Your Maiden's 7 plus minutes track ranking.

karljant

Ancient Mariner
The title is self explanatory. I will leave Sattelite 15 ... The Final Frontier out since they're blatantly 2 different tracks. I will be posting them from worst to best in batches of 10 with some brief notes. Just name your top 10 (and bottom 10 if you find it pertinent).
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
#40 - The Angel And The Gambler (Virtual XI):
As expected TAATG gets the lowest rank. Even if we cut the trillion times the chorus is repeated during the mid section this kind of weird approach to Won't Get Fooled Again and Jump is everything but memorable.

#39 - Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger (Virtual XI):
Once again the repetition factor kicks in. Plus the main melody is forgettable, the structure is simply dyslexic and this song is a complete snooze fest.

#38 - Shadows Of The Valley (The Book Of Souls):
The first song from the lot that rises above mediocrity but still featuring some details I dislike. It begins with a self plagiarism, flows into an intro that is a complete strange body and only then the song itself begins. Plus it features my least favorite vocal performance in the record.

#37 - Dream of Mirrors (Brave New World):
After an awful intro the song is gravelly struck by repetition disease. The chorus is quite interesting but Dream Of Mirrors would be easily better if trimmed down to little more than 6 minutes.

#36 - The Man Who Would Be King (The Final Frontier):
This is the first one from the lot I consider to be a good song. Nevertheless there's nothing here that pops to the eye. And its disposition in the album also downgrades its value, since it's placed among more interesting songs with similar traits.

#35 - The Nomad (Brave New World):
Plagiarisms apart The Nomad is really interesting and well composed. It may turn out a tid bit boring here and there especially after a considerable number of spins but overall really enjoyable tune.

#34 - The Unbeliever (The X Factor):
Besides featuring an amazing mid section and a great chorus the structure (or lack there of) that serves as basis for The Unbeliever is really poor. It also starts with its left foot thanks an abortion of an intro. If it wasn't for these factors this song would rank way higher.

#33 - Starblind (The Final Frontier):
The ambiance that this gem creates is something. Built upon a unconventional time signature and showing Bruce Dickinson firing at all cylinders the only downside in Starblind resides in the fact that its morphology may become a bit tiring.

#32 - The Longest Day (A Matter Of Life And Death):
A Matter Of Life And Death is devoid of fillers and this track is a clear example of the quality present throughout this album. And the condiments of such excellence are absolutely present In this track: a pompous, epic theme that gains momento as it develops. The reason why it ranks relatively low is due to a somehow forgettable refrain. Other than that, great song.

#31 - Journeyman (Dance Of Death):
The first 100% acoustic venture of the band resulted in a soothing beautiful tune that works wonders while closing the album. The string arrangements also play an important part in the final success. The chorus could be a bit better though.
 
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Black Bart

Ancient Mariner
Just for those (like me) who don't have all the exact lengths in mind, the Maiden that are more than 7 minute long are:
- Phantom of the Opera (7'02)
- Hallowed Be Thy Name (7'10)
- To Tame A Land (7'26)
- Powerslave (7'14)
- Rime of the Ancient Mariner (13'45)
- Caught Somewhere In Time (7'22)
- Heaven Can Wait (7'24)
- Alexander The Great (8'35)
- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (9'52)
- Fear of the Dark (7'16)
- Space Nation No. 5 (11'58... but is it even supposed to count?)
- Sign of the Cross (11'18)
- Fortunes of War (7'24)
- The Unbeliever (8'10)
- The Angel and the Gambler (9'51)
- The Clansman (9'06)
- Don't Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger (8'04)
- Blood Brothers (7'14)
- Dream of Mirrors (9'21)
- The Nomad (9'06)
- The Thin Line Between Love and Hate (8'26)
- No More Lies (7'21)
- Dance of Death (8'36)
- Paschendale (8'27)
- Journeyman (7'06)
- Brighter Than A Thousand Suns (8'44)
- The Longest Day (7'48)
- The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg (7'21)
- For the Greater Good of God (9'23)
- Lord of Light (7'25)
- The Legacy (9'20)
- Isle of Avalon (9'06)
- Starblind (7'48)
- The Talisman (9'03)
- The Man Who Would Be King (8'28)
- When the Wild Wind Blows (10'59)
- If Eternity Should Fail (8'28)
- The Red and the Black (13'33)
- The Book of Souls (10'27)
- Shadows of the Valley (7'32)
- Empire of the Clouds (18'01)

