IRON MAIDEN REFERENDUM 2020: Results -> Hallowed Be Thy Name wins for the 5th time!

Are you satisfied with the results?


  • Total voters
    18

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
Really surprised to see someone put down Afraid to Shoot Strangers due to "boring instrumental parts". The interlude is one of their career highlights, As Afraid to Shoot Strangers was the second Maiden song I had ever heard, it was the moment that pretty much solidified that my familiarity with Maiden wouldn't simply be limited to Fear of the Dark and ensured that I would keep going through their discography.
 

Dr. Eddies Wingman

Brighter than thousand_suns
Lord of Light: Weakest remaining song from AMOLAD. My gripe with it is the chorus. Both musically (I feel it ruins the momentum of the song) and lyrically (the song sets out to be mystical, and the chorus is just a lame "join Lucifer")

Be Quick or Be Dead: Weakest of the remaining FOTD songs. I really would like to see Judas Be My Guide promoted.

Tailgunner, Public Enema: Weakest remaining songs from NPFTD. I don't think any of the NPFTD songs are better than any of the other remaining songs, but I'd like to have a say in which songs from the album get promoted ...
 

Shmoolikipod

Stranger to the Light
something something save Breeg something something FTGGOG something Lord of Light

Tailgunner is so annoyingly catchy. I'd much rather have Holy Smoke in its place, one of my favourites and very fun.

Fates Warning survived, this is really surprising to me, it's the single most no-name song of them all imo. I'm glad it came but it's for sure the weakest link out of the remaining 5... And judging by the current votes it might get the promotion o:
 

KidInTheDark666

What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
Fates Warning is one of those songs that you might not be able to remember when you try to list all of Maiden's songs. Its success is very unexpected but I'm glad about it.
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Looks like another double promotion coming up. Only one round of Seventh Son, that will be quite interesting.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
I am going to guess that I am the biggest fan of No Prayer For the Dying on the forum (unless Forostar jumps in here, and even then it might be close). My experience with this album is very similar to LooseCannon's experience with Virtual XI. I didn't have greater context with it, I didn't realize that this was the band without a key songwriter, I didn't know that this was their way of following an ambitious progressive Metal concept album, I didn't know that this was an effort to get back to their roots. I also was familiar with and enjoyed Tattooed Millionaire, and the other rock bands I liked to listen to at the time included Aerosmith and Scorpions. I was very much a classic hard rock kind of kid. With that being said, there isn't a lot of music I listened to as a kid that still resonates with me in the same way today. Iron Maiden stand among the few, this album included. I don't think of that as an insignificant detail.

To that end, I fully acknowledge that had I heard the album for the first time today or if I had been a fan at the time and anxiously awaited this as the followup to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, I probably would've been severely disappointed. The music is far less adventurous, the guitar playing takes quite the step down (not only is Adrian missing, but the progression in Dave's playing also left with Adrian), all the things that made Maiden so exciting in the late 80s are stripped away. But without all that greater context, to me it was just another Iron Maiden album. It's not necessarily what I want from Maiden, but it works for one album and I enjoy it on the rare occasions I put it on.

So where does this album get by while Fear of the Dark stands as my least favorite of all the Maiden albums? After all they are very close musically, feature the same lineup, and I also was introduced to both albums at the same time (along with most other pre-X Factor Maiden albums. For one thing, I like this album best when it commits to that raw and stripped-down style. Fear of the Dark deviates from that a lot, as I noted in my FOTD post, which ends up making the album sound a bit unfocused. Also, the songs are just better. No Prayer has a couple "goofier" songs, but they don't really reach the level of ridiculousness of some of the material on Fear of the Dark. I also think the material is better performed and produced. It doesn't have that thin, hollow drum sound. Bruce doesn't sound bored. People complain about raspy Bruce, I don't think he sounds bad. It fits most of the material. On Fear of the Dark he goes for more of a hybrid between raspy and operatic that sounds way less convincing. This album is also more concise and doesn't overstay its welcome. Fear of the Dark is exhausting to listen to. Too many songs and too much filler. I think No Prayer represents where the band actually wanted to go at the time, while Fear of the Dark is a band unsure of itself but is continuing to do what they were doing on No Prayer because that made the most sense at the time. To that end, I think it was necessary for them to take a break from the proggy stuff in order to find a new approach to progressive Maiden. X Factor and AMOLAD are fantastic albums, but they are very different than Seventh Son and Somewhere In Time.

I am also going to advocate that the three best songs, and thus the three that should be promoted, are Fates Warning, Public Enema Number One, and Run Silent Run Deep. Dave's playing might've taken a step down on this album, but his writing took a step up. Not only are Public Enema and Fates Warning easily the best songs on the album, but they are probably in the top 5 best songs he's contributed to the band. On past albums, his contributions were usually the most obvious filler material. The bump in quality also lasts throughout the 90s. Chains of Misery is pretty bad, but Judas Be My Guide is awesome and his tunes on both Blaze albums are highlights (Justice of the Peace would've made a decent addition to X Factor). I think a few things happened. The band probably leaned on him pretty heavily with Adrian out of the band and before Janick's abilities as a writer were really explored. His writing style probably also suits this material better. It's hard to say because nobody really knows how much of Murray material is Murray's and not someone else's (even the writing credit on Charlotte is dubious and has been investigated on this forum). There are some recurring hallmarks (heavy riffing, bluesy interludes/intro), but other than that it's hard to say. Regardless, Fates Warning and Public Enema are the most exciting, energetic, melodic, and classic Maiden sounding songs on the album. They're the only songs where the meat-and-potatoes Metal approach really works without sounding like a tired attempt at recapturing an old style. They still seem to push the band forward. Fates Warning has a fantastic bridge as well.

