General Album Ratings



We have a 'favourite' and a 'least favourite' album thread, but both will only ever serve for you to describe what you think about these two particular albums. With 14 studio albums in their discography, Iron Maiden have produced so many masterpieces that, at least to me, mentioning one as my favourite seems a bit unfair to all the others, which I love just as much. So, I thought a thread like this would serve well to give all of us an opportunity to praise all those other jewels too.

Iron Maiden
A great album, especially for a debut. Although everybody mentions the poor production, this is something I precisely love about it. The album sounds raw, hungry and as if it jumped right from some smoky East End club to your speakers. There isn't one weak song on this album, in my opinion.

Say what you will, but I think the production spoils this one a bit. Sure, the songs are great, and I also think that Killers and Murders In The Rue Morgue sound brilliant the way they are on this album, but somehow, the production tames the material a bit too much, if you understand what I mean. This is actually one of my least favourite albums, even though, of course, I could never be able to say that it is bad.

The Number Of The Beast
This is where it started for me. The whole album has this significant dark vibe that I like to describe as a "touch of evil". Although there are two sub-par tracks on the album (Invaders and Gangland), the album as a whole is brilliant. Run To The Hills may become boring with time, but the rest simply can't wear off for me, even though I must have listened to it hundreds of times.

Piece Of Mind
Another one of my favourites. To me, this album is the definition of the term "hard and heavy". I think Maiden have never sounded more powerful than on this record. I know that many people cite Sun And Steel and Quest For Fire as weak tracks, but I can't agree. They may not be up to par with the rest of the album, but they are still brilliant songs (despite the dodgy lyrics of both).

Now this, brothers and sisters, is what I call an overrated album. Yes, it has four tracks on it I would not want to live without (you can all guess which ones they are), but, with the exception of Flash Of The Blade, the others are sub-par, sound flabby and just seem like fillers to me. To me, this album is a serious sign of stagnation.

Somewhere In Time
This was one of the first Maiden albums I got, and I still treasure it very much. I love the spacey sound to it, the great sense of melody the songs have, and I think it doesn't have one really bad song on it (the only one that would come close to it, in my book, is Sea Of Madness). But then, Adrian's solo on Strangers In A Strange Land is enough to make a good album to me.

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
This one is almost perfect. It has got huge and brilliant songs, intriguing lyrics and this feel that just makes it special. I know that many people criticise this one as having a poppy feel to it, but in my opinion, this only applies to Can I Play With Madness, which, incidentally, I think is the weakest song on this album.  It also has my favourite song on it, which is, surprise, surprise, The Evil That Men Do. This is my second favourite Maiden album.

No Prayer For The Dying
Unfairly put down. There are a couple of below-average tracks on it, the production leaves a bit to be desired, we have no H anymore and Bruce's singing is not what it used to be... but, most of the songs are excellent. I really can't find anything bad about songs such as the title track, Fates Warning, Public Enema Number One or Mother Russia. The whole thing sounds great. Although, I have to admit, I have troubles picking out a highlight that can actually stand up to the classics from the previous or latter days.

Fear Of The Dark
I mentioned it in another thread. It's not a worthless album. As a matter of fact, it has a lot of saving grace and some really great songs. But it also has some really, really weak songs, the weakest in their discography, in my opinion. Also, the production on most tracks is pretty bad, I think. Not to mention that Bruce sometimes sounds like he'd been screaming all day long before recording.

The X Factor
If I was to write a dictionary, one of the entries would look like this:
per·fec·tion      (pər-fěk'shən)
1. Iron Maiden - The X Factor (1995)

I'm not kidding.

Virtual XI
Many hate it. Yes, yes, the songs can become a bit repetitive, yes, the production is sterile, yes, Nicko isn't doing much... but that doesn't have any meaning to me, considering the songs are so incredibly strong that I can't believe it. I love every note of this album -maybe I only like The Angel And The Gambler, I'm not sure- say what you will.

Brave New World
Another huge album. Great songs, great playing, and I really love the production of this one too. It has a couple of weak songs (The Mercenary, Fallen Angel), but in general, this is a really great and meaningful album.  It also has the best instrumental section in Maiden's discography (The Thin Line Between Love And Hate).

Dance Of Death
I was really psyched about this album when it came out, but it really dropped in my ratings. This one too has some weak songs (Gates Of Tomorrow, New Frontier, Age Of Innocence) and the production is also weak (although that is usually not a criteria, because most of the songs are strong enough to bear that), but then again, it also has some of my favourite songs. It's like a 2003 Fear Of The Dark, with a generally higher quality.

A Matter Of Life And Death
This one is almost as good as The X Factor. I'm not sure I like The Pilgrim and Lord Of Light that much, but in general, the album is just stunning. It is also, in my opinion, the second best album to come out in the 2000s, after Silicon Messiah. Maybe it needs a little more time, but I think this one will manage to beat Seventh Son in my favourites ranking.
Wow Perun, nice initiative. I must say your entry calls for replies!

I don't hate VXI as much as it might seem. I definitely think my appreciation for VXI is higher than e.g. your appreciation for Powerslave (never read such a negative and short piece about Powerslave in my life).
Well, very nice effort, Perun !
I'm following with my own comments, quoting from you a bit

Iron Maiden
this is objectively, the best Maiden album....its production is bad, but unlike Virtual XI, this is one of its qualities !!
the songs in that album are the most tight than in any other Maiden album, plus they are so fresh, so right in your face....EXCELLENT!
yeah, as far as concerning the production I agree with Perun,
Perun said:
the production spoils this one a bit. Sure, the songs are great, and I also think that Killers and Murders In The Rue Morgue sound brilliant the way they are on this album, but somehow, the production tames the material a bit too much
....but unlike Perun, I rate this album very high...a metal's all time classic

The Number Of The Beast
what to say really of the 3 top metal albums of all the time...the production goes perfectly with the vibe, ...there's no fillers (Invaders is an opener, and Gangland too good to be considered as a filler)....the only negative point here is the absence of Total Eclipse

