Fear of the Dark: individual album judgement by yours truly

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Sometimes I like my good catchy shallow fun and consider it on par with the mindblowing stuff.

I realize that I give 10s out quite liberally, but it's only because I'm quite honest about what I like. What I like happens to be most of Maiden's discography. Sometimes a not-so-mindblowing song may get a 10. That's because it's a 10 for me when I listen to it. The experience is everything. Others might only give it a 7, but we each have our own ways to rate songs.


Be quick or be dead: 8
From Here to Eternity: 7
Afraid to Shoot Strangers: 9
Fear is the Key: 5
Childhoods End: 6
Wasting Love: 7
Fugitive: 8
Chains of misery: 5
Apparition: 7
Judas Be My Guide: 9
Weekend Warrior: 5
Fear of the Dark: 8


Love in anger
Just went through this myself on the individual track threads.

Be Quick Or Be Dead - 8/10 >
From Here To Eternity - 7/10 >
Afraid To Shoot Strangers - 6/10 >
Fear Is The Key - 5/10 >
Childhood's End - 4/10 >
Wasting Love - 7/10 >
The Fugitive - 6/10 >
Chains Of Misery - 6/10 >
The Apparition - 5/10 >
Judas Be My Guide - 8/10 >
Weekend Warrior - 3/10 >
Fear Of The Dark - 7/10 >

Average: 6.0/10

The nadir of Bruce Dickinson's time with Iron Maiden, and arguably his worst overall vocal performance on an Iron Maiden studio album. Some questionable songwriting choices, too.

Still, there are a number of bright spots here, including "Be Quick Or Be Dead" and the criminally undervalued "Judas Be My Guide" (please play this live sometime!). I also think this is a better album overall than the debut or either of the Blaze-era albums.

(Album rankings by person post >)
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Stranger to the Light
Be Quick or Be Dead: 10/10
From Here to Eternity: 6/10
Afraid to Shoot Strangers: 10/10
Fear is the Key: 8/10 (and lies and lies and lies and lies...)
Childhood's End: 8/10
Wasting Love: 8/10
The Fugitive: 5/10
Chains of Misery: 8/10
The Apparition: 2/10 :down:
Judas Be My Guide: 8/10 (I need to listen to this one again)
Weekend Warrior: 9/10 (I used to hate it. It ain't that way any moooore!)
Fear of the Dark: 10/10

7.666. Fearful indeed


Out of the Silent Planet
FOTD -> very underrated album and one of my favorites:
Every band has weak spots in their discography - you cannot release fantastic albums all the time, and Maiden ''dark years'' were in the 90's, but this album is one of the bests from Maiden.

Be Quick Or Be Dead - 10/10
From Here To Eternity - 9/10
Afraid To Shoot Strangers - 10/10
Fear Is The Key - 6/10
Childhood's End - 10/10
Wasting Love - 10/10
The Fugitive - 8/10
Chains Of Misery - 7/10
The Apparition - 5/10
Judas Be My Guide - 10/10
Weekend Warrior - 7/10
Fear Of The Dark - 10/10
Average album score: 8,50
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Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Be Quick or Be Dead - 7 >
From Here To Eternity - 7 >
Afraid to Shoot Strangers - 8 >
Fear is the Key - 5 >
Childhood's End - 1 >
Wasting Love - 6 >
The Fugitive - 5 >
Chains of Misery - 6 >
The Apparition - 10 >
Judas Be My Guide - 10 >
Weekend Warrior - 7 >
Fear of the Dark - 9 >

Average Score: 6.75/10
Actual Score: 7.5/10

Fear of the Dark has fallen a little for me. The beginning is good, the next few songs kinda vary in quality, but it ends with a string of stronger notes. Doesn't deserve to be quite as disliked as it is, though there are definitely somethings on here that deserve criticism.


Uniformly distributed hostility
Can I do a short review here? Move it if not appropriate.

A controversial album from a time when Dickinson left the band. It's obviously problematic in multiple aspects. I can say right off the bat, Be quick or be dead, Fear of the dark, and Afraid to shoot strangers work right off as 1st class Maiden material. However, the album as a whole is plagued by Dickinson's vocal technique choice and Harris' production choice. If you never heard how these songs sound with normal Dickinson and modern heavy Maiden guitars, album versions seem fine but even those best three get improved.

The very good stuff doesn't count for much. Childhood's end, Judas be my guide are great tracks but would be elevated to 1st class status if there were no problems listed above. In the part "tyrant strikes again" Dickinson is almost as unclean as Chuck Schulinder, over a heavy drum groove and riff that are technically, but not sonically there.

The mediocrities count for a lot of songs. They are either songs not working due to lack of heaviness such as The Apparition, due to lack of proper groove such as Chains of Misery, B side stuff such as Weekend Warrior and interesting but completely off Fear is the key, these tracks aren't stylistically Maiden and they aren't executed well. Fugitive isn't bad but it comes off swiftly as stock, in a gut of an album that completely lacks the high point.

The two tracks I left off for the ending are bad example of trying to commercialize, MTV-ize. As such I consider them the worst material of Iron Maiden.


Let's Get Volatile
How do you like Davey's soling and lead sound, and how they produced it? His best from his career perhaps.

I don't know about the solos themselves being his best, but I agree, his tone and/or the production on his solos are absolutely glorious. Definitely the best tone he ever had.


Ancient Mariner
He also seemed to have put lots of melody in them on this album. Sounds less improvised and more prepared. Take his on Weekend Warrior and the title track. What compositions.


Uniformly distributed hostility
Agreed, leads and guitar (and bass!) melodies are redeeming things on this album. I love Murray's 90s output. But some things on NPFTD seemed more on fire. The tone is excellent but Public Enemy for instance, as a solo, isn't surpassed on FOTD. The lead sound on Judas be my guide is immense and the solo is first class Dave. I think that this sound has been retained for the X Factor too.

Dave very rarely lets down. But like extremely rarely. Never in the sound department, maybe once or twice in the solo execution (TCDR?).


Let's Get Volatile
I think that this sound has been retained for the X Factor too.

...? FOTD and X Factor guitar tones are worlds apart. Too little gain and too much reverb on the latter. I'm still in two minds about the X Factor's sound. It's not good, but it works, but I still wish it was different.

I'd argue that Dave lost his "spark" with his solos around the Dance of Death album. AMOLAD is easily his worst album for solos (TCDR, like you said, and FTGGOG which could be his worst ever). Maiden England 2013 was when he started to pick things up again, the first time I listened to POTO from Download festival his solo just blew me away.

Martin Birch had a hand in this, buddy. I am really digging his work at the moment. Sad he retired so early.

Yeah, I think the Birch-produced albums were the last time we heard truly great guitar tones.

John Silver

Electric Buddy
Not just the guitar tones I'd wager, the plonking of Steve's bass was phenomenal as well and the drumming (man, I miss that Burr thump, bro) - just the full package. Martin Birch - the master and main inventor of the Maiden sound.


Ancient Mariner
I was listening to FOTD in the car today, only got as far as FITK before I got to work, but it was an enjoyable listen. Obviously, BQOBD and AFTSS are recognised as good tracks by most fans. I like FHTE, it's just a fun rock song and there's room for that in Maiden's arsenal if you ask me. FITK is a good track, not sure why it get's negative reaction, I'd rather Maiden do a track like this where they try something a bit different.