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Iron Maiden Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son album cover
4.20 | 885 ratings | 61 reviews | 52% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Moonchild (5:39)
2. Infinite Dreams (6:09)
3. Can I Play With Madness (3:31)
4. The Evil That Men Do (4:34)
5. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (9:53)
6. The Prophecy (5:05)
7. The Clairvoyant (4:27)
8. Only The Good Die Young (4:42)

Total Time: 43:57

Bonus Videos on 1998 remaster :
Video1. Can I Play With Madness (3:37)
Video2. The Evil That Men Do (4:35)
Video3. The Clairvoyant (Excerpt) (0:48)
Video4. Infinite Dreams (Excerpt) (0:54)

Line-up / Musicians

- Bruce Dickinson / vocals
- Dave Murray / lead & rhytm guitars
- Adrian Smith / lead & rhythm guitars, synth
- Steve Harris / bass, string synth
- Nicko McBrain / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Derek Riggs (creator of Iron Maiden's mascot, "Eddie the Head")

CD EMI United Kingdom ‎- CDEMD 1006 (1988, UK)
CD EMI ‎- 4 96864 0 (1998, Europe) Remastered with CDROM section including 4 bonus videos plus band and tour history, biography and exclusive photo galleries.

Thanks to Bj-1 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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IRON MAIDEN Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son ratings distribution

(885 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(52%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (11%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

IRON MAIDEN Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Among progheads, this album is often considered as their best album. I don't know if I would go that far but this one is really great indeed. Again, we see Maiden at top performance and songwriting like featured on the "Somewhere In Time", including melodic songs ("The Prophecy") to more wild and complex epics (the title track). A very dynamic and well-balanced album in overall I would say. Continuing the epic and progressive steps left after 1986's "Somewhere In Time", though "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" is a bit more earthly, you can clearly see here that Maiden has found a path which they would walk further on. Sadly, they didn't until after the "Fear of The Dark" album released in 1992, and thus with not so perfect results as this album was. "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" also represents Maiden's first true concept album, inspired by Orson Scott Card's novel with the same name. The title track especially presents this fact well.

Of course, this is not a perfect album, some less good musical parts are present, but it still keep's up with "Powerslave" and "Somewhere In Time" with complete ease, this was my favourite Maiden album until I realized that those two were slightly better. But I would still strongly recommend this album to all who are interested. The album sold well and got supported with 4 singles, all being excellent musically, making this album to one of Maiden's most memorable albums from the 80's.

A near-masterpiece overall with the best tracks being "Moonchild", the excellent title track (one of Maiden's best tracks in their career) and "The Prophecy". Highly recommended. 4.55/5

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I don't remember exactly if "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" or "Powerslave" was the third CD I purchased from Iron Maiden albums. But for sure this is another excellent music produced by Iron Maiden. From its powerful opening track "Moonchild" to "Only the Good Die Young" this album delivers a well balanced music of good melody and harmony. "Moonchild" has very strong composition in relatively fast tempo and powerful vocal line and melody. It's hard to deny that this is an excellent hard rock music with some prog elements in it. "Infinite Dreams" starts with soft guitar work that reminds me to classic rock music followed with medium tempo style accompanying vocal. It moves in crescendo into heavier music with high register notes voice line. Again the multi guitar players work collaboratively to deliver excellent harmony. The song moves in relatively varied style. It's a great song. I like how bass guitar played by Steve Harris move along with the music and providing definitive and tight bass lines. Bravo Steve Harris! Structurally, you might consider this as a prog music.

"Can I Play With Madness" is somewhat remembering me to Kansas' "Carry On Wayward Son" because the opening choir line is similar in nature. It's one of accessible songs that many people can enjoy. "The Evil That Men Do" brings melodic part at the opening through soft guitar work followed with straight hard rock music. It's hard to deny that the album title track is completely a prog music in nature. Look at the non-linear structure and sound textures with symphonic style. "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" is a beautifully crafted song combining excellent melody, textures, harmony and powerful singing style. It's also the case with "The Prophecy" and "The Clairvoyant" - both tracks are excellent and have become the band's legendary tracks. The album concludes brilliantly with "Only The Good Die Young" (Is it to say that to Die Old you have to be cruel and nasty?) in relatively straight hard rock music.

Overall, this is a masterpiece of rock. Some people who love Iron Maiden said that this is the proggiest album of Iron Maiden. Is it? It's up to you to decide. One thing for sure, if you are a rocker you would definitely say that this is a masterpiece! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by darkshade
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Iron Maiden's shining moment. Almost every reviewer has given this 4-5 stars. And rightfully so, as this is probably one of, if not, THE blueprint for future prog-metal acts as well as some other prog bands. From the opening of Moonchild, through probably Maiden's most prog track, right to the end with Only The Good Die Young, not a single moment is boring.

Moonchild, Can I Play With Madness, and Only The Good Die Young are standard Maiden tracks, though more epic and proggy than usual. Great melodies and harmonies as always, they're just above average tunes, by the band's standards.