Piece Of Mind
although this album contains metal hymns, (where eagles dare, revelations, flight of Icarus,the trooper, to tame a land), I find it not enough symetrical (balanced) as an album ...but let's not forget that it was the next album after the Beast
conclusion : I could never say that is a mediocre album, I just LOVE some of its pieces but in my Maiden rating is somewhere in the middle of the list

my best Maiden album....
the production is more powerful than ever, the guitars the more riffy than any other album, there are some moments (aces high, back in the village) that the music can be considered as power metal
flash of the blade is a lyrical and musical masterpiece, the duellists contains some of the best guitar works ever, and I just love back in the village (to speak for the "weaker" songs of the album)
...lyrically, there are a lot of interfaces with previous works :
-the air raid siren in Aces high, comes from a fan letter back in 1981, when the fan was complaning that Bruce's voice is like an air raid siren !
-back in the village as we all know is the -so intelligent -continuity of the prisoner, and also contains a hidden reference 666 (that I discovered thanks to the IM commentary)
-powerslave -as Bruce says- is the missing link to the Revelations
but the reason that I will always praise this album, is the existance of the Rime, maybe the first metal song ever that brings to the fans a masterpiece of the romantic era of the poetry to the fans

Somewhere In Time
the first weak Maiden album
...I got into Maiden in 1985, so this is the very first Maiden album I discovered in real time -with its release-
what a dissapointment !! ...ok, what one can expect after Powerslave, but I remember I was really dissapointed
some 20 years later, I still find the production very weak -though it goes perfectly with the futuristic theme- and most of the songs not interesting
Alexander, the loneliness, and stranger (which contains an one whole minute lenght H solo) are the highlights

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
Perun said:
This one is almost perfect. It has got huge and brilliant songs, intriguing lyrics and this feel that just makes it special.
I was crazy about this album ...well, still I am!!

No Prayer For The Dying
the same thing, another dissapointment, after a great album...the dissapointment got bigger as the release was the same week with Black Sabbath's Tyr, so the metal radio of my town made an albums battle, where obviously No prayer lost....I speak for then, because now, in the year 2007, I really like more and more the 90-92 era....Bruce's raspy vocals, Janick's sound, Martin's productions, everything
although there are not really great songs here, the whole album is very symmetrical very homogenic....
I like this album, in my Maiden rating is somewhere in the middle

Fear Of The Dark
well this it was the Maiden's come back thing back in the old days....I remember that I generally liked that album with the first listening, but my dissapointment was that it was not enough strong to be compared with the black album that it had be released some months earlier
...the metalheads in my mother town all admitted that it was a good (just good) album, thing that made me unhappy back then
...Now, Fear of the Dark is one of my favourite Maiden albums : songs like from here to eternity, fear is the key, chains of miserythe apparition etc that I didn't like at all back then, today I am very proud of them.....the only song I don't really like (unlike then) is Judas be my guide
...musically the most accomplished Maiden album simply

The X Factor
the dark years
I have to say, I loved that album back then more than I love it now was a return in a more heavy sound, and the lyrics seemed to be more serious
certenly is not a bad album, but listen to it from the start to the end it makes me very tired
my favourite track from there was (and still is) the aftermath

Perun said:
The X Factor
If I was to write a dictionary, one of the entries would look like this:
per·fec·tion      (pər-fěk'shən)
1. Iron Maiden - The X Factor (1995)

I'm not kidding.

it would be better -for the sake of your words- to put out "I'm not kidding."

Virtual XI
the only Maiden album that I never purchashed... I would be happy if it was released under another group's name, something like Virtual Maiden

Brave New World
Perun said:
Another huge album. Great songs, great playing, and I really love the production of this one too.

I will always praise Maiden for this one hour of total ecstasy that they gave me the holy day of 29 may 2000
...what a return....Back then, I believed that out of the silent planet was not strong enough, but today, I find that this album contain no fillers at all

fallen angel : a masterpiece, and I love the three solos in the middle, one from each !

Dance Of Death
I was lucky about this one....I was that time in a small town in the middle of no-where, with no internet facilities, so I could only purchase it after three days of its release.... Fortunately my cousin had told me on the phone that it's the worst Maiden album ever, so I was prepared to listen something really bad, and I had a pleasant surprise

as Piece of Mind, it contains some very good songs (Montségur, Dance of death, Journeyman), one all time classic (Paschendale) but as a totallity is unballanced

better that somewhere in time, Blaze era, and No prayer in my ratings

A Matter Of Life And Death
...the second more ecstatic listenning after Brave New World, thanks to internet, it's the first Maiden album that I  listened before its release
I find it almost perfect as a totallity, but let's wait one two years before to rate it

ps : I think this thread belongs more to Iron Maiden chat than to Best /Worst
Iron Maiden:
Good all round album with not a single track that is bad. This is where it all started for me and I've not looked back. :D

Somehow, I have a problem with this album and I can't quite put my finger on it. Don't get me wrong, I love most of the tracks and the others I don't, I still think are not bad – but I rarely play it.

Number of the Beast:
Good solid album with few duds. I actually like tracks like Gangland and so on, but some of these tracks get a little overplayed – like Run to the Hills. However, you listen to it again after years of not and it don't sound too bad after all.

Piece of Mind:
Very good album and a superb follow up from Number of the Beast. Has possibly the best opener in Where Eagles Dare – but it has yet another overplayed track – The Trooper.

I have been very up and down with this in the past, but at the present I'm enjoying it.

Somewhere in Time:
Seemingly a well liked album, but not so much by me. Yes it's good, but I have never been too keen on the sound. The guitars sound a little too week on this and it spoils it for me – but as most of the tracks are so good, it sort of cancels it out (but it's still near the bottom somewhere).

Seventh Son:
The best album they have done.

No Prayer:
A much underrated album in my view. Aside from Hooks in You, all of these tracks are solid right the way through from Tailgunner to Mother Russia.

Fear of the Dark:
I need not repeat what I stated in my Least Favourite album vote. But I will state that if you was to take the top three tracks from this album and replace them with the weaker tracks on No Prayer, you would have one of their better efforts – which may suggest that they sort of run short of ideas during the early 90's.

The X Factor:
Good, dark album is this. A major step up from its predecessor, yet it has rather an unusual opening track for Maiden. However, it works.

Virtual XI:
Great fun album is this and I won't have any one say otherwise. Yes, the receptiveness of some of the tracks is a little too much, but from being very sombre with The X Factor, we have now become a little bit more upbeat – The Angel & the Gambler, for example (which I happen to love). This has one of Maidens best ever tracks – The Clansman.

