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Iron Maiden

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Tarcisio Moura
4 stars It all started here. For the casual listener, or the radical fan, Iron Maiden's debut LP was purely a heavy metal album . Not so. From day one Iron Maiden was a different band. Steve Harris, bassist\songwriter\band leader, was as much a fan of prog music and he was a metalhead. In their official biography, Run To the Hills, Harris tells the story of how he was a prog fan who started playing hard rock because he wasn't skilled enough to play that kind of music at that time. He cites Genesis, Yes and Jethro Tull as his favourite bands. No wonder Maiden would later record such classic prog songs like Tull's Crossed Eyed Mary and Nektar's King Of Twilight as single b sides.

If Somewhere in time is a classic starting point for many as one of the first prog metal of all time, Iron Maiden hinted that as early as five years before. Many prog trademarks were present at his songs in this brilliant record. like the suddenly tempo changes, the intricated melodies, the shifting rhythms. Although young, all the band members were excellent musicians and it is no surprise the impact of this record at the time. No HM band sounded like Maiden at the time.

Songs like Phantom Of The Opera and Remember Tomorrow are a typical exemple of the fact you don't have to have keyboards on an album to be prog. Even on heavier songs like Prowler or on the more lightweighted Strange World, or the instrumental Transylvania, the prog elements abound. This CD was. deserverly, a great success when it was released. It broke new grounds for heavy metal, but not only that. It showed the excellent mix of styles that would allow bands like Dream Theatre, Symphony X and so many others that would appear many years after.

I would recomend this CD to any progmetal fan, or anyone who likes heavy music with great melodies. An all time classic!

Report this review (#93032)
Posted Monday, October 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
Jazz Rock/Fusion Team
4 stars Glad to see the band is on this site, since they influenced soooo many prog rock and prog metal bands that around these days. Most bands in general with twin guitars or even one guitar site Iron Maiden as an influence.

So Maiden's debut. Probably one of their finest albums and one of metal's best. There is a punk influence through most songs, but this would only be because of the speed and would inspire a lot of bands to push the envelope, tempo-wise. Songs like 'Prowler', 'Sanctuary', 'Running Free', Charlotte the Harlot', and the eponymous title track are full of speed metal fury, but always with a great slab of melody and hook. The bass is VERY prominent, much like Camel's debut (which btw if you like early Camel, you'll enjoy Maiden a lot.

The two slower numbers 'Remember Tomorrow' and 'Strange World' are quite unlikely Maiden tunes, but still very good, the latter having a slightly space rock feel to it.

The stand out tracks are, of course, the instrumental Transylvania, which is probably one of the most influential songs from the band, and the epic 'Phantom of the Opera'. POTO is pure prog metal, with the opening intro that's like 'Heart of the Sunrise' with more of an adrenaline rush. The piece slows down in the middle for a bit before going into prog metal heaven. That middle section is one of the best moments in music, prog metal or not. So melodic and emotional, but kick-ass at the same time, the bass having great rythym.

This is considered one of Maiden's best albums and is highly recommended if you're trying to get into the band. I wouldn't start here, maybe Number of the Beast or Powerslave, but after those get this or Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Semi-proto prog metal at one of its finest.

Report this review (#93103)
Posted Monday, October 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars From all of the NWOBHMB, Iron Maiden was the only one I appreciated, and this was mainly due to the extraordinary debut they recorded. And even if the imagery they developed right from the start is a little embarrassing for an adult, one must say that this form of marketing did them wonders for the next three decades, as they were instantly recognizable between hundreds of band. Maybe what differentiated them from others where their more prog lyrics subject, not really adopting the numbing dumbness of their contemporary bands like Motorhead or Saxon.

This album's construction is quite brilliant for a debut alternating short hard (and more basic) tracks such as Prowler, Running Free (poking fun at disco fiends) etc. with the longer more dramatic Remember Tomorrow (and its subtle climates), the climatic Phantom of The Opera and impressive bass-induced Strange World. Yes, the bass: this is probably the main ingredient that made Maiden unique; Steve Harris is clearly the leader and the main inspiration, but unlike in future albums, he has some hard competition with DiAnno's vocals (which I always found the ultimate IM voice). Listen how the instrumental Transylvania gives perfectly way to the superb power ballad of Strange World with some awesome DiAnno to top it all of. And you just know where Klaus Mheine & Co got their inspiration for their golden power ballads.

This debut album is still one of my fave metal albums (along with Priest's Sad Wings, Sabbath's Heaven and Hell, Rainbow Rising) and in my heart, this scorchers was never bettered by the band. Call me nostalgic, but this is an incredibly-paced album and although not their best played, it certainly holds their best enthusiasm and does it ever show. Yes iron Maiden is one of my guilty pleasures still nowadays, but guilty maybe, embarrassing a tad, but shameful, no way!! Maiden ruled in this youth's heart but for not that much longer.

Report this review (#93152)
Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars The remarkably mature debut for Iron Maiden attempts (and fails) to capture the fury of those legendary early live performances, but as a studio product, it's an excellent collection of songs that marry punkish-influences (mostly singer Di'anno's raspy vocals and the sped-up tempos) and hard rock tendencies (the band's NWOBHM sound wouldn't emerge until the next album). Therefore, we get anthemic tracks, specifically the early hit "Running Free," the gritty rock of "Prowler" and the full-tilt title track (still a concert favorite). Still, a handful of prog flourishes emerge here, specifically "Phantom of the Opera," with it's extended instrumental section. One could also make a case for "Remember Tomorrow," an interesting ballad that alternates between light and heavy sections, but really it's "Phantom" that displays bassist and band-leader Steve Harris' fondness for progressive rock. As such, it's a solid three-star album on the prog scale, although if approached from a metal perspective, the album is quite essential to introducing one of the genre's finest bands.
Report this review (#93221)
Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I remember buying this album quite soon after it was released. To be honest, it is a fairly decent debut album,although the sound is a bit tinny and raw at times.

The standout tracks are "Remember Tomorrow", which starts off slowly and builds up into some remarkably tight metal. (with some nice time changes) "Phantom of the opera" is probably the most progressive track on this album and is over seven minutes long. The twin guitars of Stratton and Murray work well in unison, while Harris almost seems to play his bass like a lead guitar at times! A great song to listen to on headphones. "Transylvania" is a great instrumental with a memorable melody, that you will find yourself humming, long after you have put this album back on the shelf. "Strange World" is a nice slow number with some nice laid back singing from Paul di Anno.

The other tracks "Prowler" "Sanctuary" "Running Free" (the single taken from this album and also the weakest song) "Charlotte the Harlot" and "Iron Maiden" are standard metal songs, which are not bad songs, but they don´t come close to the classic Maiden tracks, such as "Phantom of the opera" or "Transylvania"

Report this review (#93417)
Posted Wednesday, October 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the first record of Iron Maiden. There are some progressive elements, but the album is definitely metal-oriented. The singer is not Bruce Dickinson: it is rather Paul Di'Anno. Di'Anno's voice is more gross and less refined than on the Killers album. There is another different thing here: Denis Stratton plays the guitar instead of Adrian Smith: it sometimes results in a wah-wah electric guitar sound, like on the "Prowler" song. However, the rhythmic guitar full of good distortion played by Dave Murray is very recognizable. Steve Harris' bass is delightful and complex, especially on the "Phantom of the opera" track; he is also remarkable on tracks like "Charlotte the Harlot". Compared to the Killers album, the sound is more amateurish here; Di'Anno's lead & backing vocals are less flamboyant, and the compositions are a bit slower and less elaborated. Finally, let's add the guitars are less incisive, plus the drums are less fast & elaborated. Shall I add the slight punk tendency present on many tracks here. A strong point on this record is the VERY elastic sound, mainly provided by the bass, a bit like on the Marillion's "Script from a jester's tear" album. The progressive "Phantom of the opera" is one of the best Maiden's tracks. There are couples a mellow and very beautiful moments, like the sentimental, melodic and soothing "Strange World" song, where Di'Anno's normal voice is VERY pleasant to hear. Let's not forget the catchy "Iron Maiden" track, on which the end is absolutely FANTASTIC!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Report this review (#93545)
Posted Thursday, October 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars From a progressive standpoint, this album would rank pretty low. But I'm going to rate it as music, not necessarily prog.

Anyways, this album was a very good debut and Paul's vocals work well for the quick but raw sound of the first albums. This album is a little bit punk, little bit metal (truly BNWOHM)

Phantom of the Opera: 5/5: best on the album, actually kind of progressive Transylvania: 5/5: incredibly cool instrumental song Prowler: 4/5 Runnign Free: 4/5 Iron Maiden: 4/5 Charlotte the Harlot: 3.5/5 Remember Tomorrow: 3/5 Strange World: 2/5 - not that I mind balads, but nothing interesting about this one.

Most of the songs sound kind of similar, a very raw BNWOHM sounds. However, they are all unique, and there are a couple with some slower parts that really showcase Paul's vocals. It is an excellent debut trying out some different stuff, and I really enjoy it, so overall:


Report this review (#94993)
Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Iron Maiden's debut album... a good effort with classic metal anthems such as "Running Free" and the title track "Iron Maiden". The music is 90% traditional heavy metal with a few progressive elements here and there.

The album opens with "Prowler", a straightforward fast paced heavy metal song. "Remember Tomorrow" is the song that shows the first elements of progressiveness - it's longer with mellow parts and a brutal fast paced guitar solo in the middle. "Running Free" is classic Maiden, an all time live favorite. "Phantom Of The Opera" is probably the best song on this album - a 7 minutes epic with few lyrics at the beginning and end of the song, the main part being a long instrumental with many rhythm changes and an outstanding bass work by Steve Harris. "Transylvania" could be a natural follow-up to the instrumental part of "Phantom Of The Opera", although this time the tempo is much faster - the guitar and bass work is incredible on this instrumental. Next song "Strange World" is a little special in Iron Maiden's career... it's the only "real" ballad they ever wrote (most of the other ballad-like songs they wrote contain heavier parts, and clearly Paul Di'Anno's voice fits much better than Bruce Dickinson for singing ballads) - very beautiful song with the crystal clear guitars and bass sound that makes this song special. The two following songs "Sanctuary" and "Charlotte The Harlot" are seeing the return of the traditional heavy metal sound and are clearly the two weakest songs on the album. The title track closing the album is again a fast paced metal song... but a headbanger's favorite.

