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Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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3.85 | 593 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
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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

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |


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