Infinite Dreams, The Evil That Men Do, The Prophecy, and The Clairvoyant are 4 of the best tracks Maiden ever laid to an album, and some of the proggiest. They evoke many emotions, some sad, some joyous, some triumphant, all very powerful. Dickinson's vocals are absolutely top notch as he hits some of the highest notes in his career. The guitars mixed with the suttle keyboards are the dominating force in the music, with Harris' bass and McBrain's drums holding everything together. Infinite Dreams goes through many different tones in the music, and if you listen on headphones closely, there's parts you wouldnt necessarily hear normally. The Evil That Men Do is standard Maiden in terms of composition, but the melodies are so captivating and emotional that it ranks higher than another 'normal' Maiden tune. The Prophecy has a nice 6/8 time that has good bass and suttle keyboards. The highlight of the track is easily the classical guitar outro. It's so beautiful and captivating that I sometimes wish it were its own song. That end section hints at what would come later in Maiden's career (BNW, DOD, AMOLOD). The Clairvoyant, a Maiden live staple, is also probably the second best track on the album. You can hear where the likes of Dream Theater, Symphony X, Umphrey's McGee, etc. got a lot of their inspiration from here. From the grand opening, to the dark verses, to the excellent solo section, it's all here.

The 'piece-de-resistance' is, of course, the title track. This pretty much set the standard for the most part of how a prog-metal song should be like. The first 4 minutes or so are completely epic Maiden with good singalong vocals and lush keyboards. Then the song slows down to a haunting melody with the bass and drums in some interesting time signature, something like 17/18 or something, im not quite sure right now. Dickinson reads a section of the lyrics in a very dark tone, almost scary. The guitars start building up, as does everyone else eventually until a very climatic section comes and you think the song is over, but it's barely begun.

What comes next is, in my honest opinion, Maiden's heaviest section they've ever done. Forget anything on A Matter of Life and Death, this is the heaviest thing they've ever done. The riffs are have a strange exotic feel to them, but very good. The final outro has some excellent melodies and brings the song home leaving the listener out of breath when it's all over.

This album cannot be beat, unfortunately I feel Maiden will never top this album again, since this album is the buildup of 6 albums past. It's a damn shame this lineup would never exist again (sort of, just with one extra guitarist, who I feel is unnecessary to keep in the band, but I digress)

Although under prog-related, this album comes as the exception and should at least be in every prog lover's collection.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Although it was surrounded by controversy at the time it was released, this is clearly Iron Maiden's biggest achievement. The reason it was not that well greeted in the 80's is basic because it was such a groundbreaking album, it was hard to predict how much it would affect the course of the music scene. This was the truly first "prog metal" album ever. Somewhere In time hinted much a couple of years before, but Seventh Son Of a Seventh Son was really the one that proved progressive music and heavy metal were not incompatible at all. More than that it proved that both genres could combined to from a whole new style. Up till then no band had gone as far as Maiden to develop their sound so much in such a short span of time. Some did changed a lot, but as far as going commercial, or maybe more aggressive, but Maiden did outgrow their style boundaries.

But enough of history here. The album is remarkable not only for its novelty at the time. It's the sheer quality of the songs that really makes this a enjoyable, timeless, piece of music. All tracks are strong (varying from classic to very good) and definitely it marked the peak of the creativeness of all band members, but specially Steve Harris. No wonder this LP is one of his favourites. Songs like Infinite Dreams, The Evil that Man Do and The Clairvoyant are as relevant today as they were back then. The band is playing better than ever and the very good Maiden England video showed that on stage.

The only bad feeling about this album was the fact that never again the band could match this feat. Adrian Smith would soon leave the band and all would go downhill from that point on. But, after producing some of the finest HM albums of the entire 80's and pointing the future more than once, I guess they did more than most bands ever dreamed of. It would be asking too much for anyone to be forever leading trends. Their latest albums may not have the power and freshness of Seventh Son... or even the ones that came before it, but they´re still Maiden albums and the progressive elements only increased after Brave New world (which always sound to me as a kind of progression of the Seven Son... music).

A classic, a trendsetter, one of my favourites albums of all time.

Review by Melomaniac
5 stars As one of the most fervent militants of Iron Maiden's inclusion in PA (along with Ghost Rider), I feel that, now that justice is done, I must review Iron Maiden's brilliant career. It is no coincidence that I choose 7th Son as my first Iron Maiden review, as it was the first IM album I bought upon it's release and also my favorite, the most prog album they recorded (along with A Matter of Life and Death) and the only true concept album they have recorded.

In a time when it was unthinkable to add synths into metal, Iron Maiden have to be given the credit to have been the first metal band to do so with Somewhere in Time, and it paid off. With 7th Son, they pushed the daring even further, opening the album on acoustic guitar and vocals in the introduction to Moonchild. A hard-hitting opener, dark, heavy and fast-paced, with Bruce Dickinson delivering one of his most theatrical performance. 'Infinite Dreams' is truly a prog-metal (master)piece, from it's mellow introduction to it's heavy and complex instrumental section. The build up is just phenomenal. The way this song is built never fails to amaze me. 'Can I play with Madness' is the album's top single, and, even though it probably is my least favorite track on this album, I have to recognize that it is catchy and has wonderful melodies. There's something about this song that instantly grabs you, and first thing you notice is you are tapping your foot along the infectious groove. 'The Evil that Men Do' is a more standard metal track, not unlike Moonchild. Very great tune.

