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IRON MAIDEN

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Iron Maiden biography
One of the most influential bands to have ever graced the heavy metal genre, IRON MAIDEN have always been proud of their prog influences, which include Jethro Tull and Genesis. Their sound, at the same time heavy and intricate, is characterised by Steve Harris's thick, propulsive bass lines, and by fast, furious yet elegant guitar riffing. The band can also boast of some of the genre's most intelligent, articulate lyrics, which range way beyond the usual topics covered by the average heavy metal band.

Formed at the end of the Seventies in London's East End area by bassist and mastermind Steve Harris and guitarist Dave Murray, the band (whose name comes from a medieval torture device) released their first, self-titled album in 1980, at the height of the musical phenomenon known as New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM for short), which IRON MAIDEN spearheaded together with the likes of Saxon and Diamond Head. At the time, their sound was still somewhat influenced by punk, especially due to lead singer Paul Di'Anno's raw, aggressive vocal style. Soon after their debut's release, second guitarist Dennis Stratton left, and was replaced by Adrian Smith, who was soon to become one of the foremost contributors to the band's musical output.

Di'Anno left the band after the release of their second album, "Killers": his replacement was one of the genre's most distinctive, influential voices, Samson's former singer Bruce Dickinson, nicknamed the "Air Raid Siren". The band's first album with Dickinson on board, 1982's "The Number of the Beast", still ranks among heavy metal's undisputed masterpieces. Drummer Clive Burr left after that album, to be replaced by seasoned drummer Nicko McBrain, who has been a member of the band ever since. It was the start of a very favourable period for IRON MAIDEN, which saw them become one of the hottest live acts around, as well as release a string of extremely successful albums, such as "Powerslave" (featuring a 13-minutes-plus take on ST Coleridge's "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner"), and the concept "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son", considered by many one of the seminal works of the Prog-Metal subgenre.

The release of "Seventh Son. " - which, incidentally, was their seventh studio album - coincided with the start of a difficult stage in the band's career. In fact, guitarist Adrian Smith left to pursue a solo career before the release of Maiden's eighth studio album, "No Prayer for the Dying". He was replaced...
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The Number Of The Beast [Enhanced]The Number Of The Beast [Enhanced]
Remastered
Sanctuary 2011
Audio CD$6.96
$2.77 (used)
Piece Of Mind [Enhanced]Piece Of Mind [Enhanced]
Remastered
Sanctuary 2011
Audio CD$7.41
$5.59 (used)
The Book Of Souls [2 CD][Deluxe Edition]The Book Of Souls [2 CD][Deluxe Edition]
BMG Recorded Music 2015
Audio CD$15.60
$11.95 (used)
Brave New World (2-LP, 180 Gram Vinyl)Brave New World (2-LP, 180 Gram Vinyl)
Sanctuary Records 2017
Vinyl$29.98
Somewhere Back In Time - The Best Of 1980-1989Somewhere Back In Time - The Best Of 1980-1989
Sanctuary 2011
Audio CD$8.68
$7.97 (used)
Fear of the Dark (2-LP Set, 180-Gram Vinyl)Fear of the Dark (2-LP Set, 180-Gram Vinyl)
Sanctuary Records 2017
Vinyl$27.06
Dance of Death (2-LP, 180 Gram Vinyl)Dance of Death (2-LP, 180 Gram Vinyl)
Sanctuary Records 2017
Vinyl$29.98
PowerslavePowerslave
Import
EMI Europe Generic 1998
Audio CD$5.64
$4.19 (used)
A Matter of Life and Death (2-LP, 180 Gram Vinyl)A Matter of Life and Death (2-LP, 180 Gram Vinyl)
Sanctuary Records 2017
Vinyl$29.98
The X Factor (2-LP Set, 180-Gram Vinyl)The X Factor (2-LP Set, 180-Gram Vinyl)
Sanctuary Records 2017
Vinyl$27.06
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IRON MAIDEN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

IRON MAIDEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 541 ratings
Iron Maiden
1980
3.61 | 492 ratings
Killers
1981
3.82 | 618 ratings
The Number Of The Beast
1982
3.76 | 534 ratings
Piece Of Mind
1983
4.13 | 666 ratings
Powerslave
1984
3.96 | 570 ratings
Somewhere In Time
1986
4.21 | 709 ratings
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
1988
2.55 | 355 ratings
No Prayer For The Dying
1990
2.99 | 408 ratings
Fear Of The Dark
1992
3.24 | 308 ratings
The X Factor
1995
2.30 | 290 ratings
Virtual XI
1998
3.97 | 507 ratings
Brave New World
2000
3.59 | 347 ratings
Dance Of Death
2003
3.64 | 402 ratings
A Matter Of Life And Death
2006
3.63 | 380 ratings
The Final Frontier
2010
3.94 | 196 ratings
The Book Of Souls
2015

