darkness one particular accolade, it's that it's the most "Maiden-sounding" song on the X Factor album. Gone is the depressing chug that pervades the rest of the album, replaced with an electric energy. It's one of the very few songs on this record that feels like Iron Maiden. Quite frankly I feel somewhat sorry for Blaze Bayley, because whilst he isn't Bruce he is nowhere near the worst problem with the record. The Edge of Darkness is a glimpse into what the Blaze Bayley era could've been at its best, and it's a very hopeful glimpse indeed.

The short helicopter intro here almost reminds me of Metallica's One but that's a very superficial comparison. The riff is a dark one, with some good guitarwork coming in around 1:00. It's the sort of riff that suits Blaze well as he comes in a few seconds later. At 1:42 the drums come in and gives this riff a grateful sense of progression.

This is built upon at 2:08 as the guitars start crunching again. I feel I could be accused of favouritism as this guitar work isn't altogether different from much of the chugging I've complained about, but it's much more energetic with Blaze's vocal work stunning here.

2:56 is where it changes though. This section, alongside the verses that follow, is my absolute favourite part of the album. The guitar melodies are beautiful, the guitar gallop works really nicely, and as before Blaze has some real power in his voice. "It's all you need to know...." around 4:00 is a wonderful example, before transitioning into a wonderfully aggressive solo.

Post solo, we get a nice melody, culminating in one of Blaze's most powerful lyrics ("Now I understand why the genius must die") before a return to the start of the song to end with. This ending works nicely. I feel like I've criticised other songs on the album for endings not all too dissimilar, but this song is surprisingly shorter than a fair few, cramming a lot more into the time and working much better as a result.

One other thing about this song I love is the theme and the lyrical content. It's not because I'm a particular fan of the film/book it's based on (Indeed, never seen/read them) but that it is just a refreshing change from the depression a lot of this album goes for instead.

Top 25:

25 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
24 - The Edge Of Darkness
23
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

Songs Remaining:

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
Judas Be My Guide
Fear Of The Dark

Judgement of Heaven
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
 

Black Bart

Ancient Mariner
The Edge of Darkness is a glimpse into what the Blaze Bayley era could've been at its best, and it's a very hopeful glimpse indeed.
Well said. This song made me very hopeful for the whole album when I first heard it on the Man On the Edge single (for those who don't know, it consisted in: "Man On the Edge", "TEOD", "Justice of the Peace" and "Judgement Day").
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
23 - Revelations

Now we come to a song I've always affectionately dubbed the true epic of Piece of Mind (sorry, TTAL fans). Whilst it certainly isn't the case in the complexity of the music itself, this is certainly true on a live level where it gets all the airplay, and also in the lyrics. This song is one of the most cryptic ones Maiden have done and even after having read several expositions on what this song is supposed to be about I still wouldn't say I properly understand. Bruce was perhaps being a little too clever for his own good here - or perhaps this was just his way of getting people to read the Bible. Satanists, I tell you!

The intro to this song sums it up pretty well, fluctuating between quiet and loud sections with aplomb. It works nicely enough for the song and... that's about it.

This is one of Maiden's more "ballady" songs in the verses, but they work beautifully, with crunchier sections interwoven with instrumental ones with stunning dual guitar melodies. Indeed, it's the instruments and the music that take centre stage here. That's not to say Bruce sings badly, but just that he feels fairly restrained here.

Then, the "dun dun dun" kicks in. This is so simple, and yet so catchy. It's repetition doesn't bother me either, as on the latter times it gains a more melodic edge for a really nice tone before returning to the verse.

After the second "chorus", we get a more aggressive riff leading into a great set of solos, 5:00 being my favourite moment of them. This transitions really nicely back to the "dun dun dun" stuff, before another, final verse which brings the song to a really nice ending.

I hear people when they complain that the musical section of this song ("dun dun dun") that I refer to as the chorus is very simple, but I don't honestly think that's necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. As far as I'm concerned it works.

Top 25:

25 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
24 - The Edge Of Darkness
23 - Revelations

22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

Songs Remaining:

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

Flight of Icarus
Aces High
Powerslave

Wasted Years
Infinite Dreams
Judas Be My Guide
Fear Of The Dark

Judgement of Heaven
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
 

soundwave

Educated Fool
To me, the "dun dun dun", whilst incredibly simple, is a timeless epic rock riff (much like Whole Lotta Love or Back in Black) so I grant them a pass with the repetition (I mean...wouldn't you repeat it a few times if you came up with it?) -- And while I don't usually headbang/thrash about when I listen to Maiden , this riff always creates a sore neck for me ;) :shred:

(and yes, the kids get embarassed when I pick them up from school blasting it from the minivan)
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
22 - Judas Be My Guide

Is this the best song Dave Murray ever wrote? I'd have to check the writing credits for the songs still remaining thoroughly but I think so.

Judas Be My Guide is the ultimate example of an underrated gem. Brushed to the side for the monumental title track and other lesser hits (such as Afraid To Shoot Strangers and the opening track), sandwiched between perhaps the most hated duo of Maiden tracks in history and never played live, this song just never got the props it deserves - and it deserves a lot. If I could choose one old song the band has never played live to add to the setlist, it would be this. I've given up hope that the band will ever bust it out, but it will always have pride of place in my collection.

Right from the massive opening riffs of the song, it's clear it's a cut above the rest of the album. The guitar tone is fantastic, dark and melodic all at once, delivering a powerful melody before jumping into a short, aggressive starting solo. It makes for an immediately captivating intro.