Next comes the masterpiece of the album, and one of Iron Maiden's best songs (in my humble opinion), the title track Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. A prog metal fan's delight. The atmosphere in this song is very ethereal in a dark way. Dickinson's performance in this song is top notch. The middle section makes you want to hold your breath as it is so eerie, building into a climactic ending. 'The Prophecy' is the only song Dave Murray penned on this album, and it stands out. A mid-tempo rocker with an amazing acoustic guitar finale. 'The Clairvoyant' has that typical Maiden flavor, instantly recognizable upon the first seconds, driven by Harris' soaring bass line with his unique tone. Undoubtedly a classic. Album closer 'Only the Good Die Young' ends the album perfectly, as if it was written for the purpose of ending the album (which probably was the case). 'The demon in your mind will rape you in your bed at night...' ... I get chills when I hear that line. Harris has a moment where he particularly shines, delivering and interesting and fast melody in E while Murray and Smith hold the rythm for him. The song ends in an explosing finale, before returning to the intro of Moonchild 'Seven Deadly sins, seven ways to win, seven holy paths to hell...'. The perfect end to a perfect album.

Unfortunately, 7th Son would be Adrian Smith's last album before returning on Brave New World.

Fans of prog not really into Iron Maiden should waste no time in discovering this amazing album, as it would demonstrate to them just how prog the Mighty Iron Maiden can be.

A masterpiece of the genre, deserving an undisputable five stars.

Review by Cristi
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover / Prog Metal Teams
4 stars Seventh Son of the Seventh Son is the first Iron Maiden album I listened to in very late 80s, i was just a teenager. It impressed me big time and thus, IM has become one of my favourite bands. As with the previous album - Somewhere in Time - the use of keyboards continues, still greatly and cleverly. The title track is a brilliant epic, one of the best Maiden songs ever. Again, i'll have to say there are no filler tracks here, even the accessible Can I Play with Madness works nicely. The highlights of the album are Infinite Dreams, Clairvoyant, The Evil that Men Do, The Prophecy and the title song. Moonchild is a great opener and also Only the Good Die Young closes the album nicely giving the impression of a concept album.

This album is a must-have for all prog-rock and prog-metal fans. It's probably Maiden proggiest album. Enough said.

Review by richardh
5 stars I've been listening to both this and A Matter Of Life And Death in the car over the past week.Although AMOLAD is very good, Seventh Son of A Seventh Son is one mighty album that to be honest just wipes the floor with it.This is Iron Maiden at the top of their game ...and for that matter at the top of the metal tree looking down from a great height at the rest.

The songs are all strong.You don't have any weak moments and at times the band are on fire.But it just not aimless guitar solos for the sake of it.Maiden have crafted an album with an overall theme that glues the tracks together.I do feel that I'm getting something that is whole.I also very much like the production which is clear and dynamic.The drum sound is spot on especially.

So is this prog? I think so.Prog should not have a narrow definition.This is enjoyable to listen to because its not about being loud and fast.Its music with enough twists and turns to keep me happy.

Review by Zitro
4 stars Iron Maiden's best album!

Seventh Son of the Seventh Son is Iron Maiden at their peak. After this excellent and ambitious album, they just started declining in quality, with 4 somewhat weak albums until Brave New World was released. This is a concept album, and while it does not connect musically as well as Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and any Neal Morse solo album, it is still a very enjoyable set of songs with some musical ideas that are shared among songs here. This album also shows Iron Maiden attempting to sound more symphonic, with the help of keyboards.

Introduced by an acoustic motif and electric keyboards, Moonchild is among Iron Maiden's best opening songs in an album. An irresistible fast-paced rocker with very memorable choruses (check out the guitar riff in them) and brazing guitar playing. The energy and arrangements make Moonchild a highlight of this great album. Infinite Dreams is a synth-heavy (for Maiden) complex tune with tempo changes. A very solid composition that is a favorite among many Iron Maiden fans. Can I Play With Madness is an upbeat song that sounds quite out of place in this dark album. The quality of the song doesn't help also, being possibly as annoying as "Die With Your Boots On" and "Running Free". The Evil That Men Do is a more straightforward song, but it does not mean that it is weak. It's riffs, chorus vocal melodies, and solos are enough to stop it from being a low point in the album.

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is the best song of the album, even better than the wonderful Moonchild. Not only that, but it may also be my 3rd favourite song in the entire discography of Iron Maiden, behind The Trooper and Paschendale. The track starts with a guitar melody that will later appear faster-paced in the closing track. Great melodic verses and heavy and faster-paced choruses make the first half of the song excellent. Check the drumming in this song, it is one of McBrain's shining moments. After the second chorus, a nice guitar line is repeated until it abruptly stops and a mellow, yet fast-paced atmospheric section with bass, guitars, synths, percussion, and narration. Later, you hear vocal chorus and soft and echoed electric guitar riffs. It starts growing and growing until it turns into metal again. This mellow section is absolutely brilliant and is what" Rime of the Ancient Mariner" failed to achieve. Now, there is metal with excellent and virtuosic guitar soloing and more epic vocal chorus, ending the song with possibly the heaviest section of music Iron Maiden has ever done.

The Prophecy is another excellent song in the vein of Infinite Dreams, with tempo changes, and somewhat complex and inspired songwriting. I love the ending when the electric guitar riff fades out and an elegant acoustic guitar solo plays for a minute. The Clairvoyant and Only The Good Die Young are simplier fast-paced metal songs that are more anthemic and seem like good choices on a live setlist.

