Is Iron Maiden the biggest metal band in the world right now?

Where Eagles Dare

Keep Your Distance! Walk Away!
Hi everyone, this is more of a opinion type question so hopefully will get some discussion going. As the title says, is Iron Maiden the largest heavy metal band in the world right now.? Oddly enough 30 + years after there first album I would have to say... yes. Obviously most of the 80' and 90's were consumed by Metallica's fan base. Whether these fans were genuine or not doesn't really make a difference. As it stands there are not many metal bands ranking charts like Maiden, so are they? My last concert was in Mansfield Ma last year. There were almost 10,000 people (Bruce said 14k but I think he was wrong.) Is any other metal band doing that? There closing at Rio and headlining donnington, they are pretty big.

I hope I didn't just make ignorant points, I'm very biased to Maiden a lot of the time so tell me like it is lol.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
It depends on how we define: "big" and "metal".

Big: Audiences? Album sales?
Metal: Guns'N'Roses? Metallica? Bon Jovi?

I guess these three bands are bigger.
 

Demigod_Tyek

Powerslave
I believe they are, and it doesn't have much to do with the charts or places they play (as you mentioned), but just because there's a reason they've won awards such as the "greatest live band" in the world. I have been to many concerts, and seen many bands live in the last decade (me and my family were always big into going to concerts), and no other band compares to the times I've seen Iron Maiden. It's kind of hard to explain, but as I'm sure people here know, Iron Maiden just does "something" up on stage that no other band can reenact, in my opinion.

And yes, I am probably biased as well (because Iron Maiden is my all time favorite anything, ever), but I speak what I feel, and I don't think there is a single band out there that performs better live than Iron Maiden.

Plus there's the other "little" things you can add in, like the lyrics (and the art within them), the guitar work of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray (who, in my opinion, are the two greatest guitar players ever), and the vocals of Bruce Dickinson (who is my all time favorite vocalist). Not to forget that Steve Harris is just a master of musicianship. Added all up, nothing could even come close to all that Iron Maiden have done in it's lifetime.
 

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
Staff member
Metallica is the biggest and most famous band in the world at the moment. They sold more records than Maiden, and on average they have more people in the attendance than Maiden. They are also probably the first band a non-metal fan thinks of when someone mentions metal as a genre, mostly because of their name.

I'd say that Maiden is in second place in all those categories. But Maiden is a much better band ofc :p
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
Metallica is the biggest and most famous band in the world at the moment. They sold more records than Maiden, and on average they have more people in the attendance than Maiden. They are also probably the first band a non-metal fan thinks of when someone mentions metal as a genre, mostly because of their name.
This.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
GNR sold more records than Maiden. I guess they also play bigger venues (not sure how much they tour though).

Bon Jovi also sold more records than Maiden and I wouldn't be surprised if they also play bigger venues. Naturally, I can imagine people rather don't call Bon Jovi metal, but they certainly can be. The first four albums certainly have metal (or hard rock) aspects, even though there is the poppy side blended in as well.
 

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
Staff member
I don't consider GNR or Bon Jovi as metal. Both did sell more records than Maiden, but GNR lately has the same or less amount of people in attendance than Maiden.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
What a surprise! :) Well, metal is a very broad encompassing term.
Bon Jovi bridged the stylistic gap between hard rock and glam metal. I admit they have more country influences on their last albums, but they still play (glam) metal kind of songs.

GNR could be seen as a fusion of punk rock, blues-rock, heavy metal and glam rock. Among other books they are featured in The Rough Guide to Heavy Metal, the Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal Music and 20th Century Rock and Roll: Heavy Metal.
Heavy metal fans requested the Welcome to the Jungle video and song en masse, helping the band enormously in their success.
Axl was interviewed in That Metal Show.

So both bands are no pure metal (PURE EVIL!), but I wouldn't call Maiden pure metal either. They have prog-rock and other influences.

As far as I am concerned, the only pure metal band on the planet is Judas Priest.

:D
A band that sold many albums as well by the way. But I guess Maiden is doing better nowadays.
 

Ariana

Black-and-white leopard
Metallica is the biggest and most famous band in the world at the moment.
I'd have to agree. We're all biased, we watch documentaries about hysterical Maiden fans, we follow every gig and we read every interview or review but there are many other bands out there that are given the same, if not more, attention. Metallica is a more popular band and I'm pretty sure it gets more audience in general. Their Black Album was the best-selling record in the last 20 years. It has sold more copies than the most successful albums of Shania Twain and Celine Dion. In total they have sold over 100 million copies.

But we all know which band is the best.
 