That brings me to Run Silent Run Deep. Supposedly, this song was one of the acoustic Tull-ish songs Bruce brought to the band for the Somewhere In Time sessions. I actually don't struggle to hear the song that way, which is one of its strengths. I find great songwriting results in songs that can be translated to a variety of styles and instrumentation. That is why you see many creative and interesting covers of Beatles songs, for example. Iron Maiden isn't really a songwriting focused band and, with some exceptions, their music tends to be difficult to translate. Run Silent Run Deep is a sort of exception (most Bruce penned songs tend to be that way, naturally). Anyway, I love the mood of the song, I love the riff, I really like the chorus. Great twin harmony too.

The title track is obviously the most popular song here and it is a great song. Like I said before, however, I like this album best when it fully commits to that stripped down sound. No Prayer is like a holdover from previous albums. Very Infinite Dreams-esque. But that's not where the band was at the time. Consequently, it's very inferior to songs like Infinite Dreams. On the other hand, Public Enema is comparable to, and in many ways better than, something like Another Life or Innocent Exile.

I have to say I really enjoyed the album during this listen. It's not top tier by any means, but a strong 6 or 7. Better than Fear and Virtual XI, but doesn't measure up to any of their 80s efforts. Probably a more digestible and enjoyable listen overall than Dance of Death, but not as artistically respectable. I also honestly don't mind songs that are routinely shit on like Hooks In You and The Assassin. Those songs have some decent hooks and catchy choruses, despite being kinda goofy. My least favorite song is actually probably Mother Russia. It's a lame attempt at a non-epic and a disappointing finish to the album. Something like No Lies off Bruce's album would've been a more appropriate closer. Something with a nice dynamic buildup and a singalong chorus. The lyric is also incredibly naive in hindsight, but I suppose it's somewhat unfair to hold that against them.
 

Magnus

Pica Serdica
It's hard to say because nobody really knows how much of Murray material is Murray's and not someone else's (even the writing credit on Charlotte is dubious and has been investigated on this forum).
Only as far as lyrics are concerned, no doubt about his musical contribution.
Nomad, on the other hand...
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
I think I can just about guess what part of a Murray-penned song was actually written by Murray. The lead guitar intros of many of his songs are clearly written by him because they're a common fixture, almost like his songwriting signature. Still Life, Deja Vu, The Prophecy, Fates Warning, Judas Be My Guide, Lightning Strikes Twice, The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg, The Man Who Would Be King, The Man of Sorrows all fit the bill. I think the intro/outro to Rainmaker and the main riff to Brave New World are him as well.
 

Magnus

Pica Serdica
Surprised that Mother Russia isn't able to make it to the Top 3 from No Prayer.
Well it simply isn't very good, is it? And it didn't age well.
Musically (to me of course), it, and Afraid To Shoot Strangers were two songs from two very weak albums that at least were not blatantly annoying compared to other stuff from said albums but weren't anything special really. Lyrically, it made sense in 1990 but after 2014 it can hardly evoke the same feelings.
 

Lampwick 43

Barstool Warrior
I rediscovered it while freshening up for this game and holy shit, Fates Warning is probably their most underrated epic. Great guitar parts in it. Genius guitar parts actually.
Completely agreed. After re-listening to the album the other day Fates Warning really stood out and I'd go as far as saying that it's now my clear favorite song of the album. Which is quite the jump as I never really paid too much attention to it in the past.
 

mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
Fates Warning is OK.

That OK-ness is a key ingredient in why it is also the most non-descript song in the catalog.
Kinda fast, but not notably so for Maiden, kinda heavy, but not really for Maiden. Not epic, nor a quick hitter. No especially memorable musical section, tempo shifts, dramatic builds or releases, melodies, lyrics, or performances. Structurally, it follows the most basic songwriting tempo...

It’s the classic walk-up-the-middle candidate who only got elected because it didn’t offend anybody while the others around him got voted out for being either terrible, or having one quality that some find simply intolerable.