Rating: 78/100 (3 1/2 stars)

Report this review (#98274)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is the masterpiece of all maidens' career!!!! there are tracks as the aggressive punkly Prowler, the ballad Strange world, the progressive Remember tomorrow and the best maidens' track ever Phantom of the opera!!! the particulary voice of Paul Di'Anno, aggressive and melodic, was particulary suitable to the first Maiden. His departure in 1981 was a great loss!!! As the drumming of Clive Burr, powerful,careful and flowing!! We must remember the phenomenal bass of founder member Steve Harris!! Iron Maiden is the best and most important album of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal!!
Report this review (#98530)
Posted Monday, November 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
4 stars From the get go, Iron Maiden's Self-Titled debut shows a band whose compositional skills were far superior than their contemporaries (Def Leppard, AC/DC etc.) and so presented a Heavy Metal music with abrupt tempo changes and distinctive sections within their songs with a degree of complexity. The mastermind behind this whole invention is Bassist Steve Harris, who possesses a unique, distinctive tone to his Bass Guitar (in the same league as Jack Casady from Jefferson Airplane) and plays a big role in the trademark sound Maiden have had throughout their career. Phase 1 of the band featured vocalist Paul D'anno, who has a harshish, punky attack to his singing, but can also sing softer passages tastefully. I don't want to review track by track as you've probably read many other reviews already which do so, but sure-fire classics would have to be opener 'Prowler', which is a melting pot of punk/prog and metal, the proggy 'Phantom of the Opera', the almost Floydian 'Strange World', and 'Remember Tomorrow' with it's soft/heavy contrasts. Great album 4/5
Report this review (#98682)
Posted Monday, November 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, it's strange to see a metal band in this site, but if you listen to any Maiden album, you will soon realize that these guys have a strong progressive undercurrent in their sound. It's not something affected and phony, like most so-called "Prog-Metal" bands. They just have have it. It's "natural". While extremely powerful, this album has so many complex meter and key changes, such intricate interplay between the two lead guitars and bass, majestic drumming and memorable riffs and melodies, that at times I was wondering if this was a prog band trying to play metal, or a metal band trying to play prog... Anyway whatever you want to call this music, it's very uplifting and energizing, and produces in me the same glowing effect that I get after listening to Genesis or ELP. The production is a bit raw, but the songs have such a sense of urgency and spontaneity that it almost seems it was recorded "live". Forget "prog-metal" - give old Maiden a spin, and the rest of the genre will seem fake and redundant.
Report this review (#103594)
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A legendary debut from one of the most sophisticated of the famous heavy metal bands. Featuring double-guitar assaults, galloping rhythms, virtuosic bass playing, competent drumming, and the entertaining vocals of Paul Di'Anno who is in my opinion the best singer that Iron Maiden ever had. He has a wonderful range, powerful vocals, and a wonderful vibrato in his sustained vocals. Call him the Robert Plant of metal if you want.

The beginnings of Iron Maiden are very promising. The band started with a very energetic sound that will later deteriorate a little to sound more classical and sophisticated, which I believe is what it made Iron Maiden end up being in this website. The crunchy and fast-paced Prowler shows a catchy and energetic Iron Maiden. Another catchy song is Running Free which unfortunately is probably the weakest song they did in the first 3 albums. It has a linear drumming pattern and a repetitive chorus, and none of the complexity and hooks that make you want to listen to it more times. Iron Maiden is slightly disappointing because one might expect more from a title track of not only the album but the band's name. It is still a good catchy rocker, but nothing really sophisticated like the two songs that I will explore in the next paragraph.

Those three are the least interesting ones. The rest is a hell of a ride! A highlight is Remember Tomorrow . This song's songwriting has to be admired. It has wonderful soft (verse) - heavy (choruses) in the first two minutes. The verses are just simple guitars and Paul's gorgeous vocals until it explodes to a mighty scream and an incredibly wonderfully crafted guitar riff! Then there goes a fast paced guitar-driven instrumental and a last verse-chorus. The other highlight, Phantom of the Opera is more impressive from a technical point of view, and is at least as enjoyable to listen to as Remember Tomorrow. It has everything: very interesting lighting-speed double guitar riffs, Paul Di'Anno's best vocal performance (in my opinion), great bass playing, tight composition, extended instrumental section, and some of the most energetic melodic music I ever came across.

The other songs are very good too. Transylvannia is an energetic and virtuosic instrumental. Strange World is the rare Iron Maiden ballad, with elegant amplified acoustic guitars, gorgeous soaring electric guitars, and Paul's melodic vocals. It works well as a moment to rest from the loud music from the previous two tracks. Charlote the Harlot is a good rocker made great by the amazing voice of Di'Anno. It has a soft musical break around the middle with Paul's great sustained vibrato vocals in the spotlight, proving that Iron Maiden is not the typical metal band.

One of their best albums and a great place to start if you are new to the band. This album is not really "prog", but it has terrific songwriting, technical playing, accessibility, powerful vocals, and more complexity than the average hard rock radio music. So, even if it is not prog, it is an excellent addition to have in your collection.

Report this review (#103775)
Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was the record. On the heels of Zeppelin's sudden demise and with Ozzy's break from Sabbath, this LP single-handedly revived heavy rock with a new British patois of complex, linear metal, high musicality and a dark but intelligent, introspective lyrical content. On this, the tight debut oft considered their best by old fans, the acidic rumblings of Punk that had seeped into English culture was finally met face to face with an equally organic and infectous sound. It was as if this band was saying, 'Yeah, punk is great but check this out-- we want to really play. We want to be musical and unexpected in nature, not just rebellious.'

The group is a well-oiled machine and would go on to become the hardest working rock band in the world, but at this stage they were still hungry and on a wave of local success that had gotten them this far-- they weren't going to disappoint. 'Prowler' and 'Sanctuary' rock the house and Paul Di'Anno, in his first of two studio albums with the band, rips his vocals convincingly with a cool, drunken grunge that hadn't been heard in the other over-produced metal at the time. The twin guitar attack of Dave Murray and Dennis Stratton set the tone for Iron Maiden's entire career and bassist/musical director Steve Harris lays the groundwork for, in 1980, some of the most exciting and influencial rock music that had come along in several years. The creaky and creepy centerpiece is 'Phantom of the Opera', a seven minute cut that demonstrates Maiden's penchant for progressive arrangements, and the rest of the album satisfies with 'Strange World' and rockers 'Charlotte the Harlot' and the title track. 'Remember Tomorrow' is a romantic haunter that builds to its climactic riff before returning to softness again.

Iron Maiden was a music lover's punk rock-- a thinking man's metal with clever, semi-classical passages and surprising musicianship that appealed to fans' craving for new energy after Prog's demise and before the marketing of heavy metal as an industry... and no one did it better.

Report this review (#114881)
Posted Monday, March 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I consider this album to be one of heavy metal's most underrated albums. I am choosing this for my first review, because although it is not prog, i have my roots in heavy metal, and this could be considered some kind of precursor to prog metal.

Now, this album has three types of song: there are the straight forward rockers which make up most of the album. There's the two ballads. Then there's the 'progressive section'.

First the rockers: When the song Prowler first burst out my stereo, I was... not so thrilled. It seemed very much average to me. Since then, it has grown on me, and I especially love the main riff. Di'anno's vocals are strong (although i can't help thinking Bruce could have done a better job.) We already hear their trademark duel guitar sound, and Harris' amazing bass playing. Clive Burr is also very obviously a more than competent musician. Also with a lot of atitude and some humourous lyrics, it seems to me a very perfect way to start a career. Next if you have the remaster you get the song Sanctuary, which can sound a bit silly, but at least it has a very memorable riff. The next rocker is Running Free, a very simple yet effective track with a very nice bassline. The last rocker is Iron Maiden, a very good song with some great riffs and bass, not as memorable as the others, but it certainly has atitude.

Next let's look at the ballads: The best of these two is Remember Tomorrow, which makes good use of dynamics, and within five and a half minutes manages to create several different moods, probably the earliest example of their prog influences. Also a very good solo makes this an album highlight. The other ballad is the less brilliant Strange World. This seems quite monotonous and is probably my least favourite track. That having been said, it's not terrible, and has some nice poetic lyrics about a future society, which conveys a bittersweet atmosphere.

Finally the 'prog section': This starts with track five, Phantom of the Opera, possibly the most appreciated song of Iron Maiden's pre-Bruce career. This is full of tempo changes, varied riffs, epic lyrics, amazing bass lines, very skilled drumming, and some outstanding guitar solos, all in seven minutes. This is possibly at the opposite of the Maiden spectrum from the previous track, Running Free. This is a truly great song, and possibly the first true prog metal song. Next up is Transylvania, an instrumental which avoids any self-indulgence, being more of a fully structured piece of music rather than a mere showcase of the band members' talents (which it does as a side effect of course). This is one of my favourite instrumental tracks ever, although it isn't without competition.

So there you have it... but wait a minute... haven't i forgotten something... yes i have. I have yet to mention this albums strangest song: the weird and wonderful Charlottte the Harlot. This song is very different and does not fit into any of the afore- mentioned catergories. It starts off with a very laid back riff, but intensifies in the verse and chorus, before a laid back bridge. Very strange, it's not metal, it's not prog, it's not rock in the traditional sense. This is, however a very entertaining song, with tongue-in-cheek lyrics and a slight dollop of cheesiness.

I have decided to rate this 4/5 stars. If this was a heavy metal site i would not hesitate to rate it 5/5, but this can't be considered a masterpiece of prog, because it is not a prog album. But it can be considered an excellent addition to any prog music collection, especially for prog-metallers, for them to discover the roots of a band that almost certainly influenced music they listen to. It showcases the diversity of Maiden's sound and is an excellent start to a career not bound by the limits of one genre.

Report this review (#138019)
Posted Thursday, September 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Whistler
4 stars If you, like me, thought that eighties metal had very little to offer you, and that an album with a zombified cover and such intelligent titles as "Charlotte the Harlot" and "Transylvania" should be used largely as coasters or Frisbees, then stop yourself and give this a listen, I think you (too) will be pleasantly surprised.

Now, "Prowler" does open up like a pop metal number. But it's a real good one, clever riff, great lyrics about feeling yourself in public (in a catchy as hell chorus no less). Except, this ain't no pop metal number, 'cause about a minute into it, it completely shifts gears, and the guitar solo ends up being playing in a different tempo. Art-pop-metal. Great start.

"Sanctuary" is a good number too, but why is it that every time I heard it, I think the chorus will go, "Breaking the law, breaking the law?" Maybe someone can explain that to me. "Remember Tomorrow" takes a few too many turns to be a real power ballad, but that doesn't stop it from being about as memorable as a pile of dog crap. But "Running Free" opens with an infectious, funky drum beat, and it all continues from there; it's a pretty catchy, toe tappin' piece of pop metal.

Designed to be the album's set piece is the miniature suite "Phantom of the Opera." At the surface it's an ode to dark, misplaced love, but at the core, it's a complex series of classical and medieval inspired riffs and blistering solos. In other words, this is perfect for headbanging to at home, or while you're on your dark warhorse, charging into battle against the Huns! It's the best song on the album, and so far, my favorite Maiden song besides.

"Transylvania" is a quick, two part instrumental based on a solid enough riff, and the first part sounds like a metalized Irish jig, and the second part contains some really kick-ass drumming. Cool. This slides flawlessly into the ballady "Strange World," which either has really cool, or really stupid lyrics. But never mind that, the atmosphere is real neat, very "Catch the Rainbow." So the solo is kind of David Gilmourish; some people like that.