I'll have to chip in later with the next three. :D
Okay, then...

Iron Maiden
I have no problem with the production.  Like Kill 'Em All or Reign in Blood, the production suits the songs, and the band at that time, perfectly.  Phantom... is a great epic number, and the rest of the tracks are just like the band...raw, full of energy, and to the point.  Transylvania and Prowler take the biscuit, especially.  Power!

Again, I think the production suits the album, although it's a bit more refined than the s/t.  The songs here are powerful and up-front; Genghis Khan perfectly encapsulates the mood of the title, and The Ides of March is a great opener for the next two tracks, which kick ass.  Purgatory is the underrated track on this one; listen to the sheer aggression in it! Killers (the song) is a classic, obviously.

The Number of the Beast
Maiden carve their groove in the 80's metal scene.  From Invaders to Hallowed, this album reeks of efficiency, originality and power.  Invaders is a great intro, I love the studio version of Run to the Hills (the only live version that approaches it is Beast Over Hammersmith), and Gangland/Total Eclipse are very underrated tracks.  Don't care much for 22... so much, seems a bit too cheesy and simple for the first two minutes or so.

Piece of Mind
Classic.  Where Eagles Dare is an excellent opener, Revelations a great track live with excellent lyrics, The Trooper is a fan fave for a reason, and Still Life has some of Maiden's best material.  Excellent production, too.

Don't see the fuss over this one, nor do I label it 'Fillerslave', either.  The '4' tracks are classics, rightfully so, but Back in the Village and Flash of the Blade have some great riffs, but the other two are a bit underdeveloped.

Somewhere in Time
Screw everyone who doesn't like the production; it's wonderfully ethereal. :p
Deja Vu, the opener and Heaven Can Wait are the standout tracks here.  Great melodies, solos and an excellent atmosphere.  My favourite Maiden album.

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Good concept well-executed? Check. Epic title track? Check. Wonderful melodies and solos? Check. Smooth production? Check. Ticks all the boxes, especially Moonchild, The Evil That Men Do and The Prophecy

I'll do the next 7 later.
@Albie and Raven

hey guys, you are both writing very nice things in your posts, but don't let us like this !!
Iron Maiden:
This is actually the first Maiden album that I ever heard! It was 11 years after its release but it made an unbelievable impact. It opened basically my "Metal Windows", hehe. All (hard)rock I knew or liked, back then was some 80's Bon Jovi, "Alive II" by Kiss, "Appetite For Destruction" by GNR, "I Want It All" by Queen and "Beat It" by Michael Jackson. Yes, laugh, but I really think that "Beat It" is a great old school Hard Rock song! Great riffs and vocals, hehe! OK, back on topic! :)

"Prowler" (especially the acceleration in the middle hooked me immediately during the first listening!), "Transylvania" and "Phantom Of The Opera" were the ones I liked most and a few days later I got also very much into the atmosphere of "Remember Tomorrow". The album has hardly any weak moments, I even liked the way "Strange World" was connected to the speedy "Transylvania". "Iron Maiden", the closing track is imo the worst one.

I dare to say that no other band on this planet made a better debut album. OK, this sounds easy, because Maiden is my favourite band, but I honestly like a lot of other bands very much, including big classic acts as well. They all failed (for me at least) in having a better debut album.

First of all: I have to admit that I was a bit surprised about the comments on the production of this album. Killers has one of the most "in-your-face-productions" of all Maiden albums.

When I heard Killers for the first time, I only knew two other Maiden studio albums: the debut album and Seventh Son. Naturally, I was a bit disappointment after I heard the complete Killers album. Most tracks were not so melodic as most other music that I appreciated. Still I like side B very much (apart from "Drifter", which is very low on my ranking). My favourite Killers-moments are "Purgatory" (great combo of speed and melody), the instrumental mid-piece in "Prodigal Son" (the only song never played live) with its spineshivering solos, "Wrathchild", the cool harmonies of "Murders In The Rue Morgue", the aggressive mid-part in "Another Life".

Surprisingly, my favourite track is "Genghis Khan". The way this song changes into the groovy end, with the great melody played by Dave on the left side and the melodic harmonies makes it one of the coolest Maiden parts ever! Though this commentary seems very positive, I still like it less than the debut which made a better overall impression. Conclusive thoughts:
-In Your Face
-Best production for Clive's drums

The Number of the Beast:
This is the first "darker" album, that Maiden made. The sound is a bit tame, and much thinner than Killers.
I remember that this was the last 80's studio albums that I heard. I was not that interested to have it soon, because I knew most songs from Live After Death, and apart from "Children of the Damned", "22 Acacia Avenue" and of course "Hallowed Be They Name" I wasn't so keen on "Beast" and "Run To The Hills". I especially remember that I didn't like the title track on LAD. The singing was no singing, but screaming. The music didn't have much melodies either.

When I finally got the album (still within a year after getting the debut!), I discovered "Invaders" with its edgy couplets (check how cool Bruce emphasizes his words, along with the accents of the riffs).
I realized that I liked the studio versions of "TNOTB" and "The Prisoner" (great singing and solos!) better than the live versions. However, then and still now, most other songs are less than the live versions. The more I think of the material on TNOTB, the more I realize that the songs are excellent to fill up a live set, rather than saying that it's an excellent Maiden album. In fact it's the worst eighties album with Bruce on vocals.

...more later ;)
____no5 said:
noooo! ...not again *desperate mode*
OK then, I'll conclude mine.

Brave New World:
This is a good album and set the standard for what was to follow. Obviously rejuvenated with the reunion, they produced a great album here. One of the highlights on this is the instrumental piece in Nomad (or is it the galloping chorus on Out of the Silent Planet? Or Blood Brothers?).

Dance of Death:
It now gets better. This album has great tracks from start to finish, ending with their very best slow track Journeyman. The highlight really has to be the title track - great story, nicely executed, taking us on the whole journey with the main character. Janick is a class song writer.

A Matter of Life and Death:
Well, I really did not think they had it in them to produce what is possibly my second favourite album at such a late stage in their career. This has proved anyone wrong that has suggested this band is past its prime. Highlights has to Brighter Than... and the brilliant The Legacy.

