General Album Ratings

The X-Factor
Never before and after, Maiden was disliked by so many people as in the period of 1995-1998: The Blaze years.

For many young people this is perhaps strange to comprehend. They seem to appreciate this era, just like young people at that time, who grew up with Maiden in the nineties. Like me for instance. I didn’t understand so much disgust. So many people who loved them in the eighties turned their back on Maiden. There’s still some of them on this forum, I bet. Nothing terribly wrong with turning your back on a band, but I find it important to illustrate this, because in my mind it’s hard to separate it, when thinking about The X-Factor.

People who knew Maiden since the eighties and who still liked the Blaze years at that time were rare species, especially on the internet (Baeleron had furious newsgroup battles with the worst haters, to defend Blaze and the band. Maverick also appreciated this era, which can be seen in the Commentary).

A lof of (especially European and South American) gigs were still very crowded. Most people still cared to see a Maiden gig, which has always been a special experience. But a majority of the media and the fans didn’t like the Blaze albums, especially because of Blaze’s voice, the build-up of the songs, and the musical climate in these years.

Looking back, Janick couldn’t illustrate it in a better way with the following words:

“…X Factor I felt was a great album. Wasn’t well-received at the time. The grunge thing had happened, and every rock artist was canceling tours right across America. We went out and we played and we were the most unfashionable band at the time in the world, but we still went out and did the gigs and we enjoyed ourselves, and we thought we had a good album. See you go out and you play, and you make an album, and you hope the people like it, and if they do like it, got bless them, and the people that don’t, well, God bless them too."

I remember that The X-Factor review in Aardschok magazine was very negative. It said that the songs were too long, started too slow with too long and calm intros. Nowadays those same reviewers don't seem to bother about other albums with long intros. They rave about Opeth and every band with long songs has suddenly become fantastic.

Anyway, I never had a problem with longer intros. Afraid to Shoot Strangers and Fear of the Dark also contained these.

On The X-Factor Nicko does a very nice job, and the drumsound is also good. Apart from Somewhere in Time and A Matter of Life or Death I even like this drumsound the most from all the Maiden albums.

About the whole sound, I read often that people dislike the mix of the album. Everyone his own opinion, but I truly hear that the music (esp. guitars and drums) does not sound as thin as in Virtual IX, Fear of the Dark and even Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. I think it’s the 2nd best sounding album of the nineties (I prefer No Prayer for the Dying soundwise).

The solos also have something special. This is the only studio album where you can hear Dave’s solos from the left speaker and Janick’s from the right.

TXF's haunting, moody atmosphere was majorily caused by Steve who went through some hard times in his private life. It’s a big quality of this album, and makes it enjoyable to listen to it without a single pause. For such a long record (over 70 minutes!) that’s a rare thing these days, when loose songs are more important than whole albums.

The second half of the album is very strong, and perhaps also most underrated. I have always liked two songs that haven't been mentioned much in the past: Judgement of Heaven & The Unbeliever.

The mid-sections of The Educated Fool and No More Lies are in my ears clear rip-offs of the mid-section of Judgement of Heaven. I'd say The Unbeliever is one of the most interesting things Maiden have ever done! These acoustic guitars parts in the bridges, the instrumental mid-section with the boneshivering solos and almost tribal drumming, really superb!

I was never a huge fan of the studio version of The Edge of Darkness, but I remember it was surprisingly nice and way heavier, hearing it live in concert, back in 1995, and the song has a nice acceleration (like in Hallowed Be Thy Name). 2 AM is a nice moody ballad with a typical Janick solo (a la Wasting Love & Como Estais Amigos) and I love the atmosphere and the solos in the strong Blood in the World's Hands.

To end this in a more positive way than the beginning of this post:
This album is getting more and more recognition, and I'm very glad about that. It took a while, but it has the potential to be one of the most loved Maiden records of their whole discography. I hope that Maiden will feel that as well. Let’s hope they will perform another track of it in the future!
soapymongoose said:
Every. Time. The greatest opener they have I think, mainly for that reason. After that, to me anyway, it’s a smorgasbord of dual guitar bliss.

Haha, fantastic  :) I assume you are Swedish? The word "smörgås" has made some confusion among Norwegians. An aunt of my father once told she'd been in a dinner party in Sweden (she was then very young and didn't know what it meant). She'd been told they would get "smörgåsar" and of course thougth it had to do with the bird. (For you English-speaking, the literal meaning as a Norwegian usually thinks of it would be butter goose). She was obviously very disappointed when there was no goose at all, just sandwiches :)

Besides this, I agree with the kind words on Powerslave. I disagree with those on Losfer Words, I really like it. But each to his own, of course. Cheers.
Eddies Wingman said:
Haha, fantastic  :) I assume you are Swedish? The word "smörgås" has made some confusion among Norwegians. An aunt of my father once told she'd been in a dinner party in Sweden (she was then very young and didn't know what it meant). She'd been told they would get "smörgåsar" and of course thougth it had to do with the bird. (For you English-speaking, the literal meaning as a Norwegian usually thinks of it would be butter goose). She was obviously very disappointed when there was no goose at all, just sandwiches :)

Besides this, I agree with the kind words on Powerslave. I disagree with those on Losfer Words, I really like it. But each to his own, of course. Cheers.

Hi, no I'm English. I just have a "thing" for really cool words with double meanings and words that us English aka "language pillagers" have stolen from somewhere else and completely changed what it means and i like "how they said things back in the old days" (even though im 27. Yes. It is quite sad i know  :innocent: )

Ya know, like "over yonder" instead of "over there" and things of a similar ilk :)
I'll just put them from my favourite down to my least favourite, later i'm going to sum some words about each one of them.

1. Somewhere In Time

Where to start...this is probably the best record i've heard in my entire life. For me, it features never-heard-again guitar work, such a beautiful sound, and it basically has no filler tracks. All five of them made a truly exceptional job as a musicians, especially Adrian Smith, and this record is often regarded as the best work of his carreer. I agree.

Only song that could been considered as filler track would be Deja Vu, and that song features the ultimate collection of guitar harmonies produced by the band that has basically trademarked guitar harmonies (yeah i know, people did it before, but none have developed that stuff as Maiden did). It's a simple song, and the simple straightforward lyrics work best here. Still while being simple, it's composed of a lot of simple parts, that make this song a great ride from beginning to the end.

I have following objections to Somewhere In Time : Alexander's lyrics, and the fact that Heaven Can Wait is a bit lagging in general standard presented by this record as whole. Still, like Fear Of The Dark, it's a song which breeds full when played live.

The best songs would cerainly be the opener track and Sea Of Madness.

Somewhere In Time is the first record where Maiden started messing in the world of "progressive metal". They did a hell of a job.

2. Seventh Son Of The Seventh Son

The general idea behind SIT continues, this time backed by a concept story, more elaborate synth work, but somewhat the guitar work is not on the level of SIT, but still great stuff. Opener and closing tracks are amazing, the title track epic shows how much Maiden can get atmospheric and melodic, and it features the longest soloing instrumental section they ever did.

The only song i don't really like is Can I Play With Madness, too commercial, really seems to be deliberately written as a single. Prophecy, while having good lyrics and some great music, just doesn't work as whole for me...the vocal melody is a bit weird, i don't know. This one never grew on me.

The best song on this one, for me, would be the closing track. Only The Good Die Young. Thrilling lyrics, and best chorus that Maiden ever did.

3. A Matter Of Life And Death

As time passed by, this record progressed from a big dissapointment to one of my favourite ones! The most progressive Maiden record, has brilliant masterpieces like the Lord Of Light, The Legacy, Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg, Brighter Than a Thousand Suns...

Long, calm intros, but when it starts rocking, it surely rocks! Just remember the gallop from Lord Of Light, or the headbanging powerchords of Benjamin Breeg. The album is very dramatic, and it's progressive right where it should be.

The lowest-ranking track would probably be Out Of The's a nice song, but i don't dig it as much as the others. Lower ranking ones also would be These Colors Don't Run and For The Greater Good Of God. Good songs also, but they're just not up to ones i earlier mentioned and the brilliant opener, Different World.

Longest Day is a great song, but i don't like the pre-chorus part, and the chorus doesn't fit the mood setted by the intro and that "dark" theme overall. Pilgrim is a straightforward rocker, excellent riffs.

Best track would be Lord Of Light.