Not necessarily a highlight, "Charlotte the Harlot" contains one of the most classic metal themes: a dirty girl. Okay, so it's no great shake, but I dare you to get the chorus out of your head. It can't be done! Probably. And the "quiet" part is a little much...maybe if it were shorter. Well, hey, at least they call poor Charlotte a harlot, which gives the song an antique feel, as opposed to a whore or something...oh, wait, they do call her a whore too. Uh, ignore that.

And we close with the title track, which takes us out essentially as we came in; another piece of solid art pop metal. Again, really nice chorus (gotta love that the lyrics are both evil and offhanded), and it takes enough twists to be interesting. Nice ending.

Now, I ain't gonna lie to you. This isn't the world's greatest album. On the one hand (almost) all the songs are entertaining. Of course, everything sounds exactly the same too. This album is even less diverse than Long Live Rock 'n Roll, which is, in its own way, a neat little accomplishment.

Also, the musicianship is both technically flawless, and absolutely throwaway. Technically flawless because, well, because it's technically flawless. Completely throwaway because, well, nothing here, barring the odd "totally awesome" solo has a lot of soul. There's less soul here than there is on a King Crimson album even, if that's believable. And no one is going to be with the band all that long, sorry to say.

In fact, you shouldn't even bother learning the names of anyone in this band...except for singer Paul di'Anno and bassist Steve Harris. Di'Anno, I think, gives the band a certain uniqueness; he's not what you generally expect from an eighties metal band singer (does he sound sorta like Mick Jagger to anyone else?). And Harris is simply an amazing bassist ("Transylvania," "Iron Maiden"). I'm glad he's the main mover and shaker behind the Maiden instead of the drummer of something. Er, not that the drumming's not good, it's great, as are the guitars. But I somehow think it would be harder to replace Harris.

Still, if nothing else, Iron Maiden can prove to you that decent music wasn't quite dead in the eighties. It can also prove that metal can be somewhat dirty, but still be noble; all sound the same, but remain interesting up till the last note. Great album, and an okay cover too, once you get used to it. Just be sure to hide it from grandma (or, put it in her sock drawer, whatever feels right).

(The re-release of said record includes all kinds of neato, computer dependent extra features that are utterly useless! Well, partly true. Partly because they're so hard to view! I could only lookit them on one computer out of many, and that was at work, so I have to be fast about reviewing this. There are plenty of snippets of later albums to be sampled, but you can do that anywhere. There's also a look at the Eddie Video Game! Cool, eh? The main attraction is the two videos of "Phantom" and "Iron Maiden" from the Rainbow, which are extremely valuable if you want to see Di'Anno take his shirt off. Both are good fun, if not necessarily standout in their own way (and neither finds syncing up image and sound all that important). They stick pretty close to the studio versions, but they're a bit more energetic...and "Phantom" is shorter. I don't know which is better; "Phantom" I guess. Diehard Maiden fans might want to raise the rating half a point for that, but all else need not bother.)

Report this review (#144711)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In 1980 Iron Maiden released their self-titled debut album, starting what would become a legendary career for the band. They were one of many promising bands in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement at the time; and still some development away from being the leader of the pack. However, some historic record covers soon made them quite famous, giving the band invaluable PR at the start of their career.

Musically, Iron Maiden's debut album is an inconsistent affair. They try out a number of different styles, and it is obvious that they are uncertain of what type of music that really suits them at this point. The guitar riffs used in most tracks obviously have been somewhat influenced by the punk movement; and in tracks like "The Prowler" punk inspired riffs are used extensively, played in a fast and simple fashion. The overall sound also indicates the influence from 70's hard rock though, and the track has a surprisingly light pop feel about it.

Tracks like "Remember Tomorrow" and "Phantom of the Opera" showcase Iron Maiden's progressive influences; and the latter track also showcases some of the styles Iron Maiden would pursue later in their career, especially the "epic" chomping guitar riffing underscored by bass that the group would utilize in many future long songs.

Strange World is the odd one out on the album; one of the few mellow tracks ever made by the band. The slight psychedelic touch and the detailed moods made in this track are unique in the history of Iron Maiden; and tracks like this one probably was abandoned when the band started figuring out where to go musically.

The rest of the tracks here are to a greater or lesser degree mostly fast paced hard rock tunes with some metal edges to them; relatively simple in structure and style. There are quite a few differences in detail on the tracks; but all of them share some basic facts - punk-inspired riffs, influences from 70's hard rock to a greater or lesser degree, and high on intensity.

There are quite a few standout tracks on this album; and all of the songs here are seen as classic Iron Maiden tracks, apart from the mellow "Strange World". Not all of the tracks are at their best here though; the band was young and inexperienced when this album was recorded, which is easily heard. In many instances the later live recordings of the tracks here are much better than the original recordings; and as the overall sound here is much unlike what Iron Maiden would sound like later, this is not a release that can be seen as a must buy. Indeed, fans that haven't heard this album previously will be rather surprised on first listen.

Still, it's a good release as long as you're able to live with it's various shortcomings; and a must buy for anyone that wants to find out more about Iron Maiden's musical background and inspirations.

Report this review (#145707)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars In those Purpleless years, "Iron Maiden" released a strong debut album which will pave the way for a new style of music. A hard-rock deviation called heavy metal.

"Purple" of course but also "Rainbow" ("Rising" period) are the influences. To a certain extent, "Runing Free" has also some "Sabbath" flavours.

My fave are "Prowler", a solid post-punkish opener, "Transilvanya" with an infernal beat, a superb bass line, some special backing vocals and of course a fantastic guitar play. These guitars are a serious asset for the band. Ritchie being the model IMO. This song is probably the more "heavy metal" type one from this album. It is more sophisticated than most of the songs which will be rather straight-forward, with a simple structure.

Almost each song is holding a great guitar solo : "Phantom Of The Opera", "Strange World" (even if it is a rock ballad), "Remember Tomorrow" with this great cresendo builing and the fantastic beat during the second part are some examples.

This album is full of energy, yet not too heavy. And I like it. In those early eighties, I wasn't into hard-rock (or related) for a long time already (six years). I re-discover the genre(s) only five years ago but I can definitely recommend this debut to all Ritchie fans (not his last and folkish project of course).

The only weaker song is "Sanctuary". Raw rock'n'roll. Punk is not far away.

Four stars for this very good debut.

Report this review (#150309)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars The guy on the cover bears a striking resemblance to my woodworking teacher in highschool, but that's another story. IRON MAIDEN's debut is so much better than I thought it would be. I remember several years ago a guy coming into my work and I had MOTORHEAD's "Ace Of Spades" on, and we got talking about Metal. He told me that Paul Di'Anno was his favourite singer and IRON MAIDEN's debut was their best album. I had to confess that I hadn't heard their debut and didn't know Paul Di'Anno. Well I do now ! This is raw and edgy yet you can hear their future classic sounds quite often. This is an excellent record period.The band were fortunate enough that year(1980) to open for JUDAS PRIEST on their "British Steel" tour in the UK. They also opened for KISS during their European tour that year giving IRON MAIDEN lots of exposure at home and abroad. They released two singles off this record "Running Free" and "Sanctuary". Some fantastic pictures of the band in the remastered and enhanced cd version that i own.

"Prowler" kicks things off with a bang. Love the dual guitars in the intro as Di'Anno comes in with authority. He has such a great voice. Check out Harris 2 minutes in as the tempo picks up with some blistering guitar. The slight tempo shifts are so cool. Killer opening track. "Sanctuary" is another uptempo tune with a great instrumental section that starts before 1 1/2 minutes. "Remember Tomorrow" is a top 3 track for me. I like the atmosphere to open. Paul's reserved vocals recall some seventies prog singers. The heavy sections are incredible. I like the contrast.Killer guitar before 3 minutes as contrast continues. "Running Free" features some chunky bass lines from Harris. Great rhythm to this one. It's simple but catchy.

"Phantom Of The Opera" opens with a cool guitar melody as drums and bass join in. Vocals a minute in. Almost a reggae flavour when the sound changes after 2 minutes. There is a significant passage after 4 1/2 minutes as we get a galloping rhythm that MAIDEN would become famous for. "Transylvania" is also a top 3 track for me. This one is an instrumental that again features their amazing future sound. "Strange World" is the last top 3 track for me on here. Lots of atmosphere as a beautiful guitar solo rises out of it and reserved vocals join in. The guitar soars 3 minutes in. "Charlotte The Harlot" is a fun, catchy and uptempo song. It gets better as it plays out. The calm that arrives 2 minutes in has a seventies flavour to it. "Iron Maiden" opens with guitars and they do sound amazing. Check out the bass solo after 2 minutes. A big finish to this one.

For me there are no weak tracks, I like them all. I wished I knew about these guys in 1980, but at least by 1983 I did come to know them very well through the "Piece Of Mind" record.

Report this review (#162288)
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Iron Maiden" is the eponymously titled debut full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. The album was released through EMI Records in April 1980. Iron Maiden was formed in 1975 and following a period of lineup changes, and punk music dominance, they started receiving a lot of positive feedback for their live performances during the last years of the 70s. The success of "The Soundhouse Tapes" demo (recorded on New years Eve 1978, and released in 1979) further strengthened their profile.

The album is usually tagged NWoBHM, which was a late 70s/early 80s heavy metal movement, which typically combined the raw energy of punk with the 70s hard rock and heavy metal sound of artists like Black Sabbath, Rush, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Uriah Heep, Thin Lizzy, and Judas Priest. And that is a pretty valid description of the music featured on "Iron Maiden". The rawness and badass attitude of punk combined with the heavy, epic, and melodic elements of 70s heavy rock/metal.

The music on the album is generally very raw and unpolished helped along by the raw vocals by Paul Di'Anno, and the rather simple yet powerful drumming by Clive Burr. The guitar riffs, harmony leads, and guitar solos, played by Dave Murray and Dennis Stratton, and the very dominant bass playing by Steve Harris are usually very melodic and played at a fast pace. Even when they play most raw and simple there´s always a melodic sensibility to the playing. Although the band has often dismissed being influenced by punk there is a rather obvious punk influence on the generally fast paced tracks like "Prowler", "Sanctuary", "Running Free" and "Iron Maiden". The more ballad type tracks "Remember Tomorrow" and "Strange World" at times come close to sounding like 70s prog rock. The most prog rock oriented track on the album is "Phantom of the Opera" and "Transylvania" though. "Charlotte the Harlot" is a mid tempo heavy rocker. So there is nice variation between tracks but at the same time a stylistic consistency which ensures a good overall flow.