I did also think of giving each album a numerical rating, but gave up very quickly. :p
Forostar said:
Iron Maiden:
Yes, laugh, but I really think that "Beat It" is a great old school Hard Rock song! Great riffs and vocals, hehe! OK, back on topic! :)

It's got Van Halen on it, after all!
Perun said:
It's got Van Halen on it, after all!

The solo is indeed by Eddie Van Halen! Funny story he told a while ago in Dutch Aardschok magazine: He actually played the solo over different parts of the track (I think the solo-parts even had a different order), but in the studio it was cut-and-pasted over the parts we hear now! He was surprised that it sounded so well! :)
The rest of the music (just as the whole Thriller album) is by Toto, including all rhythm guitars.
Iron Maiden
I love this album. However, my overall impression of it depends very much on my mood. If I'm in one of my rock out to metal fits, Prowler, Sanctuary and their likes sound great, but when I'm less inspired I sometimes find them a bit dull. On the other hand, Remember Tomorrow, Phantom of the Opera, Transylvania and Strange World amaze me whenever I hear them and an occasional musical mood swing in no way makes this album anything less than a brilliant debut with some of the band's most memorable songs. I like the production, by the way, the material benefits from the "live" sound.

I really like this one too, actually. While it's true that apart from Murders in the Rue Morgue and Killers, there are few truly memorable songs on it, I find myself listening to it more than most Maiden albums lately. Genghis Khan and Purgatory are quite underrated in my opinion.

The Number of the Beast
Well, well, well. Here comes the classic one. A step up from its predecessors with some killer material (Children of the Damned, Total Eclipse and Hallowed especially) and no really weak ones (except maybe Invaders), but overall more a taste of things to come than a truly brilliant record in its own right.

Piece of Mind
Probably my favourite Maiden album, this to me is the very definition of the "Maiden sound" I love. Nice melodies and time changes, powerful riffs, good lyrics (for the most part), no weak songs. An exhilarating listen from the kicking start of Where Eagles Dare to the breathtaking instrumental outro of To Tame a Land.

Mixed feelings about this one. I do enjoy it other than "the four" (I especially like Back in the Village), but it lacks something in terms of variety and contrast. Solid effort, but not outstanding.

Somewhere in Time
In my view, Bruce hit the nail on the head when he remarked that "we just made another Iron Maiden album". Sure, they added synths, but the music is still sort of the same, just slightly less inspired. Some excellent tracks (Caught Somewhere in Time, Sea of Madness, Stranger in a Strange Land), but still my least favourite of the eighties albums.

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
While the concept story could have been more thoroughly worked out, there's little to hold against this remarkable album. Moonchild, Infinite Dreams and Only the Good Die Young are way up there with my favourites.

No Prayer for the Dying
It seems I like this album a lot more than most. While not all the songs are killer, neither is there any particular one I find actively bad. The title track is in my top five Maiden songs and Fates Warning is perhaps the single most underrated track in the band's discography in my opinion.

Fear of the Dark
I elaborated on this one in the "Least favourite album" thread. Now guess what I think about it.

The X Factor
Perun sums this one up pretty well. My favourite alongside Piece of Mind. My only complaint would be that the production is a bit too fluid at times, especially in edgier songs like Man on the Edge.

Virtual XI
I used to dislike this one but I played it a few months ago and realized a lot of it was actually quite good. No outstanding songs compared to the rest of their catalogue and unusually tame in the instrumental sections, but alright all the same. Still ranks second to last on my list, but oh well.

Brave New World
This was my very first Maiden album, although I'm most nostalgic about Piece of Mind, which was my second. Quite a few great songs, but I have the same complaint as with Powerslave; the scope of contrast is too small. The sound and texture of many songs are too similar, there are times when I listen to it as background music and all the different instrumental parts blend together. However, when I'm actually paying attention I don't mind it as much, so it's a minor complaint. Good album, but it lacks the special something that makes a really great one.

Dance of Death
I was very enthusiastic about this one when it first came out - after all, it was the first one released during the time I've been a fan. However, when the initial excitement wore off it palled horribly and my opinion of it is pretty low nowadays. It's true that Paschendale is among the best songs they've ever done, but there's simply too much bad stuff on it. When I list my least favourite Maiden songs, no album contributes more (Wildest Dreams, Gates of Tomorrow, New Frontier, Age of Innocence) and there's little else that rises above average. It's a bit like its cover; some quite cool stuff surrounded by meaningless filler.

A Matter of Life and Death
I was honestly surprised by how fantastic this one was. It's definitely in my top five these days. I had a few complaints when I first heard it, but they don't bother me at all anymore. Several amazing songs (Brighter Than a Thousand Suns, For the Greater Good of God and The Legacy in particular) and not a single bad one. In fact, they're all good. Really.

I spent way too much time on this  ;)
Shadow said:
Piece of Mind
Probably my favourite Maiden album, this to me is the very definition of the "Maiden sound" I love. Nice melodies and time changes, powerful riffs, good lyrics (for the most part), no weak songs. An exhilarating listen from the kicking start of Where Eagles Dare to the breathtaking instrumental outro of To Tame a Land.

Do you mean "tempo changes", when you say "time changes"? I guess it's the same?

In that case, if allowed, and with all respect: As much as I appreciate all comments (and I realize how personal comments are, so it's a bit risky to comment on a commentary of someone else ;) ), I can't restrain myself to say that "Piece Of Mind" has by far the least amount of time changes from the whole Maiden catalogue. The only time changing moments in Piece of Mind can be found in:

-Still Life (just one after the intro)
-To Tame A Land

So if you love time changes so much, then all other albums give more to you, regarding this aspect.
I meant it as sudden changes in tempo or melody. I suppose it was a badly chosen phrase. I'm not very familiar with music terminology so you'll have to forgive me if I sometimes don't get the point across.

Regarding what you're saying about there being more such things on other albums; that's probably true, but what there is on Piece of Mind sounds particularly good to me. I'm not musician enough to comment objectively on such aspects, so anything I say is just my feelings about the music and doesn't necessarily reflect the actual musical technicalities.