4. Piece Of Mind
5. Powerslave
6. Brave New World
7. The Number Of The Beast
8. Dance Of Death
9. Iron Maiden
10. No Prayer For The Dying
11. Fear Of The Dark
12. Killers
13. Virtual XI
14. The X Factor
1) Debut - Great attitude and aggressive. Love the album  8/10
2) Killers - More polished and great tunes. Love Murders in Rue Morgue  9/10
3) Number of the Beast - AWESOME classic 10/10
4) Piece of Mind - Great intro by Nicko. Strong tunes, some filler 8/10
5) Poweslave - Love ths album. Great tunes. Hitting the peak here 10/10
6) Somewhere in Time - Was hard to get used to at first with the synths, but have grown to LOVE it  9/10
7) Seventh Son - Did not like the production. sound was not to my liking. Good songs 7/10
8) No Prayer for the Dying - It was ok. Nothing really stood out. 7/10
9) Fear of the Dark - A little better than NPFD. 7/10
10) The X Factor - I really liked it. Thought the songs were strong but they did not have the "bite" when they blasted outta my speakers  8/10
11) Virtual XI - OK. My least favorite Maiden release. Some high points but nothing inspiring 6/10
12) Brave New World - Great comback album. Opening with Wicker Man is killer 8/10
13) Dance of Death - Another great album. Song structures starting to sound alike. slow easy openings then galloping melodies 8/10
14) Matter of Life or Death - Was dissapointed. To be honest all the tunes pretty much sound the same. Hope they get the "prog" influences ot of theur systems for the next album  6/10

By the way... Maiden in Japan = great live ep.
Cool topic! I'll try not to say what's been said a million times:

Fear Of The Dark
I think it's a bit underrated. It contains some of the best material they've written, but it kinda get buried in the mass of 3min/fast/happy-sound-although-it's-a-serious-subject songs. Be Quick Or Be Dead, Afraid To Shoot Strangers, Childhood's End and Fear Of The Dark are brilliant songs that tend to be lost in the mass.

The X Factor
In my opinion, this is the most underrated album with Iron Maiden. I've read reviews (official) slaughtering this album completely, I hate that. You cerantly won't hear any of this stuff on MTV, that's true, but it has a very refined sound. It's not that accecible, and it takes time to adjust to it. If you have any doubts, just listen through it a couple of times and try to forget the ''Maiden Sound of the 80's''. Sign of the Cross is my favourite epic from Steve. I think ''The X Factor'', ''Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son'' and ''A Matter Of Life And Death'' are the most creative albums from Maiden. That's MY opinion at least.

Brave New World / Dance Of Death
They are a but overrated I think. Many of the songs were kinda ''fillers''. It's like you know Steve and Co. can do better. It's not to say it's bad, it's just not so consistent. Dance of Death was almost on the edge of being ''bad''.

A Matter Of Life And Death
FINALLY, this proves that the guys still have it :lol:. Let's hope this creative process goes on in future...


Iron Maiden 7.5 of 10. Best song: Phantom Of The Opera
Killers 6 og 10. Best song: Killers
The Number Of The Beast 9.5 of 10. Best song: Hallowed Be Thy Name (and 22 Acacia Acenue)
Piece Of Mind 7 of 10. Best song: Revelations
Powerslave 8 of 10. Best song: Powerslave (ROTAM is very close)
Somewhere In Time 7.5 of 10. Best song: Caught Somewhere In Time
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son 10 of 10. Best song(s): All songs exept Can I Play With Madness?
No Prayer For The Dying 5 of 10. Best song: Mother Russia
Fear Of The Dark 5.5 of 10. Best song: Childhood's End
The X Factor 9.5 of 10. Best song: Sign of the Cross
Virtual XI 4 of 9. Best song: The Clansman
Brave New World 7 of 10. Best song: Blood Brothers
Dance Of Death 3 of 10. Best song (only songs I liked): Pashendale / Dance Of Death / Journeyman
A Matter Of Life And Death 10 of 10. Best song(s): ALL OF THEM!
Reumeren said:
Fear Of The Dark
I think it's a bit underrated. It contains some of the best material they've written, but it kinda get buried in the mass of 3min/fast/happy-sound-although-it's-a-serious-subject songs. Be Quick Or Be Dead, Afraid To Shoot Strangers, Childhood's End and Fear Of The Dark are brilliant songs that tend to be lost in the mass.

Which is pretty much what I said earlier in this thread - except I didn't mention Childhood's End back then. It has grown on me a bit I would also add Judas Be My Guide to the list of good songs. Still, that sums up to 5 songs. And when the album has 12 songs - ranging from average to the most forgettable Maiden ever did - the total becomes what is a rather weak album by Maiden standards. If they had cut out songs 7-9 (The Fugitive, The Apparition and Chains of Misery) the album average would be quite good. As it is now, when listening to the entire album, I sit from the end of Childhood's End to the start of Judas Be My Guide and wait for the next really good song. The songs in between have some good parts, there is not a single Maiden song without any good parts, but none of these songs are anything to write home about.

Also Weekend Warriors has a great interlude (right before the Janick solo) but the rest of the song isn't that great. The album closes with a classic, but that doesn't save it from relative mediocrity.

Also, Bruce's singing on this album (and on No Prayer) is not what I expect to hear from Maiden. I like the voice of "Piece of Mind-Bruce". AMOLAD-Bruce also sounds good. But after FOTD, I could go as far as saying it was good for the band to record two discs with another singer. But of course, hadn't Bruce come back in 1999, the band would probably be dead by now. And it is good H came back as well because his contribution both in soloing and songwriting is important.
I really like The Fugitive. I find it at least as good and kind of the same atmosphere as Childhood's End. Excellent intro, build-up and solos, and nice pace overall the whole track. A nice "moving" song for bus, car, train, bike or simply the point of the track: "on the run". ;)
You know what? I've come to like this song better myself - and it's officially off my "filler tracks on FOTD" list. It's a good song. My opinion on the two next songs stands strong, though.
Thanks for the update, Zare! I need to continue this as well, my next one is VXI, I believe.

How do you like TXF compared to DOD? And how do you compare NPFTD to DOD?
I wonder if you agree with me that DOD contains more weaker songs than these other two.
Hmm...i would rate No Prayer higher than DoD. I have a weird thing about No Prayer, it's somewhat incomplete, inconsistent, Bruce's voice, several really bad things about that record, but i just like it.

The thing about Dance Of Death comes to a bunch of brilliant songs (Paschendale, Dance Of Death, No More Lies, Face In The Sand, Journeyman) sharing nothing with the rest of the album. The rest are really great rockers, with sweeping solos, but in fact simple songs with not so good lyrics (at least for Maiden's standards).

Each of the mentioned 5 top DoD songs beats anything on TXF for me. However, TXF is really consistent, and can be enjoyed from start to stop at the same level, on DoD i have osciallations in "enjoyment". So i would rate TXF higher than DoD, correcting my previous sentence that three 21st century albums are better. Two are. I'll try to compile a list :

1. Somewhere In Time
2. Seventh Son Of The Seventh Son
3. A Matter Of Life And Death
4. Powerslave
5. Piece Of Mind
6. Brave New World
7. No Prayer For The Dying
8. The X Factor
9. Dance Of Death
10. The Number Of The Beast
11. Iron Maiden
12. Virtual XI
13. Killers
14. Fear Of The Dark

So, Iron Maiden and Killers have fallen on my list, maybe because i haven't played them in whole for a long time. And remark #2, on the work the other day i played SiT in whole, concentrating a bit on the music and a bit on the work. After it stopped, first thing that came up was something like..."nobody has ever, and nobody will ever record album as good as this one"  :)
Iron Maiden
For a debut album it is certainly a masterpiece! Every song suits my taste and the album as a whole barely has any flaws. Actually the only thing I could really point out as a flaw is that there is no Bruce, and in my opinion he sings the likes of "Phantom of the Opera" and "Running Free" among others, 10,000,000 times better then Paul does! Of course, not to take anything away from Paul as he is the singer that started it all with Maiden! Anyway I still think its a great album even with Paul and it could possibly be a winner for best debut album of all time by any band in my opinion.

A great album just like its predecessor! Although if someone asked me which album was better, I wouldnt have a clue. To me they are both amazing and both really showed how big Maiden was going to become. Again, there aint my beloved Brucie and if he took the place of Paul in "Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "Killers" at the least, it would be a major eargasm! But as before im not trying to take anything from Paul. His voice and style really fit into the first two albums and perhaps it wouldnt have been the same with Bruce.. But anyway as stated above it is nothing short of a great album. Home run number two for Maiden!

The Number of the Beast
MY FAVORITE MAIDEN ALBUM OF ALL TIME!!! Now this album here is nothing short of an epic from beginning to end. "Invaders" is a great and fast paced opener that actually amazed me when I first heard it. I havent really listened to anything like it before so it was actually quite a shock to my ears! Perhaps the only minor flaw I find with this song though is the short guitar solo. Still, its a great song and only the beginning of things to come..