The sound production is organic, raw, and very well sounding, perfectly suiting the music. So while the songwriting at times is a bit immature compared to later releases by Iron Maiden, this is still a great quality debut album by the band, featuring high level musicianship, catchy material, and an excellent sounding production. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#162801)
Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Now, this is a charming debut. It made a big impression in those days but today... I still respect the album, especially the first four songs but I think it has more historical value than being something one really can enjoy (not if you consider all the Maiden albums that came later on). It's nice and it's charming and it's naive. It's charming because it's naive. Some of the songs are rather weak (Charlotte; Iron Maiden) - and yet they're fun. This was the record (music and artwork) you could scare your parents with. But as time goes by... and since it's NWOBHM and not prog I rate it 2 stars.
Report this review (#162927)
Posted Friday, February 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Iron Maiden's first album ain't one of their best, but contains a lot of anthems. Phantom Of The Opera, Remember Tomorrow, Transylvania, Strange World, Prowler are absolutely wonderful, but I think Iron Maiden (the track), Running Free and Sanctuary (not on original lp) are overrated, though good. The sound is really cheap, the bass is too roughly mixed, louder than the guitars and vocals. Paul Di'Anno's voice isn't that ood, but I think he's the best Maiden singer for these songs - he would be horrible for singing Aces High or Fear Of The Dark, but I think he sang the songs of the first two albums much better than Bruce Dickinson or Blaze Bayley ever did. Dennis Stratton's only Maiden collaboration as guitarist, he's good, but not great guitar player, I guess. This is a good album.
Report this review (#164071)
Posted Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Petrovsk Mizinski
4 stars After the band had gained a fair bit of fame and had released their very fast selling EP The Soundhouse Tapes, the band had finally released their self titled debut after they first formed in 1975 and went through a few line up changes. The line up on this album consisted of Paul Di'Anno on vocals, Dave Murray and Dennis Stratton both on guitar, Steve Harris on bass and Clive Burr on the drums and a solid line up it was indeed for this album. The album cover itself is very evocative and just screams New Wave Of British Heavy Metal right at you.

The album is a bit inconsistent musically, but that isn't usually anything out of the ordinary for many band's debut albums. The album kicks off with Prowler, which is kinda catchy and has a cool tempo increase at 1:46, with an unfortunately somewhat sloppy guitar solo, which I'm guessing was Dave Murray as live performances around that time often show him bending out of tune. Even if the effect was intentional, which I hope it wasn't, it just sounds a bit off and unpleasant to the ears. Sanctuary is a pretty straight forward metal song, and like many of the songs off this album you can hear a punk influence going on. The next song, Remember Tomorrow is definitely one the more interesting songs on the album, featuring some of Maiden's progressive influences in the song writing. Excellent song, with great vocals and the rest of the band in shining form. Up next, is a pretty average and uninspiring track, Running Free.

But what comes next, is anything but uninspiring. Phantom Of The Opera. The opening riff is really cool and from there onwards, the track gathers steam, and the song feels much shorter than the 7 minute+ track length. There is a seriously cool harmony part after the 6/8 section, featuring all stringed instrument wielding guys playing a melody in the same rhythm. After that section is over, we get to hear what would become a signature sound for Iron Maiden. Yes, the galloping rhythm section just after the 4:30, and then onto a cool instrumental section which features some 2 great solos from Murray and Stratton. After following a fairly non linear path throughout, the band finally comes back to the B (second) section of the song form. An amazing song, with a cool progressive song writing path.

has loads of beautiful atmosphere and some very nice guitar work and oddly very touching vocals from Di'Anno, a stunning ballad-ish type song

Transylvania is the instrumental track on the album, with a slight progressive edge to it. Many cool guitar solos, nice emotive riffs and very well paced, never dull, never uninspiring, just very well executed.

Those 3 songs are definitely my favorite songs off the album and the most progressive, and to me are the sounds of proto-prog metal in action.

Charlotte The Harlot is another pretty straight forward song, although I really do like the calm section that beings towards the middle of the song, which has some really nice vocals and guitar parts.

I remember the first time I heard Iron Maiden and just being disappointed, because I was hoping the track that shared the name with the band would be something truly special, but it wasn't. It's kinda catchy and a good rocker, with a cool instrumental part, but otherwise just a fairly average song.

The production of the album is a little weak, somewhat thin, and although in a way I feel it suits the feel of the album, it could have benefited from a little more strength in the overall sound.

While the song writing was hit and miss, there is no denying the influence this album had, it's place in heavy metal history and the heart's of prog metal fans/rockers and metal fans alike.

Report this review (#175698)
Posted Sunday, June 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As I was quite late knowing the band, I only got the first album "Piece of Mind" with Bruce Dickinson as lead vocal. In fact, when I later found the debut album (self titled) I found Paul Di'anno's voice is excellent and..the debut album itself is excellent! It's very rare that the band's debut album with excellent quality but Iron Maiden proved it. For heavy metal fans this album is considered as an influential album in the development of the genre. Some people, in fact, mention that this album as the foundation of thrash, speed and progressive metal. No wonder Dream Theater adore this band.

The music is fast, catchy, exciting, memorable and it pumps your adrenalin to run faster. There are stunning guitar work between Dave Murray and Dennis Stratton augmented by tight bass lines by the master mind Steve Harris. The opening Prowler, incorporates wah-wah guitar licks with dynamic riffs, solid bass lines, and a great solo. Sanctuary blasts off with inventive bass line as the main element of the song combined with two solos. Remember Tomorrow starts like a ballad using guitar melodies as well as harmonies on growling bass which then flows into catchy chorus. Running Three runs with a faster tempo back by excellent rhythm and jaw-dropping drum work. Phantom of the Opera and Strange World, both have great harmonies and catchy rhythm. Transylvania, is an instrumental which features guitar backed by bass line. Charlotte the Harlot and Iron Maiden conclude the album excellently.

It's an excellent heavy metal album. Recommended

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#180847)
Posted Tuesday, August 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The start of the beast

Iron Maiden's debut album is quite a good number, although not quite as 'progressive' as some of their later works. Certainly the album shows where the band would eventually go under the flag and lungs of their second vocalist, Bruce Dickinson, but he's not around yet (nor is the majority of the classic line-up, but still) and neither is the fantasy sound that the band would later adopt as well as keyboards. This is a very 'street' sounding album, and the look of the guys in their leather on the back cover only helps that image along. A strange album to review for a progressive rock website, but it will be done none the less.

The album does have some very progressive moments, and these are the ones likely to stand out to the prog-heads thinking about purchasing this album. While the majority of the album is strait up British heavy metal it has to be admitted that this album was 'progressive' in its own time for being one of the first Power Metal albums to emerge and remains as one of the most influential to this day. Still, if we're talking in terms of progressive rock down to the mathematical definition (which is the one most proggers are concerned about), there's still a few tunes that fit the bill. One of the biggest standouts on the album is the 7-minute pseudo-epic Phantom Of The Opera with it's stinging guitar opening and killer bass sections from one Steve Harris along with some of Di'Anno's best vocal performances. Tempo changes and a good pace make for a very prog-metal-beginnings sounding song. Along with this is the slow-to-fast speed changey goodness of the wonderful Remember Tomorrow, which features some great guitar wails and vocal screams in this unique sounding some from Maiden who's style would rarely be used in their future material. Another more 'proggy' moment on the album is the wonderful instrumental, Transylvania, which seems to be tailor made to follow up Phantom of The Opera in a speedy way.

The rest of the songs on the album are all very good, but more to the metal side of things. Proggers who don't mind raising the horns and headbanging will no doubt get a kick out of these tunes, but people who would rather see Wakeman's cape flap in the breeze while performing the solo to The Revealing Science Of God may find a tough time enjoying these tunes. They're all a little more simple, with a nice chorus section and usually some kind of great hook. Prowler has a very nice riff to open and moves right into metal territory with the lyric and vocal section. Running Free has a great crowd chant section for a chorus and a headbanging pace, while Iron Maiden remains a crowd favorite during concerts thanks to its fun chorus.

Maiden fans and fans of progressive metal alike should get a good kick out of this album. Fans of more traditional symphonic arrangements or people who enjoy the more RIO side of things may want to steer clear of this debut from Iron Maiden, but the quality of music from the boys at so early an age in their career is quite impressive. Were this a metal site it would be getting a higher mark, but here it's going to receive a 3 out of 5. Excellent playing with some very impressive numbers, but more metal than prog. Recommended - if you know what you're getting into.

Report this review (#184875)
Posted Monday, October 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars A debut album who sent Iron Maiden on their way to their rightful stardom. This album also set the band apart from the rest of the scene.......... and ensured their survival. From that scene, only Saxon and Def Leppard made it. What made this album that special ? The mix of punk, prog rock and hard rock is the simple answer. On Phantom Of The Opera, the band is clearly into progressive rock. On other tracks again, they are into punk. But they never deviate from their formula. The problem is the bad production, the vocals and the songs. I am not a fan of any of the songs, with the exception of the above mentioned Phantom Of The Opera. This is just a debut album, a good one, but not an album many prog rock fans would like. Myself is included here. That's why I never bothers listen to it. A creditable debut, but nothing more.

2 stars.

Report this review (#187966)
Posted Tuesday, November 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Exciting debut album by Iron Maiden. This great band start its career with this superb effort. This album is full of musical virtuosity and great songs like Remember Tomorrow, Phantom of the Opera, Transylvania and Strange World. All other songs are excellent and there aren't weak songs. This homonymous debut album by Iron Maiden contains all the power needed for one excellent heavy metal album. It is very pleasant that there are progressive themes implemented in this heavy metal masterpiece. Exciting debut album by exciting band. There is something else that comes to my attention - and this is punk moments. This album was released at the height of punk rock and probably contains something from it. I don't like punk rock, but I adore this album. 4.25 stars
Report this review (#200921)
Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden - (1980)

The roots of Punk Metal? I dunno, I hate punk but I love this! Overall Rating: 13 Best Song: It's like, a tie between PROWLERS and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

Man! What a damn introduction! Why can't more debuts be so gratuitously good? If the few studio releases that followed this sucker weren't so groovy, I'd have very little problem calling this thing 'all the Iron Maiden you need', even if something like that's totally retarded as a notion. As overrated as Number of the Beast is, this sucker makes up for in in how underrated it is, even if, like the notion before it, the notion of anything being underrated from Iron Maiden is just silly. Folks love this stuff!

And for now, I do, too. Most people who compare this and her twin sister KILLERS to the NUMBERS-PIECE-POWERSLAVE era usually remark: Well, they were finding their sound. Well, they were learning to fly. Well, they were too rough, raw, and unprofessional. And the ever popular: Well, they were just some [&*!#]ty punk metal band with a drunken lout as a singer. Those folks all have violent ear disorders. Not only is this one of the most energetic and 'fresh' records they (er well, Steve Harris) ever proposed, it's also the one with the, dare I say it, best sense of sheer melody. Sure, they might not be as emotive and obvious as sir Brucey's titanuim crooning, but under the dirty haze is a real sense of melody.

Oh, so many tasty riffs. The wah-wah-whayawawa from Prowlers always tears through my li'l chest. This is also one of the least predictable metal records, in how it totally captures that raucous "late night lunatic" atmosphere. It's as if they crafted a concept album about some violent, murderous, raping, mentally frigged whack hound killin' prostitutes (ahem, women of the evening), and drinking wine-filled blood under the shimmering moon. Maybe the softness of Remember Tomorrow is a little off-putting, but when it builds, it builds!