That's 41 of them; duration data from Wikipedia

40. No More Lies (Maiden self-parody at its worst)
39. Isle of Avalon (nothing much is happening)
38. The Unbeliever (some good ideas and horrible decisions to bridge the gap between them)
37. Starblind (nothing much is happening)
36. The Thin Line Between Love and Hate (the vocal melodies, the lyrics and repetitive drum patterns ruin an otherwise pleasant track...which they don't know how to finish)
35. Dream of Mirrors (if it hadn't been for that intro and the repetitions, it wouldn't have been here)
34. For The Greater Good of God (God it's long!.. especially the first minute -hour?- when they forgot to cut the mike when they were checking if the guitars were tuned)
33. Shadows of the Valley (great ending verse, but why keep such a riff?)
32. The Red and the Black (clocking at approximately the same time, "Rime..." feels like drinking a pint of Guiness, while this one tastes like Budweiser diluted with water - it's not that I don't like it, but it is not necessarily worth it)
31. The Man Who Would Be King (pleasant elements in a bizarre structure)

10. Empire of the Clouds ("Paschendale" was close to making it, but whenever there is a conflict, the vocal melodies tend to be decisive in my case)
9. Heaven Can Wait (I first discovered it through A Real Live One, consequently the chorus doesn't bother me)
8. Dance of Death
7. The Talisman
6. Fear Of The Dark
(from here downward, the order might depend on what day you ask)
5. Hallowed Be Thy Name
4. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
3. Phantom of the Opera
2. Rime of the Ancient Mariner
1. Powerslave
 
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srfc

Ancient Mariner
Black bart's top 5 plus Empire and Paschendale would be the ones I'd consider the very best, with Hallowed in number one. I find thinking about rankings in any greater detail than that isn't for me.

Don't look to the Eyes of a Stranger, is Maiden's worst track of any length.
 

Jer

Abysmal display of mental decay

karljant

Ancient Mariner
#30 - Empire Of The Clouds (The Book Of Souls):
I really dislike Rock Operas but am forced to give props to this monument. The whole thing sounds huge, dramatic and well planed. There are some passages I really like and was I a fan of this genre Empire Of The Clouds would definitely be higher on the list.

#29 - Lord Of Light (A Matter Of Life And Death):
This song is the first of a long spree of potential classics and ll I can say to justify its apparent low rank is that Maiden normally hits the jackpot when they go to long compositions. Everything in Lord Of Light is done with sheer precision and quality: the intro, the melody, the chorus... It's just that the remainder are just as good or better IMO.

#28 - Fear Of The Dark (Fear Of The Dark):
Ok, perhaps I'm being a bit too harsh on this classic due to overplaying. In all honesty Fear Of The Dark features a great intro, has a strong pace and chorus but the main dish here is the mid section. Lyrics and verses could be a bit better though. Nevertheless it conquered its place as one of Heavy Metals most definitive hymns of all times (and rightfully so) .

#27 - Paschendale (Dance Of Death):
If you want a Iron Maiden song that spells suffering and drama then Paschendale is on the front line. From a desolate quiet lullaby this thing starts growing until it towers over us like the stomping bellicose monstrosity its lyrics narrates. Can get a bit tiring here and there but has a gripping verse section, awesome bridge and that last chorus with the second voices is more than worth it.

#26 - Dance Of Death (Dance Of Death):
Dance Of Death always reminded me what Fear Of The Dark would sound like if it was reworked by a trio of heavy metal guitars under Ian Anderson's order's. Being quite colorful and narrative, the celtic arrangements are overly great but sometimes the song loses a bit the grip of its pace. Great tune nonetheless.

#25 - If Eternity Should Fail (The Book Of Souls):
Ahhhh! The return to epic intros and outros, drowning in a theatrical ambiance. Tuned lower than usual and more epic than anything the guys have done in decades the sheer force of this track serves perfectly as the welcome card to the marathon that is Maiden's 16th studio album. Plus Bruce seems to turn back the clock on this one on a jaw dropping performance.

#24 - The Legacy (A Matter Of Life And Death):
The Legacy starts as a creepy, uneasy lullaby until a monstrous "Sabbathesque" riff drags you through its relentless stomping, culminating in one of Maiden's most pompous and glorious chorus. This enormous song is the perfect ending for a great album such as A Matter Of Life And Death.