Moving on the "Children of the Damned". This song really set the standard high for me and wiped every song from the previous two Maiden albums to the floor. Its truly amazing and really shows the capabilities of Bruce's voice. This song would be nowhere near the same if Di Anno were still to be around.

"The Prisoner" is an awesome track with an amazing drum intro. It has a very catchy chorus I think and the guitar solo is flawless. "22 Acacia Avenue" follows it and does NOT disappoint. Both songs are great in the studio versions although I feel 22 can be played a bit faster. But both are even better live! The Beast Over Hammersmith versions I think are my personal favorite performances of these songs..

"The Number of the Beast" and "Run to the Hills" are next up, both are signature songs and even though they might be a little overplayed I still enjoy listening to them on my ipod from time to time.. The Number of the Beast may also be one of my favorite Maiden tunes if I do say so myself.

"Gangland" and "Total Eclipse" may seem like filler tracks to most, but I think they fit the album well. I mean face it, what could you do without those fast paced and catchy 3-4 minute songs. They COMPLETE an album in my opinion.. Which is where I think the likes of Metallica fail, their albums mostly composed almost exclusively of 5 or more minute overly dragged out songs. But not to get sidetracked! Point is these songs fit in well and Maidens live performance of "Total Eclipse" at Odeon in 1982 was remarkable!

Lastly, "Hallowed Be Thy Name" which many consider to be the best song Maiden ever created! It deffinately is one of my favs and it never gets old! It is perhaps the best Harris epic and live performances of the song are amazing.

whoa! My it took awhile getting through that album.. I could say a lot more but im short on time :p I will make the others a bit quick..

Piece of Mind and Powerslave
Both of these albums are flawless musically and lyrically. "2 Minutes to Midnight" is the song that started it all for me. "Revelations", "Aces High", and "Powerslave" among others are highlights spanning these two albums.

Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son..
These are my parents favorite albums of Iron Maiden, and while I can say they are not my personal favorite I cannot disagree with them that they are both great and different compared to the past albums. Somewhere in Time lets face it owns the crown of best album cover in the history or album covers! And every song I think kinda fits the general theme of the album pretty well. Seventh Son is a story of its own on the other hand and has a few catchy songs. I LOVE the opener Moonchild and the title track is a true epic.

I am very low on time now, hopefully I can get the other albums in soon but for now byes :)
Oh dear god how long is this going to take?

Honestly, I haven't listened to the entire thing, so maybe I shouldn't be reviewing it. I like the overall more punkish approach to the music, but the overall songs lack something. Only Running Free, Phantom and the title track are keepers for me. 7/10

I like this one better, most of the songs are really good. Only Drifter is crap.

Some would save overrated, but I disagree. Overplayed maybe, certainly there is one song on here, which, though excellent, everyone knows needs to be done away with live. One of Maiden's best. 9/10

One of my first Maiden albums, it's always been a personal favorite. I think Quest For Fire and Sun And Steel are underrated. 9/10

Certainly overrated, Losfer Words is overlong, and Back In The Village is disgusting drivel. Overally it still kicks ass. 8/10

Another overrated disc, although I prefer the more melodic approach. Heaven Can Wait and Deja Vu both have idiotic choruses that drag them down. 9/10

Excellent disc, only The Prophecy isn't that good. Still, very energetic with contrast with the dreamy, mystic production. 9/10

I could rant all day about this one, but I'll try to keep it short. First of all, there is NOTHING wrong with being simplistic. A lack of complexity does not equal a lack of creativity. Fates Warning and Public Enema are underrated, and Mother Russia isn't that bad of an epic. Unfortunately, the two more revered songs from here, (I guess because of the content), Run Silent and Tailgunner, are absolute worthless crap. 8/10

Here we go again, with everyone disliking it because it's less complex and not as metal. It's actually very enjoyable if you like basic rock. Only The Appirition is really bad, and Fugitive is one of my favorite Maiden tracks. I actually prefer it to Prisoner. 9/10

Blaze's voice fits this disc perfectly. The songs need to be listened to individually rather than listening to the album as a whole. 9/10

Quite possibly the worst production I have ever heard, but the music is for the most part good. Only The Clansman is dull. 9/10

Excellent comeback, though Bruce really can't sing anymore. Both the shorter, simpler approach, and the longer, more epic approach work here. 9/10

I hated it at first, but I've grown to appreciate this one more and more. Enjoyable to listen to, but Maiden really stopped trying with this one. McBrain should stop writing music and join Casting Crowns. 7/10

Completely contrived, nothing here is from the heart. This thing sounds more like a WWII documentary then an album, and while the melodies are still good, they are ripping themselves off now. Time to try a different approach or retire. 6/10
Even though The X Factor had had some time to grow on me when I wrote my rating, I'll take a few moments to agree on the kind words on Judgement of Heaven - that song has grown on me slower than a few others on that album, but now I think it's great. The same goes for The Edge of Darkness.
Iron Maiden (1980)

A masterpiece! Despite the raw sound on the production, it only contains hyms of Heavy Rock and real music, in general. Phantom Of The Opera is obviously the highlight of the album with a level of musicality up there with the classical compositions. Strange World is also unique, with a bass line which sounds more like a solo thoughout the whole song, which has some of the most heartfelt guitar solos one can ever have the pleasure to listen to. Paul Di'Anno sings like a master of his own style throughout the album, especially on Strange World and Remember Tomorrow. Perhaps, the best debut album of history, alongside Black Sabbath debut, Kill 'Em All, In The Court Of The Crimson King and Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard Of Ozz. It started something. 9/10

Killers (1981)
I use to say that there's Heavy Rock before and after Killers. And there is indeed! Now with Adrian Smith emblematic, storytelling and atmospheric guitar solos and melodies to make a counterpart and counterpoint to the wildness of Dave Murray style, the band made an album with classic after classic. The first hints of what later turned into metal with groove/funk like Suicidal Tendencies, Infectious Grooves became famous for, are in the anthemic Wrathchild (what a bass tone Harris got on this album!!!). More of this groove can be heard on the almost funkmetallic hymn Innocent Exile with some incredible guitar duets and eye watering solos, especially Adrian's. Genghis Khan is a destroyer instrumental song written to fill the album time and what a way to fill it. The album also has space to one of the best progressive like ballads of all times - Prodigal Son; the song was never played live and it's hard to know why 'cos it would certainly be a show stopper with Paul's incredible interpretation and Smith/Murray mind blowing solos following each other. It seems weird, but there's not a weak moment on the album. Another masterpiece. 10/10

The Number Of The Beast (1982)
Bruce Dickinson had proved on the live shows at the end of 1981 that he was going to be a legend and he proved it also with new written songs for the new album on this same 1981 shows, to introduce him to the fans. The Number Of The Best is an album that shook the world and made loads of kids start up a band and annoy everyone else with it's anthologic album cover. The music on the album is strong, with loads of catchy and unforgettable choruses, but it did lost a bit of the progressive twists the band had done so far. Invaders is a destroyer opener with a vocal delivery from Dickinson which made people forget Paul in the blink of an eye (or of an ear, or both ears!). Children Of The Damned is the first real Heavy ballad it an interesting change from the sad mood of the first half of the song into a menacing, macabre groove and lyricism on the second half. An anthem! The Prisoner has one of the most catchy Maiden songs. Catchy in the lyrics, in the verses and obviously, in the chorus. Adrian did one of the greatest instrumental sections ever with that fanstatic legato melody which bursts into a rabid groove followed by amazing solos. 22 Acacia Avenue is the craziest song on the album, with 4 different movements into the structure. Dave's bluesy solo is a killer one! This was an old Urchin song, which Adrian Smith had written back in the mid 70's. The title track needs no introduction and it's anthemic in every sense. Run To The Hills was the first great success worldwide as a single and despite being catchy and nice to hear, it is one of the less impressive songs on the album and gets old quite fast, specially live where it seems to lack a bit of the edge of the studio version. Gangland is the last song Clive Burr co-wrote for Maiden and it is a great song! The instrumental section is superb, with some great Steve's bass runs and inspired duets by Murray/Smith. Total Eclipse was added on the 1998 edition of the album and gladly it was. A Sabbath like intro sets perfectly the dark mood of the lyrics and it then shift gears ofr the blistering solo section. Hallowed Be Thy Name is a song which builds up from an incredibly sad and macabre intro into an aggressive lament about the meaning of existence. This song is so amazing that it seems to have a life in itself and the band never leave it out their set list since the album's tour. The Number Of The Beast is a strong album in its own terms and showed the world that despite having a newbie on the vocals, the band went from strength to strength and became even more powerful, both as composers and live performers. 9/10