All in all, Iron Maiden's greatest artistic achievement is here and after this album, they will release a very weak and uninspired "No Prayer for the Dying", an ok, but disappointing "Fear of the Dark" which at least has a great title track, an experimental but somewhat dull "X-Factor" with a bad singer, and a total disaster "Virtual XII" until they finally started releasing good quality albums again.

Anyways, highly recommended for anyone who enjoys good music and a bit of metal.

Review by 1800iareyay
4 stars Seventh Son of a Seventh Son would prove to be the last album of Maiden's classic era. After the slight experimentation with synths on the preceeding Somewhere in Time, the band decided to embrace guitar synths for their next album, a concept piece dealing with a young psychic who forsees an apocalyptic future and attempts to warn the people in his village, who ignore him. This is sort of like a power metal version of the Greek story of Cassandra who foresaw the downfall of Troy but could not convince her countrymen to flee. This isn't Maiden's best album from a metal standpoint, but from a prog view this is the apex of Maiden's career.

This, like all Maiden albums from Powerslave to Somewhere in Time, contains no filler tracks. From the rocking opener "Moonchild" to the anthemic "Only the Good Die Young," this album never loses its concept and it is pure prog metal. "Can I Play With Madness?" is the striaght-forward single of the album, but it's highly adictive and doesn't subtract from the seriousness of the album.

Every musician works together on this stunning landmark in prototypical progressive metal. Nicko McBrain is a very inventive drummer who never gets the recognition that Steve, Adrian, Dave, and Bruce do. Though not nearly as technical as a Bobby Jarzombeck or a Dave Lombardo or a Gene Hoglan, his bass drums complement Steve's rythm, and his cymabl and snare workouts make him one of the most well-rounded drummers in metal. Adrian and Dave craft superb passages that work in tandem and also let one player solo while the other forges ahead with a new melody. Bruce's vocals are stunning as usual. I view Steve as the John Entwistle of meta; both manage to unleash amazing bass performances while still keeping to the rythm and not breaking the songs to solo.

Every track is killer, but the standouts are The Clairvoyant, The Evil That Men Do, Moonchild, and the stunning title track, with its haunting yet catchy singalong chorus and one of the greatest solos in metal, though not as good as the one found on the title track of Powerslave.

Maiden was a pioneer of synths in metal. Judas Priest incorporated synths into their album "Turbo," which was released around the time of this album and its predecessor. However, Priest failed to expand their sound or their fanbase as the album bordered on pop and fans hated it. Maiden succeeds with this album because instead of backing off, they crafted one of, if not their heaviest album. Fans of prog metal must own this album. It is not the first prog metal album, but it one of the first and helped to forge the sub-genre along with Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime, Rage For Order, and The Warning, Watchtower Energetic Disassembly, and Fates Warning's Awaken the Guradian. Proggies can live without this, but metal fans must own this album. Highly Recommended.

Progressive Grade: B+

Metal Grade: A-/A

Review by chessman
4 stars Having just bought this yesterday, along with Somewhere In Time, for the princely sum of £10 the two, it has brought back happy memories. I had this on cd years ago but it was a second hand copy, and quite scratched. Now, I rate this, along with 'Somewhere In Time', as the best Maiden albums (though I have to say I haven't heard anything by the band since Dickinson returned to the fold). This album has many progressive elements to it, and the guitars weave in and out behind the vocals, allowing Bruce full reign with his rather powerful and distinctive voice. He is in fine form here, from the opening almost spoken intro, over a gentle acoustic guitar, right through to the very end, were we have the almost spoken outro, again over gentle acoustic guitar. A court jester comes to mind at these two points, though the image of Dickinson dressed as a harlequin, shaking his bells, is quite an incongrous one! Every track is a delight and is, if I may use the word in a heavy metal context, catchy! Both of the singles, 'The Evil That Men Do' and 'Can I Play With Madness' are hummable, but my favourite track has to be the epic title track, 'Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son', with its middle section, where Bruce speaks in a quiet, yet menacing voice, over the slowly building guitars in the background, a particular highlight for me. The brief use of acoustic guitars at the end of 'The Prophecy' is also a welcome break from the more standardised riffing and soloing that impregnates most of the record. A wonderful album that caters to the heavier side of my tastes, but without ever becoming too aggressive or unharmonic. Not totally prog, but still worth four stars.
Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the album that many people consider Iron Maiden's masterpiece. Without a doubt, it may actually be their most progressive, but is it really their best record ever? In our opinion, it's almost there.

After the excellent, almost perfect SOMEWHERE IN TIME, Maiden continued to travel in that same more complex, progressive road. If the preceding album had a few moments of full-blown progressiveness, SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON is almost a 100% pure prog-metal release, as the textures get even more developed, the songs are longer, multi-sectional, the guitar arrangements are more challenging, the bass lines even more virtuosic, and even the lyrics, the theme itself gets "proggier", as for the first time ever, The Beast unleash what could be called a concept album. The guitar synth, the inclusion of which enhanced the preceding album so much, plays a big role here, too.