#23 - Isle Of Avalon (The Final Frontier):
Let there be no mistake: this song is all about reproducing the mystic ambiance of its lyrics. And man does it succeeds! The ambiance of the whole damn thing is magical, in a crescendo that slowly builds like a spell that's being prepared until it explodes with full intensity. Masterful.

#22 - Brighter Than a Thousand Suns (A Matter Of Life And Death):
Once again Maiden widen their boundaries outside what's expected since this heavy and intricate beast dwells in really odd time signatures and instrumental counterpoint (especially the vocals). And it's a wonder to see how fantastic it works alongside the band's signature sound.

#21 - Hallowed Be Thy Name (The Number Of The Beast):
If there's a Maiden song which beginning's still give me chills to this very first day it has to be Hallowed Be Thy Name. The calm part and transition to the guitar harmonies is superb and the verses are also great. I think the song loses it self a bit when it goes uptempo compared with immaculate quality of the first part but it surely finds itself again on the last dual guitar part (simply beautiful) and the refrain ends this classic in a really high note too.
 
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karljant

Ancient Mariner
#20 - The Clansman (Virtual XI):
This is the first song I rank excellent and although it features a bit of repetition here and there, the Clansman's energy is a force to reckon (especially when played live). Through nine minutes we're thrown in a cauldron of folk, metal, rebellion and medieval history and this recipe works even better when tasted live with Bruce's tenor timbre at the chorus.

#19 - Blood Brothers (Brave New World):
Only being a bit held back by its repetitive (yet immensely melodic) chorus, this waltz presents us with a myriad of goodies: a simple but nice bass intro, great crescendo, excellent use of keyboards on the back and truly beautiful and majestic bridges.

#18 - No More Lies (Dance Of Death):
Apart from the somehow recycled intro everything here is on point. The melody is catchy as hell and the synth work used while complementing it is out of this world. One may find the chorus (and its repetitive exclamation) kind of disruptive but that's precisely what it's the for: to allow the band and listener to gather speed only to get catapulted once again into this great song.

#17 - The Red And The Black (The Book Of Souls):
This track shows how over the top (in a positive way) Maiden was back in their last release. While resembling some old epic tunes here and there (namely Sign Of The Cross, Rime and Seventh Son) TRATB is a giant with an identity of its own. And man that long instrumental sequence is something! The only true reason why this is not on the top 10 is the somehow lazy composition regarding the lead guitar echoing the vocal part which in my opinion downgrades severely the song. Ah... and such a magnificent chorus deserved to be repeated at least one more time.

#16 - Alexander the Great (Somewhere In Time):
Undoubtedly the most requested Maiden song never to be played live and it's easy to understand why. Everything here musically speaking is the band at his very best: from the intro to the main verses, passing through the refrain. But where Alexander The Great really shines is on the instrumental mid part, one of the bands more complex and well written sequence of twists and turns spiced with wonderful solos from the boys. The only small letdown is the somehow unimaginative and passive way Harris penned Alexander's deeds in a flat descriptive manner. Other than that, top notch.

#15 - Fortunes of War (The X Factor):
This is perhaps one of the band's darkest songs. It starts building in a hush fashion till it explodes in a march like melody that comes and goes, slowly progressing into a mid tempo song about trauma, anguish and distress flowing into a desperate call for deliverance on the chorus and uptempo section. I just love it when a song's melodies and progression perfectly translates the intention and narrative of the lyrics and Fortunes Of War is simply put one of Maiden's best songs while doing so.

#14 - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (Seventh Son of a Seventh Son):
This nearly 10 minute long aria is undoubtedly Maiden's 7th studio album pivotal section, both musically and conceptually speaking. It features an absolutely gorgeous use of keyboards to underline the song's mystical ambiance, a crushing mid tempo pace and a superb instrumental section leaving zero doubt that this is one of Maiden's best epic tunes ever.

#13 - The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg (A Matter Of Life And Death):
Speaking of dark tunes Benjamin Breeg was built upon the cryptic tale about the research of a character shared by the band online. And what a tormented soul this is. So it's quite fitting that the song is quite dire even during its calm intro. The oppressive ambiance continues in the heavy as hell verses that work like a megaton anchor dragging the listener to the depths of Mr. Breeg's life. Amazing track with some out of this world drum lines courtesy of Mr. McBrain.