Piece Of Mind (1983)
This is my favourite album! Despite another major change into the band with the mad as hat genius of drumming Nicko McBrain on the fold now, replacing the irreplaceable Clive Burr, the band conjured up in this album everything the had done of the first 3 albums (people say the 4th album is what takes the band into stardom or into the larger bowl of the 'could've been a great band' bands, and with Piece Of Mind, Iron Maiden went much beyond stardom. They changed history!); the album was written in the sunny islads of the Bahamas and much of the brilliance of the album is due to the fact that it was a band with all guns blazing in terms of creativity and musicality crafting song of dark storylines alongside the sunny beaches of Bahamas. It is so perfect that the albums sounds really like  product of our metallic fantasies! The fuzzy guitar tone Martin Birch gotten for Dave and Adrian is almost like that from Black Sabbath's masterpiece from 1972 Vol 4 and it makes perhaps, the heaviest of all Maiden albums. From the drum riff opening of Where Eagles Dare up to the exotic melodies and grooves with an apocalyptic history of a future world, not so different from our own planet Earth, in To Tame A Land (formerly called Dune), it sounds even more like a fantasy! Revelations, The Trooper, Sun And Steel are the highlights of the album with duets at full force, Dickinson's clean, strong and heartfelt voicings, Steve's even more grooving tone and basslines and new drummer Nicko MacBrain almost as riffing drumming as guitar lines, the band achieved such status among Rock fans that hardly happened since Sabbath/Zeppelin achieved in the mid 70's. It really is a Piece Of Metal genre Mind. 10/10

Powerslave (1984)
Back from his vacation in Egypt, Dave brought the whole environment in his bags and it developed intomaybe the most influential Heavy Rock/Metal albums if all times (once again). Powerslave was also written in the Bahamas and it showed the band developing more and more into the complexity of the instrumental passages, which is eveident in masterpieces like Aces High, which contains a short but with unearthly synchronized and tight instrumental section which has its summit in the almost 'spitfire fighting another spitfire' solo section; the chorus Bruce delivers with unmatched voice and technique. 2 Minutes To Midnight is a constant on the live shows, but it's a song that despite having a catchy chorus and complex basslines and structure, is a song that drags a bit because of the repetitve chorus. Far from a bad song, but also far from being one of the best songs (its case is similar to that of Run To The Hills). Losfer Words is a multi parted instrumental song with a different vibe and several harmony changes which makes up for another kind of the term progressive in rock music. Flash Of The Blade is another solo Dickinson composition and contains some unbeliveable guitar harmonies and bass lines. It's the summit of Maiden as musicians and composers. The Duellists has verse and choruses which can sounds a bit annoying as Bruce sings too high on both parts, but then comes the instrumental section and oh, boys and girls, they deliver. 2, 3 and even 4 guitar harmonies, multi layered and soaring through the picture the song paints. Adrian's solo has so much emotion and depth that it's hard to believe it was composed by a mortal man. Back In The Village has Bruce delivering aggressive and dynamic vocals to top and song written about The Prisoner series, once again. it contains the most complex Iron Maiden duet up to that point and perhaps the most complex up to this day. Unfairly underrated. Powerslave it seems to come straight as a gift from the pharaohs. The song has 2 parts - the first dark and macabre with scary melodies and the second, a show of melodies from Dave, Adrian and Steve which in the end, get back to the macabre initial theme. What else can be said about it? Then, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner comes to close the album, telling a poem written in the 17th century and the music just matches all the disgrace and the repentance the mariner goes through in open sea. The molodies and instrumental passages make like the soundtrack to the movie its lyrics conjures up into the listener's mind. The 'comes the rain' scream before some of the best solos ever recorded can change lives, like it did to me and loads around the world. 9/10

Somewhere in Time (1986)
From the cover artwork, you can tell that Maiden has something different to offer and when you put the stylus (as I did, back in 1987) or push play, you feel that it's title is not for nothing. This album is really weird. It has nothing to do with anything Maiden had done before, which already hadn't almost anything to do with what they've done before (I'm saying it 'cos Maiden has a strong carachter and that's what keeps the trademarks in the sound up to this day; people who say all their albums are the same are in need of a lobotomy, just like Eddie on Piece Of Mind cover, or it really is just a case of cleaning out the wax off their ears). The title track is a journey through the mind of someone contemplating selling their soul to achieve something better than what açready have in life; the synthsizers which permeates the whole album doesn't kill any of the musicality nor the typical Maiden trademarks - on Wasted Years, Adrian came up with an intro riff that once again, brought and bring tears to the eyes of millions, culminating on one of best choruses ever in the history of music and the solo Adrian came up is just as heartfelt as his lyricism. Sea Of Madness with weird tempos in the intro, an intricate groove and another brilliant instruental section is the second of 3 Adrian sole compositions. Stranger In A Strange Land, the thirs one, is perhaps te best of the 3. I wonder how pondering Adrian was at the time about life and everything 'cos his solos seems like a cry, a claim which is almost visible to the listener. Really touching! Heaven Can Wait is anthemic and is the most famous song from the album. It's got a great solo by Dave Murray, which competes side by side with Adrian in terms of soloing in this album. The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner is an overlooked masterpiece which has some difficult singing by Bruce and amazing passages and rhythm shifts; Déjà-Vu is short, fast and it makes you want to headbang 'til the end of your strengths. Funny it was never played live 'cos the spark it would cause would be similar to that of Aces High or Wrathchild. Then comes the, perhaps, most brilliant album closer - Alexander The Great, despite a few inaccurate historical facts in its lyrics, has a cinematographic motif thoughout the whole song. I think never Harris wrote passages that mathced so perfectly the storytelling. Somewhere In Time takes you through a journey that is unique and you'll want to do over and over, somewhere in your time. 9/10

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (1988)
I was presented with this album on the last day of the year of 1988. I had already bought a magazine which had an interview with Bruce and Davey, I guess, talking about the new album, but as a child, I forgot about it as there were a lot of games to play and school. But when I saw it on the shelf of a big store on that day, I remembered that it was the new album and I promptly took it and went to the saleswoman for the paying. When I arrived home, I picked the record and out it on my turntable, sat in yoga position in front of my sound system and started another journey... Moonchild, with those profetic verses on the intro, had put me right in the mood for that album. Infinite Dreams just took me to another dimension even being right there, in my living room, with all the rest of my family changing gifts with each other. Can I Play With Madness broke the mood the first 2 had set, but it was a nice break; I love that typical rhythm change Steve love's to write after the second chorus, it reminds me of Led Zeppelin most groovy pieces. The Evil That Men Do went back to the macabre and desperate motif of the first 2 songs. This song has one of my fave solos of all times and Bruce performance is so emotive that one can't avoid its power. One of all time Maiden classics, no doubt! Then comes the best epic Harris ever wrote - the title of the album - someone said one of these days that the slow passage kills the music. I'll say that people like this don't have too much imagination. I remember listening to this song in the years that followed the release and thinking how it would sound in the future, when I had became an adult man. well, I can tell you that the impact is just the same. It still captures my imagination and I still do that journey as I did when I first listened to it, at 7 years old. The Prophecy has great guitar works and that brilliant acoustic ending, which is very similar to Black Sabbath anthem Heaven And Hell. The Clairvoyant has one great groove and a lot of emotion oozing from it. Bruce's delivery is still one of his best and Dave's solo really makes you choke a tear or two. Only The Good Die Young closes the album in high style and makes a good criticism on the holy hypocrites that are hosted in Vatican on a perish nearby. The album ends and closes just as Pink Floyd's 1977 masterpiece Animals and it one of the features that makes it not only Maiden's most progressive album, but also the only conceptual one. 10/10