An element that I have to talk about is Bruce Dickinson's vocals: they've always been great, that's no news, but in this record they are really at their peak. SEVENTH SON features probably the best vocal performance ever by the flyer-singer, and that's quite a lot to say. That helps the album a lot and launches it to the top group of all the band's releases.

Moonchild (9.5/10) Dickinson opens this furious track singing softly over an acoustic guitar. Some spacey arpeggios mark the entrance of the whole band. It's a fast track, but an unusual complex opener by The Beast. The bass just throttles all over with its power, while Dickinson delivers, simply delivers. A great, virtuosic instrumental section where everybody shines takes this great opener (another one) to an end.

Infinite Dreams (9/10) A high guitar solos over the elegant bass and her quiet sister- axe. A melodic section where Dickinson shows his subtlety and the guitars sound almost atmospheric and classy takes us to chorus in a different rhythm, a chorus that seems to try to reach higher, to climb, though slowly, peacefully. Great drumming by McBrain and the vocals by Dickinson are top-class. Halfway down we get a section in the purest "Maiden-tempo". Very good song.

Can I Play With Madness (9/10) The production is just crystal-clear, we hear everything. This song, one of the most popular in this album, is strangely in a high mood, almost happy. It has a catchy chorus where the guitar riff sounds so full of hope, it's contagious. The instrumental section is a good one, though not as inspired. Another very good song. A little awkward in this album but good nevertheless.

The Evil That Men Do (9/10) A very melodic lament by the guitars leads the way to another full-strength section where the bass just dominates in our ears with its weight. A very fast track, I love the verse and the pre-chorus (I love songs with pre-choruses) but the chorus is not as glorious as it could've been. Anyway, that doesn't harm the song that much, as the solo section makes up for it. Excellent.

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (9.5/10) Probably one of the most progressive songs by the Beast, it's also one of their longest at almost 10 minutes. It starts with ceremony, with pomp, very melodic yet very imposing. The chorus is not that great, but this song is not about choruses. We get another one of those "chant" moments by Maiden when we feel like we should be in an stadium singing along. The guitar synth plays its role here. A descending figure opens the brilliant instrumental section, one of the best of the Beast. Dickinson still has a chance to speak, though he literally does that, speak, over very soft bass and guitars and synth. The hi-hat and the bass drum maintain the tension, keep it at a livable level, don't let it explode. The tension finally reaches a climax and the fast section attacks with thundering solos by Murray and Smith. Fantastic song, one of the highlights of the album.

The Prophecy (8/10) A very soft, melodic dialogue between the guitars and the bass. The main verse strikes us as royal, kingly, arrogant. The chorus lacks a little of melody but what surrounds it makes up for it. Another good song, though my least favorite in this album, as it lacks a hook. It just seems to go and go.

The Clairvoyant (9.5/10) Another anthemic start by The Beast, one that sends shivers down the spine to every Iron Maiden fan, as it sounds 100% pure Maiden. Full of energy, blood at top pressure, the main verse epic, heroic, the relentless rhythm speaks of a battle, a lost battle, but a battle that will continue anyway, a chant for never giving up. Unlike other Maiden tracks, this one doesn't need a glorious chorus as the verse is already there. The chorus is actually doubtful, ambiguous, deception collides with resignation, but then again, all the rest is pure effort, pure fight, pure sweat, guts for glory. Dickinson conveys so good every emotion in this album. This is his album, too.

Only The Good Die Young (9/10) An unusual fast conclusion for a Maiden album, this tracks has the usual power and adrenaline that we've came to starve from the Beast. The chorus starts weakly but then goes up in key and gets better. A perfect choice for closer, it makes us leave this experience with another smile in our faces, not a new achievement by Maiden. Dickinson puts an end to the record the same way it started.

All in all, my third-favorite album by Iron Maiden, and another one that deserves a full rating. Even if I don't have as many favorite tracks in here as in SOMEWHERE IN TIME, the quality of the music is at the same level, and being that we're in a progressive rock website, this is the album that needs to get a 5/5 rating the most, as it's the culmination of their advances towards a more complex style of metal. They would have quite a halt from that in their next release, curiously their first without guitar master Adrian Smith. But eventually, they would resurrect. That will be matter for a next review.

Recommended for: Fans of Iron Maiden, of Heavy Metal (the best there is), fans of progressive metal that want to hear one of the first examples of the genre.

.1988 was the year when the band reached their peak. Luckily for us, there was another peak to climb to in the future, quite a few years later, and with another singer. But from the classic-era, SEVENTH SON and SOMEWHERE IN TIME are the Best of the Beast.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Seventh heaven

Released in 1988, Iron Maiden's seventh studio album finds them very much at the top of their game. There is focus on strong melodies here which can perhaps be lacking elsewhere in their extensive catalogue.

"Seventh son.." is a concept album telling the story of a prophet with special powers who predicts a terrible evil befalling his village. He is not taken seriously, and ends up killing himself ("Only the good die young"). The tale is very similar to that adopted by the band HOME on their fine concept album "The alchemist". The concept however is not particularly important to the album, which is made up of eight separate tracks each of which stands alone. While we have the more traditional Iron Maiden fare in songs such as "Can I play with the madness" and "The evil that men do", other tracks show a willingness to experiment and deviate from the band's comfort zone.