#12 - Caught Somewhere In Time (Somewhere In Time):
First and foremost: that intro... what a masterpiece! The synth inclusion only amps more the perfection that is Caught Somewhere In Time's initial seconds. And such excellence persists as we're catapulted into a roller coaster tightly held by Harris' amazing galloping bass. IMO this is Maiden at its peak firing at all cylinders: the guitar solos and leads, the variations, the insane range of the vocals and intricate builds are a more than worthy opener to what I consider to be the band's best record.

#11 - Heaven Can Wait (Somewhere In Time):
As it's the case with the album's opener, Heaven Can Wait is equally flawless. The synth droning tones convey one hell of an ambiance and in a no time we're racing at the speed of light through a absolutely mind blowing verse line featuring a super intense vocal performance with the bass hammering the rhythm in a tight as nails frantic way. Once again everything here is top notch regarding composition but the middle section and subsequent choral ensemble is something that I lack words to describe how awesome it is.
 
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karljant

Ancient Mariner
#10 - The Book Of Souls (The Book Of Souls):
Pompously sculpted in Mayan mythology shapes, this is Maiden blatantly trying to turn back the clock and pull a Powerslave on a different continent. It's well known that things tend to go wrong when bands try to recycle some motives and ideas that marked the peak of their careers. Yet The Book Of Souls is so well crafted and deeply layered that it results in an enormous win for the band. All the arrangements are impeccable but it's that amazing refrain that propels this track to heights only the best Maiden songs can aspire.

#9 - The Thin Line Between Love and Hate (Brave New World):
Really emotional track with a smart use of vocal ensemble in the verses, TTLBLAH first part is particularly built for Bruce's voice to shine. The man pulls some really intense vocal lines that intermingle perfectly in a somehow simple but smart build marked by the use of second voices. The second section of the song is also really beautiful but I think it lasts for too long when it should merely work as a prologue for the song and an excellent coda for the album. Yet overall this is an immensely great track.

#8 - The Talisman (The Final Frontier):

The Talisman is another adventure taking action at sea and starts with a medieval lullaby(one a bit too long be honest). But once it accelerates there's no doubt this is Maiden bringing their A game. The tumultuous pace really translates the lyrical content while Bruce gives a show regarding his vocal abilities. Everything is deliciously complemented by excellent guitar harmonies and a simply glorious chorus. Superb.

#7 - To Tame A land (Piece Of Mind):
Based upon the Dune novel series, To Tame A Land's arabesque melody transports us immediately to the deserts of planet Arrakis and when the distortion kicks in we're stunned with the same awe of witnessing the rise of a giant worm. Bruce's perfect vocal line starts to praise the lore of this sci-fi romance till it builds into a crescendo giving way to a final instrumental section filled with excellent variations and solos. This monument of a song his so astonishing in so many different aspects it's ridiculous. Exotic and futuristic at the same time, To Tame Land finds Maiden some complexity without compromising a bit of its out of this world composition and melodies.

#6 - When the Wild Wind Blows (The Final Frontier):
Starting with slow and melancholic melodies, The Final Frontier's last track is perhaps the most beautiful and melodic thing Maiden ever wrote. The same melody serves as base when the distortion kicks in and everything here sounds intense. WTWWB bears one particular trait that is almost unique regarding Maiden epic tunes and I think it has a reason: every time we're expecting the song to blast into an uptempo the song maintains its pace (even during its gorgeous bridges) as it perfectly portraits the lyrics dealing with the Armageddon than never came. And this deep connection between musical mood and words carries on till the last notes when that sad melody returns to unveil the tragic end of the narrative. WTWWB is a lesson on how composing a long song without flaws.

#5 - For the Greater Good of God (A Matter Of Life And Death):
Dealing with the inhumanity of war and the role religion sometimes has promoting it when it should do the precise opposite, this track is a larger than life cry for mercy among men. And with such a demanding message it demanded an equally special composition. And For The Greater Good Of God fills every requisite of its lyrics. A stunning melodic intro, a persistent galloping crescendo that lasts several minutes like if Bruce needs once and for all to let off his chest all the atrocities that haunt this world. Then comes that chorus... Man, how glorious and beautiful that thing is! Not content with that the song still presents us two amazing bridges and great soloing action. What's more amazing to me is how a band 30 years old managed to come out with such perfection. Unbelievable!

#4 - Powerslave (Powerslave):
I really don't know where to start while praising this classic. I can tell you about how the musical composition fits perfectly the Egyptian motive, how Harris' bass gives those verses the weight of all the pyramids of ancient Egypt, how epic the chorus sounds, that it features perhaps the band's best middle section and soloing work or call your attention to that absolutely magnificent coda. But then again if you're a Maiden fan you already know this and undoubtedly praise this masterpiece as one of Maiden's best moments ever.

