SSOASS: individual album judgement by yours truly


Ancient Mariner
My only real issues with “The Prophecy” are the plodding verses and the non-chorus.
Come on... don't be picky! Especialy with The Prophecy, a complete masterpiece! (IMO, along with TLOTLDR both are by far the most underrated Maiden tunes ever). As much I'm a bit tired The Evil That Men Do and a couple other songs one must admit the whole album is stellar in every single aspect.


What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
Moonchild 5/10
Infinite Dreams 10/10
Can I Play With Madness 8/10
The Evil That Men Do 10/10
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son 9/10
The Prophecy 7/10
The Clairvoyant 9/10
Only The Good Die Young 10/10

Average song rating 8,5
Overall album rating 87%

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...

1. Moonchild - 10/10
The soft opening, the building synths, the explosive announcement of Lucifer’s entrance, what a way to open an album.

2. Infinite Dreams - 10/10
A question of life, death, and that which will come, our worth, and so forth. This is a melodic monster with some of the band’s absolute best lyrics.

3. Can I Play With Madness - 10/10
Catchy, but also different than many of Maiden’s more popular songs. The multi-tracked chorus is amazing.

4. The Evil That Men Do - 10/10
The star in a show full of stars. A galloping, thunderous Goliath with a soaring chorus that is - literally and figuratively - to die for.

5. Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son - 10/10
The brooding title track, setting the stage of a battle between good and evil, and also featuring a foggy mid piece and an extraordinary ending solo section.

6. The Prophecy - 9/10
A slight step down in quality, but also the most narrative-based song on the album. Go figure.

7. The Clairvoyant - 10/10
A dark end for our hero but also a shining example of dual guitar harmonies.

8. Only The Good Die Young - 10/10
An underrated gem, making for a delightful if dark ending to a monster album.

I have never enjoyed this album more than I did tonight. What a fucking class act. If it wasn’t for The Prophecy, it’d be tying with Powerslave.

Rating: 99%


My ratings:

Moonchild: 8
Infinite Dreams: 8,5
Can I Play With Madness: 7
The Evil That Men Do: 10
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son: 8
The Prophecy: 9
The Clairvoyant: 8,5
Only the Good Die Young - 9

Overall: 8,5

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
Gave the album a relisten today
Moonchild - 10/10
Infinite Dreams - 10/10
Can I Play With Madness - 8.5/10
The Evil that Men Do - 10/10
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son - 10/10
The Prophecy - 7/10
The Clairvoyant - 8.5/10
Only The Good Die Young - 8.5

Overall: 9.1/10


Ancient Mariner
Ah, the seventh one. Time to tackle this one too. I'm still not at my most comfortable zone with this scoring and all, but here we go... This is bit of a boring read though, since it's pretty straightforward praise from start to finish.

One, if not THE most mythical, coherent and legendary Maiden album(s). Often praised and unlike so many other classic albums, seldom called "overrated."

Indeed, the coherent flow of this concept-album-except-not-quite-concept-album-but-a-bit-conceptual, yes-album, captivating sound, structure and excellent song material makes it very strong record. Add the "more than just a sum of it's parts" factor to it's already high quality and depth and it becomes more than justified to call this one a true masterpiece. or some other superlative of your choosing.

Is it that good? For me, it is. Perfect? That's another, harder question. I'd take this approach: when looking at my favourite version of it (either the original mix or 2015 remaster, therefore excluding the ok but a bit greasy 1998 remaster), is there anything I'd change if I could?


Even with one or two drops in overall quality and the theoretical chance of something "better" being there instead, I think it's pretty hard or even impossible to change or improve this body of work without affecting it's core essence, and as it is, 7th Son might be as close to that mystical definition of perfect as Maiden recording, or any rock album for that matter, can get.

Enough of this meandering now, let's touch the songs a bit.

Often described as "sinister opener" and that's what it is. I've always loved the aggressive yet very sophisticated charm and dramatic edge of the song very much. Hearing it live in 2013 was a big dream come true for me and in my opinion, it really works best as the show opener, as the build-up and and the weight Bruce puts in the very first line "I AM HE - THE BORNLESS ONE" really blow me away. But even with it's live-value stripped away, it's a strong song nonetheless, with some excellent solos and strong musical and lyrical narrative, soaring seamlessly from the mystical acoustic intro to it's haunting ending.