The fact it is still standing to me confirms the relative lack of strength for this album. Its peers on other albums are typically knocked out in the second rounds, after the bad songs are gone and we aren’t quite ready to decide between the big boys.
 

phantomoftheicarus

Bleeding Freak
Lord Of Light
The Legacy
Tailgunner
Run Silent Run Deep

After missing last round due to being busy I finally kicked into gear and got voting. NPFTD is an album I've largely ignored, but on a listen through I found it's really not that bad. There's nothing groundbreaking or anything that made my jaw drop, but this seems better executed than FOTD, and I consequently consider it to be a much better album. Of the songs that remained I only voted for Tailgunner and RSRD, and the usual attack on Lord Of Light and The Legacy
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
if I had been a fan at the time and anxiously awaited this as the followup to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, I probably would've been severely disappointed.
  • My personal take as someone who bought the vinyl back in 1990 is a bit different. Of course it palled when compared with earlier albums but still played it a lot and really enjoyed it. Nevertheless the ears of a 14 years old fan are usually not trained to dig deep enough to the core of the music itself and must confess No Prayer For The Dying's lack of epic standoffs made me step away from it more and more with the passing of the next months. Of course I listened to it some times in the following years but it was really far between. It wasn't until more than a decade after that a way more experienced version of myself (and after participating at some minor musical ventures) listened to the album once again with due attention and found a new joy and energy on it that I completely missed during my teens. So, like you, all I needed was distance from the context when I first listened to it to dissect the album in a more assertive fashion. In my case I've always liked Tailgunner, Bring Your Daughter and Fates Warning tons... these three songs have always been my favorites from the get go. And next came Holy Smoke, one hell of a rocker that simply was out of context. Hooks in you is crap. I feel the about these 5 songs the same to this very day But it wasn't only until I listened again to the album after that hiatus that I could notice the strength and pomp of songs like Mother Russia and Run Silent Run Deep (turned out to be one of my favorites), the excellent melodies of the guitars on the title track (both in the calmer and faster sections) and its great solos or even the excellence of the verses from PEN1 as well as its great guitar opening lead. Hey, if one skips the chorus, The Assassin is also one hell of a song!
People complain about raspy Bruce, I don't think he sounds bad. It fits most of the material. On Fear of the Dark he goes for more of a hybrid between raspy and operatic that sounds way less convincing.
  • It depends of what the song is asking for. Normally a raspier tone serves better the propose of raspier and more aggressive tunes. That's why I think Bruce shines throughout songs like Fates Warning, Holy Smoke, Be Quick Or Be Dead or even Public Enema and The Fugitive (although I'm not a particular fan of either I still think they're both "legit" Maiden songs with some quality) and think hard rock tunes like From Here To Eternity, Hooks In You, Chains Of Misery or Fear Is The Key sound awful. It's the same reason why I think the overuse of that crispiness downgrades a great song like No Prayer For The Dying and turns the already bad Wasting love into a horror show. But on the other hand during those two albums Bruce also alternates alternates it with a cleaner voice namely in Childhood's End, the chorus of Judas Be My Guide, the melodic parts and choruses of Afraid To Shoot Strangers and Fear Of The Dark and to a certain extent some parts of Mother Russia and Tailgunner. And his performance ir is far more convincing. Like I said before IMO it's kinda what the song is asking.
Fear of the Dark deviates from that a lot, as I noted in my FOTD post, which ends up making the album sound a bit unfocused. Also, the songs are just better. No Prayer has a couple "goofier" songs, but they don't really reach the level of ridiculousness of some of the material on Fear of the Dark. I also think the material is better performed and produced. It doesn't have that thin, hollow drum sound. Bruce doesn't sound bored.
  • Fear Of The Dark is way more unfocused: check.
  • No Prayer has a couple of goofier songs: check (especially Hooks In You).
  • The level of ridiculousness of some of the material on Fear of the Dark: check (IMO those are FHTE, FITK, WL, CO, and even WW).
  • No Prayer's material is better performed and produced: check (a more raw and in your face sound).
  • It doesn't have that thin, hollow drum sound: check (and that "POW" annoying snare drum a la early 90's... hugh)
  • Bruce doesn't sound bored.: check... Bruce seems like he's packing his stuff to leave the band during FOTD.
  • No Prayer For The Dying the songs are just better: IMO Be quick, Afraid To Shoot Strangers and Fear Of The Dark are on the same level of the best material from No Prayer. Judas Be My Guide and Childhood's end are quite enjoyable too and The Fugitive is that kind of filler song that although being a bit boring still features some interesting details.
On past albums, his contributions were usually the most obvious filler material.
  • More or less... Sanctuary is one of my early favorite songs by Maiden and one of the band's habitual features on live sets, Rainmaker is excellent, Charlotte The Harlot is a great tune, Total Eclipse simply kicks ass, Deja Vu isn't a filler (there's no such thing in Somewhere In Time), Still Life is top tier and The Prophecy is simply one of my favorite Maiden songs.
As a conclusion I think that there's more of Piece Of Mind and Seventh Son in No Prayer that it seems. The guitar progressions and rumbling rhythmic section are still working with the same intensity yet stripped of all the epic splendor those records had (especially Seventh Son). There are some guitar melody mannerisms from both albums here and there albeit more visceral and dirty at times. Steve's bass is still as overwhelming (in a good way). Personally I think No Prayer is more similar to those records than to its follower (not regarding ambiance but musically wise). Of course I have Piece Of Mind and Seventh Son way higher on my rank but that doesn't mean No Prayer is a bad album. Quite the opposite.
 
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