Next time I'll describe what I want to say with a proper sentence instead of trying to take shortcuts with my homemade terminology ;)

(By the way, I took the liberty of pinning this along with the least favourite album thread)
Okay, I don't have all the albums.  The Di'Anno era ones I haven't bought (yet).  But I'll list the ones I have, newest first for a change  :p

A Matter of Life and Death: My favourite.  It's a masterpiece in every respect, and I can't really understand why some people (not here though) call it boring.  I think it's full of energy and brilliantly composed.  Different World is the only one that doesn't fit in - it just seems like an obligatory single.  It's not a bad song, but doesn't fit the rest of the album.  My favourites from here: The Legacy, The Longest Day, Brighter than a Thousand Suns

Dance of Death: Underrated.  It does have some filler, but even the filler is better than in many other Maiden albums.  Some brilliant songs, and not just Paschendale.  It's also a special album because it's the first time the whole band wrote.  This made a very diverse album.  However, unlike AMOLAD, the focal point of DoD is certain songs, not really the album itself.  My favourites: No More Lies, Paschendale, Montségur.

Brave New World
: Great album.  Less filler than DoD (if at all), and the overall quality is more balanced.  However, it doesn't have as many stand-out tracks.  It's heavy, but it's also in some way more relaxing than many other albums.  Overall, a great album but I have less to say about this one.  My favourites: Brave New World, Dream of Mirrors, The Thin Line Between Love and Hate.

Virtual XI: I liked it when I bought it (not when it came out, as I wasn't a fan then yet), but it's failed to hold my attention.  The songs aren't that bad (barring Angel and the Gambler, which I despise), but the production and feel of the album leaves something to be desired.  Good thing Maiden didn't go along this route any further.  My favourites: The Clansman, Futureal

The X-Factor: I'm not a Blaze hater.  I love this album.  Maybe my second favourite Maiden album.  What Perun said. :bigsmile:  None of the songs give that "ultimate headbanging feeling", but I think that this is Maiden at their very lyrical best, barring AMOLAD.  Some songs are extremely touching.  This album should also appear in the dictionary under "underrated".  Favourites: Lord of the Flies, Fortunes of War, Judgement of Heaven, Sign of the Cross.  However, I feel that Man on the Edge should not be on this album.  It just doesn't suit the album's mood.  It's an ok song, but I always skip it when listening to this album.

Fear of the Dark: Half this album is, to me, filler.  I can only remember well "Be Quick or Be Dead", "Afraid to Shoot Strangers", "Childhood's End", "From Here to Eternity", "Wasting Love", "The Fugitive", and "Fear of the Dark".  They should've kept the album at 8 tracks and it would be a lot better.  The above-mentioned songs are very good, except From Here to Eternity, which sounds too commercial for me.  But The Fugitive is very underrated to me, I love its riff!

No Prayer for the Dying: A very underrated album, and a lot better than FotD.  The song quality is quite even, too.  It's a step down from Seventh Son but still a great album.  It's a lot more rockish, but that's the point.  And I like a lot of the lyrics, too.  Political lyrics are a favourite of mine  :)  Favourites:  Hard to say.  Maybe Mother Russia, Run Silent Run Deep, and No Prayer for the Dying.

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son: Probably the best album they produced in the 80's.  Quite varied, but still with a central lyrical topic.  Some of Maiden's best lyrics are on this album.  My third favourite album, sometimes second.  It strikes a balance between music and lyrics very well, and the music matches the lyrics perfectly.  And it's got The Evil that Men Do!  Favourite tracks: The Evil that Men Do, Only the Good Die Young, The Clairvoyant.

Somewhere in Time
: A very good album with fairly even song quality.  I'm not a big fan of the synths, but they have their good points.  There are a lot of great songs, and it's a holy album for followers of H (3 songs from him alone!).  The lyrics are a bit shallow at points (Alexander, Somewhere in Time, Deja Vu) but some songs stand out lyrically from the others (Heaven Can Wait, and especially Wasted Years which is lyrically one of the most touching Maiden songs ever for me).  Favourite tracks: Wasted Years, Alexander the Great, Stranger in a Strange Land.

Powerslave: Quite uneven song quality, but still a great album.  Never really understood the Egyptian theme (it's only one song), but I like the cover.  Sometimes I even prefer this over Seventh Son because of the sheer energy.  Favourites: The Four minus Powerslave.

Piece of Mind: I'm running out of things to say.  It deserves its place in the Great Works of Metal.  :p  It's THE Maiden sound for me, somehow.  When I think of Maiden I think of Piece of Mind first.  And though The Trooper might be a bit overrated, it still is one of my all time favourites for Maiden.  Favourites: Where Eagles Dare, The Trooper, To Tame a Land.  Honorary mention: Flight of Icarus.

The Number of the Beast
: First of all, it contains the very essence of underrating: INVADERS.  I love this song, and I've never understood why so many dislike it.  It sometimes even ranks above Run to the Hills for me.  But anyway, I think this is a very good album, even though a lot of the tracks I've overlistened to: The Number of the Beast, Run to the Hills, 22 Acacia Avenue, and the Prisoner.  But Hallowed Be Thy Name can never be overplayed, and it'll always rank as my favourite song.  I'll have this song played at my funeral.  :bigsmile:
Shadow said:
I meant it as sudden changes in tempo or melody. I suppose it was a badly chosen phrase. I'm not very familiar with music terminology so you'll have to forgive me if I sometimes don't get the point across.

Regarding what you're saying about there being more such things on other albums; that's probably true, but what there is on Piece of Mind sounds particularly good to me. I'm not musician enough to comment objectively on such aspects, so anything I say is just my feelings about the music and doesn't necessarily reflect the actual musical technicalities.

Next time I'll describe what I want to say with a proper sentence instead of trying to take shortcuts with my homemade terminology ;)

(By the way, I took the liberty of pinning this along with the least favourite album thread)

No prob :)
Besides, like you mentioned, POM has more aspects than the tempo changes only!
Iron Maiden - A great start. A few songs don't do much for me; for example, I've never understood why so many people love the thoroughly mediocre "Strange World". But most of the tracks are killers. The first side (for those of us old enough to remember vinyl albums with 2 sides) is classic. However, like the debut album from many bands, it strikes me as uneven in terms of style. A lot of experimentation as they were finding their groove. That's not a bad thing, but it does contrast sharply with their later albums.

