Which album best represents Maiden as a whole?

nuno_c

A hollow universe in space
This question is pretty tricky, i think.

Many times when we choose an album as being the most representitive of a band's sound we tend to choose the one we like the most, as if THAT album's sound or style should be seen as being the band's definite.

I've bee thinking a lot about this and i would have to say that, as a whole, maybe Brave New World is the album that best represents the band's sound. It has some shorter songs, mid paced ones, slower, progressive, some keyboards here and there and so on. It basically has a bit of everything Maiden usually have in their songs, if you know what i mean.

What do you think? And again, i'm not asking what's your personal favourite. Your personal favourite may be The X Factor (which i love), but i think we all can agree that the album does not represent the full extent of Maiden's sound.

What's your opinion?
 

Magnus

Pica Serdica
It basically has a bit of everything Maiden usually have in their songs
Including a bit of Beckett.

I'd say Seventh Son, not because it's one of my favourites but because it has some aggression, some mystique, some speed, some fantastic arrangements and some great lyrics.
Apart from that, the debut, but it represents a band now long gone, alas.
 

Magnus

Pica Serdica
I'll move this here from the Now Playing thread
Interesting that you like their roughest and most refined albums, and the stuff in between is what bores you...
Hadn't really thought of them in those terms but yeah, those are the ones I find really inspired, whatever "inspired" means.

I'd go with Powerslave. It is not my favourite, but it epitomises the classic Maiden sound.
It does, and it's probably not a coincidence that Live After Death somehow gave all their previous stuff more or less the same Powerslave sound.
 

Jer

The dotage of a dotard
I’d agree with Seventh Son. It has elements of almost all of Maiden’s different eras, including ones that hadn’t even happened yet. You’ve got hard rockers, some more progressive stuff, some synths, a hint of cackly Bruce on “Moonchild”, and the songwriting is mostly impeccable.

If someone is familiar with Seventh Son, pretty much any other Maiden album will also sound familiar to them. The debut might be the only exception.
 

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
Definitely NOT Seventh Son -- the lush production and heavy emphasis on synths really only show up on two out of the sixteen total studio albums.
For the early era, I would say either Number of the Beast or Piece of Mind. They sound a bit different production-wise, but they have it all: the gallops, the epics, the twin leads, and the history- and literature-based lyrical themes. Maybe give a slight edge to PoM, just because Nicko has been in the band far longer than Clive was, but NotB has the more famous songs and "broke" the band as worldwide superstars, so that's sayin' something. For the later era, it's probably A Matter of Life or Death, which features the muddy Caveman production, longer songs, the triple leads, and darker and more introspective lyrical themes. Two different eras, two different sounds, but I would say that the "classic" '80s era is viewed by most as the definitive era, with apologies to the young'uns who jumped on board in the 2000s.
 

Shmoolikipod

Stranger to the Light
I was going to say Brave New World as well, but I think I'll go with Dance of Death. It's closer to to the new Maiden sound than BNW, but it still has the more straightforward songs with Gates of Tomorrow and New Frontier and Rainmaker. But really, the reason I'm going with it is because I think it's (those songs) are somewhat closer to the 90's albums. You can also make a stretch and say Wildest Dreams is a Di'Anno track. ::)

Anyways, I think it has to be one of the later albums. Maybe it's because I know they came later, but it's easier to find old Maiden in new Maiden than it is to do the opposite. 80's albums just don't have the same sound as the reunion stuff (though Seventh Son is for sure the closest), not to talk about NPftD and FotD. You really do need enough of those long songs to say you can see AMoLaD in SSoaSS. AMoLaD and TFF are too heavy on the new Maiden side, and you could make an argument for TBoS but there's nothing there that sounds like Blaze or Di'Anno stuff in my opinion.

Basically, what I'm saying is that, Virtual XI is the quintessential Iron Maiden album.
 

nuno_c

A hollow universe in space
Including a bit of Beckett.

I'd say Seventh Son, not because it's one of my favourites but because it has some aggression, some mystique, some speed, some fantastic arrangements and some great lyrics.
Apart from that, the debut, but it represents a band now long gone, alas.
I almost went with SSOASS, but the thing is, for me, synths aren't really a Maiden thing, but more of an experiment they did in that period. That's mainly why i did not choose SSOASS. BNW has keyboards, and that's more common in Maiden's sound than synths.