Is it me, or is Phantom of the Opera the best 'prog' song they ever did? I should've guessed! With all sorts of dancing riffs and jams, it absolutely justifies the seven and a half minute running time. Maybe my only real gripe with the thing is how it too often relies on the generic metal riff fills to keep a song going. Ideally, and I mean ideally, they should have cut most of these tracks in half, and it'd be a 30 minute metal opus...


Report this review (#212352)
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Iron Maiden my childhood heroes. I really like songs from this album but in live versions released on singles or live albums. Why? Because this original recording sounds lame to me. Sound is very poor and thin. This semi-amateurish work doesn't mean Iron Maiden didn't get success with this release. In 1980 it was probably more acceptable than now. I think Phantom Of The Opera is very good song. Charlotte The Harlot also. Charlotte and Prowler were re-recorded in 1988 with Bruce Dickinson as a singer and they sound much better than original versions. The best song on this album to me is Remember Tomorrow. It'd sound mighty on The Number Of The Beast. Here production kills this awesome tune. The worst track? Running Free, yuk! Disco metal good enough to be played in clubs along with Bee Gees Stayin' Alive. Anyway I like songs from this album but due to this lame production I can't listen to that.
Report this review (#216819)
Posted Thursday, May 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Am amazed to see the early classic Iron Maiden discs with lower scores than their derivative post-Powerslave material. Iron Maiden ranks among the top ten of most important (not best, but most important) heavy metal albums ever. It came out in the midst of the New Wave of Heavy Metal that crested in the early 80's. And it introduced a harder, faster variety of metal than the Judas Priest / Black Sabbath form of 70's metal. The progressive elements, combined with the punk sensibilities exhibited by lead singer Paul D'Anno make this an historic metal record that any self-respecting metalhead should own.

The highlight of the disc is the mini-opus The Phantom of the Opera. Combining challenging quick guitar riffs with innovative time changes and seamless transitions, this song was the template from which future IM classics (like Hallowed be thy Name, Rime of the Ancient Mariner and To Tame A Land) emerged.

Strangeland is an oft-overlooked IM gem, with a moody vocal performance joining well-textured guitars. This subtle sound was rarely attempted by later versions of IM and this lack of experimentation / willingness to veer from formula is one reason I gave up on the band after Powerslave.

Remember Tomorrow is the best regular "song" on the disc. Transyvania is a high-powered instrumental that would have benefited from a little more variety. The song Iron Maiden is basically an aggressive punk song that has closed many an IM concert. Prowler is a fist-to-the-head opener that appropriately served notice that this disc will kick the listener's ass.

Finally, the low-budget production here is a plus IMO. Later IM discs suffered from overproduction that removed all the rough, raw, unpolished power from the band's sound.

Report this review (#222892)
Posted Wednesday, June 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars You torture me back at your lair!

My first Iron Maiden album owned, my first rock love ever. It wasn't a long time ago, but i still remember(see what i did there?) when i got this album as a christmas present from my friend who had introduced me to Maiden. I was back then staying the summer at our summer house in the Finnish archipelago, and i played this record in the living room, in the kitchen and in the shower! I haven't listened to it in a long time but i still remember the lyrics inside out to Phantom Of The Opera and Prowler, my two favourite Iron Maiden tracks of all time. Few days back i was out drinking with my friend and when back home we spinned Phantom Of The Opera and my god it absolutley rocked! I just love the part "Keep your distance walk away don't take his prey!" Prog RELATED music doesn't get much better than this(much).

There's plenty of tracks that offer the listener a great Iron Maiden rockout, besides my favourites that i already pointed out there also is "Running Free" and "Sanctuary" which both been live faves by the band later on. I also enjoy "Charlot the Harlot", the title track and "Transylvania" very much. "Remember Tomorrow" is not bad either. "Strange World" is maybe the only weaker track here.

To me Iron Maiden never rose to epic heights in their career, and this album might as well be their peak musically, even if they would go on to sell millions of albums later in their career. This is a great album. 4 Stars

Report this review (#237146)
Posted Friday, September 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Just finished watching Iron Maiden's Flight 666 - the Movie, and thought I'd go through some reviews while at PA. And surprise, I haven't reviewed any of their albums.

So here goes. Following Sean's comment about the NWOBHM, my own story is that Creem had a heavy metal issue with Maiden, Def Leppard and Krokus (???) as part of the bright new lights of metal. SO I picked up Maiden's debut as well as the other two. WHOA ! Brimming with energy & attitude like punk, but not punk. Full of virtuosity like prog, but not airy fairy. Heavy, and metallic, but not like Sabbath, certainly not like Judas Priest; although the JP guys often would grumble about Maiden's success compared to theirs. Something about the twin guitar attack. which Wishbone Ash, and Thin Lizzy did before Judas Priest , and better, too.

No, this was modern. Prog ... well not quite, or really , not always. Phantom of the Opera has to be considered as the first prog metal composition. Fantasy lyrics, flying fingers on distorted guitars , playing something way beyond yer over-amplified blooze on a 12 bar 4/4 structure. Remember Tomorrow & Strange World may have shown some Judas Priest influence. But if you listen to the structure, the organization of the songs, you may find more in common with MK II Deep Purple. D'Ianno didn't have Gillan's range, but he did share that "how can he not be shredding his vocal chords" singing style. And , IMHO, I find the same group energy amongst both groups' instrumentalists. True, the Murray / Stratton tag team was no match for the fret deity that was Blackmore. But add Steve Harris forceful bass to the mix, and Clive Burr's solid drumming and you have a musical team that had learned well from the masters. Lord, Paice, and Glover might have played second fiddle in the Rock God race next to Ritchie, but as time has shown, King Ritchard never climbed the same heights without them. Versus Iron Maiden, who would only get better, and become the best with time.

The rest of the songs - Prowler, Sanctuary, Running Free, Charlotte the Harlot, Iron Maiden - still sound fresh & energetic today, even when compared to the current power metal acts. And , maybe as a reflection of my age, I've never found another power or prog metal band that could compare. Why ? Maiden wrote songs, riffs ! The complicated and complex guitar parts seemed a natural part of the music, whereas too often these days, it comes across as calculated and copied from somewhere else. As if the guitar player(s) said "O.K. where do I put my fiddly bit(s)?".

Harris has always felt that the Will Malone production took away from the force of the music, but most of his fans still vote this debut as among their best. It didn't re-invent the wheel. But it did add an super overdrive gear and shows the first sparks of a sophistication that showed how other bands easily get lost when laying on the heavy metal thunder.

And how accurate was Creem's view of the new scene's prospects ? Well, Krokus quickly became a cartoon. Def Leppard hit big quicker & bigger, but also faded fast after their peak. They now are relegated to the summer "Oldies" fair tours with other 80s' rockers relying on people looking to drive down memory lane. Maiden ? Well, there seems to have been a few people coming out to their Somewhere in Time tour. And not just middle aged fogeys looking to hear that hit from 1987.

Well worth any metal head's, and truly any heavy or prog metal fan's time and money. Aces High !

Report this review (#240337)
Posted Saturday, September 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Before rising to international fame, Maiden recorded two albums with vocalist Paul Di Anno. They weren't at their songwriting peak yet and their playing wasn't as tight and dashing as it would become, but still, Paul Di'Anno had so much attitude and soul that I prefer these two albums to much of their later successes.

Even though this music sounds rather dated now, the punch and energy can still be felt. So it's no surprise that tracks like Prowler, Running Free, Charlotte the Harlot and Iron Maiden took the mellowed-out hard-rock scene of the end of the 70's by storm. The straightforward power, no-nonsense attitude and raw dynamism are simply irresistible.

But it's not those tracks that would be defining for Maiden's future music. This band had more tricks up their sleeve then fast punk-rock anthems. Remember Tomorrow for example is an excellent take on the prog-metal of Judas Priest's Beyond The Realms of Death epic. Phantom of the Opera is the most progressive and most amazing track of the album, sounding like a Jethro Tull song from Benefit that is taken by storm; rapid, metalized and brutal. It also feature some Uriah Heep alike vocal harmonies and a fine balance between slow and reflective parts and fast galloping riffs. Also the instrumental Transylvania is fun. A personal favourite is the delightful ballad Strange World, again highly in debt to Judas Priest's balladry.

This is Maiden's rawest album, combining elements of old-school metal from Judas Priest and Rainbow with the rough energy and harsh sound of punk. Together with some hints at their future prog-metal, it's a combination that results in pure gold on this album.

Report this review (#259397)
Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars When listening to 80's metal, most of them sounds boring to me. Not Iron Maiden. Fate arranged my life in a way that I met Iron Maiden not when I was a child, but when I was in early adult years. I've get to this group as responsible, normally thinking guy, not as part of childhood memories. Therefore, my judgment would be influenced by these conditions. Fortunately, this band has to offer a lot.

As I said, "normal" Metal is boring, not providing needed "experiences", or thrill if you want to say that. Yes, speaking as Prog fan, but also as someone who came from Classic Rock origins. Irons are here, for thirty years, smiling with their creature Eddie and spitting into face of all those who dislike them. Because they had guts to stand in front of scene back then and prove their worth, manage it all, beat all those others to background and show whole world that they should be heard.

Musically of course, you can't compare them with Genesis. Or can you ? Never mind, this battle can't be won by either side and is meaningless to compare them like that. To the point: riffs are main element here. Yes, this is Heavy Metal of a new kind (as opposing to 70's HM) and so it has its attributes. However, tracks like Strange World with its exploring intro, sad solo after it and kings ending.

There, you can see (and hear) music with soul. Music that's Prog in a not so conventional way. Common, compare it with other typical NWoBHM bands, you'll know who's the winner by your heart (brain). For me, it's Maiden.

4(+), it's Prog-Related for a good cause.

Report this review (#273298)
Posted Sunday, March 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The self-titled debut album from famed NWoBHM band Iron Maiden is without a doubt one of the most important albums in the early eighties heavy metal scene. This was surely a groundbreaking album when it was released back in 1980, but it's always been overshadowed by some of Iron Maiden's later releases for me and I've never really given it much attention. About a week ago I realized that I have absolutely no Iron Maiden reviews even though they are my favorite traditional heavy metal band, so I figured that it's time for me to review their albums chronologically! I've had Iron Maiden on heavy rotation lately in preparation for my review, and even though I will never like this album as much as Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, I've been able to appreciate it much more than my previous lukewarm experiences.

The sound on this album is unquestionably Iron Maiden, but with more punk and less prog influences. I've always loved Iron Maiden's progressive tendencies and epic song structures while still ultimately remaining a traditional heavy metal band, but the only truly epic songs here are Phantom of the Opera and Strange World. These are the two best songs IMO, though there really aren't any fillers. Running Free and Sanctuary are pretty mediocre songs, even though they aren't total throwaways. Transylvania is a great instrumental track, and one of the best from the album. There are some great straightforward metal tracks like Iron Maiden, Charlotte the Harlot, Remember Tomorrow, and Prowler as well. All in all, if you like raw sounding heavy metal with punk influences, most of the album should appeal you. Just don't go in expecting epic, borderline progressive, metal songs that you would find on their later albums.