Killers - The most underrated. Consistently great, song after song. Not quite as good as the giants below, but its consistency makes it stand apart from the debut. It shows these guys were really working at their craft, not just throwing out whatever songs they happened to write down on bar napkins.

The Number Of The Beast - "Gangland" was a terrible mistake. The other 7 songs range from enjoyable ("Invaders") to absolutely fucking amazing (title song, "Children...", "Hallowed..."). If you're like me, your opinion of albums rise and fall over time. This one has been on the rise with me for the last couple of weeks.

Piece Of Mind - My favorite, because it combines the consistency and craftmanship of Killers with the energy and style of TNOTB. Even the weakest songs ("Sun And Steel", "Quest For Fire") rock ferociously. "Revelations" and "Still Life" continue to blow me away every time I hear them, even if it's the 666th time.

Powerslave - To my ears, the production on this one is lacking the fat bottom end that POM had. But the guitar work is spectacular on every single song. And even if all they put out was the title song and ROTAM, that would still be enough to make it better than most of their albums. My #3 choice after POM and BNW.

Somewhere In Time - This one holds a special place in my heart. My first Maiden album was LAD (though I had heard their earlier stuff from friends and liked it). So this was the first one that I bought on the day it came out, and the first tour where I saw them live. Having said that, it's a drop in quality from the previous three. Side one is great, but side two never quite clicked for me. SIASL is a great song which sticks out like a sore thumb among some tunes which are only just above average. ATG is something I love at times, and other times it bores me.

Seventh Son - This one took me a while to get into. Side one is their best album side since side one of POM. But the second half? The title song and "The Clairvoyant" are both good, but the other two are just filler to me.

No Prayer - Yecch. See the worst album thread for more.

Fear Of The Dark - You all know the story here. Starts good, ends great, a bunch of noise in the middle. "Wasting Love" is their stinkiest turd since "Gangland". But I can forgive all that for ATSS and the title song.

The X Factor - A handful of good songs, but Steve was starting to rely on too much repetition in his songwriting. It's listenable, but by no means great.

Virtual XI - Now this is a great album. Yes, there's some repetition. Yes, many of these songs would have only been considered filler in the golden age. But compared to the last 3 albums, this one seems to be getting the spirit of Maiden back. "Futureal" is their best opener since "Moonchild", and they haven't written a better one yet. ("The Wicker Man" came close, though.) "The Clansman" and "Como Estais Amigos" are two of their three best songs since SSOASS (the other being FOTD). And even The Angel And The Never-Ending Chorus, as much as I make fun of it, is still a fun rock jam.

Note: to be fair, my current positive attitude about VXI is something that's happened in recent years. I didn't like it much when it came out.

Brave New World - Their best since POM, and sometimes I think their best ever. Only "The Mercenary" and "The Fallen Angel" keep it from being perfect. (But then, even POM had 2 weak tracks.) This is the album that rescued my failing interest in Maiden. I mean, they'd just put out 4 subpar albums, and I'd been losing faith for years. But this one blew me out of my chair. I've told this story before, but it bears repeating: after buying the CD, I was listening to it in the car on the way home. And "Ghost Of The Navigator" was so damn good I had to pull over and really listen to it. It was so good, it was distracting me from my driving, and I was literally afraid of crashing my car because of how amazing this album is.

Dance Of Death - I've really cooled off on this one since it came out. Half the songs are superb - "Rainmaker", "Monsegur", "Dance Of Death", "New Frontier" and of course, Paschefuckingdale! I gotta say it again: PASCHENFUCKINGDALE! Sayitwithmebrother: PASCHENFUCKINGDALE! Can I get an amen! ... Where was I? Oh, right. NML is OK, and the rest of the songs are crap. But not just any ordinary crap. "Gates Of Tomorrow" and "The Age Of Innocence" in particular are turds to rival "Gangland" and "Wasting Love". Inconsistent. Ruins the experience of listening to the album as a whole.

AMOLAD - The polar opposite of DOD. Consistently superb from the first note to the last. Even the weakest songs here, like the opener or "Lord Of Light", rivals the golden age material for greatness. And the best, like BTATS or FTGGOG, can go toe-to-toe with ROTAM or Hallowed or Paschendale any day of the week, and even win their fair share of the time. Objectively speaking, it's hard to deny that AMOLAD is simply Maiden's greatest album, taken as a whole. The only reason I place POM, BNW and Powerslave before it in my list is for sentimental reasons. I've loved those 3 albums too long to demote them. But ask me again in a few years, and I wouldn't be surprised if AMOLAD eventually tops my list.

Dammit, I'm supposed to be working on other stuff. Who made me write this long post anyway? :bigsmile:
Iron Maiden: Well, I am not a huge fan of Paul Di'Anno or Dennis Stratton, though I do admit Paul's voice is amazing in some instances, and Bruce hasn't been able to duplicate it.  However, this is still a good album.  I do believe it suffers from the poor production; yes, some songs gather that raw power others have spoken about, but some are just handicapped.  It does have one of Maiden's finest songs of 'em all: Phantom of the Opera, a powerful piece of work that stands up to all the years between now and then.  It is a fairly consistent album - the only song I am truly not a fan of is Running Free, and even that has some certain nostalgia to it.
The good: Phantom of the Opera, Prowler, Remember Tomorrow
The bad: Running Free, Strange World, Charlotte the Harlot
The skinny: C+

Killers: This is my least favourite album, even though it has one of my personal favourite tracks, Killers.  I believe that a lot of the songs on this album would have done much better with the raw production of Iron Maiden, and that the more refined production of Martin Birch cuts the balls off a few of the songs.  The tracks where Adrian is prominent seem to be stronger, but I am personally glad that songs like Drifter, Innocent Exile, and Purgatory have been left off the live playlist for 20 years.  I have always enjoyed a few tracks from this album, including Prodigal Son, which is a unique Maiden track with its own special sound.
The good: Killers, Wrathchild, Prodigal Son
The bad: Innocent Exile, Drifter, Another Life
The skinny: C-