IRON MAIDEN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.15 | 224 ratings
Live After Death
1985
2.93 | 79 ratings
A Real Live One
1993
2.70 | 75 ratings
A Real Dead One
1993
3.21 | 62 ratings
Live at Donington
1993
4.02 | 43 ratings
Maiden England
1994
3.01 | 58 ratings
A Real Live Dead One
1998
4.08 | 106 ratings
Rock in Rio
2002
4.06 | 33 ratings
BBC Archives
2002
3.59 | 40 ratings
Beast Over Hammersmith
2002
3.62 | 64 ratings
Death On The Road
2005
3.70 | 67 ratings
Flight 666 (The Original Soundtrack)
2009
3.36 | 45 ratings
En Vivo!
2012

IRON MAIDEN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.07 | 27 ratings
Maiden England
1989
4.05 | 80 ratings
Rock In Rio
2002
4.42 | 54 ratings
The History of Iron Maiden Part 1: The Early Days
2004
4.71 | 92 ratings
Live After Death
2008
4.31 | 83 ratings
Flight 666: The Film
2009
3.88 | 30 ratings
En Vivo!
2012

IRON MAIDEN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 47 ratings
Best of the Beast
1996
2.98 | 24 ratings
Ed Hunter
1999
2.11 | 32 ratings
Edward the Great
2002
3.32 | 31 ratings
Best of the B'Sides
2002
3.60 | 20 ratings
Eddie's Archive
2002
2.83 | 27 ratings
The Essential Iron Maiden
2005
2.67 | 42 ratings
Somewhere Back in Time: The Best of 1980 - 1989
2008
3.34 | 35 ratings
From Fear to Eternity: The Best of 1990 - 2010
2011

IRON MAIDEN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.30 | 36 ratings
The Soundhouse Tapes
1979
2.85 | 33 ratings
Women in Uniform
1980
2.90 | 22 ratings
Live!! +one
1980
2.74 | 31 ratings
Running Free
1980
2.80 | 31 ratings
Sanctuary
1980
2.74 | 23 ratings
Twilight Zone
1981
2.96 | 27 ratings
Purgatory
1981
3.27 | 46 ratings
Maiden Japan
1981
3.59 | 17 ratings
Wrathchild promo
1981
3.59 | 32 ratings
Run to the Hills
1982
3.91 | 34 ratings
The Number of the Beast
1982
3.03 | 34 ratings
Flight of Icarus
1983
3.51 | 36 ratings
The Trooper
1983
3.88 | 32 ratings
2 Minutes to Midnight
1984
4.29 | 35 ratings
Aces High
1984
3.50 | 12 ratings
Where Eagles Dare promo
1984
3.37 | 19 ratings
Running Free 1985 live
1985
3.79 | 20 ratings
Run to the Hills 1985 live
1985
4.24 | 33 ratings
Wasted Years
1986
4.00 | 29 ratings
Stranger in a Strange Land
1986
3.68 | 28 ratings
Can I Play with Madness
1988
4.10 | 29 ratings
The Evil That Men Do
1988
3.90 | 30 ratings
The Clairvoyant
1988
2.00 | 6 ratings
An Interview With Iron Maiden
1988
3.90 | 21 ratings
Infinite Dreams
1989
2.61 | 23 ratings
Holy Smoke
1990
2.88 | 25 ratings
Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter
1990
2.00 | 6 ratings
Talking To Iron Maiden
1990
3.26 | 23 ratings
Be Quick or Be Dead
1992
2.83 | 18 ratings
From Here to Eternity
1992
3.05 | 20 ratings
Wasting Love
1992
3.14 | 22 ratings
Fear of the Dark
1993
3.60 | 20 ratings
Hallowed Be Thy Name
1993
3.29 | 24 ratings
Man on the Edge
1995
3.41 | 22 ratings
Lord of the Flies
1996
2.30 | 20 ratings
The Angel and the Gambler
1998
3.52 | 21 ratings
Futureal
1998
3.83 | 24 ratings
The Wicker Man
2000
3.45 | 22 ratings
Out of the Silent Planet
2000
2.79 | 19 ratings
Wildest Dreams
2003
2.50 | 19 ratings
Rainmaker
2003
3.30 | 10 ratings
No More Lies
2004
3.21 | 25 ratings
The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
2006
3.41 | 22 ratings
Different World
2006
2.98 | 29 ratings
El Dorado
2010

IRON MAIDEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Somewhere In Time by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.96 | 570 ratings

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Somewhere In Time
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars Guys, I've got a confession to make.