No Prayer For The Dying (1990)
It took a while for me to listen to the album as my turntable was fucked up. Once again, I had bought a Rock Brigade magazine, which I still have, with an amazing Dave interview about the album and Adrian's departure, and also a review of the new album. But I forgot to ask someone to buy me the album, and on December 1st 1990, I just bought it, but had to wait 'til January 1991 to listen to it. One thing I noticed when buying the album was that Adrian wasn't these and I had never heard about Janick Gers! I felt upset as Adrian was always my fave guitarrist, alongside Tony Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore and Alex Lifeson. But onto the album, my first impression was that it sounded more direct, nothing of great epics, nothing of great concepts, but still it sounded a lot like Iron Maiden. Tailgunner is heavy, it's rough and it is a killer song. Holy Smoke I knew because of the video I think and I've always liked it. Bruce's voice is rispid, whining and it matches exactly what he was goin through in his life - coming out of a divorce, getting pissed off with unitedstaters and all the hypocratic bullshit that the media was throwing on the population. The title track has some nice melodies, but it is too raw to be called and epic. Mother Russia is more a twist into the traditional Russian traditional music with some great atmosphere and wild solos by Dave and Jan. Both shine a lot on the solos, specially Dave on Public Enema Number One (a very heartfelt protest against media alienating the masses), Fates Warning which contains classic Maiden harmonies and different passages and a blistering solo by Dave and a simple, but which speaks volumes solo by Gers; on The Assassin and Hooks In You is where they shine more, with Janick making solos that makes one think he seemed to have always been a big Maiden fan. Run Silent Run Deep has a cool atmosphere matching the lyrics about sea battles on WWII (lyrics Bruce wrote for the Somwhere In Time album) and one of the most intricate and fantastic guitar duets ever created in Maiden catalogue. No Prayer For Dying is subpar when compared to what preceded it, but an album must not be judged like this; each album has its own carachteristics and in No Prayer For The Dying, Maiden just took it into another perspective, takiing care more of the songs impact than the complexity of the arrangements and of the band's imagery on stage. I won't call it a masterpiece like all 7 albums up to now are, but it is a fucking honest and enjoyable album. 8/10
Fear Of The Dark (1992)
This album is special 'cos it brought Maiden for the second time to Brasil and it's a kind of return to experimentalism and of the big sound and imagery of the 80's. Be Quick Or Be Dead is one of my fave album openers ever. A really strong song with blistering solos from Murray and Gers. From Here To Eternity is another catchy song with great chorus and solos and works amazing live. Afraid To Shoot Strangers has some short, but beautiful lyrics and another show by Murray and Gers in duets and solos. It is one of the best on the album. Fear Is The Key has a cool trance like groove, which reminds a kind of drug trip - specially marijuana - and has a great melody Gers does after the second chorus, the first experimental bit of the album is in this song, where Bruce is kinda monologuing about the lost youth and its freedom while some clean chords and punctuating guitars runs sets the mood. Interesting. Childhood's End has Bruce singing in a totally different manner of which we're used and he spits the words with anger on the verses and despair in the chorus. The guitar work is once again brilliant and as I discovered thourgh a friend of the forum, via an interview with Bruce, it's not only Gers who's soloing on this song; Dave's section starts by 3:02 and it really seems like it's one guitar solo. Great song! Wasting Love is the most made for radio Heavy ballad the band wrote (in fact, Bruce and Jan wrote it during the sessions to Tattooed Millionaire album, but kept it 'cos it was too strong for a b-side). Gers makes a genius solo on this one, reminding a lot the brilliant solo John Sykes did on the hymn of broken hearted lovers Is This Love? from Whitesnake. What I find even greater is that Maiden didn't cash in with its single and never played it again, on stage. Only a band with balls and honesty could resist such temptation. The Fugitive is a straight rock song, with nice solos and overall simple structure. Chains Of Misery has a Hard Rock vibe, kinda like Judas Priest. Dave Murray delivers one of his best all time solo, full of emotion and his black blues guitarrist unique feel. It brings tears to the eyes. The Apparition has some amazing lyrics by Harris, but the song isn't such thing. It has some weird changes and key tone changes, but it's a bit lacking in having more edge and more impact. The weaker on the album alonside Fear Is The Key. Judas Be My Guide is one of the fave forgotten songs from many fans and with good reason - it stars unusual with Dave Murray playing a high string Dm riff that bursts into the first of 3 blistering solos thoughout the song. The chorus is absolutely soaring, with Bruce mixing the rispid style on the verses and the classic, soaring golden thorat, for the chorus. This song is really destroyer! Great lyrics, also, saying that pain, misery and violence seems to be the way humanity was led into and loads choosen to find salvation. Weekend Warrior has some lyrics dealing with an apparently silly problem, but that caused the death of many thoughout stadiums all over the world - the football cliques violence. The vocals sounds like Bruce giving a sermon inside the head of the fool who follows his mate into the clique heading for the game. The song in itself is simple, with a rock 'n' roll beat, similar to The Who, AC/DC and Alice Cooper. Again, Murray twice and Gers once give amazing solos and kinda sad vibe on the duet. It's very UnMaiden, but it's a cool song. Then, the title track, which closes the album on a high note 'cos Fear Of The Dark, despite being the song most trivial rock fans know from Maiden, it also can open up the doors to the incredible world of Iron Maiden whole opus. The song is just epic, anthemic, with perfect lyrics taking on a subject that makes lots of men, women, old or not and children almost die in frightening. Everything is perfect in this song. It is a hymn in the world of Heavy Rock. Fear Of The Dark, as whole, is a mixed album in terms of musicality and opinions. I love the drum sound, the interweaving between Murray and Gers and the variety it contains. Bruce sounded much better than on No Prayer For The Dying and nobody was predicting he would make such awful shows on the 1992/1993 tours that followed with his departure. 9/10

The X Factor (1995)
After 14 years, Iron Maiden was in a rut. Bruce Dickinson, The Voice, had left for good. The band had already picked the substitute, but they launched a worldwide contest for a new singer, just to attract the spotlights on the band again. Blaze Bayley was the man and he had nothing to do with Bruce, nor physically, even less vocally. The X Factor is another watermark in the band's discography 'cos it brings a new singer, like on The Number Of The Beast, to try and keep the band up and running. But despite doing an album as great if not greater than The Number Of The Beast, the occasion was different. The album starts with sinister gregorian chants and it the crescendo goes for more than 1 minute, when a catchy melody sets the mood for the voice; the voice is low, in tone and in expression, so we can't say much. All of a sudden, the song bursts in a marching pace and that low voice shows its face. Blaze Bayley delivers very well, really well! It is one of Maiden's longest songs and has a different approach to the other epics. This one is kinda doomy, like in doom metal really. When the solos came up, Blaze hadn't made an impressions yet. Great opener. Lord Of The Flies comes next and has great vibe, full of emotions and amazing chorus. By then, Blaze had convinced me even more he was the right choice. Then Man On The Edge came and it's as catchy as Lord Of The Flies, but with an Aces High pacing and fantastic back ot back solos by Janick and Dave. Fortunes Of War builds up into a Sabbath like pace on the verses and the bursts into a very emotional instrumental passage. Murray and Gers sounds as explosive as Murray/Smith were in the past. The album contains great lyrics, amazing instrumental passages and Blaze Bayley singing with the need emotions in every theme presented on the album. Another highlights goes to The Edge Of Darkness, with its insane/schizoid story of a man who finds the dark side of human in the middle of the African jungle and 2 A.M., a classy melancholic ballad, that really makes you think about life. Again, Gers delivers with a full of emotion solo that only he can deliver. Really outstanding song. The X Factor is one of the best Maiden albums and it's the most heartfelt of all 'cos it deals with hardships of life and that's exactly what was happening with Steve Harris and the band during this period. Blaze came in showing great voice, but unfortunately only for the songs he recorded and in the studio. The X Factor is an album made with intention and focus. A real gift in a world where plastic emotions are praised. 9,5/10
Virtual XI (1998)

Brave New World (2000)

Dance Of Death (2003)

A Matter Of Life And Death (2006)
Virtual XI (1998)
First of all, the production is lacklustre. it leaves a big gap on the album which took a lot of the edge it could've had. Second, Blaze's voice didn't change since The X Factor and despite having great vocal lines on some songs and being a good lyricst, his lack of dynamic and power in his voice makes it sounds like a band album, but it isn't. Opening in fast manner with Futureal was a good idea to make one forget the opener on The X Factor and avoid comparisons. Futureal has potential, but Blaze's voice compomises a lot the result and it turns it into one of the weakest Maiden songs (Bruce made it sound a lot better, on Ed Hunter tour 99). The Angel And The Gambler is one of the first songs with problems of bad arranged long songs. The song has some great lyrics, but Steve started this minimalist style of dragging the song along just to squeeze all the lyrics into the music. The edited versions sounds much better 'cos musically, it's a nice song. Lightning Strikes Twice has a great mood, great melodies and dynamics. Blaze sings with emotion, but once again his lack of dynamics makes it sound a bit weird, specially the chorus, where he seems to lose his breath to make a last high note on the words 'strikes twice'. An awesome song, anyway. The Clansman is the second of 3 epics and it has amazing melodies thoughout the song it makes the song so amazing. Some meldies gives me goosebumps. When Two Worlds Collide is the best delivery of Blaze on the album, in which he sings with power and doesn't compromises the song. Again, Murray and Gers give a show with their musicianship and as meldy makers. The typical 'oh, oh' in this song reach its peak on emotion. The only complain in this song, is the very last part, where Blaze repeats the chorus on a higher tone and I could live without this very well. The Educated Fool is a great atmospheric songs with lyrics that shows the kind of man Steve Harris is or was at a certain point in his life, which has a lot to do with myself. The song only sins for the repetitve chorus, which become boring after so much repeats due to Blaze's low and powerless deliver, but it is a noce song with bliztering solos from Dave and Jan. Don't Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger is a weird, but original and great type of Maiden epic. Steve said that Jan isn't so sure about the middle instrumental section  - I also think could've been even more brilliant -, but it contains a great deal of surprise and emotion. Really great song. Como Estais Amigos closes the album in a sad, really sad tone and the song oozes emotion. Gers solo reminds those of alien genius disguised as guitarrist called David Gilmour for the carefully chosen notes to make the guitar as much a strong voice of this manisfesto as is Blaze's powerful (in this song) and emotional delivery. Virtual XI is an albnum very hard to praise or destroy. It has its grerat moments and crap moments, but it sounds to me like Maiden was trying to make the better they could at the time. Comparing to another albums, even to those considered weak, it might get a really low rating, but as I like to judge an album by its own account, I'll give it 7,5/10.