The 10 minute title track is an epic power metal ballad with a symphonic arrangement. It leans heavily on synthesisers for the underlying structure to this anthemic delight. The track has a distinctly prog feel, complete with a spoken section, and a tension building chorale.

"Infinite dreams" is also built around prog nuances, the bolero like feel being at odds with the style usually associated with Iron Maiden. Tracks such as "The prophesy" and "The clairvoyant" are also constructed using intricacies which may not at first be apparent, the former ending with some delicate acoustic guitar.

"Seventh son or a seventh son" is a an excellent album by any standards. It serves to demonstrate that prog metal does not need to be a sub-genre in isolation, but can appeal to a wide cross section of prog fans. The album artwork by Derek Riggs is superb, spoilt only by the fact that the LP does not have a gatefold sleeve.

Review by SoundsofSeasons
3 stars A fantastic showing of what metal can really do. I don't believe it is prog per-se but it definitely tries to lightly touch on prog. So, yes, prog fans can still enjoy this very much but expect to have fun more than anything. You wont be blown away but you will have a good time listening to it, as long as you don't expect anything too proggy. What really suprised me is that even when a song died down, it was still going strong and with tremendous fury and momentum. Wierd. Plus Bruce's voice just gets inside your head, and its fun to see what he can do once he's taken over. I just sit there and smile when he sings cause it really is comical how good he is at sounding demonized or possesed, and of course in the best way possible. Fun licks, fun singer, you can listen to it with anyone. Especially those OTHER hard rockin' snobs who turn their noses at the smell of prog. Unfortunately, once again, this really isn't very proggy so even what is IMHO the most prog and probably best Iron Maiden album can only get a 'good' from me.

3 stars, a good addition to a prog collection. But honestly, it's a fantastic metal album.

Review by Prog Leviathan
5 stars This is, with the notable exception of "Beast", the best of the classic Iron Maiden albums-- hands down. The composition and songwriting is smarter and more dynamic than ever before, while the band's performances seem to have been touched by the Formless One himself. "Seventh Son" is highly regarded as Maiden's most "progressive" album, and it's hard to argue with that statement given concepts and almost reserved and classy playing; the band clearly has something more in mind than simply wowing the listener with endless solos and Bruce's stratospheric vocals. Lyrically, "Seventh Son" is fantasy inspired but still very smart, and the inclusion of synthesizers opens up new avenues for the band's sound. For those nay-sayers who roll their eyes at the thought of Iron Maiden being anything other than big, dumb butt-rock than this would be the album to prove them wrong; for those hooked by the excellence of other albums or interested in starting from scratch... this is a great place to begin.

Songwriting 4 Instrumental Performances 4 Lyrics/Vocals 5 Style/Emotion/Replay 5

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By 1988 british heavy metal band Iron Maiden had firmly established themselves as one of the major bands, perhaps even THE major band, in the heavy metal scene. Their seventh studio release; "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" is the last of what most would say are the classic Iron Maiden albums. It is a release loved by many and hated by some, and showed a band moving on from heavy metal to something else. A move that would be abruptly stopped after this release, sadly.

Musically Iron Maiden continues the transition they started with "Powerslave" and further explored on Somehwere in Time. The influences from progressive rock are if not stronger then at least easier recognizable on this release. The songs are more complex; with changes in style and tempo more radical than on past releases; the synth is more extensivly used on this release; and is a vital aspect of the soundscapes in many songs here. In addition, the guitars are toned down making the music as such less "heavy" than before, and the individual instruments are used to create nuances and subtle moods quite a lot on this album.

The overall sound of most songs on this release are still heavy metal though, Maiden's by now typical fast paced drums, fast paced bass, pacey riffing varied with drawn out riffs, and the melodic and harmonic soloing are still very much present; but they are now used with in a slightly changed musical context; where progressive rock now seems to be the main influence.

But as with their previous release "Somewhere in Time" this evolved sound can only do so much with songs that aren't top notch. Although lyrically fitting within the concept story on this album; there are quite a few songs on this release that really doesn't manage to inspire. And even on the better songs, there are parts that deducts rather than adds to the overall quality of the song.

Still, there are quite a few good tracks on this release; tracks that are on par with he best Maiden wrote a few years earlier. On a varied release, my personal highlight is the title track; which in itself is almost a good enough reason to buy this release.

Review by Flucktrot
4 stars Maiden really are doing progressive metal here--something that wasn't immediately apparent. However, while other former metal tunes (Judas Priest, for example) get stale and cliche very quickly, I am really surprised about how often I come back to this one. In addition, it's always different features that grab my attention: a new appreciation for a well-worded lyric, an impressive baseline, cool guitar harmonies, and of course Dickinson's over-the-top vocal interpretations. I even love the cover: cartoon skulls and body parts with a gruesomeness worthy of metal, yet landscapes somewhat similar to Roger Dean-scapes.

Moonchild. Cool intro quickly introducing the theme, which wastes no time in starting a fist-pumping synth/power chord section, and then away we go with a killer metal tune. Great solo toward the end, and I always smile at Dickinson's meniacal laugh.

Infinite Dreams. No doubt this one is progressive as well. A restrained intro is a bit deceiving: this song has plenty of rock, with a ton of melodies and tempos packed into six minutes. Great stuff!

