on 4 March 2013
In terms of music progression, so much can be achieved in such a short time if you have the drive,determination and above all, talent.Think of where the Beatles started (Please Please Me)and it is staggering to think that only 5 years later,there was Sgt Pepper. Or the journey from Keep Yourself Alive to Bohemian Rhapsody in only 3 years of recording. (Contrast the 13 years before the charred remains of Guns n Roses dignity finally spat out the by word for "Thanks lads but you really shouldn'tve bothered"rock mess of Chinese Democracy.It doesn't always follow)
In rock, there is no doubt the bar has been significantly raised over the years, and although it's ok to be ok (eg Saxon) If you want to make it, you have to be better than good right from the get go. Which brings me to this release. Steve Harris was never that happy with the production on the original,( I have not heard what he thinks of any remastering,) but there is little doubt the quality of the songs, the arrangements and above all the playing on this album makes it an outstanding debut release for so many reasons.
Maiden were a different animal back then. The songs were influenced by the usual rock star outlaw fantasies with a healthy dose of horror movie imagery. Sharp lead guitar, tight disciplined songs with hooks, and choruses (thankfully falling short of the "anthemic" trap)a post punk aggressive rhythm and solid, though it has to be said, unspectacular drumming (that would come with Nicko's arrival).Then there was Paul. Spiky hair, leather jacket,bullet belt, studded wristband and a punk/metal growl and howl. he encapsulated everything about the new confrontational metal attitude.He fitted perfectly.
The tracks are for the most part short statements of intent, with Prowler, Iron Maiden, Running Free, Sanctuary instant classics with musical quality and ability in every note.
There is one track, however, which takes the album from "bloody good debut" territory, and crashes through into "Blimey, where did that come from? How great Is THIS?" That track is Phantom of the Opera. A multi layered, twin lead,several movement, different time signature epic.For anyone at that time, it's outstanding. For a band who, admittedly had been going a while but was still on their first release, it is breathtaking in its scope and ambition.More than any other track, it spelt out why Iron Maiden were going to be HUGE. The quality of musicianship, the arrangement, the performance was simply stunning.
It's all down to Steve Harris of course. The vision, the determination, the sheer brass neck of the presumption that they could, would, and should do this.It is a tribute to a man who stopped at nothing and saw his dreams realised. I salute him, He deserves his subsequent success. This album stands out as a terrific debut and one which should be recognised as being as important and influential as the works that inspired it.
on 8 June 2007
Just listened to this album right through for the first time in years. I used to love it as a teenager and it still makes me wanna freak out. This album is still as jaw-droppingly amazing as the first time.
What amazes most is how fresh it all sounds and how un-self-consciously inventive...the best songs (Running Free, Phantom, Charlotte) have tempo and style changes, covering hard rock, hammering metal, punk (yes punk, how could they not have been influenced by it, it was 1980 for pete's sake), funk rock and even the soulful break on Charlotte. Yet none of it sounds dated. They were obviously still looking for a sound that would fit and it's a thrill to explore that world on the cusp of the 70s/80s with them.
In fact, now it's even better for just checking how many bands have ripped off every riff, every guitar lick and every snarl in Paul Dianno's red raw larynx.
Everybody from G'n'R, Nirvana, to the QOTSA and White Stripes seem to have had a piece away.
Surely that's greatest compliment anyone could ever pay to this fantastic album.
Just buy it!
The first bubbles of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal arguably started with this album (though not until Brucie came along did everything really start happening)- all the big bands of the seventies with progressive and hard rock elements were given a distinctly British and punk twist making them faster, heavier, and more direct. Under the guidance of Steve Harris the band mixed mythological imagery, famous movies and literature and gave them a modern, more sadistic twist, although this early in proceedings they hadn't been inexplicably labeled as devil worshipping weirdos. They sang about war, of foreign lands, of the darker side of the imagination and the wyverns and women which dwelled within. Although the band hadn't yet found their trademark sound and style, many of the hallmarks are here from dualing guitars to song titles based on famous works. Many of the songs remain live favourites and it's a nice sign of things to come, but it's still an ambitious, amateurish debut.
`Prowler' opens with a famous set of chords and riffs, sounding evil with intent. There are tones of overlapping and dualing guitar parts, and everything is played at lightening fast Maiden speeds. Everything is highly melodic while the lyrical subject matter is dark yet tongue in cheek dealing with a prowler unsurprisingly. As with many of these songs they would become more powerful when Bruce tookover. This is a strong opener to the album and a memorable introduction to the band.
`Remember Tomorrow' fades in with harmonics and other guitar bits sounding moody and bleak. Dianno's voice suits this song well before the big screams kick in. There isn't really a chorus to speak of, already showing that the band are content to experiment and do things their own way. The song bursts into charging chords and nuclear solos for a large part of the song and we can see that the band are technically gifted and not afraid to show off; nevertheless, nothing is overdone and the focus remains squarely on mood and melody. Lyrically Dianno sings about pilots at war given that his grandfather was a WW pilot.