Brave New World (2000)
Bruce and Adrian proved on Ed Hunter Tour that they seemed to have only been on Maiden cover band all that time. Bruce came back singing like he never sang in Iron Maiden before, at least since World Piece Tour and Seventh Tour. Adrian Smith enhanced his style with low tuned guitars and lots of wah blistering delivery. All this set the scenario for the making of a possible masterpiece and it indeed came in the form of Brave New World. Opening with The Wicker Man, the album brings back a shine to our ears and mind's eye like after standing during months on clouded, windy and rainy days and nights. Bruce's voice has so much substance that one may think his singing was never so perfect, and never was, indeed. Adrian solo on this one shows where he belongs and that the best band you could ever see in your life was back, and stronger! Ghost Of The Navigator starts with spine shivering melodies and chords that seems to have been inspired clealy by Jethro Tull (I can even see Ian Anderson posing in his typical number 4 legs figure!), the crescendo in this song is absolutely mastodontic and when the whole thing explodes, it makes sound! Lyrics sounds like poems about the captains of the seven seas, but looking deeper the sea is out own lives and we're at the helm. Middle passage has some manic guitar interludes that shift tones and reminds Maiden of Powerslave easily. The title track comes next and build up from the typical slow intro and Bruce's soft singing, like on Still Life or Infinite Dreams and them comes the story of hard reality that we're sold to this Brave New World. Janick Gers delivers a simply anthologic solo on this song followed by Murray's bluesy sad runs which culminates on a brilliant 3 guitar harmony that makes on cry and drool. A new masterpiece in Maiden catalogue. Blood Brothers is Steve's epic which is a little minimalist, but Bruce's performance, Steve's truth to the bone lyricism and a plethora of melodies makes it for a classic Maiden song. The Mercenary reminds of No Prayer For The Dying and Fear Of The Dark material, like Tailgunner and The Fugitive and it is a short rocker with Adrian's blistering solo and great guitar duets. Even Bruce's singing reminds of those albums. Dream Of Mirrors is my fave on the album with vivid lyricism, rhythm changes and once again a magistral totally Ritchie Blackmore inspired solo by Gers. Bruce sounds perfect! The Fallen Angel is the 'Lizzyesque' short number that bursts with power from everyone. It is straight in your face and it rips! The Nomad is the epic that pleased me like no other did since Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. It has two different choruses and set of solos in which 'Los Tres Amigos' show their unique skills and tasteful melodies. The instrumental passage is really borrowed from Beckett's Life's Shadow, but it sounds more like a tribute Steve did to the band and it is simply one of the best instrumental sections one can ever listen. I can't believe it wasn't played live. Out Of The Silent Planet is Run To The Hills of the 00's and it soars. So much emotion on this song that it makes the eye a bit watery. Jan steals the show on this album, it utterly fantastic melodic solos that stick on your mind instantly. The closer, The Thin Line Between Love And Hate, is a differetn kind of long song in which the band leans towards a Rock groove, like 70's rock of Purple/UFO/Uriah Heep and Dave Murray deliver 4 solos, being the third one - before changing to the soft section of the song - one of his best, like a blusey cry from Hendrix. Brave New World has all the carachteristic Maiden trademarks and it proved that the band had lost none of its genius and love for making Heavy Rock music. 10/10
Dance Of Death (2003)
After the gargantuan Brave New World album and tour, the band took 2002 to play 3 gigs, in March, to raise funds to help legendary drummer Clive Burr and make masterpiece live album and DVD Rock In Rio, released in June. In November, the band strated writing new material for the next studio album and it eventually came out on September 2003. Dance Of Death shows it's weirdness from the artwork, made by uncredited on request Dave Patchett from skethces the band accepted before his final touch. Between May and June, the band made a summer tour though the northern hemisphere and presented one new song amongst old classics - Wildest Dreams, the first single and track on the album opens up bursting and soaring with Adrian taking the music and Steve, the lyrics. It's just a great rock Maiden song and despite some say it is weak, it is not weak at all. I think some Maiden fans complains too much and want classics and masterpieces all the time. It is totally moronic to think about. Get a life! Rainmaker has got to be the best single Maiden ever released. A melodic, catchy and remarkable Murray/Harris song with Bruce penning the lyrics about the will to make life better somehow. Dave's licks and solo, plus the duets makes up for one of the most remarkable Maiden singles ever. I think it is far better than Wasted Years, Run To The Hills, 2 Minutes To Midnight, From Here To Eternity. The reason it's not widely regarded as a classic Maiden song is because it wasn't released in the 80's. Beautiful song! No More Lies comes next and it's like Steve caught back all the emotion he felt on The X Factor era and brought it into the new niche they created since Bruce and H came back. Bruce steals the show on this one and the guitar works is more minimalist, but the 3 amigos deliver amazing solos! Great song. Montségur strats kicking in the face and the becomes menacing and kinda sarcastic by the acid tone Bruce implies on the singing. After the chorus there's a verse in which is all in major tones and it kinda breaks the dark and sarcastic mood it had been settled, but maybe that was the intention, to make this counterpoint. Gers makes on blistering solo and again, guitar harmonies brings tears to the eyes before shifting gears back to the happy major harmony part. A great song, nevertheless. The title track has Bruce stealing the show, once again, 'cos he gives life to Steve's tale in what other singer or a less theatrical singer would crapped all over this song. There's not too much rhythm shifts on this song, and again, it is a different kind of Maiden epic, less complex and more introspective. Gates Of Tomorrow starts a bit like Lord Of The Flies and has that Uriah Heep/AC/DC kind of vibe when the drums enters, as Bruce starts singing, you can clearly see fantastic Uriah Heep singer David Byron influence with the doubled vocals making it kinda trippy. Loads say this song is weak, but I totally disagree as Bruce gives an energetic perfomance, briliantly on the chorus and although the song is simple in structure, is really well arranged and makes it very enjoyable. New Frontier, although Nicko's first attmept as a songwriter, is very lacking with some silly lyrics and kinda annoying vocal lines, which sounds a bit like crap power metal bands. Really weak. Then comes Paschendale, Adrian's first epic song and what a song. It sets the perfect mood for the lyrics and the orchestrations during the song really adds a lot to the whole song. Loads of melody changes, which sounds like those tunes of war when the army is being called for the battle, but with a classical touch. Another new masterpiece! Face In The Sand is another new style for Maiden and Nicko specially 'cos it has a double bass and the song is an angry and claiming march through the dark future this planet seems destined to go through. Lots of turths are said in this lyrics and musically, it's one of the most orchestral songs Maiden done. Anthologic. Age Of Innocence is a typical Murray/Harris number with slow build up with Dave soloing on top and Bruce singing according to the mood which is very angry in this song. The chords and structure is really unusual and it makes a great dynamic in Maiden songwriting style. The chorus is wonderful and its kinda progressive, like Tull/Genesis. Dave's solo is perfect and the 3 guitar harmony on the following is wonderful. There's a bit of Bruce No Prayer/Fear Of The Dark era style of rispid/angry voicings that matches the lyrics perfectly. Great song! Journeyman is the first all out acoustic Maiden song with wonderful orchestration and vocals and lyrics that will never go away from your mind. On the live version, Adrian makes a little solo which should've been added on the studio version, but it's clear that he made that off the cuff, like a great improviser he also is. Dance Of Death is as varied as Fear Of The Dark, but it is darker, more aligned with the times it was released, which paints a picture that medieval torturing and overall human behaviour is more evident and inquisitor as ever. 8,5/10
A MAtter Of Life And Death (2006)
After the 2 great albums the band released since the 6 line-up debuted as a songwriting team, the expectations were really high for the third one, but it didn't quite match 'em at all. It contains 4 classics - Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg, Different World and Out Of The Shadows. Amazing lyrical content, strong lines on those lyrics, but musically it's minimalist, repetitive, badly arranged, it sounds like a demo made in a state of the art studio by the best producer. The band were lazy by not pushing themselves to be challenged, musically (off 10 songs, 6 has the same harmony - E,G,C,D or E,C,D,A). For The Greater Good Of God is, by far, the worst Maiden song. It never happened before!!! But I can't listen to this album more than 3 or 4 times in a year. Playing it live was a really bad move. On the 2007 leg of the tour, things were better by reducing half of it from the set, but it could've been better to replace FTGGOG with Out Of The Shadows. Some fans claim it's a masterpiece, the best since Seventh Son, but I utterly and completely disagree. The album plods and the epics, apart from Brighter Than A Thousand Suns (TROBB is ont an epic. It's long, but it's more rocker than epic) are all minimalists just as with The Angel And The Gambler and Dance Of Death (which is a masterpiece). I think the band sounds really bad in terms of emotional depth for the songs which is really strange given the strong lyrics. I really didn't see it growing after 3 years and I only bought it last October 8th, to make an idea of how disappointed I am with this album. Well, I can't say much about it 'cos the songs spark no interest in learning the lyrics (as I know 99% of all Maiden lyrics), learning to play them and even less trying to describe them. I give it 5,5/10 (4 for the four classics, and the other 1,5 for the lyrics and some great parts in other songs lost in the middle of badly arranged ideas).
Iron Maiden- Don't complain to me about the production because I would never listen. It sounds perfect to me and even helps the record. You really get the impression of a young metal band dying to impose thier raw energy on the listener. This one is close to perfect- an album I just never hit the 'skip' button on. Be sure to listen to the aforementioned 'raw energy' on 'Prowler' and 'Running Free'. Other highlights include the anthemic 'Iron Maiden' (with an awesome melody) and one of the genre's greatest ever instrumentals in 'Transylvania'. But if you must listen to one song from this record, make sure it is 'Phantom of the Opera'- a musical tour de force with twists and turns and an infectious riff. 9.5/10