Tricky song scoring-wise, since I don't really find anything to complain about it, yet there's so many other songs in their discography that I prefer over it and it's not quite most impressive performance on this record either. But as far as opening the record and being a brilliant heavy metal song goes, you can't do it much better, especially when looking at how the rest of the album falls into place.

So... 9,5? 10?

Infinite Dreams
Ah. Long-time favourite of mine (and many others). And one of the prime examples of the classic songs you very, very seldom see being described as "overrated." It's omission from the Maiden England 2012-14 setlists underlined it's legendary status even further, making it possibly the saddest setlist omission in their touring history. Even though it's definitely very acknowledged song by the fans, I think that the "song type" it represents doesn't always get the attention it might deserve. For many, it is the long, meandering epics or the shorter gallop-oriented rockers that come to mind when talking about Maiden's strengths, but these "mini-epics" such as Infinite Dreams, Revelations and whatnot are something I find being one of the most defining gems by the band. Not necessarily their best-ever- songs, but it is often these mid-tempo "six-minuters" that manage to do so much more than you'd expect from their length.

Dynamics, melodies, growth, lyrics, atmosphere... Nailing every single aspect of songwriting, Infinite Dreams soars in never-before-never-since seen heights. Filled with words as they are, the verses and the main melody represent the sometimes contradictory, but all the better legendary and ingenious traits of Steve Harris' songwriting at it's best. On the top of these sturdy foundations, provided by beautiful guitar work and outstanding rhythmic section, Bruce Dickinson manages to hit and nail every single note in the song, showing his acknowledged sense of drama by giving the weight to right words, notes and phrases. The lyrics ponder with the same themes as many other Maiden song before and after this one, but Infinite Dreams is rather incomparable take on those.

Any faults? Oh well. The scream in the middle might sound a bit too dry to some, but personally, I think it supports the song well and this musical heavy metal wonder does what it does perfectly, nothing less and nothing too much, giving us a masterpiece that you don't find from music industry anymore. :)

Alright, that got a bit cheesy, but I think that Infinite Dreams definitely manages to put up such a dynamic, melodic and beautiful six-minute spectacle that it definitely deserves a 10.

Can I Play With Madness

Often described as the black sheep of the album, Can I Play With Madness - or CIPWM for those who love abbreviations - is definitely a step down from the grandeur from the preceding song. It retains the masterful dynamics though, which you'd wish some of the more recent Maiden albums to have as well; the way the song builds up towards the chorus and how the chorus really punches after the verse is something these classic albums and good-old Martin Birch treatment really are unmatched at. As for the song as a whole, it's good. And that's the thing: it's a very good song balances things out very well and is an effective setlist addition every time it's played, but not quite as outstanding as the rest of the album, nor does it manage to be quite as powerful and outrageous rocker as some of the other shorter and simpler classics, such as The Trooper or Aces High.

However, Madness does manage to rise up above many other songs around similar length, thanks to it's powerful and catchy chorus, some brilliant hooks, transitinos and playful lyrics that actually work very well in this one.

8,5 (?)

The Evil That Men Do
Beautiful guitar work and once again, brilliant dynamics and transitions. The 1998 remaster managed to soften it a bit too much (there's some strange "greasiness" in it), but fortunately the original master and 2015 version give it's raw elements a bit more light. One of the elements I've really grown to love about it is how it translates to live setting; it has that life of it's own there! It can be played faster, heavier, slower... The Evil That Men Do has been through quite a bit of different arrangements over the years, which is pretty unique for a Maiden setlist staples. While I absolutely love the more speedy and aggressive takes on it in, say, '99 or BNW era recordings, I'm also a huge fan of the heavier and darker approach they've taken with it's most recent appearances during Maiden England and The Legacy of the Beast shows.

Powerful song that I don't really know what else to say about...

Another hard one to score, but maybe another 10?

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

Ah, the title track. And what a monster of a song it is. There's no shortage of drama, outstanding vocals, guitar harmonies or anything. As far as Steve's songwriting goes, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is another unique piece that it's hard to come by elsewhere. It's definitely very different from his earlier and following works and while I'm not absolutely sure whether or not it's my very favourite composition by him, it's definitely one of the more unique ones. It's a true centerpiece to the record and representative tour(s). It's strong affiliation to the album context is one of the most defining traits of the song and depending how you look at it, a huge strength or even a bit of a con, since it's not quite as easily adaptable on it's own. That doesn't really make it any worse of a song on it's own, but it's definitely notable how the whole side B of the album fits seamlessly together and forms one of the strongest and uncompromised four-song-sections in their discography.