The verses are the worst part, but let me qualify that. It's mostly a case that the guitars aren't really doing anything interesting. Bruce is still delivering a tour de force, and with the general tone and pace of the song they're still very much enjoyable. It's just a case that if there were some interesting riffage going on underneath this, the verses could've been better. The pre-chorus is a similar affair, with piercing vocals (and some more interesting drums) but guitars that don't seem as interested.

By contrast, the chorus to this song is absolutely killer. The guitars are more interesting, and Bruce's delivery is nothing short of fantastic. This is one of my favourite choruses the band have ever put out.

After the second chorus comes a nice little melody. The 2:04 bridge is strong, and leads really nicely into the 2:14 solo. This solo has a fantastic tone and is generally pretty good as well as transitioning into the final chorus, as well as providing some beautiful solo work in its background that handily doubles as an outro.

I'll come clean - I don't really think this song is instrumentally that strong, and I can't even hear Steve for pretty much the entirety of the song. There are very definite improvements that could be made, and that I'd be very keen to hear done in a live setting. What the song does have going for it, however, is an absolutely sublime guitar sound and incredibly catchy vocal sections that would make this a treat to hear redone.

Top 25:

25 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
24 - The Edge Of Darkness
23 - Revelations
22 - Judas Be My Guide

21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

Songs Remaining:

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

Flight of Icarus
Aces High
Powerslave

Wasted Years
Infinite Dreams
Fear Of The Dark
Judgement of Heaven
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
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
21 - Lord of Light

And so A Matter Of Life And Death leaves the contest. As usual, I'd like to say a few words about the album in general.

A Matter Of Life And Death is an album I've personally struggled with. For a long time I considered it one of the bands worst. It's grown from there since (though it still ranks amongst the latter half) but I do think there's a reason. The reason is that the album is perhaps one of the bands least accessible. I found myself struggling to get into it despite the many assurances that this was one of the bands best. Disliking an easy target comes naturally, disliking one and finding everyone else disagreeing with you is just frustrating. It's almost certainly in large part because the song everyone seems to love - The Legacy - is very low down my list, but I digress.

In any event, listening to the album sufficiently did bring me to a couple of conclusions. Firstly is that this album is as inaccessible as I first claimed. For all it's grown to me, it would probably be the last Dickinson album I directed someone to listen to. Every other album has song(s) that make it easier to get listening to (Including No Prayer For The Dying, with Bring Your Daughter... ...To The Slaughter).

The second conclusion is a somewhat more positive one. This album isn't the easiest Maiden listening and is perhaps the least traditional Maiden album, but that means that it contains lots of moments that no other album caters to as well. From the raw power of The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg to the thrashiness of this track, there are moments here you just can't get anywhere else. Despite it being low down on my overall list, this album still gets a comparable amount of listening time to others because of it.

As mentioned above, Lord of Light is one of those moments. I am very wont to describe certain songs as "Maiden does X". From Here To Eternity is "Maiden does AC/DC". The Angel and the Gambler is "Maiden does The Who". This song is "Maiden does thrash".

It's not obvious from the intro. Whilst it certainly has a darker tone than many of their other soft intros, it's still very much par for the course, especially on this album. The atmosphere it contains makes it distinctly recognisable, but beyond this I don't think it's a stellar example of one of their softer intros.

The stellar part is 1:38, and that massive shred and drop. The guitars are absolutely ferocious, and Bruce is more powerful on here than anywhere else in the album. The bass falls to the wayside, but oh well. This verse is huge, with a nice melodic instrumental section in the middle to break it up.

The chorus is an odd contrast. The bass is more prominent, the guitars less so, with Bruce delivering slower but equally powerful lyrics. It's a similar style of chorus to For The Greater Good of God, and similarly well executed.

After the chorus comes another slower bridge at 3:54. This would run the risk of my disinterest, except that I really love Nicko's drumming here. It's a haunting touch that slowly progresses into more traditional drumwork, with some interesting prolonged clashes.

4:55 sees this build-up in a wonderful way, leading into the 5:15 solo. I'm lukewarm on the solo on the whole, but it does lead into 5:36, a stunning piece of instrumentation. The guitars and drums work in beautiful unison here, delivering a powerful and memorable section before segueing into the songs second (and stronger) solo.

My main other praise for the song is that, after the final chorus, it thankfully decides not to do a slow outro as well.

Top 25:

25 - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
24 - The Edge Of Darkness
23 - Revelations
22 - Judas Be My Guide
21 - Lord Of Light

20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

Songs Remaining:

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

Flight of Icarus
Aces High
Powerslave

Wasted Years
Infinite Dreams
Fear Of The Dark
Judgement of Heaven
Blood Brothers
Dance of Death
Paschendale
Face In The Sand

Satellite 15... The Final Frontier
The Talisman

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

5 down, 20 remaining. The Number Of The Beast, Dance of Death, and The Book of Souls are still standing strong with 3 songs remaining apiece. Most others are down to their last, though Bruce is carrying Powerslave right now and The Final Frontier is doing very well for an album I don't consider one of their sum total strongest efforts.
 

soundwave

Educated Fool
Wow...Lord of Light is one of those "buried at the back of the album" tracks that I would never expect to see in a Top 25.

But I'll give it a listen tonight to see if I'm missing something. Haven't really listen to AMOLAD in awhile. I have to be in the right mindset to listen to that album.
 

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)
03) Iron Maiden (favourite song: Prowler, 26)
04) A Matter of Life and Death (favourite song: Lord of Light, 21)

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.

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.

Top 20:
There are 4 full albums outside the top 20 (Iron Maiden, No Prayer for the Dying, Virtual XI, A Matter of Life and Death). All other albums have at least one song in the top 20.


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
 
Top