The Number of the Beast: I get the feeling that many older Maiden fans will consider this one of the best albums.  I can't disagree, it has some of Maiden's most memorable tracks.  Gangland is really the weakest song, and the only one that is truly subpar, and the highpoints are many - 22 Acacia Avenue, the title track, and Hallowed Be Thy Name.  However, Bruce's voice seems to be still fitting into Maiden's sound at time (22, Children of the Damned, and Invaders) but this gives you the sense of many great things to come.  This album has stood up marvelously to the test of time.
The good: Hallowed Be Thy Name, Children of the Damned, The Number of the Beast
The bad: Gangland
The skinny: A

Piece of Mind: A lot of people seem to rank this as their top album, but I just can't agree.  I love a few songs from this album, but the epic track has never done it for me.  To Tame A Land is good, but I didn't really like Dune so I just can't ease into this track.  I enjoy the Arabic-like sounds but I think they were perfected 17 years later on The Nomad.  Similarly, Flight of Icarus is average, Die With Your Boots On is a hint over-the-top cheesy, and Quest For Fire fails at life.  There are some wonderful songs on here (the incredible Bruce effort of Revelations) and one of Maiden's most enduring classics, The Trooper.  Yet I cannot put it in the same class as many people seem to.
The good: Revelations, The Trooper, Still Life
The bad: Quest For Fire, Sun And Steel, Flight of Icarus
The skinny: B

Powerslave: For sentimental reasons, my favourite album, but not really my favourite album to listen to.  So I shan't rank on the former reasons.  As previously mentioned, there are the Big Four songs on this album, and the other four are a little lame.  Losfer Words is poor, the worst instrumental and you can't help but get the feeling that Bruce said, "Bollocks, I'm not singing on that piece of horseshit!"  Flash of the Blade is only mildly enjoyable, but Back to the Village has some wicked guitar shreds.  Unfortunately Bruce sounds like he swallowed a razor on the track, and The Duellists is only "pretty good".  But the Big Four are still...the Big Four.
The good: Powerslave, Aces High, Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The bad: Losfer Words (Big 'Orra), Back in the Village, Flash of the Blade
The skinny: A-

Somewhere in Time: This is one of those albums that is tough to rank.  There are some killer, amazing songs, some mediocre songs, and some good songs.  I'm a huge fan of Wasted Years, Stranger in a Strange Land, and Alexander the Great, though the latter slowly slips down my personal standings everytime I re-evaluate them.  I have always enjoyed Sea of Madness though I can understand why some don't.  I even enjoy Deja-Vu.  The thing that seperates Somewhere In Time from my favourite, #1 album ranking is that there is no single standout song, no centrepiece of the album that summates everything.  Alexander the Great tries very hard to do so, but fails.
The good: Heaven Can Wait, Wasted Years, Alexander the Great
The bad: Caught Somewhere in Time, Sea of Madness
The skinny: A-

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son: An incredibly hard album to rate.  I recognize many of the songs as masterpieces, especially the title track, even though it has never 100% captured my love.  Then there are songs on the album that have done this: Moonchild is probably the best song under 5 minutes Maiden has ever made, up there with Aces High.  The Evil That Men Do is absolutely stellar.  I thoroughly enjoy Only the Good Die Young, and even Infinite Dreams.  There's no real "bad" songs on this album, though I find The Prophecy to be pretty standard and I could never enjoy The Clairvoyant, always finding it a bit bland.
The good: The Evil That Men Do, Moonchild, Infinite Dreams
The bad: The Prophecy, The Clairvoyant
The skinny: B+

No Prayer For the Dying: is one of Maiden's lesser albums.  When I was evaluating for Least Favourite Album...well, it was a tossup.  Holy Smoke is only redeeming for comedic interest (see the video of the same name), the title track tries very hard to be good and somewhat fails, and Mother Russia is a boring political commentary.  A lot of the songs are average, and a couple (Tailgunner, Hooks in You) are just abyssal.  There are some pretty good songs - I enjoy Run Silent, Run Deep and Bring Your Daughter.  Overall, it has bad production, poor and boring guitar work, and crappy singing.
The good: Run Silent, Run Deep, Bring Your Daughter... ...To the Slaughter, Holy Smoke
The bad: The Assassin, Hooks in You, Tailgunner
The skinny: C

Fear of the Dark: My biggest problem with this album is its lack of consistency.  There are some awesome songs on this album, a few hidden gems, and some utter terrible crap.  I do enjoy Wasting Love, Afraid To Shoot Strangers, and a few others, including Judas Be My Guide.  Of course the best song is Fear of the Dark, but almost the rest of the album could be forgotten easily.  Except for a handful of tracks, Bruce's voice sounds shot and you can hear his discontent from time to time.  It's better than No Prayer, but not by much.
The good: Fear of the Dark, Afraid To Shoot Strangers, Judas Be My Guide
The bad: The Apparition, Weekend Warrior, Fear is the Key
The skinny: C+

The X Factor: I can't choose my favourite album anymore.  But The X Factor is certainly in the top three, and it appears to be even better when I am trying to be objective.  It starts off on an absolutely awesome tangent - Sign of the Cross is one of Maiden's best songs of them all.  Are there weaker songs?  Sure.  But they are only weaker when compared to the rest of the album, not overall.  Songs like Lord of the Flies are only "pretty damn good" compared to the "absolutely stellar" of Sign of the Cross, Judgement of Heaven, and The Edge of Darkness.  The Unbeliever is a strange track to end on, and I almost would have preferred if it was left off.  However, it's still a passingly good song.  Overall The X Factor is dark, brilliant, and constant.
The good: Sign of the Cross, The Edge of Darkness,  Judgement of Heaven
The bad: n/a
The skinny: A+

Virtual XI: A maligned album for no good reason, in my opinion.  Futureal is a great starter, the album rotates around a masterpiece, The Clansman, and ends on a beautifully reflective note with Como Estais Amigos.  The Educated Fool is surprisingly good, and Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger is unique and interesting.  Even the lesser songs on this album are enjoyable in their own way, but I do wish that it was 3 minutes shorter.  Still a favourite album, though the drumming and the production hurt it here.
The good: The Clansman, When Two Worlds Collide, The Educated Fool
The bad: The Angel and the Gambler, Lightning Strikes Twice
The skinny: A-