Seeing this one live in 2013 is still one of the biggest Maiden moments for me. And without a slightest doubt, one of the best and most precious concert memories ever.


The Prophecy
You got to have one "Murray-oddity" and this one is one of the best. Dave might not be as productive as other songwriters of the band, but his involvement is always a very welcome, sometimes smaller, sometimes bigger, deviation from the other stuff on the record and so it was with this album as well. The Prophecy has some interesting things going on, such as some layered vocals you don't see too often in a Maiden song and overall, very unique structure, ending with that beautiful acoustic bit. Back in 2008 when I discovered the album properly for the first time, it took a while to really get into this, but over time, The Prophecy has really become a very important song for me. Strong vocals, strong thematic continuity with the previous song and pleasantly a bit of "out there" composition overall make this one definitely above average #DaveMurraySong and that alone is saying something.


The Clairvoyant

Ah. The first time I properly listened to this song was actually the A Real Live Dead One version of it. While lacking some of the grandeur of this recording, the essential elements of the song shone through and I loved it. Once again, Steve has managed to do something very unique here and while there's a plenty of stuff in both, previous and a number of following albums that I love, there is a certain peak in creativity in this album. I love the clever changes and kinda unusual, but very memorable and powerful choruses. Once again, Bruce shows some brilliant sense for drama, which also makes the live performances of this one very enjoyable.

Another 10

Only the Good Die Young

Now then... If I could add any never-before-played song to Maiden set, this one would be a very strong contender. It's actually a small wonder it was never played, since it would've been a perfect way to close the Seventh Son section of the tour(s), especially with that outro...

Oh well, enough with the famous fan-fiction. Only the Good Die Young delivers some outstanding guitar harmonies and together with Moonchild, probably the most sinister lyrics and vocal delivery of the album, this time with less-aggressive but a bit more darker edge. The catchy and harmonic chorus beefs the song up nicely. Once again, a lot of praise to the original master and the 2015 remaster; those two really underline the greasiness (it seems that I love that word, but it really describes the 1998 sound pretty well, in my opinion) of the 1998 remaster, which doesn't sound too horrible, but certainly lacks some of the edge. Crash-ending with acoustic seven deadly sins poem closes the album in a brilliant way, underlining the thematic continuity present thorough the record, even when the lyrical content doesn't really follow the more or less intended story concept that much.

It's another tricky song to score. It's not quite as huge as the title track or Infinite Dreams and not quite as punchy as some of the shorter tunes on the record. It doesn't bring anything too different to the table, but at the same time, it's a very unique piece... I might annoy some Somewhere in Time fans with this 10/10 fest here, after being slightly more harsh on SiT, but whatever... :p


Overall: 10

Previous scores:
Randalf said:
Iron Maiden: still to come...
Killers: around 7.5
The Number of the Beast:
around 8
Piece of Mind:
around 9 or even above?
Powerslave: Another 9? I just hate 1-10 and how hard it is to properly score these masterpieces.. :D
Somewhere in Time: 9 (?)

Some precious Seventh Son/Maiden England related gig memories included... :)

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Ancient Marinade
The Prophecy is one my my favorite tracks from 7th Son. It has a sort of lazy "swing" feel to it that I like a lot, and not enough Maiden songs have that. I'm not musically inclined enough to describe what I'm hearing better but Prophecy is fantastic. Especially that acoustic outro.

Black Bart

Ancient Mariner
It has a sort of lazy "swing" feel to it that I like a lot, and not enough Maiden songs have that. I'm not musically inclined enough to describe what I'm hearing better but Prophecy is fantastic. Especially that acoustic outro.
My only real issues with “The Prophecy” are the plodding verses and the non-chorus. The rest is excellent.
You are both right. Go in peace. :p


Moonchild - 8
Infinite Dreams - 9
Can I Play With Madness - 7
The Evil That Men Do - 8
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son - 8
The Prophecy - 9
The Clairvoyant - 8
Only the Good Die Young - 10

I guess this is the best album, at least for me.


clap hands
Gonna take a winter break after this before heading into the “dark period”, but for now...