In an objective or personal term, i would put SSOASS over BNW, but that's the thing, i'm trying to choose the album that features more elements from the band's overall sound. Not necessarily the best one.
 

nuno_c

A hollow universe in space
I'd go with Powerslave. It is not my favourite, but it epitomises the classic Maiden sound.
As an album that represents the "classic" sound, i would have to agree, but that's the challenge here: Trying to find not our favourite or even the one that best represents the "classic" sound, but rather the one that most represents all the elements of the band's sound and, therefore, the most representative of the band's overall sound. Not an easy thing :dancinggeek:
 

nuno_c

A hollow universe in space
Definitely NOT Seventh Son -- the lush production and heavy emphasis on synths really only show up on two out of the sixteen total studio albums.
For the early era, I would say either Number of the Beast or Piece of Mind. They sound a bit different production-wise, but they have it all: the gallops, the epics, the twin leads, and the history- and literature-based lyrical themes. Maybe give a slight edge to PoM, just because Nicko has been in the band far longer than Clive was, but NotB has the more famous songs and "broke" the band as worldwide superstars, so that's sayin' something. For the later era, it's probably A Matter of Life or Death, which features the muddy Caveman production, longer songs, the triple leads, and darker and more introspective lyrical themes. Two different eras, two different sounds, but I would say that the "classic" '80s era is viewed by most as the definitive era, with apologies to the young'uns who jumped on board in the 2000s.
Even tough my favourite "reunion" album would probably be AMOLAD, don't you think the album is much darker than the overall "reunion sound" on the other "reunion" albums for it to be the most representative of this period? Also, soundwise it stands out because of it not being mastered, something that only happened on that single album.
 

nuno_c

A hollow universe in space
It might be cheating, but I'd go with a live album. Probably Rock in Rio.
Well, that's interesting. I was originally focusing on studio albums, but Rock In Rio is actually a pretty good choice. It has songs from many different eras of the band, obviously has the live factor which is very important in this band's case (they are a self-proclaimed live band) so, yeah, actually a pretty cool choice for the band's most representative album! It's kind of a best of BUT with a live element that usually best of's don't have.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Powerslave to me is representative of the band’s early sound. Twin guitars with blistering sound and surgical precision intertwining overtop a balls-out rhythm section and backing some of the most powerful, soaring vocals in history. The sound is unmistakably Iron Maiden.

The Book of Souls is representative of modern Maiden. Maybe they don’t need to push themselves too much anymore. What’s kept them at the literally height of the metal world is their passion. TBOS represents a band having fun, unafraid to run with ideas and just do whatever they like. If that means a five minute, emotional rocker about the death of a comedian, or an 18 minute, emotional ballad about the death of an airship, they’re unafraid to embark on what they like. And they get my support for that alone.

As a third pick, and this will undoubtedly be controversial, but Iron Maiden are a band where melodies are ultra-important. So I’ll give Virtual XI a nod for that. The album has very little aggression compared to most Maiden records, but it does have a lot of melody. I think between TXF and VXI you can find all the Iron Maiden DNA packaged together, just in a very unorthodox way.
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
I think Brave New World album best represents Maiden (their style/sound) as a whole:

great lyrics: the whole album
fantastic melodies and twin/triple-lead guitar harmonies: again, the whole album
galloping style: the fast part in ''Dream Of Mirrors''
traditional epic(s): ''The Nomad'', ''Dream Of Mirrors''
traditional mid-tempo/slow song: ''Blood Brothers''
traditional song with acoustic elements: ''Dream Of Mirrors''
singalong choruses: ''The Wicker Man'', ''Out Of The Silent Planet'',
progressive stuff: ''The Thin Line Between Love And Hate''
short rockers: ''The Fallen Angel'', ''The Mercenary''
medium length songs: ''Ghost Of The Navigator'', ''Brave New World''
keyboards: part of the album
 

nuno_c

A hollow universe in space
Powerslave to me is representative of the band’s early sound. Twin guitars with blistering sound and surgical precision intertwining overtop a balls-out rhythm section and backing some of the most powerful, soaring vocals in history. The sound is unmistakably Iron Maiden.

The Book of Souls is representative of modern Maiden. Maybe they don’t need to push themselves too much anymore. What’s kept them at the literally height of the metal world is their passion. TBOS represents a band having fun, unafraid to run with ideas and just do whatever they like. If that means a five minute, emotional rocker about the death of a comedian, or an 18 minute, emotional ballad about the death of an airship, they’re unafraid to embark on what they like. And they get my support for that alone.

As a third pick, and this will undoubtedly be controversial, but Iron Maiden are a band where melodies are ultra-important. So I’ll give Virtual XI a nod for that. The album has very little aggression compared to most Maiden records, but it does have a lot of melody. I think between TXF and VXI you can find all the Iron Maiden DNA packaged together, just in a very unorthodox way.
You make some pretty cool points there. I understand the TXF and VXI argument and agree except for the vocal part. I'd say operatic type vocals are a big part of Maiden's overall sound.

Also, and even if i agree that there are some differences between their "old" and "modern" sounds, what i'm trying to find here is the album that best represents and contains the most elements of the band's entire history. That's why i feel this is a tricky question, because usually what we do is either say what's our personal favourite based on what we think the best sound for the band is, rather than being objective and just go for the one that has more of everything the band has done over the years. My favourite overall would probably be SSOASS, but i don't think that album best exemplifies the band's sound in general. I'm going with BNW, although i prefer AMOLAD's production as an example.
 

Trevoire

Ancient Mariner
Honestly I think this is a bit of an impossible question.

You can basically draw a line between FOTD/TXF as that's where the band had a pretty huge change in direction. Pick one album to represent each era on either side of that line.

But there's not really anything before TXF that sounds like reunion era Maiden. And there's very little after FOTD that sounds like the classic era.
 
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