`Running Free' remains a live favourite full of crowd interaction. The production here lets the song down as everything has a tinny, cheap quality, but thankfully this has been rectified with later versions. Dickinson lets rip with this one on later live shows, Dianno gives it a sleazy quality which images of evokes seedy criminal activities rather than the heroic notions Bruce brings.
`Phantom Of The Opera' is the first epic the band recorded, opening with one of their most famous riffs. Again this remains a live favourite showing that the band could write and endearing hit song even at this early stage. Like many songs to come this references a movie, book, or play, the music, tone, and lyrics influenced by the famous imagery and scenes of the original media. Dianno's little vocal ticks at the end of certain lines annoy me here- Bruce does away with these. The middle part of the song is softer but keeps the pace fast. This song again shows that the band are willing to experiment with several styles within one song and is an exciting glimpse into what would come. Also, that garbled vocal mess at the end grates every time.
`Transylvania' is Harris's signature instrumental, one full of foreboding and showing Maiden's love of old school horror. We have an crunching chord opening section before moving into a standard galloping rhythm. We soon speed up with riffs and solos clashing together, though what it all has to do with Transylvania is anyone's guess. It is atmospheric enough but doesn't go off in all directions like later instrumentals would. Basically a full blooded charge up and down the fret board before fading into the next song.
`Strange World' merges with the previous song and tells of a dystopian future loosely based around Huxley's works. It begins softly, atmospherically setting the scene of a vanquished wasteland before a lonely guitar solo cuts through the wind. Most of this is instrumental, with a few solitary lyrics depicting a blank future, a barren landscape of emotionless, ageless vapour.
`Charlotte The Harlot' speeds things up for the final race to the finish, a song referencing a famous character in Iron Maiden mythology. This one is all sleaze, galloping double guitars, and spittle dripping vocals. We hear lyrics about a prostitute with no remorse, and the narrator's obvious desire for her. The punk influence is clear for most of the song, but the 70s rock comes through with the middle, expanded section.
`Iron Maiden' famously heralds the arrival of Eddie onto the stage during live performances, another fast paced song thrust along with fierce guitars and pounding drums. Bruce lets rip with live versions of this, the studio version is more relaxed, but still a quick band anthem. The band closes with a flourish, solos firing off in all directions and there is a sense of hotel destruction throughout, the band urging the crowd to let go as this could be the final song of the night.
This debut may sound cheap and amateurish from a production standpoint, but all the signs of a world hopping band are present, from the wild guitars and choruses destined to turn songs into anthems. While it is clear with hindsight that the band needed Dickinson to really progress into the sough after legendary status, Dianno and the rest of the group perform well. They had been together for a few years before this release and already had a list of songs and ideas under their belts- they knew how to play, how to please fans, all the needed was a few finishing touches to add some gleam to the beast.
on 2 December 2008
While there's some great classic 70's metal, Iron Maiden's debut album seems to create a whole new world of heavy metal. Although Purple, Priest, Sabbath, etc. certainly paved the way, this album somehow takes all that was great in 70s metal (with an emphasis on METAL) and kicks it up a notch. The songs are fast, dark, mysterious, full of energy and great riffs. Although Maiden would reach new heights again and again throughout the 80s, the first album is so good at what it is that it still retains its classic status. The Amazon description (and Steve Harris) may mention a lack in production values, but with music this fired-up and rockin', it doesn't really matter. Honestly, you polish metal too much and it loses it's raw underground feel - and there's something cool about hearing one of the biggest bands in the world when they were still "underground"! If you like metal, this is a treat. If you're looking for blues influences, classic rock, or power ballads, watch out, 'cause this ain't "rock'n'roll". Maiden's roots are almost more in classical music (like Vivaldi and Beethoven) than blues. This is for people who like dark tales told to ripping guitars, driven by virtuoso bass that seems like it's about to rip free of the speakers and elaborate drumming.
on 5 December 2004
1: Prowler: As the firt song many maidenites heard, this is a crucial song in their career, and one that doesn't dissapoint. this is proper metal, with a slight punkish tint, but definatley NOT PUNK. Also there is a great solo by dave murray
2: Sancturary: Originally only as a non album single, but is on the remastered CD version. mainly one riff, the studio version sounds slightly flat thanks to lukewarm production, but the song comes alive on stage.
3: Remember tommorow: more of a ballad type song, but better than the usual 'i love you' crap thanks to Great guitar work.
4: Running free: As a first single, this one was always going to be the catchy commercial one. Running free accomplishes this perfectly, without shedding its obviously metal skin.
5: Phantom of the opera: If theres one thing maiden are famous for, it's epics lasting 6:30 or longer. This one has some truly inspired guitar work andset the standard for epics like rime of the aincent mariner and sighn of the cross.