Dr. Eddies Wingman

Brighter than thousand_suns
What a surprise! :) Well, metal is a very broad encompassing term.

...

As far as I am concerned, the only pure metal band on the planet is Judas Priest.
:D

What about Slayer? :p

As per the question from the opening post: I guess if one looks at who would sell out the bigger venues etc today, those three bands mentioned would probably sell out quicker than Maiden most places. I know for sure that Bon Jovi sold out quickly for the show they are to play in Norway this summer, and Metallica have usually sold out quickly as well. I'm not so sure about GNR as many now see them only as "Axl and some session musicians", but the name alone is probably enough to draw a sizeable audience.

Do I care that Maiden are not the biggest in terms of publicity or album sales? No. I think it is good that they get recognition, but I have never cared about who's the biggest this and that. For the same reason I never cared to give arguments in favor of Cristiano Ronaldo as the world's best player while he was at United, I don't argue for Norway being the best country in the world and I am not going to call people idiots for not sharing my taste in Scotch whisky. This "who's the biggest" thing is best saved for the YouTube comment section.
 

harrisdevot

Priest of the Holy Wristband
I think that Iron Maiden has acquired a kind of legendary status that makes them one of the biggest metal bands of all time, if not the biggest. It's not a question of figures (they are doing well, even if less than Metallica), but its due to the fact that they've been around for a solid 37 years without interruption, that they've remained true to what they initially wanted to be and never done a s--t album (although some here may not agree). Metallica themselves contributed a lot to Maiden being recognised this status, as they constantly named them as one of their major influences. For me, the only real contender would not be Metallica (they betrayed themselves long ago and their music's quality cannot be compared to Maiden's) but Sabbath, simply because they are the very first true metal band.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
Sorry but I don't buy that "Metallica sold out" "Metallica betrayed themselves and that's why they can't be considered one of the greatest/biggest metal bands of all time" nonsense. It's not only directed to you, but to everyone else who thinks that way. I've talked about Metallica enough here to show my stance so I won't try to explain the same stuff over and over again, but I consider this whole "Metallica drama" childish and to me it shows how immature some metal fans can get.

It's a fucking band. It may seem like it stood up for an ideology or a group, it even may have been the case in the early days, but it's a band. The guys gathered around to make music they wanted to make and they still are doing whatever the hell they want to do. To me, that alone shows that they have NOT betrayed their soul.

Metallica's first four albums are enough to make them one of the greatest acts of all time, and they put out two more enjoyable albums afterwards.
 

Ariana

Black-and-white leopard
It's not a question of figures
It is a question of figures. We're talking about the biggest band in the world, not the biggest band to you or me. Talking about the whole world, you need certain metrics to help you identify this band and this is where sales/attendance/profit come to play.
 

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
Staff member
It is a question of figures. We're talking about the biggest band in the world, not the biggest band to you or me. Talking about the whole world, you need certain metrics to help you identify this band and this is where sales/attendance/profit come to play.
I was just about to say that :ok:
 

harrisdevot

Priest of the Holy Wristband
Buy it or not, this is my intimate conviction. I used to be a big fan of theirs, and I've been terribly upset by them. It's not about the music itself, its about some of their choices. Hiring Bob Rock as a producer meant something when they did the Black album, and they clearly let him have a great input on their music, hoping (rightly) to sell more records and attaining another status. Same thing with their album with Lou Reed : I feel like they just did it to prove how cool and creative and open-minded they are. I just don't feel at ease with them anymore, because I don't believe they are that sincere.
 

harrisdevot

Priest of the Holy Wristband
It is a question of figures. We're talking about the biggest band in the world, not the biggest band to you or me. Talking about the whole world, you need certain metrics to help you identify this band and this is where sales/attendance/profit come to play.
Then, the question is not worth asking : we all know the answer.
 

Where Eagles Dare

Keep Your Distance! Walk Away!
I never really considered GaR or Bon Jovi Metal. I know Metallica was big but they haven't really done anything since death magnetic. And other then Metallica who can really stand up to Maiden. I just saw Megadeth play a show with about 50 people. Priest with about 100. Maiden is touring the entire world. I guess if you consider GaR and Bon Jovi then no.

And I don't think Metallica sold out. I don't think Load and anything after it was that great but they didn't sell out.
 

Ariana

Black-and-white leopard
See, one of the things the make Metallica what they are is precisely the fact that they do not make that many new records and don't tour that extensively and yet their popularity doesn't suffer one bit.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Yes but they damn know well how to maintain that popularity. It would suffer if they play tours with mostly or only new material (or play as much later stuff as Maiden on their album tours).
 
Top