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Iron Maiden - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


Prog Related

4.21 | 803 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars |B| Another late 80s push toward prog-metal by one of metal's most famous acts: Iron Maiden.

It's pretty clear, hearing even the first minute or so of this album, that this album is more than worthy of the style "prog-related", as an intro with acoustic guitar and keyboard arpeggios with lyrics leading into a concept album aren't exactly, uh, sell-out strategies. The NWBHM cliches are a bit less prominent in this album as well, though accusations of the band's tendency toward self-plagiarism are still not entirely unfounded in my opinion, or at least the tracks I have heard from their previous releases. This is mostly a notable release for the clear direction toward progressiveness that many metal bands (even this stable 80s metal band) were starting to commit to in the late eighties. This trend would inevitably lead to full- blown prog-metal it would become with the release of Images and Words.

The general use of keyboards and more diverse guitar work are probably the main factors in the bands' general slight prog tendencies, and I've personally always thought of Rush having had a far amount of influence on this band's sound. As the album progresses, the progressive sound of the band increases, often sounding like early Dream Theater and the other bands pushing toward prog-metal at the time, Queensryche, Savatage, and Fates Warning.

Moonchild, despite its interesting intro, is more your standard heavier track, whilst Infinite Dreams (by far my favorite track on the album) is a great track with a lot of diversity and contrast, and great synth pads. I'm not a big fan of the bass' sound on this album, it has too much pop and not enough meat. The duel guitar work and solo are nicely done. I love the lead into the chorus. Great fade-out with the keyboard. Can I play with Madness actually starts with the chorus with the vocal harmonies a-Capella, definitely a less cliche composition strategy The break into the chorus is much too abrupt, but the chorus itself is one of my favorite moments on the album, especially with the driving energy from keyboard and guitar. The Evil That Men Do has a really proggy intro, synth pads riding over a very convincing riff. The verse and chorus are for more compliant with the British Steel style, the galloping guitar work and what not, though the lyrics are really great. I like the solo section a lot, definitely sounds like Dream Theater sort of material, not surprising since Iron Maiden is one of their obvious influences. The song ends on a great great note. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is the "epic" album title track, starting off with choir "ohs" and "ahs" that match up with the guitar. Dickinson really shows off his singing with his "ohs." It's pretty clear that the Rainbow Rising album (also prog-related), particularly the track Stargazer, was a primary influence in the sound of this track. I really love it when the track goes into the soft section with he clean guitar/bass/cymbals playing quietly, Dickinson speaking over it with the synth pads again. The section that this leads into, the guitar chugs that echo, sounds much like the beginning of Metropolis Pt. 1, for sure not a coincidence. This is basically a prog-metal track made in 1988, around when Queensryche, Fates Warning, and Savatage were progging up their works as well. The Prophecy has an intro that continues this feel of prog-metal attitude, leading as these tracks often do to the more standard British Steel sound. However, the outro has classical guitar, which is quite nice sounding. The Clairvoyant has a cool bass intro, but is a slightly weaker track despite continuing the more progressive sound. Its still a very good one with some interesting sections.

This is a solid 80s metal album which, along with the more prominent 80s prog-metal bands, showed great implications to where metal would be moving in the nineties with prog-metal. It is unfortunate that grunge had so smothered metal's popularity, for there may have been more bands who thought they might economically make it as prog-metal bands, continuing where the 80s metal bands had been leaving off, Dream Theater being the only main known band to carry the torch (in terms of pure prog-metal as it is defined on this site). Not unlike Marillion during the eighties with prog rock I suppose.

This is an album recommended for metal listeners, and is essential to the ("pure") prog- metal fan, as there's little in here that a fan of the genre would dislike. A lot of the genre's sound today has its origins in the more progressive sounding metal albums of this era.

Isa | 4/5 |


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