#3 - Phantom Of The Opera (Iron Maiden):
If that's true that Wasted Years was the song I fell in love with and served as my entrance to Maiden's world, the first time the band left me in awe was some weeks after when I listened to Live After Death's rendition of this monster. Almost 33 years after listening to the damn thing countless times I simply can't get enough of its complex and frantic verses, its beautiful soloing and guitar harmonies and most of all that absolutely transcendent moment when everything stops and Harris' bass starts what I consider to be one of music's best moments ever composed. If these aren't reasons enough for reaching the podium of this ranking then nothing is

#2 - Sign Of The Cross (The X Factor):
In a decade that was proving to be a low point to the band especially regarding pompous and epic compositions this was a slap in my face that came from out of nowhere. Although I also love the original version, I would encourage people to listen to the live one. Of course Bruce's voice give more depth to an already excellent track but the main reason is the fastest tempo that makes Sign Of The Cross sound a bit more edgy. Starting with an obscure ambiance and Gregorian chants and a melodic march like intro until the main galloping riff comes stomping in: it's a simple one yet heavy and strong as hell as it gives birth to a guitar lick adorned bridge till it blossoms into one of Maiden's most powerful refrains. After the second turn the song comes to an alt underlined once again by the initial choral and what follows is simply jaw dropping. We're thrown into a five minute sequence of some of the best passages ever penned by the band, amazing drumming patterns, bass fills, and gorgeous guitar harmonies and solos in various formats, till it finally returns to the chorus for a final time. Absolute masterpiece.

#1 - Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (Powerslave):
Well this is no surprise is it? Let me put it simple: even if we put aside the little more than 2 minutes the Samuel Coleridge interlude lasts (I don't see a reason why... it is simply haunting and does wonders to both the narrative and the song itself) we would still be left with 10 minutes of over the top quality music. The way this absolute masterpiece goes through all its different stages pulls us through the mariner's narrative like if we were living the damn thing. Composed of a countless number of passages and swings everything here sounds perfect. Maiden (every single one and as a collective) aren't simply at their best here... they achieved something else words fail to explain. And perhaps the zenith among zeniths is the crescendo that portraits the mariner's deliverance and reconciliation with the sea creatures. The breath taking fall of the curse and subsequent solos and guitar harmonies is something that somehow tops perfection. Undisputed number one.

So there you go. That's my rank... what is yours?
 
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GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner

I agree with most of your ratings. I will try and post mine soon. :)
 
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GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
40. The Angel And The Gambler (3/10)
39. Don't Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger (4/10)
38. The Unbeliever (4/10)
37. Fortunes Of War (6.5/10)
36. The Man Who Would Be King (6.5/10)
35. Shadows Of The Valley (7/10)
34. The Nomad (7/10)
33. No More Lies (7/10)
32. The Clansman (7/10)
31. The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg (7/10)

30. Heaven Can Wait (7/10)
29. Dream Of Mirrors (7.5/10)
28. When The Wild Wind Blows (8/10)
27. The Red And The Black (8/10)
26. Journeyman (8/10)
25. To Tame A Land (8/10)
24. Caught Somewhere In Time (8.5/10)
23. Dance Of Death (8.5/10)
22. Alexander The Great (8.5/10)
21. Blood Brothers (8.5/10)

20. The Legacy (8.5/10)
19. Sign Of The Cross (8.5/10)
18. Isle Of Avalon (8.5/10)
17. The Talisman (8.5/10)
16. Fear Of The Dark (9/10)
15. The Book Of Souls (9/10)
14. If Eternity Should Fail (9/10)
13. Lord Of Light (9/10)
12. Starblind (9/10)
11. The Thin Line Between Love And Hate (9/10)

10. Brighter Than A Thousand Suns (9/10)
9. For The Greater Good Of God (9/10)
8. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (9/10)
7. Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (9/10)
6. Empire Of The Clouds (9.5/10)
5. Phantom Of The Opera (10/10)
4. The Longest Day (10/10)
3. Paschendale (10/10)
2. Powerslave (10/10)
1. Hallowed Be Thy Name (10/10)
 
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LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
3. Paschendale (10/10)
2. Powerslave (10/10)
1. Hallowed Be Thy Name (10/10)
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