Can I Play with Madness, The Evil that Men Do. You know, a little bit of eighties excess isn't all bad. Although somewhat formulaic and cliche, these are very enjoyable songs that serve to lighten up the album a little (not considering lyrical content though).

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. The rest of the album may have taken a while for me to fully appreciate, but this one grabbed me right away. A simple yet catchy metal crunch and probably a bit too enthusiastic vocals set up a truly inspired final six minutes. Creepy basslines, vocal synths and spoken word build perfectly to an expertly choreographed jam to close the track. About as good as prog metal gets for me!

The Prophecy, The Clairvoyant, Only the Good Die Young. Three rockers that each have unique progressive elements that make meaningful and diverse contributions to the album, whether it's a surprisingly tasteful acoustic fadeout (The Prophecy), a killer opening bassline (The Clairvoyant), or the reprise from the opener to finish the album (Only the Good Die Young).

In short, these guys have created a masterpiece because they have successfully incorporated enough diversity in sounds and styles, while still offering plenty of what they do best, which is in-your-face rock. Cohesive, fun, and energetic.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I am a bit disillusioned with this offering compared to "Powerslave" and "Somewhere In Time".

It is a collection of metal songs : some uninspired and some fabulous ones .

"Moonchild" (the opener) start as "Radar Love" (from the great "Golden Earring") but the intro is the best it has to offer. "Infinite Dreams" is an average rock ballad (pleasantly dynamited in its second half) , or the AOR-ish "Can I Play With Madness" which opens as "Carry On..." from "Kansas". Even if it lasts for only three seconds, this intro automatically reminds me of that great "Kansas" song (as Gatot also mentions in his review). Some heavy-pop metal with "The Evil That Men Do".

Several songs will be introduced by some prog related short instrumental parts. But this isn't enough to call this one a prog-related album.

Still, there will be three excellent songs available here. But they are bizarrely located at the end of the album.

The long title track of course. A recent tendency from the band since "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" featured on the album "Powerslave" and "Alexander The Great" (from "Somewhere In Time"). It features a nice "prog-related" break but it is more a prog-metal anthem. "Riverside" and "Dream Theater" (and many others) must have listened to this piece of the Maiden repertoire (but not only to this one of course).

"The Clairvoyant" and "Only the Good Die Young" which are a bit similar in structure. Fast beat, nice and melodic guitar and a catchy chorus. Simple in structure but far much better than most of the tracks.

Three stars for this good album.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars This is where IRON MAIDEN goes all proggy on us,making a concept album and using synths. Oh my ! The concept is apparently about a young man who prophesies the destruction of his village, only to be ridiculed to the point where he goes insane(been there) and eventually commits suicide. I really do believe these guys were at the top of their game at this point in their careers. Confident, feeling they could do no wrong. Thankfully they had the guts to go out on a limb and do some progressive things. And it's great to hear a concept album that actually is full of fantastic songs.

"Moonchild" opens with some spoken words and acoustic guitar before we get some power. Crank it up ! It's full speed ahead 1 1/2 minutes in as the human siren begins to sing. The best bass player i've ever heard lays down some extraordinary lines. A sinister laugh signals the end of this one. "Infinite Dreams" is one of my favs. It opens with a tasteful guitar melody as reserved vocals follow. The song starts to build. I love the sound after 3 minutes as it kicks into a higher gear. Check out the guitar solo before 5 minutes ! "Can I Play With Madness" is a fun,uptempo track with a sing-a-long chorus. This would have fit well on "Somewhere In Time". Some incredible instrumental work when Bruce stops singing before 3 minutes. A very uplifting song. "The Evil That Men Do" leaves us with IRON MAIDEN's calling card 30 seconds in. That would be their famous galloping rhythm.

"Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" might be my favourite track. Such a heavy rhythm to it. The vocal melodies are fantastic that come and go. Head banging time. The quiet interlude after 4 1/2 minutes is outstanding. This is one of the best passages on the album. It ends abruptly when a violent guitar solo comes in from nowhere. A shred fest follows. "The Prophesy" opens with tasteful guitar and the vocal style reminds me of "Piece Of Mind". The lead guitar breaks away from the pack 2 1/2 minutes in with some scorching solos. "The Clairvoyant" is another killer track. Check out the bass intro ! This is classic MAIDEN right here. The tempo picks up on the chorus. I get goosebumps when Bruce sings about 4:15 in. "Only The Good Die Young" is a Billy Joel cover. NOT !! This is an uptempo closer that gives me chills. Ripping guitar as the rhythm gallops along. Great chorus.This would have been a good concert closer. The spoken words from the intro are reprised to end it.

This isn't even in my top 3 favourite IRON MAIDEN albums, but it's essential in my opinion.

Review by russellk
3 stars This album is such an improvement on the metal-lite of the MAIDEN's early career. The songs have variety and even subtlety (gasp!), providing this listener with a much more satisfying experience.

It's all here. A concept, widespread progginess in complex rhythms, time changes, solos that actually matter, keyboards and vocal harmonies. The boys have worked hard, and it shows. The first three songs are all worthwhile exercises, particularly 'Infinite Dreams', though 'The Evil that Men Do' is rather pointless. The title track redeems the album, though, and encourages me to seek out the album previous to this one. Even DICKINSON's laboured delivery can't ruin a splendid track, reminiscent of RAINBOW's mighty 'Stargazer', especially in one of DICKINSON's descending vocal figures. Like his soundalike RONNIE JAMES DIO he just keeps singing: there's barely a moment in the first four minutes of the song where he takes a breath. The album concludes with three reasonable tracks.