2019 relisten thoughts:
  • From the opening moments through to the end of the album SSOASS is simply darker and oddly warmer than all of the previous Maiden albums. I think the reason I love this album so much (beyond amazing songwriting and playing) is the overall tone of the recording.
  • I’ve never noticed how absurdly silly Bruce’s voice becomes on the line “In this world or the next” in CIPWM.
  • Adrian and Steve are on fire. Is this Steve’s last god tier bass album? Is lead part on OTGDY is so cool.
  • The title track is perfect. Top 10 Maiden.
  • Murray’s acoustic outro on The Prophecy makes up for the rest of the song being the only imperfect part of this album.
  • The Clairvoyant should really be a staple on future tours. It sits right in that mid-range for Bruce that’d kill as he gets older. Also, that chorus is Sabaton “jump with us!” worthy.
  • We’ll see how the rest of my listening goes, but I think this is finally cemented as my favorite Maiden album.

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
I’ve never noticed how absurdly silly Bruce’s voice becomes on the line “In this world or the next” in CIPWM.
That was one of the first things that stuck out to me about that song when I first got into Maiden. It’s so wacky that for a long time I genuinely believed someone else sung that line. But also I’m damned if I don’t love it anyway.

Murder of Rue Morgue

Educated Fool
After re-listening it:
  1. Moonchild 8 - maybe needs a heavier mix
  2. Infinite Dreams 10 - masterpiece
  3. Can I play with Madness? 6.5 - "we never intended to have radio hits" said H, so clearly he doesn't remember having written this song
  4. The Evil That Men Do 8 - same, but with more refinement
  5. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son 6.5 - good intro, boring song, pointless stadium choirs, boring interlude, huge ending; Nicko rules
  6. The Prophecy 7 - intro and outro are great, the song is good
  7. The Clairvoyant 9 - great song, cool melodies and arrangement in the verses and chorus
  8. Only the Good Die Young 6.5 - clearly a filler
Overall: 7.75/10
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Ancient Mariner
Only The Good Die Young a filler? :oops:
My 3d favorite Maiden album, my least favorite song is CIPWM and even that song is great.
No, this album (together with Powerslave and SIT) is Pure Maiden Perfection.

Murder of Rue Morgue

Educated Fool
Only The Good Die Young a filler? :oops:
Come on, they basically wrote the song from start to the end of the 1st solo, then put "da capo" on the sheet music. How long could it have possibly taken? 3 hours? Not a bad song, but its status seems evident to me, also the fact that they did not play it live rings some bells.

Murder of Rue Morgue

Educated Fool
SSOASS boring song...
Seventh Son goes like this:

*song starts*

Oh, we have some choirs here

Then the choirs but a bit faster, cool

Then it goes tun turutun turutun turutun turu

(ad libitum)

Bruce enters and during the very second line you can hear he is in trouble with the notes

Wooooh oh oh oh ooooh oh oh oh ooooh oh oh oh ooooh -- ok this will work perfectly on stage, now come the guit- oh, ok, it's the very same line I have just heard

Then again

BUT NOW COMES THE CHORUS!! Moonchild was good, Madness too, Dreams had a great change, now I can't wait to hear what Steve had in mind for... it's the title of the song sung four times -- no wait, actually it is eight times

And another stadium choir follows

At least now we'll have one verse only, they use to do it, don't they? Double verse structure before the first chorus, then a 3rd verse and then again into the chorus... no, wait, it's another two verses

And the stadium choir
Both of them

And the "chorus" (Jesus Christ...)

Wait, it changed!
Cool guitar line, I must admit
Still in E, but at least it changed

Now the arpeggio with the spoken part, Ancient Mariner vibes here! (But Harris isn't Coleridge, anyway I'll leave that)

And arpeggio continues

Play the arpeggio again

And again

And agaaaaaaaaaaaa- wait, they added the keys

Cool crescendo

Variation on the intro motif

And then the coda, which is really incredible, no questions

Frankly this song only works live to me, but at least it has a great drum part by Nicko
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Barbed Wire Hen
Caught Somewhere in time has virtually the same structure (minus Coleridge and end instrumental parts) and it's a 9 ?