6: Transylvania: Continuing on from phantom of the opera would always be a tricky act, so the best idea was to put on an instrumental that continued the same atmosphere, as a pleasant comedown from the albums majestic centrepiece.
7: Strange world: Similar in style to remember tomorrow, yet softer, more subtle and more atteneion to detail.
8: Charlotte the harlot: With a name like this, you can tell that no-one really expected anything more than a gimmicky pop song, but they were wrong. This one is short and catchy, but also a highlight with good guitar work and punk edged metal type riffs.
9: Iron maiden: The closer of an album of this calibre must be something special, and is accomplished perfectly with this anthemic piece, which maiden have played at every show ever to date.
on 11 February 2003
Some fool told me to avoid pre-Dickinson Maiden albums. That man at Edwards No 8 should hang his head in shame. This album is superb. Admittedly Di Anno does not have the vocal ability of Dickinson but the songs on this are simply amazing. With songs like "Phantom of the Opera" its not hard to see where Bay Area bands learnt their twin guitar trade (the instrumental interlude is reminiscent of Metallicas "Master of Puppets" some five years later). The aforementioned track is the highlight of a tremendous if underproduced album, however the inclusion of the live at the rainbow version demonstrates how powerful this song can be (available via PC along with "Iron Maiden"). Other standout cuts are the Murray composition "Charlotte the Harlot", the instrumental "Transylvania", the catchy yet plausible "Running Free" and the eponymous album finisher. The next recording "Killers" would pale in comparison, but this classic as heralded by such greats as Scott Ian of "Anthrax" stands tall alongside the more known albums of the Dickinson era.
on 30 October 2002
This debut album from one of the most influential metal outfits of all time is what classic metal is all about.
Stuff "Appetite for destruction" ! This is it. The two are just not compareable in any way, shape or form. This is solid, astonishing heavy metal. The other is "rock"....end of story.
Paul di'Anno's vocal talent is a subject of much debate amongst Maiden fans, but I say if you rate this album, then you rate the vocals... I think they fit the sound. He wouldn't have done too well of Number of the beast and on, but he wasn't on them , so lets leave it alone!
Prowler, although not a Maiden classic, is a pretty good opener. Its got all the ingredients of a good metal tune. Thumping drums, chunky opening guitars and some furious soloing.
Sanctuary is fast and racy.
Rememeber Tomorrow is a great song. it takes you from slow involved listening to all out head shaking madness in the blink of an eye.
Running Free is a global Maiden anthem and thats all you need to say!
Phantom', the ever lasting Lucozade Theme (remember that?) is an epic song that showed the band were not just another long haired bunch of noise makers.
Transylvania has some blinding guitar work, but alas its my least fave song on the album. It does however, contrast nicely with Strange world which again is very moody and slow.
Charlotte the Harlot is my personal favorite. The opening is good, but the best bit (on song and album I feel) comes about 2 minutes 45 seconds into the song. This transition from slow pace to blistering lead guitar madness is just as dynamic and furious as any early slayer or Exodus break.
Iron Maiden is a good song that everyone can sing along to.
This album is an eternal classic. Whats better is that Maiden have progressed to make even better albums since (and a few ropey ones too!)
This should be in your classics section along with Motorhead's OverKill/Ace of Spades, Metallica's Kill 'em All and anything Sabbath did with Ozzy!
Up the Irons! Your grandchildren will still be listening to this long after you've popped off!
on 25 August 2010
The start and with Killers, the best of punk/metal.Fast furious and still my favourite. For so many bands the first couple of albums are their best, so it is with Maiden
on 23 November 2000
Could this be the best metal debut album ever? I think so! The only debut album to really follow in it's footsteps is 'Appetite for Destruction' by Guns N' Roses!
The best track is the groups self-titled anthem 'Iron Maiden'! This raw, and uncomprimising metal sound finishes a metal masterpiece! This album was onle ever topped by the band itself when the brill Bruce Dickinson joined and they released the hit album 'Number of the Beast'. We have the hugely catchy 'running free', and the epic 'Phantom of the Opera' which once again was only topped by the other epic 'Hallowed be thy Name' from the 'Number of the Beast' Album! From the opening track - 'Prowler' you can feel the unrelenting force of Iron Maiden at their best! 'Charlotte the Harlot' has very funny lyrics to it, and the way Paul Di'Anno sings them will have you chuckling to yourself! Buy this album, it's a bargain! Up the IRONS!
This, the first Iron Maiden album, is a great piece of history.
The songs are all high class, special items for me include Prowler and it's wah-heavy riff, Remember Tomorrow, with it's quiet verses and frantic chorus, Running Free - the live "singalong" favourite, Phantom.... (lucozade anyone?), Strange World - a rare Maiden ballad, and the title track, regularly used to this day during encores live.
Paul DiAnno's voice is well suited to the style being developed by the band during this part of their career, and the production, whilst basic, does the job well.
A classic metal album.