I don't like Iron Maiden.

I know this statement is akin to dousing a puppy in kerosene and overhand lobbing it into a raging bonfire, but it's true. I've tried my very hardest for almost four years now to enjoy them, to see the awe-inspiring craftsmanship everyone proclaims is prevalent on so many of their classic records...but I just can't. Not only do I think both drummers on Iron Maiden, Clive Burr and Nicko McBrain, plod out some of the most boring and repetitive rhythms of all time, but the songwriting of so much of their work may have worked wonders back in 1980, but like a joke it got extremely old extremely fast with each successive release following their self-titled debut. I think the revolutionary label slapped to Iron Maiden is quite reputable, but at the same time the asserted quality to match that is repudiable.

But, and I do mean a HUGE but -- Iron Maiden's 1986 work Somewhere In Time is one of my all-time favorite metal albums. Period. Strange, right? A band I dislike making one of my favorite albums? It's true though -- I think that Somewhere In Time is a precision-made, calculated masterpiece that distances itself so far from the band's discography that it might well be from a separate artist.

Somewhere In Time is a dystopian-based, Blade Runner-inspired record that came two years after 1984's Powerslave, an album that showed a lot of promise and had a few great tracks, but didn't nearly harness the same effect as it's successor. The Powerslave supporting tour ate up a whopping 187 concerts and excreted a whole lot of exhaustion onto the band following it, specifically Dickinson, who thus was not able to produce quality songwriting contributions. Dickinson had written some acoustic songs, in fear that if they didn't step up their game to a different level, that the band would "stagnate and drift away" (see even the band recognizes their sameness to a certain degree). Although these acoustic songs were not featured, this attitude continued into the eventual recording process, causing Somewhere In Time to be the first Iron Maiden album to harness synthesizers. While this might seem like a big no-no, considering that often it's the case that once a band starts leaning on the synths it's akin to them just committing creative suicide, but it's quite the contrary; Somewhere In Time's utilization of synthesizers gives a wondrous air of mysticism to the album, as it acts as a supreme background element to the its futuristic setting. It's also a key component in the massive epics that permeate the album. The title track opener, for instance, is a blazing fireball of a gallop that is one of the most prime examples of a perfect setting of the mood on any album, unheeded by the furious scream of synthesizer bursts. 'Wasted Years' is one of three contributions by guitarist Adrian Smith, and is the most lasting relic of this album's legacy. It does have a slightly poppier vibe, which may owe to this fact, but Dickinson's beautiful chorus and the magnificent guitar hook is nothing short of a knockout punch. One more highly recommended track is 'Stranger in a Strange Land', a bass-heavy, groovy romp which acts, in a way, as a better track representative of the theme of being "caught somewhere in time" than, well 'Caught Somewhere In Time'. Perhaps this is because of the lyricism of being in a mysterious world in which the rules are unknown, which I believe the album was trying to tackle. 'Caught' is still the best track, though. Not taking that back.

The band took their biggest step forward with this album, talentwise. McBrain, who I criticized previously for being extremely repetitive and leaning too hard on a a few stagnant drum patterns, is absolutely mindblowing on this release. His constant shifts between the groovy steel heel-click of the slower songs and the fast-paced explosiveness of the faster ones makes for one of his all-time best work. Steve Harris as always is extremely present and upfront, especially for a bassist. The neat thing about him is that, as a part of the percussion section, actually works off of McBrain to create this almost machine-like twang that follows his groove. Twin guitarists Smith and Murray are of course better than ever, offering extremely intricately-woven shredding that did well to pique my interest. Dickinson, although I'll always prefer Di'Anno, is at his zenith on Somewhere In Time, belting out a sort of sophisticated type of melodic yell that few of his peers have been able to accomplish. Absolutely stunning, all of them.

