Iron Maiden: The Years Of The Beast

Ein Artikel von gargantouas vom 29.05.2003 (17476 mal gelesen)
Waiting on the new release from the legendary band, I sit down under the sounds of their discography to write a complete review of their presence up to now. I am going to leave out their live releases, since I think that they are too many and will try to conclude on the creativity part of the band from England. So, push the play button on your stereo, while you have a Maiden CD on it, and enjoy this special and travel in time with Iron Maiden.


The first album released by Iron Maiden was recorded at Kingsway Studios in London and was released on the 14 of April 1980. At this time, England was dominated by punk. Five guys decide to put the punk sound aside and try their luck on more hard roads. Having as idols Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden release their debut album that “prophesize” what would follow.

Classic tracks like “The Prowler”, “Remember Tomorrow”, “Running Free”, “Phantom Of The Opera” and the title track of course will remain forever on the hearts of the fans. Heavily influenced by Thin Lizzy and their two-guitar melodies, Iron Maiden gave a big push to Heavy Metal and were accepted by the metal fans, mainly on England. The album reached number 4 on the British charts and a new carrier was ready to start. Up to now, this album is the favorite for many of the dying hard fans. To be honest, I seldom listen to so many classic tracks on a record.

The Iron Maiden line-up was at this time Paul Di'Anno-Vocals, Dennis Stratton-Guitar, Dave Murray-Guitar, Clive Burr-Drums, Steve Harris-Bass.


A year after, Iron Maiden make one of their important changes on their line up. Dennis Stratton is replaced by Adrian Smith, a man that will write some of the best tunes for Iron Maiden. So, on the 2nd of February of 1981, Iron Maiden released their second album “Killers” that was recorded at Battery Studios in London. The influences remain the same, although the sound of the band becomes a little bit more “heavier” than punkish. However (personal preference as always) this album is not as good as the debut album. “Wrathchild”, “Murders In The Rue Morgue”, “Killers” and “Purgatory” are the tracks that remained classics. The rest of the tracks are good, but not to the standards that the band has set with the debut album.

“Killers” will reach number 12 and will set the release of the legendary and really hard to find “Maiden Japan”. This album will be the last with Paul Di’Anno that will leave the band due to lot of personal problems.


A year and something after the release of “Killers”, Iron Maiden will release “The Number Of The Beast” on 29 March of 1982. New lead singer was Bruce Dickinson (x-Samson). A new singer, almost a new sound, without any punk influences, Iron Maiden make their first number 1 album and “The Number Of The Beast” writes history. Bruce Dickinson gives a blow to the band with his magnificent voice and all critics accept this album as monumental. As it is of course. From the amazing “Children Of The Damned”, to the hymn of the band “The Number Of The Beast”, to the rhythmic “Run To The Hills”, to the magnificent agonic conclusion of “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “The Number Of The Beast” remains up to now the favorite album of the most Iron Maiden fans. The two singles “Run To The Hills” and “The Number Of The Beast” will show that the commercial success of Iron Maiden is secured.

Martin Birch becomes the sixth member of the band and will follow producing their records for many years to come. The glorious carrier of Iron Maiden has just begun.


After the success of “The Number Of The Beast”, Iron Maiden move to Bahamas, at Compass Point Studios to release their fourth album. “Piece Of Mind” is released at 16 May of 1983 and continues from where “Number Of The Beast” was left. Bruce Dickinson makes some of his best vocals on this album and Steve Harris comes up with more classic tunes. While this record was not warm welcomed by the critics the fans loved it and gave it the number 3 on the charts. “The Trooper”, “Flight Of Icarus” (the two singles that almost reached the top 10 for Iron Maiden), “Revelations” (an amazing composition by Bruce Dickinson) and “Where Eagles Dare” are some of the classics that will remain through time. Although a good record, it is obviously not as good as the former album since some songs cannot stand next to the ones mentioned before. More of an unequal record, by all means earned its place on the classics through time.


On the summer of 1984, London was overwhelmed by posters showing an egyptian painting. Following the same recipe as “Piece of Mind”, Iron Maiden will record in Bahamas their fifth album “Powerslave” that will release at 3rd of December of 1984. Reaching their creative peak, Iron Maiden will give their fans an all time classic that will change their standards and make them as one of the biggest band on the heavy metal scene. Not a single song falls back; throughout the record someone has the feeling that he is somewhere in ancient Egypt. The album will introduce the 13 minute long “The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” which will be the first introduction to what people call nowadays progressive metal. On the other hand, “Aces High”, “2 Minutes To Midnight” (the two singles that again didn’t manage to top 10), “Flash Of The Blade” will keep the band to straight forward rhythmic hymns. The instrumental “Losfer Words”, “The Duellists”, “Back In The Village” and the title track by all means don’t stay behind. Each of these songs is better than the other and simply for me Iron Maiden set their stamp for world acceptance and legendary proportions with this album. Their world tour which was named “World Slavery Tour” will unite the four edges of the world and will lead to the recording of “Live After Death”, maybe on of the best live albums record on the metal history. If you don’t know what “Powerslave” is about then go to your nearest shop and buy it. I won’t asses this album because legendary releases are beyond critic.


