Janick's role in post-reunion Maiden

nuno_c

A hollow universe in space
I'm not at all a Janick basher. Quite the contrary. But i'm interested in knowing what do you guys percieve as being Janick's role/contribution to Maiden since Bruce and Adrian rejoined.

To me, part of his songwritting has been a major factor in the band's sound, and also with three guitars Maiden get do even more things. Also, his energy onstage is, in my opinion, contagious.

It would also be cool to talk about your views on Janick playing some solos on songs that he did not play on before he was in the band.
 

matic22

Ancient Mariner
Dance Of Death, The Talisman, Ghost Of The Navigator, The Book Of Souls are 4 songs which rate in my top 20 Maiden songs overall and wouldn't happen without Jan. They have his stamp all over them.He is an amazing long songs writer (not sure about his short ones but hey... it's just me). Also he got a lot better guitarist in since 2009 and has tied Dave as my second favourite guitarist (H is untouchable).
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
The Unbeliever is a song I have in my Maiden top 10 (to be precize: #7).

I realize I am going more off-topic here, but I hope it's okay to also emphasize the pre-reunion era in relation to Janick.

About his own solos:
I have the idea that his solos in the nineties are somewhat overlooked on this forum. A whole lot of them are at least as strong, or even stronger than what he did in the last 15 years. IMO, since Brave New World his top solos are in The Legacy, The Pilgrim and Ghost of the Navigator. All other solos I would put in my top 10 were done in the nineties.

More in-depth:

When Janick Gers arrived, he kicked the asses of his bandmates. He injected them with new rounds of motivation after Adrian Smith left. Janick has always been gifted with an incredible amount of energy. That energy certainly went into his solos. Especially in the beginning he vigorously attacked the material with his guitar. He must have been very excited and wanted to give his utmost best. And when you look at the nature and topics of these songs, it matches. Janick Gers did fit into this rougher side of Maiden. Much intensity and aggression go hand in hand into some of his solos on his early work. Nowadays he still goes back to that uncontrollable but also exciting and passionate style.

First I’d like to say a few things about his leads on the No Prayer for the Dying album.
None have made it to my top 10, but 3 or 4 would have been in the 11-15 zone.

Best of the rest: Janick on No Prayer for the Dying.

Tailgunner
Entrez Janick Gers! First solo of the album is his. The way he presses and bends those notes! Lots of tension. If a video would exist of him while recording it, I’d love to see that.

The Assassin
I dig the 1st and 3rd quarter the most in this one. Very fast stuff, but it is not as messy as one might think during a first listen. It feels like the solo actually has a certain amount of rhythm. But at the same time he clearly must have improvised, because he does things that are probably uncopyable, even by himself, especially in the 3rd. If you listen carefully with headphones, you can even hear a very short roar (like he grips a chord during a fraction of a second). The beginning of the 1st quarter sounds like the laugh of the assassin, going into a mental frenzy right after that.

Run Silent Run Deep
This solo marks an interesting contrast with the tight, continuing rhythm and (bass)guitars underneath. It features the unpredictable side of Janick that I like a lot. The unexpected moves towards some of the higher notes are really cool and in my opinion his specialty. Even after more listenings it’s not easy to know at which exact moment they come. As unexpected as the bite of a snake, or in this case, the sudden impact of a torpedo. ;-)

Mother Russia (first Janick solo: 3.37-4:00)
This solo sounds like he prepared it pretty well. Less aggressive and it swings quite nicely over the marching rhythm.

The next ones might not be among the best of his oeuvre but they are worthwhile enough to mention when talking about his first album with Maiden:
Hooks in You and Fates Warning feature a different side of Janick. His solos in these songs are short and have good memorable melodies.

Top 10:
10. The Legacy
For a long time, I was considering Run Silent Run Deep for the no. 10 spot, but in the end I still went for this one. We have to wait 6 minutes before it starts. Just when I get the feeling that the song begins to sack in a bit, Janick pumps new life into it.

It's especially the first half that does it (the second I find less impressive and it even ends messy): straight from the start Janick climbs higher and higher in a cool pattern. The uneven lenghts of the notes are trademark Janick.
You don't know when he places them, nor is it easy to predict which direction he takes, which makes it the more exciting. At the same time he manages to deliver a memorable melody. Particular personal highlight: the high, pierced tone @ 6:07 in this clip

09. Blood on the World's Hands

A short solo, but I love the bright echoing sound of it. The solo itself is dramatic, screaming for attention, fitting both the lyrics and Blaze's best performance with Iron Maiden.