Many critics readily dismiss Somewhere in Time as being "half-baked", or "a hurried coverup of an atrophying creative muscle". These same critics will turn around and praise Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, an album I believe to be leagues below this one, and compliment it for factors they would say that Somewhere in Time wrongfully utilized. I say, pay no attention to them and embrace this one just like you would say Number of the Beast or Powerslave, because it's definitely up there with the best.

 Live After Death by IRON MAIDEN album cover Live, 1985
4.15 | 224 ratings

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Live After Death
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars What do you listen to live albums for? Do you just want to hear a very similar rendition of a band's studio songs in a live context, or do you want to hear a different side of the material in its translation from the studio to the stage?

If you are after the former, the Live After Death is perfect: Iron Maiden not only hadn't released a bad album up to this point, they'd hardly even recorded a bad *song*, and this setlist is absolutely stellar.

If you want the latter, though - and that's the camp I'm in - then this will sound an awful lot like the studio albums you no doubt already on, with some overloud crowd noise on top if it. It's interesting hearing Bruce perform Phantom of the Opera - perhaps the one song from the Paul Di'Anno era which deserves Bruce's operatic treatment the most - but otherwise this is going to offer few surprises.

 Brave New World by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.97 | 507 ratings

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Brave New World
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Brave New Maiden?

"The return of Bruce Dickinson", "And Then They Were Six", "And Then They Were Three Guitarists"... All that's fine, but all that's for what? Much ado for nearly nothing...

The reintegration of IRON MAIDEN's historical frontman and guitarist Adrian Smith showed great promises for the band lovers. The entire "golden" line-up is back, furthermore with nineties' guitarist Jannick Gers! What else could any fan dream for? In addition, unlike the past decade, the revival of heavy metal of the 2000's were a favorable context of the genre! Unfortunately, even this is not sufficient to recover the inspiration vanishing since 1990. If you're expecting a return of the grandeur of the 80's, renewal, or just something refreshing and catchy, you may be quite disappointed. To be honest, the compositions even difficultly matches the troubled and uneven MAIDEN waters of the 90's.

Named after the well-known eponymous book by Aldous Huxley, "Brave New World" does not take many risks. Like "Virtual XI", the music is overall insipid and lengthy. It contains even fewer interesting tracks than its predecessor. A continuity, as "The Mercenary", "Dream of Mirrors" and "The Nomad" were initially composed for the 1998 album. A global impression is that IRON MAIDEN's asperities developed in 20 years are progressively disappearing: very few memorable melodies, remarkable bridges, breathtaking soli or galloping bass. The same dish, but without flavor. By the way, in case you're wondering about the three guitars, they are hardly audible and fail to bring something to the songs.

In addition, this will be the last collaboration with historical artist Derek Riggs, and he only illustrated the top half of the cover. Furthermore, Martin Birch, the band's producer since 1981's "Killers" has been replaced. There are signs that do not lie...

Concerning the rare good passages, the rocking "The Wicker Man" clearly does the job as an MAIDEN opener with its powerful theme, but it's just an illusion. The only genuine originality here is "Nomad" with its mystical Middle- Eastern-ish atmosphere. We haven't heard this since 1984's "Powerslave"! Recovered creativity? In fact, the calm beautiful section borrows an extract from 1974's BECKETT's "Life's Shadow". A bit lengthy, but overall quite good. "The Fallen Angel" average but has its moments. The rest of the disc rather flat and boring.

As a fan of IRON MAIDEN's eighties' albums, from their first self-titled opus to "Seventh Son", and of "The X-Factor", I was really disappointed by what was announced as the resurrection of an iconic and influential metal institution. I felt like if I was fooled by the product.

Steve Harris and co. were one of the few to entirely redefine the genre in the 80's. The 90's musical melting pots were a difficult context for traditional metal bands, and MAIDEN didn't make exception, delivering just a few interesting tracks inside average albums. The departure of high-pitched vocalist Bruce Dickinson was an occasion for renewal, seized with the dark and progy "The X-Factor". However, this evolution divided the fan-base, so the musicians decided to return to a secure path by going back to their original recipe, but without the inspiration and the spiciness.

Since the controversial 1995 opus, it seems that the band is on auto-pilot (no pun intended), gave up their creativity and will to try something new. This had to happen, "Brave New World" clearly marks the turning point: IRON MAIDEN has lived and now became a pale copy of itself. For sure, same can be done for other numerous artists of all genres, but here the difference is that the music doesn't match what was proclaimed as a renaissance.