Iron Maiden was a five-man band at this point. All of the musicians are fantastic, although they surely improved over time. A special note should go out to my idol Steve Harris. Man, what a bass player! His pounding basslines are very present on most of Iron Maiden's music, and it almost serves as a lead instrument. A lot of people complain about Paul Di'Anno's vocal style, but I personally find it to be very good. He's nowhere near the vocal prowess of Bruce Dickinson, but he is surely a talented vocalist. Dave Murray and Dennis Stratton's guitars work mutually and really compliment each other well. The multilayered guitars really give Iron Maiden their own sound. Clive Burr's drumming is good, but it could be slightly improved in some areas. It's hard to criticize him, though, considering how fantastic his drumming is on Transylvania.

The production is really good for a NWoBHM album. Iron Maiden was never a sucker for crappy 80's production qualities, and I love how they stuck with more organic 70's sounds. However, the music is lacking a bit of a "punch" and the production could be a bit more powerful at times.


Iron Maiden is a solid debut album by Iron Maiden. Even though I will never like this as much as their later albums with Bruce Dickinson behind the microphone, few heavy metal bands could compete with Iron Maiden back then. Even on this slightly immature debut, the genius of Iron Maiden shines through, though not as brilliantly as it would soon become. A 3.5 (almost 4) star rating is deserved for this solid debut.

Report this review (#284077)
Posted Saturday, May 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Iron Maiden - s/t (1980)

The first two album of Iron Maiden are really different from the Number of the Beast era and after that. Lead singer Paul Di'Anno has an amazing enthusiastic rock/punk voice and the style of the band is a mixture of heavy rock with a lot of melodic parts (for Metal that is) and energetic rock'n roll waves. The debut album of Maiden sounds as a debut should sound: wild, naive and rockin'! The recognizable artwork of Iron Maiden is already in place. Perhaps the artwork is a bit too dark for the music and attitude of the band, but it become an important element of the bands style.

There has been some debate about the recording of this record. I only have one simple thing to add to this controversy: A vinyl version of the album sounds great.

Well, Iron Maiden is perhaps one of the best collaborations of great musicians in the metal- world. The shy band-leader Steve Harris and guitar-god Dave Murray form the basis of the band. People who are musicians themselves will here a special approach to the music: when focussed on the fact the bass-player writes most of the songs a magical world opens: An eighties metal-band with melodic bass-lines! The guitars are amazing and the solo's of Iron Maiden have always been good.

The songwriting is strong. No stadium-rock non-sense, no standard head-banging riffs: Iron Maiden was far ahead of the bands of eighties. Prowler is an energetic rock' opener with a remarkable use of the wah-pedal. Sanctuary focusses on the rock-side of the music whilst Remember Tomorrow shows the great emotional part of the band. On this song the vocals are especially memorable. Running Free is a simple track, but still effective. Phantom of the Opera is Iron Maiden's first epic with very progressive songwriting and great musicianship. The instrumental Transylvania further explores Iron Maiden's compositional and technical possibilities. Strange World is one of the bands most silent songs. It's a beautiful atmospheric song with nice cleans guitars and a gentle distorted solo's. Great tune! Charlotte the Harlot is a great fusion between Iron Maidens rock'n roll tendencies and it's melodic emotional approach. The final track, the Iron Maiden-song, is a rocker with nice riffs and the usual energetic approach. Great!

Conclusion. Well, I can't think of a lot of other records of this quality of the year 1980. It's a great start for the band and still a great album today. Perhaps this has little to do with the progressive movement, but Iron Maiden's style might still be very appealing to most fans of progressive music because of the melodic and inventive approach of the band. Four stars!

Report this review (#284297)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the first important NWOBHM albums, and possibly one of the best of the early days. Together with Iron Maiden there was Saxon, Motorhead, Judas Priest, and Def Leppard, and all of them gave a huge contribute in changing completely Heavy Metal's style. Iron Maiden was probably the most popular band, and the most important. Still today we think of IM as one of the best Heavy Metal bands ever, and some even consider them THE best.

When this album came out, in 1980, everything changed. Obviously the sound was different, more heavy, a mixture between punk and all those Hard Rock bands that are usually defined as Proto Metal. The album in it's entirety was at the time a sort of bible for this new genre: songs like "Phantom Of The Opera" and the title track are still today considered huge classics of metal.

Being this the first Maiden record, it is at times a little naive and immature, but in other moments it's a monster, a true Heavy Metal record, or at least how a Heavy Metal record should sound like. Paul Di Anno's voice is always appreciable, too bad he left after Killers. Even though, when the bands' zenit came out, "The Number Of The Beast", and Bruce Dickinson replaced him, Di Anno was easily forgotten, as the new singer's brilliant and innovative voice ruled and fascinated the audience.

The structure of the album is very eclectic: the first two songs are powerful tracks that every Maiden fan knows and appreciates, "Remember Tomorrow" is a semi ballad, with some haunting moments mixed with strong and violent ones. "Running Free" is a true hymn to freedom and Heavy Metal, and "Phantom Of The Opera" is the biggest classic off this album. Follows the great instrumental "Transilvania", and then another ballad, "Strange World", much more mysterious than "Remember Tomorrow", but a little less effective. The two final songs are really good songs, "Charlot The Harlot", which started an impressive variety of related songs lyrically speaking, that are focused on a fictional character created by guitarist Dave Murray. The final track is the title track, a pretty heavy song with some really crunchy bass and interesting and innovating for the time rhythms, very fast and violent, maybe a sort f proto trash metal.

In conclusion, I must say that I truly enjoyed this album, since the first time I listened to it, and I never get tired of it. An Excellent addiction for any Metal or Rock fan.

Report this review (#284723)
Posted Thursday, June 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars It began with a whimper for me, the Iron Maiden debut that launched one of the most important and essential NWOBHM bands is a real let down. The singing is not up to scratch for a start and I believe once Bruce Dickinson replaced the mediocre vocal talents of Paul Di'Anno, the band really took off. Come on,you Irons, you can't tell me that 'Phantom of the Opera' was not improved once it was covered by Dickinson, who is litrerally like an AIR RAID SIREN such is the range of his incredible vocals, thus garnering the nickname 'AIR RAID SIREN'. There are some awesome tracks here that are saved by blistering speed lead breaks from the talented duel guitar virtuosos, Murray and Stratton. Indeed POTO is perhaps the most progressive song on the album and definitely the best thing here.

'Running Free' became a powerhouse live and was performed on stage for years to come following this release. 'Strange World' has a quirky riff and chugs along nicely as does the fun filled 'Charlotte the Harlot'.

The title track and band name 'Iron Maiden' is of course a quintessetial IM track with anthemic lyrics and a very strong beat from Burr and the rhythmic bass of Harris. It was the birth of greatness but they were yet to reach the heights with "Number of the Beast".

I remember listening to this debut in the record store, that's right vinyl, and I remember distinctly being turned off by the vocals. I had altready purchased TNOTB so it was a turn off to hear such powerless vocals. I still feel the same way now. 3 stars for sheer musical excellence but this is full of throwaway material, and that has all been ignored by Maiden in concerts to come as they rose to metal power. The best thing that happened to the band was recruiting Dickinson and he became the voice of metal.

Report this review (#289802)
Posted Friday, July 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars ..And so the journey begins, this epic quest to review every one of this classic bands albums (yup im also talking about the Blaze Bailey years), sooo...on with the review. Released in 1980, the self titled debut is a great start for the band for a very simple reason..the quality of the material they had, its soo super catchy and fantastic from the rockers (PROWLER,SANCTUARY, RUNNING FREE, IRON MAIDEN) then we have the brill instrumental TRANSYLVANIA the quality of that alone is enough to prove haters of the band wrong, we also have the soft often dreamy sounding REMEMBER TOMORROW and STRANGE WORLD, and of course not forgetting the epic of this album PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Everything about this album is...well its almost perfect - not quite 100% perfect, but as close to perfect as a band as young as they were could be, and whats my gripe? well its very small but still bothers me quite a bit...its the subject matter of these songs there....well there not really Iron Maiden, as its not till Number Of The Beast that there lyrics improve...musically though, you really cant go wrong with this album;

Prowler - 9/10 Sanctuary - 8/10 Remember Tomorrow - 9/10 Running Free - 8/10 Phantom Of The Opera - 10/10 Transylvania - 10/10 Strange World - 9/10 Charlotte The Harlot - 9/10 Iron Maiden - 9/10

MY CONCLUSION? apart from that one wee lyrical 'gripe' as such, theres nothing wrong with this all..a fantastic debut

Report this review (#291532)
Posted Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars When it comes to talk about one of my favourite band's debut album, I feel torn between many diversified and innovating tracks and complete lack of coherence concerning the composition of the album. I feel torn in between many lacks in the song writing and composition and on the other side the legendary status of this milestone.

From dreamy progressive rock ballads to straight punk influenced rock songs and a heavy metal epic blueprint you get pretty much everything on this record but the whole thing simply doesn't quite fit together yet. The whole album feels like an experiment, a compilation of ideas of different personalities, like some first careful steps into different directions. The fact that this album is so imperfect with its simple cover artwork, rather mediocre sound and has a considerable miss of equilibrium gives a very charming and authentic touch to the final result, though. One should also pardon the band their first mistakes as their whole epic career was continuously build upon this first album.

I happen to like the part of the atmospheric progressive rock ballads most. "Remember Tomorrow" shows for the first time the band's great technical skills, their capacity to write long and coherent songs with a magic atmosphere. "Strange World" is even more simple, dreamy and atmospheric and it turned out over the years that this very unusual track happened to be my favourite one on the record.

"Phantom Of The Opera" is the band's first epic track and one of the first and most important epic tracks of heavy metal music that distinguished the band from many other that wrote short and sweet tracks to satisfy the masses and take advantage of a new hype. Iron Maiden were always more progressive and courageous than any other heavy metal band of the same age and delivers a stunning and diversified epic blueprint for their own and other band's future epic works. This track has a very important historical meaning even though it's far from being perfect. The vocals are too hectic and not always perfectly audible. The instrumental parts are sometimes way too long. There is not enough emotion and atmosphere in a song that refers to a legendary musical. But nevertheless, this song is something great and fits neither to the progressive rock ballads nor to the straighter and shorter punk rock influenced tracks. This song is the first one that simply sounds like Iron Maiden. This is where they get their own identity and deliver something one has never heard before in that way.

To come back to the punk influenced heavy metal tracks, they happen to be great and entertaining live tracks but the studio versions vary from very enjoyable like the straight and yet diversified bonus track "Sanctuary" to boring and faceless like the album's weak point which is "Charlotte The Harlot" as well as the unnecessary and overrated instrumental filler "Transylvania".

In the end this album is divided into three different parts that don't fit together and that vary from great to inspiring but imperfect to rather faceless material. The record is without a doubt technically and musically the most simple and in my opinion weakest track of the band's legendary works from the eighties. But this album should nevertheless please to any fan of heavy metal music as this first and rather shy debut album was a huge milestone for a whole genre and the begin of an incredible legacy.

Originally published on on July 9th of the year 2011.