08. The Fugitive
The most ridiculed Maiden song since a certain bloke made a comparison with the holy Starblind. And an easy target because it's on Fear of the Dark, an album not many people have affinity with for a variety of reasons.
I maintain to say that this an underrated track. People tend to overlook it. By doing that, they also might overlook the guitar solos. Especially Janick's because it's one of the most unique ones he ever did. I think lots of people might not even know it's him when they hear it (especially the first half). The reason is that it's a stuctured, obviously well prepared and executed solo, played largely with consistent timing. He does a cool figure that matches the interesting chord changes. The second half starts more aggressive (and very fast) and the ending is strong.

07. Lord of the Flies
Another dramatic solo, now with lengthy notes. Like in Blood on the World's Hands, Janick manages to capture the drama of the song and the dark atmosphere of the album, this time in a more memorable way.

06. Fear of the Dark
I reckon this is not really the most complicated solo Janick ever did but every quarter is fascinating. He picks the right notes and increases the tension before Dave takes over.

05. Ghost of the Navigator
Sharp and moving tones, piercing straight through the heart.

04. The Pilgrim
Great Eastern vibe and build-up.

03. Como Estais Amigos
If we don't count some of his shorter solos, then this could this be the one with the least amount of notes. But what notes. This is touch of the highest order. :notworthy:

02. The Clansman
An extraordinary melodic work. A wonderful combination of melody and passion. And it has a very clean finish, by the way.

01. The Unbeliever
Very emotional and aggressive in one of Maiden's best instrumental sections. While it's not even my favourite part (I prefer the aggressive bending and vibrato or whatever he does to make those sounds!), the ending is pretty cool when he goes higher and higher. Check that last note still going on for a while when Dave has picked it up.
 
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DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
The thing about Janick for me is that he has consistently contributed to some of my favourite songs in the reunion era. I love him as a songwriter to the point where I can almost forgive him having a writing credit on the abomination that is "The Apparition".
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Thank you for your attention and detail here, Forostar!
My pleasure!
The thing about Janick for me is that he has consistently contributed to some of my favourite songs in the reunion era. I love him as a songwriter to the point where I can almost forgive him having a writing credit on the abomination that is "The Apparition".
Even that song is not necessarily horrible, if you look further at the details: click
 

stallan

Trooper
Master songwriter, brilliant guitarist and an absolute beast on stage. He is just as vital to Maiden as anybody else and frankly I don't take kindly to anyone that thinks he should have been kicked out of the band. The most common argument against him is the stage presence but I say if it bothers you so much, just don't look at him.

The songs he has contributed over the years are absolute classics that are so full of emotion and intensity. Heavy, catchy riffs, nice acoustic passages and memorable moments are all trademarks of his style. The same goes for his soloing. He can come up with beautiful solos such as Blood Brothers and Como Estais Amigos that give you goosebumps. He can shred with razor sharp playing like on Ghost of the Navigator, Monsegeur and Hallowed be thy Name.

Speaking of Hallowed, that is the one solo I would say he does better than Adrian. The Rock in Rio version leaves me speechless every time. Other than that he always does his own thing and does a very solid job on other former Adrian solos that adds something different. And of course it is totally fair that he should get to enjoy playing some solos on classic songs. I love it when he doubles solos with Adrian and also with Dave on The Clairvoyant.

The stage presence is fun and full of energy. He gives his all every show and you can tell he is having a good time. I respect the hell out of it.

I love reading and watching interviews with him. He has so much passion for music and really believes in what Maiden are doing. He always wants to push forward with new material and stay vital.

Now if you excuse me I am going to listen to The Book of Souls (song) and be blown away yet again by the geniusness of this masterpiece :)
 

nuno_c

A hollow universe in space
Master songwriter, brilliant guitarist and an absolute beast on stage. He is just as vital to Maiden as anybody else and frankly I don't take kindly to anyone that thinks he should have been kicked out of the band. The most common argument against him is the stage presence but I say if it bothers you so much, just don't look at him.

The songs he has contributed over the years are absolute classics that are so full of emotion and intensity. Heavy, catchy riffs, nice acoustic passages and memorable moments are all trademarks of his style. The same goes for his soloing. He can come up with beautiful solos such as Blood Brothers and Como Estais Amigos that give you goosebumps. He can shred with razor sharp playing like on Ghost of the Navigator, Monsegeur and Hallowed be thy Name.