"Brave New World" is an aseptic and overrated album. Too polite, neither raging, nor really epic nor adventurous compared to what modern progressive metal bands were proposing at the same period. A new MAIDEN yes, but not very brave...

 Maiden Japan by IRON MAIDEN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1981
3.27 | 46 ratings

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Maiden Japan
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I remember this one being released in Brazil and costing the same price as a full length LP! Of course, 12 inch EPs were something of a novelty by then and I guess most store owners though that if it looked like a LP and had the same size then it was an LP, no matter if the total time was only 16 minutes of music. The same happened to a few 12 inch EPs of the time (U2 and Dio), and most fans felt betrayed. Anyway, this was, for a long time, the only officially available live recording of Iron Maiden with Paul Di' Anno as their lead singer for a long time. Later the complete Tokyo show of their 1981 tour of Japan would be found as The Big Heat bootleg CD, with 73 minutes of running time.

As for the EP itself, the band delivers a terrific performance, as usual, with specially energetic versions of Killers and Innocent Exile. Unfortunately, Di´Anno voice is not at his best. It seems his drinking and drug habits were beginning to take their toll. Small wonder he was fired after this tour. But it is still Iron Maiden, and although their singer was not sounding as good as he was in the studio, the sheer power of all band members and the high quality of the songs made this EP worth buying it at the time. It seems that Maiden In Japan (a really good pun!) was never released in the CD format on its own (but it did appear as a bonus CD for one of their early albums reissue). I can only recommend any people interested to try to find the complete show version. It is really worth it.

 Virtual XI by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.30 | 290 ratings

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Virtual XI
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Basic XI

2.5 stars

With the dark and creative "The X-Factor", MAIDEN showed they can renew without betraying themselves. Despite all this, the fan-base was divided about this orientation, but especially about new singer Blaze Bayley, who couldn't match Bruce Dickinson's high-pitched vocals during concerts on old songs. Therefore the band decided to go back to basics.

"Virtual XI" abandons the controversial sinister atmosphere and doom incursions of its predecessor for typical IRON MAIDEN stuff. However, although more dynamic and classic, this eleventh studio album presents some major flaws. The first one is obvious. Bayley's low tone was well suited for somber and mid-tempo compositions, like on "The X- Factor", but, as mentioned before, not adapted to epic maidenien tunes. Second, some tracks do clearly not justify their 8-9 minutes duration. This disc contains too much repetitions and offers not enough variety. Finally, and most important, surely wanting to please the fans, the Englishs didn't take many risks on this one. Simplistic and averagely inspired music for an uneven result.

Nearly half of the material is good though. "Futureal" is quite pleasant, fast-paced and punchy, typically in the direct lineage of MAIDEN's openers. Beginning with delicate arpeggios, soft and heavy passages, "Lightning Strikes Twice" takes us by surprise with its ferocious riff and main theme. It rocks! Nonetheless, the memorable title from "Virtual XI" is undoubtedly "The Clansman". Inspired by the movie "Braveheart", this epic possesses is a powerful hymn, crafted for and still played at concerts. The tapping at the end is just gorgeous! Freeeedooooooom! "When Two Worlds Collide" is average but has enjoyable moments.

And... that's it. The other tracks are boring, too long and definitely repetitive. No memorable tunes, no breathtaking bridges. A good example is the longest track of the record, "The Angel And The Gambler", which does certainly not deserve its 10 minutes duration. A little originality is "Como Estais Amigos", soft and melancholic, but not really Spanish sounding and a bit deceiving.

As a return to the original recipe, "Virtual XI" is an half-failure. There are a few interesting tracks, more suited for the vocal range of Dickinson, however the rest is flavorless, basic, lengthy and not varied enough. Not too bad, not the worst MAIDEN album of the 90's, just unequal. So if you don't know this disc, do not skip it.

This eleventh opus will be the second and last recorded with Blaze Bayley. The band asked him to leave, and historical singer and guitarist Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith will come back. But was it worth it?

 The X Factor by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.24 | 308 ratings

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The X Factor
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Maiden's best 90's album is also its darkest

After two average albums and Bruce Dickinson's departure in 1993, the survival of IRON MAIDEN was questionable. Despite the loss of their charismatic frontman, the band decided to pursue the adventure, by recruiting Blaze Bayley from WOLFSBANE. However, the new singer hasn't really the same vocal range as its predecessor as his high-pitched predecessor, his tone is a lot lower. How to solve the problem? Well, unfortunately for Steve Harris, but fortunately for us, the bassist was then facing personal issues in his life, so he will restranscribe his state of mind in the songwriting. Therefore the musical ambiance is somber, sinister, which is a novelty in the group's history, and perfectly fits Bayley's low tonality by allowing him to affirm his identity.