Brave New World: A masterpiece, from start to finish.  Only two songs that are classifiable as "filler", and I have always thoroughly enjoyed both of them.  Brave New World, The Nomad, and Dream of Mirrors are all epics of unbelievably good proportion.  Dream of Mirrors is one of my three favourite Maiden tracks, up there with Paschendale and Powerslave.  The two intro tracks are great and awesome - Ghost of the Navigator is always amazing to hear.  The reunion album might always be their best work.
The good: Dream of Mirrors, The Nomad, Brave New World
The bad: The Fallen Angel, The Mercenary
The skinny: A+

Dance of Death: I loved it when I first heard it, and I still do.  Paschendale is probably the greatest Maiden track of all time, and the album has a host of other great tracks: Rainmaker, No More Lies, Dance of Death, and Journeyman.  It also has some incredibly low tracks: Gates of Tomorrow, New Frontier, and Age of Innocence.  It's very inconsistent and you go from high to low, to high.  The end is an above average album, lifted higher than other above averages by the pure wicked nature of the album's centrepiece.
The good: Paschendale, Dance of Death, Rainmaker
The bad: Gates of Tomorrow, Age of Innocence, New Frontier
The skinny: B+

A Matter of Life and Death: Well, what can you say about the most recent Maiden release?  I can say that there are at least four tracks I favour: The Longest Day, Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, The Legacy, and These Colours Don't Run.  Lord of Light and The Pilgrim are not the best tracks on the albums; however, they are far from bad.  The album never *stops* providing.  It's completely constant and the troughs are carefully balanced after slightly lesser tracks.  It's almost perfect.  I don't know how it will hold up, but I do know that right now, it's among the best.
The good: Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, The Legacy, The Longest Day
The bad: Lord of Light, The Pilgrim
The skinny: A+
Piece Of Mind
Piece Of Mind was actually the first Maiden studio album I owned. I bought it at the same time with Somewhere in Time on CD. Up til then, I only owned Live After Death, the maxi-single of "Sanctuary" and the video "12 Wasted Years". Because of Live After Death, I knew 4 songs, of which "The Trooper" and "Die With Your Boots On" I liked the most. Especially "The Trooper" was one of my favourites of LAD.

When I played POM, I discovered that this album had a lot of variation! I liked all tracks! "Quest For Fire" isn't bad at all, it's actually very good! Maybe its lyrics are the silliest of the whole album, but to be honest, that doesn't matter for me. I really like the way Steve Harris changes his bass-playing in the harmony of the mid of this song.

"To Tame A Land" was my favourite. I didn't understand anything of the lyrics but it really didn't prevent me from liking it. Nice Arabic melodies, an addition in metal that I didn't know yet. The collaboration and interaction in this song (right before the fast part) is pretty cool, when Steve and Dave play the melody together and on the other hand Adrian and Nicko hit the chords and drums together. A few months later I saw the film Dune by pure chance with a friend. All those names popped up in my head! What the f**k? From that moment on I started to infect others (or at least I tried) with Maiden's music, realizing that there was more than music alone.

About the sound. What strikes me most is how full the rhythm guitars sound on this album. From all the 80’s albums they might sound the fullest/loudest. Killers comes pretty close though. However, because of these loud guitars the bass is sometimes a bit in the background (especially when the guitar chords are open). The solos sound more clear than the ones on NOTB and Powerslave.

Last word is about "The Trooper". This the one song that never bores me. I like it as much as in the beginning. It's the ultimate Iron Maiden track, containing all the typical ingredients. We'll see if it stays in 2008! ;)

Powerslave is my favourite album, just followed by SIT and SSOASS. I have to admit that the high quality level is not the same from start to finish (“Flash of the Blade”, “Losfer Words” and “Back to the Village” are not my favourite Maiden tracks) but this album contains some of my favourite Maiden songs of all time: “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, “Powerslave”, “Aces High” and “The Duellists”.

"The Duellists" is for me the ultimate "forgotten song" in Maiden’s catalogue. I find it very underrated and I can’t understand people when they say it’s boring. I like it because of the brilliant mid piece. GREAT melodic guitar work, with the rhythm tandem McBrain/Harris underneath it. The song has a catchy chorus, that stays in your head (not the way the chorus of TAATG stays in your head!). No weak parts. Unlike most Maiden songs, the tempo is all the time the same, but despite this, the song has an enormous drive!

On Powerslave we can hear a different way of guitar playing than on Piece of Mind. Adrian often plays different things than Dave. E.g. in “Rime…” and in “The Duellists” Adrian plays open long chords where Dave plays fast rhythm guitar (powerchords). For someone who likes to hear more variation and details in the guitar work, Powerslave is definitely the better “product”!

Realizing this, it's quite odd that this album features only two songs written by a guitarist (Adrian Smith)!  It’s one of the very few albums without a Dave Murray-track on it. This album is especially a Steve and Bruce product.

The bass can be heard very well, and all sounds by Harris are clear to the ears, and the guitars are more separated to the side channels, compared with the full and fat guitars on the previous album.

I can’t wait for next year’s tour which should be my ultimate Iron Maiden experience ever. Witnessing “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”, it can’t be much better I guess!


Somewhere In Time
As said earlier, the first Iron Maiden studio-albums, I owned, were Piece Of Mind and Somewhere In Time. But Somewhere In Time was really the one I was going for.

The “12 Wasted Years” video accelerated everything. The funny playback-show of “Wasted Years” from German TV and the short clip of “Caught Somewhere In Time” in Japan made me very eager to check out this product. Adrian brought the best out of himself. He delivered three excellent tracks, which had more of a melancholic feel than most other Maiden songs. In the beginning I had to get used to the riffs of “Sea Of Madness”, and still I am not that fond of the vocal melody in the “Stranger In A Strange Land” chorus. The only other weak point of the album is the vocal melody in “Heaven Can Wait”, but for the rest I love it all very much! “Déja-Vu” is a dynamic up-tempo gem.

The sound on this album really does it for me. What I like about the production is the drum sound which seems to blend so well with ‘Arry bass and the rest of the music. There’s a big chance that Nicko’s playing and his drum sound might influence my total appreciation for Somewhere in Time. Again, like on Powerslave we can hear that Adrian does a lot of different things than Dave. There’s so much melody on this album and the production fits perfectly to that.

All studio versions of these songs I like better than all the live versions I have ever heard. This says enough about how special this album is, doesn't it?