Report this review (#379074)
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the first classic Maiden record i ever owned, mostly on the strength of Phantom of the Opera. While Killers didn't have too many great songs, this record somehow brought the heavy prog of Rush with the Punk of the Sex Pistols. Prowler is straight up classic, while Phantom of the Opera is (arguably) Maiden's best song. IMHO, Dickinson does not do the song justice when singing it. Sadly, neither ballad (Remember Tomorrow and Strange World) have very little to offer and are the only things keeping this fabulous album from being 5 stars. Though those ballads offer little, the rest is pretty spot on. 4/5
Report this review (#444056)
Posted Saturday, May 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Iron Maiden's debut is quite an interesting blend of metal, punk and prog. If one were to judge by the cover alone, the metal tag would spring to mind, or maybe a Misfits style horror punk impression would emerge, since that monster's hair is both long and spiky, but it certainly doesn't instill one to think "progressive rock". But there is prog in this puppy. Good prog too.

The key elements are the bouncy and ever busy bass playing of Steve Harris, the abundance of tempo changes and Paul Di'Anno's vocals. Yeah, during the heavier sections he possesses a punk snarl combined with some vibrato hard rock swagger, but during calm mellower sections (which this album boasts moreso than a lot of their later output), his singing reminds me of B.O.C.'s Buck Dharma with a bit more oomph...and that's a good thing.

Songs like Prowler, Running Free and Iron Maiden are punkish metal fist bangers that have as much in common with your typical prog rock band's output as actress Grace Park has with Cthulhu's mother visually, but other tracks have a distinctively progressive approach. Remember Tomorrow jumps between a smooth ballad style and heavy metal with a sudden fast break in the middle that somehow feels seamless in its transitions. There's no chorus either, just soft to loud dynamics that's every bit as memorable as any chorus hook could provide. Phantom Of The Opera is absolutely progressive metal; it actually sounds more prog- related than most of their later lengthy tracks with a cool trippy section after involving beautiful melodic guitar playing followed by Harris hammering solo before the rest of the band joins and builds up the tension. It's a fantastic number, although Paul doesn't add much to it vocally. He's great on Strange World though, a flat out space rock track that doesn't sound like an Iron Maiden tune at all, except maybe for the guitar solos which compliment the song by being tasteful and almost trippy. Charlotte The Harlot sort of blends the punk metal with bits of prog pretty sweetly.

To be honest, I personally prefer this early era of Iron Maiden the most...there's a raw edge to it combined with their prog influences that their more popular later eras lack.

Report this review (#457990)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars It's time for another review streak since I obviously don't do enough of those!

Let me start things off by laying my cards on the table and admitting that I'm not really a big Iron Maiden fan. This band has been consciously flying under my radar for most of my life and this comes from a personal preference of mine, which is actually pretty hard to achieve here in Sweden. Swedes are generally known for loving their metal music, but there are really few acts that get the same amount of attention as Iron Maiden. Most of their records have become number one hits in our nation charts and all of their live shows tend to sell out within minute after tickets are released to the public. All of our hard rock/metal radio stations tend to overemphasize on the singles released by Iron Maiden, Metallica and a handful chosen few, which is pretty much the reason why I haven't actively listened to commercial radio since 2002.

I've heard classic albums like The Number Of The Beast and Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son on many occasions all throughout my teen years but little of that has really managed to make an impact on me, same can also be said about Metallica. So why did I start to actively listening to Iron Maiden after all this time? Well, it all began a few month ago when I had my regular Iron Maiden rant in a close circle of friends and one of them suggested that I give the two Paul Di'Anno-era albums a chance before completely bearing any hopes of ever enjoying Iron Maiden. This was an interesting proposal since I have ignored those albums due to their low level of publicity here in Sweden (ince we tend to prefer the Dickinson era).

I began my journey with the band-titled debut album and even though my expectations weren't exactly on top before my first exposure to the material, I actually found it to be an enjoyable album! First thing that really struck me was the great production of the record where every instrument was very distinguishable in the mix. Steve Harris' bass rampage is especially notable here because it often manages to even overshadow the dual guitar attack of Stratton/Murray!

From the get-go we are treated to some of the finest tracks of this early Iron Maiden era where Prowler and Sanctuary possess an energy to them that even some of the strongest epics from Dickinson era could never achieve. It's basically this raw energy that makes this album the strong statement that it is and the band continues to surprise me by actually preforming two fine ballads with Remember Tomorrow and Strange World. The latter is often being considered the weakest track of this fine record, but I happen to disagree with that statement. I'm actually really surprised that Iron Maiden didn't indulge further into this direction with their consecutive albums since their ballads work so well here.

Overall, it hard to go wrong when you've got an album filled with classics like Running Free, Phantom Of The Opera, Transylvania and the renown fan favorite Iron Maiden! I know that Charlotte The Harlot is considered somewhat of a classic among the fans, since it spawned a storyline that would be continued on the future albums, but I honestly never liked its simplistic Heavy Metal approach that lacks in every other department. Luckily this is as close as you'll get to a bad song here since this is an excellent piece of Heavy Metal history that marks the rise of Iron Maiden!

***** star songs: Prowler (3:56) Sanctuary (3:16)

**** star songs: Remember Tomorrow (5:28) Running Free (3:17) Phantom Of The Opera (7:07) Transylvania (4:19) Strange World (5:32) Iron Maiden (3:38)

*** star songs: Charlotte The Harlot (4:12)

Report this review (#547196)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first of the two Paul Di'Anno-fronted albums, and the sole Iron Maiden album released featuring Dennis Straton on guitar, this is an excellent debut album which sheds light on a band who had mastered the conventions of their major influences - traditional heavy metal with a side order of punk and prog rock - and had synthesised them into a powerful and compelling new sound for themselves. The raw production and Paul Di'Anno's no-frills shout lends itself well to highlighting the faster, punkish side of the band on songs like Prowler and the title track, whilst quiet ballads incorporating loud and heavy interjections such as Remember Tomorrow and Strange World show a strong Judas Priest influence, bearing a strong resemblance to Priest songs in a similar vein such as Here Come the Tears.

However, the track that really points the way to the band's future is The Phantom of the Opera, which combines a prog-rock influenced song structure with a lyrical concept ripped from literature and a musical delivery which perfectly balances the drama and theatricality demanded by the concept with the balls-out aggression characteristic of this album at its best. The classic Iron Maiden sound had not completely taken shape at this point, but it's in songs such as Phantom of the Opera where it can be heard the clearest, and despite the lack of the band's best-loved vocalist and one of its most talented guitarists it's a great listen which holds up well against their future classics.

Report this review (#563946)
Posted Monday, November 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Iron Maiden' - Iron Maiden (7/10)

I once spoke with another Iron Maiden fan who told me that he counted 1982's "Number of the Beast" as the band's 'true' debut. To him, Maiden couldn't be Maiden without Bruce Dickinson's trademark vocals. Of course, by the time Bruce had joined the gang, Iron Maiden were already running wild with potential. True enough, Dickinson's quasi-operatic tenor is now one of the band's most distinctive qualities, but this debut- and its sequel "Killers"- still hold up well. Even before they had truly made their mark on heavy metal, Maiden were already rocking.

I was first introduced to DiAnno-era Maiden through the mini-epic "Phantom of the Opera". Now a longtime favourite of mine, it's easily enough to foster some sort of interest in the band's early work. Especially regarding this track, it's not surprising that it took Steve Harris such a long time to find musicians willing to pursue this then-relatively progressive and technical brand of heavy metal. Fusing galloping rhythms with guitar harmonies and the atmosphere of progressive rock, "Phantom of the Opera" is a certain foreshadowing of what would later come for the band. Add in the trademark literature-based lyrics and you have a classic Maiden song, in spite of Smith and Dickinson's absence. Before even discussing the rest of the album, it's enough that one of the band's best songs is here.

"Phantom of the Opera" is above and beyond the most complex piece of music on "Iron Maiden", but the band gives a touch of sophistication to their aggression throughout the album. It's true that there is a sense of punk-ishness in large part thanks to the pummelling rhythm, but Steve Harris' progressive influences are in plain sight. Particularly on the eerie "Remember Tomorrow", Maiden divulge a sense of atmospherics that I've rarely heard in a NWOBHM act. On the other hand, there's raw carnage to be experienced in "Running Free" and the upbeat title track. One of the most common criticisms of this album is that Iron Maiden had not completely found their 'sound' yet, but in spite of the lineup differences, these guys seem ot have had a firm idea of where they wanted to go musically.

Naturally, Paul DiAnno's vocal performance will be the sorest part for Maiden fans, if only for the fact that he ain't Brucey. For one, he's certainly not as brilliant a vocalist as Bruce is, yet his carefree, almost brutish approach to singing works well for the rawer sound Iron Maiden were bringing at this point. I imagine the 'rawness' will turn off some of the band's softer, or more progressively inclined fans, but it brings a more organic sound to their music than most of their following studio work. The production is a real highlight on "Iron Maiden", in spite of the fuzzy distortion and busy performance, things come through feeling warm and 'in-your-face'. The best way I might describe the production is that this sounds most suited for the atmosphere of a small club show, whereas "Number of the Beast" onwards gives the impression of a bombastic arena affair.

It's obviously nowhere near as 'matured' or 'realized' as the Iron Maiden they would become with later albums, but this debut should not be discredited by fans or newcomers. Although the band we know nowadays as Iron Maiden only shares two members with this incarnation, the signature sound and style is here, not to mention that "Phantom of the Opera" still stands as one of their greatest compositions. Check it out!

Report this review (#798705)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Iron Maiden was one of the first bands I got into back around '82/'83. My friends' older brothers were bringing home all this hard rock and heavy metal and I found it really appealed to me. I remember my friend playing me some tracks from Number of the Beast and I was seriously hooked. But at the age of 12, my income was limited to a weekly real estate paper delivery that paid only $25 a month and cassettes were usually $9.99. However, it's thanks to my meagre budget (and the fact that my mother insisted that I put most of the money in the bank) that I was forced to buy cheaper cassettes ($6.99 to $7.99) and that is how my first Iron Maiden purchase came to be not Number of the Beast but their debut, Iron Maiden.

For a 12-year-old, the shorter tracks were the easier ones to absorb and get into: Prowler, Sanctuary, Running Free, Charlotte the Harlot, and Iron Maiden. The simple song formula, the heavy metal guitars... if there was anything progressive about these songs it went straight over my head. Hey, I was into heavy metal, not progressive rock. I hadn't ever even heard of progressive rock.

But there was something there in those longer songs that captured my attention. Remember Tomorrow had slow parts that weren't sappy. The bass guitar stood out. The electric guitars were mellow but effective at creating an atmosphere. The drums were subtle and controlled when necessary. Then there was the heavy chorus and rapid-paced solo part that abruptly stepped on the breaks and brought the song back down to the slow pace for the chorus. The change in dynamics appealed to me.