"The X Factor" simply features the darkest compositions ever written by IRON MAIDEN. At last, after several years, the band's music finally evolve and find their marks in the 90's. The tempo slows down, the songs are sometimes heavy, sometimes doomy, sometimes progy, but always with their own touch of epicness. Furthermore, despite a duration of more than 70 minutes, the longest studio opus ever recorded by the musicians back then, the quality is quite homogeneous. There are no genuine bad song. No title track either, the only other record making exception being "Piece of Mind". To sum up, even if you already know your 80's MAIDEN, you'll hear something different here... Don't worry though, this is still IRON MAIDEN, but with new clothes, for an unique result...

... Also unique in terms of cover art. For the first time, Derek Riggs was not collaborating, the well-known mascot is not hand-drawn but represented by a kind of model which looks like it's straight out from an horror movie. No cartoonesque Eddie here, the poor creature seems really tortured and suffering. This is getting serious! Some countries will even censor it and the artist will have to propose an alternative cover, with a wider angle of view. By the way, who is responsible for this disturbing gory picture? Hugh Syme, who usually takes care of... RUSH's. Not really in the same register...

The beginning of the disc is flawless. The more than 10 minutes duration of "Sign Of The Cross" haven't been seen since "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" from 1984's "Powerslave"! Best song of the disc, this progressive suite is simply a little gem! The slow overture with Gregorian chants distillates a somber ambiance, to then turn more aggressive, dark, and even haunting at times. Don't worry, the powerful bridge shows this is still Harris and co. at commands. Wow! THE 90's MAIDEN epic! The very good mid-tempo "Lord Of The Flies" possesses a cool bass, a catchy tune as well as a gloomy atmosphere. Last of the opening trio, and first single of the album to be released, "Man On The Edge" is a fast efficient punchy rocker. The delicate acoustic intro of "Fortunes Of War" can remind "Fear of the Dark", but the overall is quite different. In fact, without the galloping maidenien solo, it could nearly pass as doom metal! "Look For The Truth" is in a similar style than its predecessor, a bit more heroic.

"The Aftermath" displays a tragic atmosphere, while "Judgement Of Heaven" is a little less sinister. The only genuine average title of the record. On the contrary, "Blood On The World's Hands" one of the best moments of the second half. An unusual composition for MAIDEN with its surprising bass and doom tonality. Very nice! The cool and glorious "The Edge Of Darkness" and "2 A.M." are more typical. As the disc opened with a progressive track, it also concludes with another one. In addition to its different ambiances and numerous changes, "The Unbeliever" is quite in the style of 90's modern modern prog bands, with real pieces of maiden in it. A pretty good surprise at the end of the record!

This tenth studio release is an interesting mixture of dark, doom and progressive elements, done the IRON MAIDEN way. Don't expect fast-paced direct tunes here, nor fantasy prog, the leitmotiv here is "atmosphere". Sometimes the loss of an important member can result in unexpected welcomed consequences as the unknown offers also chances to renew. Although a bit lengthy, these 71 minutes of music proves that Harris and co. can evolve without losing their own identity. If only they could have done that again...

There are many ways to describe "The X-Factor": MAIDEN's darkest effort, one of their post-80's bests, their 90's best, in fact their only truly good studio opus from this decade and better than their 2000's albums. To be honest, the Englishs' last creative works since and for a long time...

So, is a new MAIDEN born? The band will unfortunately wear this dark outfit for this very unique representation. After 1996, the music will go "back to basic" (without 's')...

 Best of the Beast by IRON MAIDEN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1996
3.76 | 47 ratings

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Best of the Beast
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Get the 2CD edition if you can

First best of compilation of the NWOBHM kings, "Best of the Beast" was declined in three versions. The most common one is the 1CD edition, good but not without flaws. The 2CD limited edition is well worth the buy if you can grab it. Finally, the 4-Disc vinyl edition was intended for collectors only and is hardly impossible to find nowadays.