Killers- The follow up to such a wonderful debut is usually always difficult, but Maiden passes the test with flying colours. With Killers, we have a more aggressive album, but an altogether more musically accomplished effort. Perhaps not quite as good as the debut, Killers is still a remarkable effort from a band not yet with the recognition it perhaps deserved and would later gain. There is something about this record which draws me to it- whether it is the now-famous artwork of an axe-wielding Eddie sporting the most evil of grins, his dying victim clutching onto his shirt as if begging for mercy- or the musical genius of such tracks as 'Genghis Khan' and 'Murders In The Rue Morgue', Killers is another thoroughly enjoyable album from Maiden. The title track is my personal highlight- a pounding bassline overlapped by aggressive screams from Paul Di'anno, develops into an awesome riff and Killer vocals. Paul's vocals on this track really give the impression of a crazed Killer, an essential part of why this song has become one of Maiden's best. A great little solo section seperates the song in two, and finally a last primal scream from Paul as the song closes. A true Maiden gem. Other highlights include the instrumental introduction 'The Ides of March' which follows diretly into 'Wrathchild', the latter a Maiden concert anthem. There are perhaps a couple 'lesser' songs on here, such as 'Drifter' but all in the end it is inconcequencial- In Killers Maiden have thier second masterpiece. 9/10
Iron Maiden

While I’m a Bruce guy myself, I’ve always liked and enjoyed Paul’s vocals.  (Maiden Japan was my first album).  Strong debut album with a few wanker spots and sketchy production.  A fan of neither Sanctuary nor the terribly overrated Running Free, those vanilla spots are more than made up for with the likes of Phantom Of The Opera, Remember Tomorrow, and the raucous Charlotte The Harlot.  The title track is a tired old dog live, but still a scintillating album track.  Transylvania is a rollicking and fun instrumental to revisit.  A solid debut just seething with raw energy and potential.  B


In many ways a step up, especially sonically…(enter Birch).  While I think the low points might arguably be lower here than on the debut (Purgatory, Drifters), the highs are also higher as well.  I grew up on the likes of the badass-ness that is Killers, Wrathchild, Murders In the Rue Morgue, and the woefully overlooked Innocent Exile, which rocks me to no end.  Twilight Zone and instrumental Genghis Kahn make for competent and interesting filler. The band is growing here and it shows.  B+

The Number Of The Beast

Doubtful I’ve much to add to this, the debut of Dickinson and one of the all-time great metal albums.  This release features perhaps three of my top six or seven Maiden songs in Hallowed Be Thy Name, Children Of The Damned, and The Prisoner, all positively top shelf.  Those alone being enough to vault it to lofty status there’s also the timeless endurance of the title track, 22 Acacia Avenue, and the great-but-tired Run To The Hills.  Total Eclipse, sadly, does nothing for me.  Opening track Invaders remains for me forgotten gem, although I can see where some might be annoyed by the chorus.  To me the energy here on this kick off track is inescapable.  One of the great metal albums by anyone. A

Piece Of Mind

One might argue that other albums are stronger from stem to stern (and I might even agree!), but Piece Of Mind remains my personal favorite of the lot, for reasons both obvious and sentimental.  Weepy sentimentality aside, there’s no side-stepping the songs.  The Trooper remains a classic despite the band’s exhausting over-reliance on the song live.  Die With Your Boots On and Where Eagles Dare are the two forgotten “cowboy” Maiden songs, both spectacular.  Revelations is rock solid.  Flight Of Icarus might also crack my all-time Maiden top 10.  I love this one.  Still Life quietly simmers and resonates amongst the gems…and both Sun And Steel (catchy as all fuck) and Quest For Fire get my love, if usually no one else’s.  To Tame A Land remains for me the album’s lone taste of (somewhat plodding) vanilla, although it qualifies well above bad.  My favorite Maiden record, as the band here has quintessentially found their sound.  A+


Sister to Piece Of Mind for intangibles with me, Powerslave holds a very special place in my heart.  Throwing that aspect to the curb (again), the album arguably begins with the best one-two punch in their catalogue, the adrenaline pumping Aces High launching into the catchiness of Two Minutes To Midnight before the reprieve that is the enjoyable (if unnecessary) instrumental Losfer Words.  The lonely gems reside in the completely forgotten Flash Of The Blade and, to a lesser extent, Back In The Village, both rife with remarkable opening riffs.  However the album truly belongs to the chugging title track (just excellent live) and Maiden’s gold standard epic Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, a song as good as it’s often refuted to be.  While The Duellists fails to rank amongst my favorite Maiden tracks it’s hardly a blight on the landscape.  A

Somewhere In Time

Maiden’s “tubey” and “futuristic” sounding record, Somewhere In Time – often considered the Maiden album for non-Maiden fans -- is no less brilliant for all its radio-friendly catchiness.  This in large part is due to the co-writes of Adrian Smith in helping make this album a more melodic-than-pounding metal affair.  Wasted Years is a huge standout to me and one of my all-time favorite tracks, with an impossibly seductive riff, chugging verse, and unforgettable chorus.  The same qualities apply to Sea Of Madness and the great Stranger In A Strange Land, both benefiting from a large does of melody.  Déjà vu is the album’s overlooked sweetness.  While not as well executed as Mariner, Alexander The Great finds Maiden competently attaining epic status once again.  I’m less impressed by the title track and The loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner, although neither is bad.  A-

7th Son Of A 7th Son

Although thematically in its very own element, production wise this album sounds a lot like a sister record to Somewhere In Time, again with an almost tubey/synthy nature to the guitar (with good reason).  While past their U.S. prime at this point, 7th Son remains arguably the band’s most popular album in the UK, spawning four top-10 hits back home.  (Move over Whitney Houston!)  This time around the album is a bit more mature, heavier, darker, moodier, and a slightly less radio geared than on Time, but as a collection this album works slightly better.  Moonchild is a simply blistering opener (one of their best ever to start an album) and the title track does a better job of rivaling Rime of The Ancient Mariner in the epic department than did Alexander The Great.  7th Son is nearly 10 minutes of moody brilliance.  Can I Play With Madness is pure radio bliss, as are Only The Good Die Young and The Evil That Men Do.  Infinite Dreams is a slow and brooding burn.  The Clairvoyant is solid, but The Prophecy is not quite up to the quality of the rest of the album. A-