Speaking of Hallowed, that is the one solo I would say he does better than Adrian. The Rock in Rio version leaves me speechless every time. Other than that he always does his own thing and does a very solid job on other former Adrian solos that adds something different. And of course it is totally fair that he should get to enjoy playing some solos on classic songs. I love it when he doubles solos with Adrian and also with Dave on The Clairvoyant.

The stage presence is fun and full of energy. He gives his all every show and you can tell he is having a good time. I respect the hell out of it.

I love reading and watching interviews with him. He has so much passion for music and really believes in what Maiden are doing. He always wants to push forward with new material and stay vital.

Now if you excuse me I am going to listen to The Book of Souls (song) and be blown away yet again by the geniusness of this masterpiece :)
Great insight, stallan! Thank you for taking the time
 

Dominocracy

Prowler
Back in the days of the "official" Maiden forum, I used to see many Janick appreciation threads from the small contingent of supporters there. The hate was borderline vitriolic but his fans, myself included, have been proven right with time. The man's passion and song crafting ability are undisputed, having single-handedly delivered many modern Maiden classics. The most simple truth is this: Without Janick, Iron Maiden would be a lesser band than they are today.
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
My pleasure!

Even that song is not necessarily horrible, if you look further at the details: click

Unfortunately for me it doesn't matter if the lyrics to the song were a work of literary genius when the music behind it is so unbelievably dull and repetitive. Easily Maiden's worst song for me.
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
Not sure if you caught it, but that post was also about details in the music.

Ah, sorry. I did read it and I did try listening to the song again with the post in mind but unfortunately it didn't help. I chose to respond to the lyrics largely because they formed the larger part of the post, and because I didn't have anything intelligent to say about the subtleties of the music in question. Suffice to say that for this song I don't think the devil is in the details insofar as the main body of the song is sufficiently bland to these ears that it completely overshadows the subtleties you've pointed out.

This said I don't want to go too deeply into arguing the song; I'm envious you can find redeeming qualities in it. I am otherwise a big fan of Janick's work though. He has a spectacularly good record in my books as far as his songs go post FOTD, and even there he has his moments.
 

mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
If Maiden guitarists were women

Dave is the stunningly beautiful one who captures a room without even trying.
There might be plenty going on inside, but she doesn't have to use it and nobody ever asks her to.

Adrian is the mysterious, fascinating one who constantly challenges you to keep up with her moods and interests.
Different, forever changing, sophisticated and probably out of your league.

Janick is the cool, easygoing one who will help you clear the yard, gut a fish, share a beer, laugh at your dirty jokes and cheer her guts out during the football game.

Why wouldn't you love them all?
 

Srogyy

Ancient Mariner
If Maiden guitarists were women

Dave is the stunningly beautiful one who captures a room without even trying.
There might be plenty going on inside, but she doesn't have to use it and nobody ever asks her to.

Adrian is the mysterious, fascinating one who constantly challenges you to keep up with her moods and interests.
Different, forever changing, sophisticated and probably out of your league.

Janick is the cool, easygoing one who will help you clear the yard, gut a fish, share a beer, laugh at your dirty jokes and cheer her guts out during the football game.

Why wouldn't you love them all?
Wow, this is the weirdest thing I've ever read on this forum :applause:
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
It's certainly clear that there are different colours in the band. Remove one, and you get something else.
 

johnglen

Educated Fool
He writes the most classic Maiden sounding songs in each post reunion album . GOTN is the best song in BNW , Montsegur is a great heavy metal anthem , The pilgrim is a very good old school Maiden rocker , The talisman is classic Maiden like it comes from SSOASS and TBOS is also classic Maiden . He brings a good balance to the band between the song writing effords of Steve Harris and Adrian Smith .
 

Jadukor

Can I play with Agnes
Best song writer after Steve in my opinion. His solos up until Virtual XI was great. I was listening to X factor and wondering what happened to Janick's solos during the post reunion albums! He used to be way better. His slow solos sound nice like the one in blood brothers and his fast solo in Dance of Death is also awesome. Other than that i feel he recycles the same muffled stuff in recent albums.
 
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Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Best song writer after Steve in my opinion. His solos up until Virtual XI was great. I was listening to X factor and wondering what happened to Janick's solos during the post reunion albums! He used to be way better. His slow solos sound nice like the one in blood brothers and his fast solo in Dance ofbDeath is also awesome. Other than that i feel he recycles the same muffled stuff in recent albums.
I agree here, although I have other favourites since Brave New World came out. But they are sparse, indeed.

To say this in a positive manner: it makes the nineties extra special. ;-)
 
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