Let's talk about the 1CD edition first. The only novelty here is "Virus", released as a single in 1996. A pretty cool song, whose darker atmosphere inherits from "The X Factor", MAIDEN's previous album. Nice! The track-list is overall good, but there are 2 small problems though. The first one is the inclusion of irritating hit singles, such as "Run To The Hills", "Can I Play With Madness", "Bring Your Daughter...", which are the black sheeps of their respective albums. It's a pity, as there are less epic compositions on the disc, nor tracks representing the explosive "Killers".

That's why the limited 2CD edition is much more interesting. Composed of 27 tracks, it contains 3 more emblematic epics from various eras: "Phantom Of The Opera", "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" and "Sign of the Cross". Furthermore, it offers a more faithful overview of the band, as each album is represented by 1 or 2 titles, as well as 2 more previously unreleased tracks. The first one is a live version of "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" with Blaze Bailey. His low tone fits the song's haunting ambiance well. The second one is the 1979 demo of "Strange World" from "The Soundhouse Tapes".

Finally, the 4-disc vinyl edition consists in 34 tracks, each album being represented by 2 or 3 titles. It features an unreleased live version of "Revelations" with Bruce Dickinson. However, the main interest of this edition for collectors is the inclusion of the complete 1979 demos recording "The Soundhouse Tapes".

Better than "Edward the Great", "Best of the Beast" mixes studio and live songs with a few rarities. The booklet is richly illustrated with many photos and informations. The most interesting IRON MAIDEN best of compilation, as well as a good way to discover the group for newcomers.

 Fear Of The Dark by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 1992
2.99 | 408 ratings

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Fear Of The Dark
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Maiden's most uneven release

2.5 stars

In 1992, IRON MAIDEN's ninth studio album navigates in troubled waters. The recent explosion of grunge highly overshadows traditional heavy metal bands. Furthermore, Harris and co.'s last opus, "No Prayer For The Dying", saws a clear lack of inspiration and renewal. "Fear of the Dark" roughly suffers from the same problems than its predecessor, however with the difference that, this time, interesting tracks are more numerous and especially more remarkable. Result: good and great titles, sometimes reminding the past glory, are surrounded by fillers ranking from average to bad. If the music neither possesses the ferocity of the first years nor pursues the progressive approach developed at the end of the 80's, the epicness is (partially) back. Another noticeable point is that "FOTD" features the first songs co-written by guitarist Jannick Gers for the group.

Let's talk about the 5 interesting tracks first. From the beginning of the disc, you can hear an improvement compared to the previous opus. Composed by Dickinson and Gers, "Be Quick Or Be Dead" is a typical MAIDEN-ien raging, fast-paced opener, much more convincing than "Tailgunner". Steve Harris' "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" is one of the two little gems of the record. Setting up a mysterious and haunting atmosphere, the musics turns melancholic, until the gorgeously powerful bridge. A very catchy composition, on the level of the group's eighties' standards! "Childhood's End" is quite pleasant and epic, while "The Fugitive" is enjoyable. As you may have guessed, the other little gem is the well-known title track, the best of the album, a metal hymn worthy of MAIDEN's past grandeur.

The other songs are mostly flat or boring. Dickinson and Gers' "Wasting Love", the band's first power ballad, which dates back to Dickinson's first solo effort "Tattooed Millionaire", is rather so-so. Without "Judas Be My Guide" and "Weekend Warrior", "FOTD" would have been a correct release.

80's fans will have a strange impression after listening to "Fear of the Dark". An uneven album, where nice titles, and especially two of MAIDEN's best 90's compositions, are interlaced between mediocre ones. Nonetheless, these aren't numerous enough to make a convincing record. Why too much fillers? 2 or 3 of them could have been avoided. As a result, this ninth opus is better than its predecessor, but overall ranks as average. However, if you enjoy the group's 1982-1985 era, you'll still have to give it a try, at least for the few songs cited above.

One year later, charismatic frontman Bruce Dickinson will left the band. Since ten years, his singing greatly contributed to the epic ambiances and the success of the metal quintet. Then... what future for IRON MAIDEN?

 No Prayer For The Dying by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 1990
2.55 | 355 ratings

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No Prayer For The Dying
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The King of NWOBHM is (almost) naked

Or how IRON MAIDEN will never be the same again... For sure, the beginning of nineties were a turn difficult to negotiate for most traditional heavy metal bands, but here, internal musical divergences led to this half-failure. Adrian Smith, the second guitarist since the great "Killers", wanted to pursue the progressive approach started at the end of the 80's, whereas Steve Harris' intention was to go back to the rawer and raging tonality of the early years. Consequence? Smith left the quintet, replaced by Jannick Gers, guitarist on Bruce Dickinson's solo studio album "Tattooed Millionaire". As a result, "No Prayer For The Dying" logically abandons the fantasy melodic atmospheres developed in the two last records.