Then there was Phantom of the Opera. What an unusual song! Mostly an instrumental, this was not a lengthy jam session or guitar solo indulgence but rather a song that was crafted after a symphonic fashion. It was heavy metal but I could imagine a symphony orchestra performing this music (OK, at 12 years of age I didn't imagine this - I was probably closer to the age of 17 by that time). How many other bands were composing instrumental passages that were about the melody and building on the music rather than just music to support a guitar solo? Black Sabbath Volume 4, which I also procured for a cheap price at this time, came to mind.

Then how about the instrumental Transylvania, a kind of continuation of the Phantom of the Opera vein, segued into the melodic and mysterious Strange World? This was again metal with a symphonic feel composition-wise and a slow song that was not a sugary love song but a voyage to some imaginary place that crossed Greek women of ancient times in togas and holding grapes with an extraterrestrial sea and distant space vessels gleaming in the sunlight of a pink sky. Well, that wasn't exactly what the lyrics were about but that was the image that Strange World gave me and it has stuck ever since.

I have to say that it is very much thanks to this album that early on I learned to appreciate that hard and heavy music didn't have to be all AC/DC and Van Halen or a four-minute, ass- kicking like Judas Priest's Screaming for Vengeance and some tracks off Black Sabbath's Mob Rules. Because I encountered this creative approach to heavy music early on it was easy for me to appreciate the genius of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, or pick out the brilliance of Metallica's Master of Puppets. Iron Maiden by Iron Maiden taught me that heavy metal could be compositionally creative and expansive, not just about energy and technical skill.

I give it four stars for the four longer songs I mentioned above. This may not be the taste of many prog heads but if you are OK with progressive metal then I think this album holds some great examples of some of the early works in true progressive heavy metal.

Report this review (#798721)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Many prog lovers will disagree with me on this? I can rate an album as "perfect" (5/5) even if some of the tracks are great. And I most often only listen to the tracks I like on an album.

I can't see any other band that has made a better debut album than Iron Maiden (but both Leprous and Riverside come close to match this with their debut albums). Two of my all time favorite songs are on this album, and they are both (if you ask me) progressive masterpieces: Remember Tomorrow and Phantom of the Opera. (If you listen only to the part from around 2:00 to 6:00 on Phantom of the Opera, this may be the best 4 minutes of music ever been made).

Also a special mention of the tracks Strange World (which is very slow compared to what Iron Maiden is most known for) and Transylvania (instrumental), both these are also worth listening to for prog rock addicts (I guess many readers on Progarchives will avoid Iron Maiden because it's metal).

The weakest tracks on this album are the most famous ones; Running Free and Iron Maiden. However, 18 years ago I also loved those two tracks.

Iron Maiden has a straight forward sound in this album almost as a punk rock band, but there are some catchy melodies, and prog-oriented songs like Phantom of the Opera. Paul DiAnno's vocal is perfect to the this mix, having said that, the long periods without vocals will always be my favorites from Maiden. I also think that DiAnno's vocals are less flexible than Bruce Dickinson, which lead to more melodies in the guitars than in the vocals. In the albums after DiAnno often the melodies are in the vocals, not in the guitar lines.

I have never listened more to any other albums than this one. It says itself that for me this is a 5-star album.

Report this review (#859917)
Posted Friday, November 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars An impressive beginning for IRON MAIDEN and their mascot Eddie. Already with their first album they were catapulting the NWOBHM into new arenas by incorporating not only elements of punk but even more importantly those of progressive rock bands.

Only two classic members here. Steve Harris and Dave Murray. Dennis Stratton although only appearing on this album and then sacked due to musical incompatibilities nevertheless contributed the use of Wishbone Ash dual guitar melodies that MAIDEN would make their own for their entire career.

Paul Di'Anno only contributed his vocals to the first two MAIDEN albums but his unique punky vocal style really suits the material here. In fact, although Bruce Dickinson may be the better of the two, Di'Anno has a certain charm that makes the first two albums in their discography stand out. This debut has always been on the top of my list of favorites.

This album has a great diversity of sounds ranging from the punkish tracks like "Prowler" and "Running Free" to the slower more cerebral tracks like "Remember Tomorrow" and "Strange World." The real standout is "Phantom Of The Opera" which showed their ability to write extended tracks with progressive themes.

The band had unexpected success from the getgo in their native UK and soon afterwards in mainland Europe. This brilliant debut was only a prototype of the even better and more ambitious albums to come. Although this is often overshadowed by the greatness of the Dickinson era, I listen to this album regularly as it is a timeless classic that I simply can't get enough of. 4.5 rounded up

Report this review (#1117017)
Posted Monday, January 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Atomic metal punks! Steve Harris can disavow the UK punk scene all he wants, but there is a punk steam wafting up from the metal grates in the dank alleys of Iron Maiden's memorable debut. It may even be the earliest ancestor of crossover, alongside the road dogs in Motorhead.

Of course, this is due to a few elements, one being that the musicianship of the band had yet to reach that level of refinement that they would further hone on "Killers," before bringing Bruce Dickinson into the mix and elevating Eddie from a street punk with eggs in his hair, to a figure bigger than the Devil. The other element is Paul Di'Anno, who brought a grungy element to Maiden's sound during their first two albums. This punky tone Di"Anno brought to the game felt a bit out of place once Adrian Smith joined and the band could really wail those guitars to perfection on "Killers," but he's the right guy for this record. It's not the Iron Maiden we came to know and love, but it's a great album, listening to it is like watching an Enzo G. Castellari movie where scary punks rule the streets, with a gothic edge.

Report this review (#1372789)
Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2015 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars Like many others, I avoided this debut by Iron Maiden for a long time because it doesn't feature Bruce Dickenson on vocals. Bruce is a freaking legend, rightfully one of the most respected front-men and vocalist in all of rock history... but it's easy to forget that so much of what makes Iron Maiden a great band is the instrumental work and song writing going on all around his antics and wails. Iron Maiden the album shows off the group's band-centric nature excellently, with the early lineup pounding out well-crafted hard rock/metal with savage gusto and ambition. And DiAnno's vocals are pretty great after all!

The album opens very strongly with "Prowler," making it apparent that Iron Maiden isn't just a noisy punk or thrash group. The instrumental work is precise and energetic, and thanks to an excellent production, we can hear every note of it. Harris' iconic bass stands out powerfully (not quite galloping yet).

"Remember Tomorrow" shows the group striving for creativity and tone, with a thoughtful beginning that builds and builds to blistering crescendo of riffs and power chords. Very strong, very effective. The slow and quite intro to this song also shows the band playing softer than I think they ever have, with the exception of the mid-point to "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner."

There's a fair load of more straight forward rockers, such as "Sanctuary," "Charlotte the Harlot," and "Running Free," but the standout tracks of "Phantom of the Opera" and "Transylvania" are legitimate highlights in the band's library. "Phantom" especially; it's a dynamic and instrumental piece which, while not so complex as some of the instrumentals of the bands that they've inspired (such as Dream Theater), is probably more effective. Unfortunately the guitar work by Murray and Stratton isn't up to the same level that we'd hear later with Murray and Smith, and the drumming is pretty forgettable. However, Iron Maiden the album keeps its emphasis on composition, which keeps the lackluster soling to a minimum.

The album as a whole has a throaty rawness which hints at the band's metal or punk club origins, but don't let it fool you. There's a lot of exciting stuff going on here. Fans of Maiden need to listen to this simply for historical value, and hard rock listeners in general well find a lot to like, even if you're turned off by Iron Maiden the band's later offerings.


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

Report this review (#1477943)
Posted Tuesday, October 20, 2015 | Review Permalink
Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams
4 stars Amazing connection with various rock subgenre elements, they had (and have).

This album can be thought as one of the vanguards that merge punk, hardcore, (so-called) progressive, and especially pop, into heavy metal basis. Yes we should consider the reason they would have got to be a popular combo all over the world. Like to say that pop / melodious hard rock might be one of their early strategies for splashing their creation out into the worldwide rock scene in 1980s. Their methodological heavy riffs should addict us so slowly, gradually as if we might continue getting little poisonous liquid again and again or get a bunch of body blows.

Their artistic methods can be summarized and condensed into one of their masterpieces here "Phantom Of The Opera", we can get notified. Not only massive drumming expansion or violently explosive guitar sound bullets along with uptempo verse-chorus-interlude- verse-chorus repetitions but also intentional irregular rhythmical alterations via theatrical variations can be heard ... we must get surprised and amazed in such a musical development over 3 decades ago! Nope they were too innovative to avoid such an approach for metal freaks.

Anyway it's so cool to know their ballad number "Strange World" be beautiful and flowery, psychedelic, enough blended with hard, metallic sound delight. Wondering what essence should drive heavy metal combos to do such a gracious work, not only as for Iron Maiden but almost all HM artists. They might know how to control their melody-scape well, I imagine. Another metal outfit aside, they COULD navigate and manage their inner melody line upon stage and in a recording studio, unless they could directly got the revelation of Metal Guru.

As a result, the word "epochmaking" is pretty suitable for this eponymous debut, and why can we avoid the horrible and impressive sleeve? ;)

Report this review (#1524502)
Posted Wednesday, February 3, 2016 | Review Permalink
3 stars Timing in everything when it comes to music. Heavy metal, the genre created by bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, was already starting to stagnate by the end of the 70's, with a lot of the genres leaders already burning themselves out. Thankfully, in 1980, Iron Maiden unleashed their debut album, taking the flag and running with a new subgenre known as the 'new wave of British heavy metal', or NWOBHM for short, and giving the metal world a kick up its own ass, as it prepared for a whole new level of global domination.

Combining elements of heavy metal with 70's punk, Iron Maiden's self-titled debut is a ball of raw energy, with its gritty production and its unpolished songwriting, this is an album where no punches are pulled. It's rough, it's dirty and there's certainly room for the band to mature, but there's just a charm and importance about the album that makes it stand out. I mean, it's Iron bloody Maiden for Christ's sake!

However, all praise aside, let's get to the nitty gritty of the review. The music is fun, catchy and full of life, but there's nothing truly outstanding jumping out at me. Each track is good, but lacks that extra something that leaves me feeling like I've just listened to a masterpiece.

Musically the band are pretty tight. Guitarists Dave Murray and Dennis Stratton display a chemistry other bands at the time were lacking, and Steve Harris' fast-paced, galloping bass playing instantly sets him apart from other bassists from that era. Vocalist Paul Di'Anno, who would only appear on one other Maiden record before being replaced with the beast that is Bruce Dickinson, may not have the widest vocal range or the most powerful voice, but he makes use of what he has, and it fits the stripped down, almost punk-esque feel of the album.

While the London five-piece would certainly go on to release more ambitious albums (and take over the world, pretty much), 'Iron Maiden' itself can only really be considered a "good" album. 'Prowler', 'Running Free', 'Transylvania' and 'Phantom of the Opera' are all reasons to get this album. But the truth is, realistically, Iron Maiden will go on to release some of the greatest metal albums of all time, and pretty much all the later material makes this album seem a bit dated and obsolete now.

It's good, and it has stood the test of time well, but I'd still only class it as "good". A worthy addition to the collection.

Report this review (#1743938)
Posted Sunday, July 16, 2017 | Review Permalink

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