No Prayer For The Dying

The band strips the slicker production of the last two down to a pre-Dickinson minimum for the most part, to mixed results.  While not a bad album in my estimation, No Prayer is arguably the weakest of the Maiden albums to this point and deserving of at least some of the bashing it often gets.  Two things stand out here as different, most notably the departure of guitarist/songwriter Adrian Smith whose absence is felt…and the return to cheekier lyrics.  It’s all in good fun, but Maiden largely went from intriguing lessons in history to – at times – goofy sexual innuendo.  Still there are a plethora of good things happening here.  Holy Smoke is a song that’s grown on me, really making a scathing statement about Christian fundamentalism.  Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter is a completely guilty pleasure for me.  It’s a stupid premise and the title is worse still, but damn if the song isn’t both catchy and memorable.  Mother Russia is a bit of a mini-epic compared to lengthier earlier entries, but I think the song (the most produced of all the tracks) is terribly effective. Hooks In You is pretty catchy (one last Smith contribution), but lyrically it’s rubbish and not the kind of Maiden song I enjoy.  Nothing against the sexuality of it, but unlike the Dianno days, there’s no feeling of sexual fear here…just silliness.  I don’t like my Maiden that level of cheeky.  Fates Warning qualifies as a gem here, as does the title track.  Some songs are simply forgettable to me, such as Run Silent Run Deep and Public Enema Number One, a song so saddle-bagged from the start with a stupid title you have to seriously question the intentions of the band.  Hit and miss Maiden.  B-

Fear Of The Dark

This is another spotty Maiden album for me, although like with Prayer I have to admit I’m more forgiving of it these days than I was at the time of its release.  Still the album is mired with almost inconceivable mediocrity, such as Fear Is The Key and Childhood’s End, as well as a couple of all-out clunkers on the highest order with Weekend Warrior and the terribly annoying The Apparition. Chains Of Misery is hardly a keeper either, although there’s an improved sense of melody here.  The two songs I used to ignore but found to be almost shockingly good upon revisiting them were the (then) contemporary power ballad Wasting Love, which while un-Maiden at times (the intro is deceptively familiar) is simply a stunning song with enormous Dickinson vocals…and also the powerful Judas Be My Guide, a song blessed with the most bad-ass chorus.  Returning to those two almost makes it worth enduring The Apparition.  Naturally the title track gets the attention here and it’s a song I quite like, so well deserved, especially amongst this lot.  Afraid To Shoot Strangers is a favorite of many, but it’s not one I’ve ever really warmed up to.  I really also terribly enjoy the opening number Be Quick Or Be Dead, a song with high octane energy and a great chorus.  Still this is a largely mediocre album and, once again, the absence of Adrian Smith – more so than the presence of Janick Gers – is felt and appreciated.  B-

The X Factor

After two relatively mediocre records (by Maiden standards), Dickinson jumped ship and Maiden trudged on, this time with Blaze Bayley, formerly vocalist for UK sensation Wolfsbane.  The record is dark, dark…lyrically and musically.  In many respects Bayley’s deeper, richer tone fits the album perfectly, but his is a voice I never grew accustomed to.  Simply I missed the dynamic and the range of Dickinson for the more monotone – though no-doubt powerful -- Bayley.  Still props to the band for not choosing a safe and familiar route.  Even missing the full-on dynamism of Dickinson, Maiden hits a handful of homeruns on The X Factor, with such keepers as The Sign Of The Cross, Man On The Edge, and Lord Of The Flies.  Perhaps the most overlooked of the lot – and arguably my favorite of Blaze’s vocal efforts on either of his albums with the band – is the forgotten Blood On The World’s Hands.  Still most of the rest is mired in mediocrity to me.  Interestingly enough when Dickinson rejoined the band and performed some of the Bayley songs live, I enjoyed them more.  Never underestimate the impact of a singer with a broad range and loads of personality.  It’s amazing to me the difference that can make. C

Virtual XI

This was Bayley’s swan song and not a moment too soon, no disrespect intended.  To my ears it’s earned its reputation as arguably the “least” of Maiden’s efforts, this time owing as much to the songwriting as the less-than-stellar vocal efforts.  I was poised and primed to ingest and appreciate a second effort from this version of the band and I ultimately liked it far less than The X Factor.  My two keepers are album opener Futureal (which is quite good as-is!) and the epic The Clansman, which truly found life when later performed live with the reunited Dickinson/Smith era of the band.  Still a great song is a great song…and this one is just that.  The rest, not so much.  So 1998 marked, essentially, 10 years of increasingly disappointing Maiden releases….and after Virtual XI I was sure that if something didn’t change soon, it was quite possible enjoying an entire Maiden album was a thing of the now-distant past.  D

Brave New World

Well as fate would have it, vocalist Dickinson and guitarist Smith would find their ways home and with it would return a sense of both normalcy (the good variety) and smile-inducing consistency.  The album kicks off with the four-minute champion The Wicker Man, a song that almost singly restored 10 years of waning faith and straightened what appeared to be a terminal lean and vicious hunch.  This age-reversing album gets better still with the wonderful Ghost Of The Navigator.  Other incendiary keepers include the title track, the instantly classic Blood Brothers (what a chorus!!), not to mention a couple smoldering gems such as Out Of The Silent Planet and The Thin Line Between Love & Hate.  Enjoy also the fairly simple-but-rifftastic and head-pounding delights of The Nomad, The Mercenary, and The Fallen Angel.  Only The Dream Of Mirrors consistently under-whelms me here, although it’s nothing to complain about.  Something has to register in the least department.  Simply, this is one killer return to form.  It almost made 10 years of increasing mediocrity worth it all.  A-

Dance Of Death

I’ll start this by showing the love I think this album deserves by stating that I think it’s marginally better than Brave New World.  There, you can tune out for the rest, oh ye haters.  I will admit that Wildest Dreams isn’t my favorite ever Maiden song and it’s certainly not the band’s best album opener, but at worst it’s benign in its catchy rollick.  Stalwarts such as the infinitely better Rainmaker, epic title track, the exceptional Paschendale (on a short list of the best of Maiden’s songs ever), and acoustic wonderment of Journeyman alone all make the album worth the price of admission.  Lost in the mix of obscurity is the skull thumping Face In The Sand (no Maiden song sounds better assaulting me through great speakers) and the killer The Age Of Innocence with its magnificent chorus.  Montsegur and No More Lies properly kick my ass as well.  Even the oft-maligned New Frontier and Gates Of Tomorrow have a frivolity and catchiness that I very much admire and appreciate, as much as neither may be ground-breaking.  A fine follow up and an exclamation point that reunited Maiden wasn’t a one-trick pony.  A-

A Matter Of Life & Death

I was truly satisfied with the pairing of Maiden A.B. albums (After Bayley), but the band upped the ante with their 2006 (and to date latest) release.  Life & Death scores the first solid “A” effort since Powerslave and in my estimation deserves consideration amongst the band’s best – if not most well known – albums.  The album is replete with epic-length numbers throughout, each one more ambitious than the previous one it seems.  There’s not a wanker in the lot this go ‘round, with For The Greater Good Of God, the delicious The Longest Day, Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, and the seductively ethereal (almost creepy) The Legacy all leading this charge to greatness.  The long songs are kept interesting with provocative time signature changes, infusing very familiar Maiden-isms with an almost proggy flavor at times. Out Of The Shadows provides a nice contrast to the rest, often (and aptly) compared in general feel to Dickinson’s solo effort Tears Of The Dragon.  The patriotic These Colours Don’t Run and the riffy The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg equally entertain. If forced to pick a least favorite it would, ironically, have to be the very Maiden-esque The Pilgrim, a still quite memorable tune with a Middle Eastern flavor.  On a lesser album the song would be strongly middle of the pack.  On the whole a remarkable feat by a band whose enthusiasm and efforts continue to amaze me as they approach 30 years together making albums.  A Matter Of Life And Death is one of their best.  A
Wow, you write fast (I still have do the last 4 albums)!

English is not my first language and you use quite some new expressions which are entertaining and informative at the same time.
Forostar said:
Wow, you write fast (I still have do the last 4 albums)!

English is not my first language and you use quite some new expressions which are entertaining and informative at the same time.

You speak (write) impeccably.  If you'd not confessed that, I'd have never guessed.

Oh and I'd actually begun writing these little breakdowns / capsules a few days ago for some other rock boards I frequent...and then found this place and finished up.  What better place?

Really some nice reads in this thread, I might add.  I'm honored to add my two cents to what's been said here.  Very entertaining and thoughtful.