The problem is that, despite simplified and shorter compositions and more political lyrics, musically speaking, this 1990 record doesn't possess the ferocity and the explosiveness of the first opuses either. Those who expect a quality and originality matching the Di'Anno era's will be greatly disappointed. So, what happens when the band leaves both its primal ardour, its epicness, and its progressive composing? Not much really...

To be honest, there are 3 tracks worth to rescue. The title song is the best one, slow and melancholic. IRON MAIDEN hasn't lost his science of powerful bridges and breaks yet, although a loss of inspiration can be perceived. The dark "Run Silent Run Deep" is quite haunting and epic. If you like it, I recommend checking "The X Factor" out. Finally, the ending track, "Mother Russia", remains in the pure tradition of MAIDEN's long suites concluding their albums. In relation to the country just leaving Communism, its tragic ambiance and borrowing from the Aranjuez Concerto resembles very much "To Tame A Land". A powerful song which can remind the band's (already) past glory with its Russian choruses, but tends to become slightly repetitive.

The other songs are mediocre and flat heavy metal fillers. For the first time on a MAIDEN album, the opener is not very catchy. "Tailgunner" is rather average and fails at really lifting off. Composed by Bruce Dickinson, the hit single "Bring Your Daughter ... To The Slaughter" is simply irritating...

"No Prayer For The Dying" will neither please progressive / epic heavy metal lovers, nor old-school fans expecting a return of the Di'Anno years. This is not a transition record either, as it does not open new perspectives. Not much inspired and definitely not on the same level as the 80's opuses, the disc only offers a few good songs, and not the most remarkable the band will compose in the new decade.

In conclusion, basic and lacking genuine hymns, "NPFTD" cannot be considered as an essential album. Steve Harris and co.'s least interesting studio release in the 90's...

 The Book Of Souls by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.94 | 196 ratings

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The Book Of Souls
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars My favorite metal band is back with their biggest and perhaps most ambitious album yet. Like almost everything the band has produced, it is quite good, and has the band's signature sound is always a treat. That being said, Book of Souls takes some interesting chances here and there, giving it moments to stand out as unique among the band's lengthy discography. As a group that is, let's face it, getting pretty old, I think this is a great choice. They've got nothing to lose, and their recent releases (since Brave New World) have all been great. While Book of Souls is receiving some prog street-cred, my enthusiasm for it is not as strong as previous albums. This time around the band actually starts to show their age, creating songs that miss that spark of energy that makes Maiden music so exciting. For fans of the band, this hardly matters, because even mediocre Maiden (which this is not), is still a blast; however, Book of Souls is definitely not the crown-jewel in the iconic group's regalia of metal masterworks.

First off, this is a two-disc album. High-five. That's awesome, even if just for bragging rights. The songs are dense, highly melodic, and actually pretty varied. There are some down-tempo tracks and moments within extended works that standout as being different than the group's comfort zone. Personally, I think that songs on Final Frontier were more ambitious and effective, but the writing here is, in general quite good. Ironically, it's the band's performance itself that doesn't do it for me. Soloing feels routine, and there are few "wow" moments that grab the attention. Still, the band's rousing melodic moments are thick, heavy, and frequent; they're appealing even if not as electric as I'd hope.

Dickinson especially seems to miss as often as he hits, and it pains me to say it... he's sounding tired. This may have to do with his health issues during the time leading up to this album. Don't take me wrong, he's not bad or enjoyable, but there's a noticeable loss of power during his "fortissimo" moments. This, combined with the unchallenging and forgettable lyrics, is a strike against Book of Souls for me. Where the instrumentalists show restraint and maturity throughout, Bruce just seems to be unable to stop singing at times, going on and on with dense lyrics.

The first disc stands out as a solid collection of songs; they're energetic, exciting, and dramatic. The second disc, including the band's longest song ever, "Empire of the Skies," is much less interesting for me. It's sort of plodding, and lacks the musical ideas to sustain its long running time. Disappointing given the band's streak of success and novelty of the extended release format within their discography.

All in all a worthy release, especially for Maiden fans, though I find myself more excited about their previous 4 albums. Given their age, and musical landscape of the times, it's great to see Iron Maiden still successful and still growing.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Thanks to raff for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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