Two years after the release of “Powerslave”, Iron Maiden set to release “Somewhere In Time”. True to their standards, Iron Maiden will release another masterpiece. Much mumbling was made for the use of keyboards of this one. The heavy metal community was not ready to accept something that was going to be widely used the next decade. However, the album was accepted and for one more time reached number 3 on the charts. The amazing with Iron Maiden was the atmosphere on their albums. Indeed by listening to this you would have the feeling the you were “Somewhere In Time”. “Wasted Years” and “Stranger In A Strange Land” were the two singles the released that again didn’t gave Iron Maiden a top 10. “Caught Somewhere In Time”, “Sea Of Madness”, “Heaven Can Wait”, “The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner”, “Deja-Vu” and the epic “Alexander The Great” will make the resulting unbelievable track listing for this album. One more addition that will strongly place on the throne of heavy metal, Iron Maiden.


On March 20 of 1988, Iron Maiden will release the first single of their most commercially accepted album. “Can I Play With Madness?” will place them on number 3 of the singles chart. Almost a month later, “7th Son Of The 7th Son” will be released and frenzy will hit all of their fans. As Steve Harris said, he thinks that this album is the creativity peak of the band. “7th Son Of The 7th Son” is a concept album beyond any imagination and hope. Iron Maiden were selling out any major stadium they decided to play and had the acceptance of heroes on countries that no other band has ever thought to play before. “The Evil That Men Do”, “The Clairvoyant” and “Infinite Dreams” gave the band top 10’s, something they never achieved before on their carriers.

The title track returns the sound of progressive to the band, while “Moonchild”, “The Prophecy” and “Only The Good Die Young” sum up the track listing of this magnificent and historical album. Again this one is beyond critic, so no assessment.


At this time some first quarrels started in the band. The first victim was Adrian Smith that left to be replaced by the legendary guitarist Janick Gers. The band will release “No Prayer For The Dying” on the 1rst October 1990. This will reach number 2 on the charts however, will leave many fans disappointed. Obviously, tired the band tries to reproduce some of the old ideas and comes up with some good tunes like “Tail gunner”, Holy Smoke” (single which will reach number 3), “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” (their first single to top the charts) and “Mother Russia” that will satisfy almost everyone as it will remind the great past of the band to the fans.

Other than that, “No Prayer For The Dying” is not a good album, but it keeps the nice elements that the band had to show.

The last album with Bruce Dickinson was released on May 11 of 1992. The last one also that Martin Birch will produce with Steve Harris. Much better than the predecessor, “Fear Of The Dark” will whitewash the band’s fame after the bad move of “No Prayer For The Dying”. Not to the standard’s of “Powerslave” and “7th Son…”, the band wins the trust of their fans once more and reach the number 2 on the charts. The two singles from that record (“Be Quick Or Be Dead” and “From Here To Eternity”) will establish them once more as one of the most successful commercial metal bands. “Afraid To Shoot Strangers” and “Fear Of The Dark” will remain as classics up to now. However songs like “The Apparition” and “Fear Is The Key” could have been left out.
The band will headline on the last Donington Festival with big success. After the tour, Bruce Dickinson will announce that he will leave the band to support his solo carrier. Something that almost everyone knew but didn’t want to accept. The next few years will be uncertain for Iron Maiden.


The replacement of Bruce Dickinson became one of the biggest serials of the heavy metal scene. Unfortunately, the band will decide to give the widowed position of the lead singer to Blaze Bayley. Not that he is a band singer, but his style was never the one that could go with Iron Maiden. The release of “X-Factor” on the 2nd of October 1995 will leave most of their fans disappointed. Some good tunes, like “The Sign Of The Cross”, “Man On The Edge”, “Look For The Truth” and “2 A.M.” are not able to save the situation. Clearly the band tries to make a turn to more progressive like elements, influenced by bands that originate on the 70’s.

Iron Maiden release a mediocre album and the fans left to see what is going to happen with this legendary band.


On 23 of March in 1998, Iron Maiden will release the second album with Blaze Bayley. Heavily influenced by the last mediocre release of the band, this album will not even reach the top 10. The highest place will be number 16 and it is really characteristic of the situation. “Virtual XI” is a little bit better than “The X-Factor” but nothing compared to the old band. Following the same roads as the previous one, Iron Maiden try to combine their progressive influences with their old style and the result is better of course. “Futureal”, “Don’t Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger” and “Como Estais Amigo” are the highlights of this record.
The song that can be characterized as a classic will be no other than “The Clansman” that will remind to all of the fans the glorious days of Iron Maiden. However the acceptance again is not good and Blaze Bayley will leave the band at the end of the tour to be replaced…


By Bruce Dickinson. Talks have started around 1999, at the end of the “Virtual XI” tour. But not only Bruce Dickinson returned. Iron Maiden decides to try a trio on the guitars. Adrian Smith will return and the heavy metal community celebrates. The band enters Guillaume Tell Studios in Paris and with producer Kevin Shirley will release on May 29 of 2000, “Brave New World”. Far better than the two releases with Blaze Bayley, this album returns to the sound of the golden decade of Iron Maiden, combined with all the elements a new fan would want to listen by them. Iron Maiden return to epic songs with titles like “Ghost Of The Navigator”, “Dream Of Mirrors”, “The Nomad”, “Brave New World”, to powerful songs like “The Wicker man”, “The Mercanary”, “Fallen Angel”, “Out Of The Silent Planet”, to progressive like songs like “Blood Brothers” and “The Thin Line Between Love And Hate”. One thing is for sure. Almost everyone accepted them. The album reached number 8 while the singles reached the top 10 again.

Of course this re-union was not welcomed by some others. But I am certain that these are few. “Brave New World” is a really good album that pin-points the new start for Iron Maiden. We are waiting for the next one with the hope that it will be better. The legends of metal are not dead. Up The Irons!!!!


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