Still not a band I'd care to listen to regularly, but this album sits comfortably in my collection. And the title track is really a good piece of prog-metal.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars "Infinity is hard to comprehend"

I am not a fan of Iron Maiden in general, but Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son is a simply brilliant album! This is by far Iron Maiden's best and most progressive album. Indeed, it is probably one of the very best Metal albums of the 80's. One reason for this is that while all previous Iron Maiden albums were very much of their time, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son sounds timeless. The album is loosely based on a concept that really enhances the music without taking control of it. The lyrics are captivating and intriguing and never cheesy (as is too often the case in this type of music). Both the band themselves and the majority of their fans would probably deny it, but this is art! It is evident that the band here take their inspiration equally from Yes, Genesis, Queen and Jethro Tull as they do from Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Judas Priest. Whatever Punk influence there was present on earlier albums is wholly absent here.

The riffs, solos and vocal melodies are instantly and infinitely appealing to me and perfectly executed throughout. The drums are loaded and rather complex. Many interesting time and mood changes occur throughout the whole album. The excellent guitars are often augmented by symphonic keyboards that give the music a fuller, more symphonic sound than on earlier (and later) Iron Maiden albums. The previous album Somewhere In Time also had more keyboards than most other Iron Maiden albums, but on Somewhere In Time the keyboards sounded thin and had a much more typical 80's sound.

On a couple of songs acoustic guitar is used which gives the music a slight folky touch and brings more diversity to the whole. One thing that I really like about this album (and that helps to make the album a unified whole) is that is starts out with a short acoustic/vocal part that is repeated at the very end on the album. This is of course not an original idea but it works perfectly here.

This is not an album just for Prog Metal fans (which this reviewer is not!). This album is truly essential; a classic!

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Before 1992 I never cared for metal, as a fact only went to see IRON MAIDEN inr the first Rock en Rio because there was nothing better to do that night being that I went to Brazil mainly to see YES and QUEEN.

But in 1992 a cousin who was 13 or 14 at that time, placed a cassette of "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" in my car and wow....A whole new universe opened before my eyes.

In first place, never had noticed how close to Progressive Rock the band was, instead of the usual shredding, this guys had a very defined structure and extremely complex arrangements, unusual synth sections and the changes were really radical, what else can a Proghead ask for?

The album starts with "Moonchild" and Bruce Dickinson's extremely interesting vocal intro, then the rest of the bands jumps directly into the song with a very elaborate passage that leads directly to what they do best.....Strong Prog Metal, yes that's their essence but they don't abuse of unnecessary soloing, the sound is coherent but pompous, really impressive.

"Infinite Dreams" starts soft and melodic with a nice guitar intro that leads to a passage dominated by the solid rhythm section and Bruce's amazing vocals who manages to take the band wherever he wants, proving the versatility of his voice, from low ranged to extremely high and of course the trademark IRON MAIDEN sound defined by the powerful rhythm guitar. Around the middle the song turns frantic and explosive with unexpected and extremely dramatic changes, again a fantastic track from start to end.

"Can I Play With Madness" starts with the chorus, something unusual for IRON MAIDEN who normally start softer and go "ion crescendo" until the climax, and to be honest, I don't like the change, despite the powerful moments I feel this song closer to mainstream metal blended with AOR which is not my cup of tea.

In "The Evil that Men Do", the band returns to their classical and mysterious sound, and then the power can be felt with Nicko giving his best, in their most characteristic style they manage to create complex structures and unexpected changes, keeping the listener at the edge of the seat.

"Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" is everything that you can expect from a song that takes the name of the album, all the band is perfect, everything is in it's place the structure is one of the most coherent I ever heard in Prog, even the vocals grow in intensity and go higher as the track gets hotter.

After a guitar break a surprisingly soft passage with the synths adding an incredibly mysterious sound that matches perfectly with the narration that explains the main theme of the song. again the music grows in intensity with the keyboards following McBrain who sounds as a human metronome and then the guitars announce a new climax.....If this is not Progressive rock, I guess the genre doesn't exist.

"The Prophecy" begins making us believe we are before a power ballad, but don't let this fool you, the change happens in a fraction of second and the band again give everything they have, this time with even more radical changes and a clear Symphonic background, one of the highest moments of the album.

"The Clairvoyant" starts with Steve Harris doing a very nice bass solo but soon is joined by the guitars and then the rest of the band. The more I listen this band, the more surprised I am with how respectful of structures and atmospheres IRON MAIDEN is, in comparison of most Metal bands who base their style in the individual virtuosity of their musicians. As usual the band makes unexpected changes and wonderful instrumental breaks, not a weak moment...well maybe except "Can I Play With Madness" which is not bad but surely the weakest link.

The album end with "Only the Good Die Young" in which we can listen one of the most typical IRON MAIDEN tracks, in the vein of "Aces High", "Run to the Hills" or "The Trooper", but this time with keys to make it more Prog, great closing section with the same vocal passage with which the album started.

Without doubts one of the best Metal albums I ever heard, if only all Prog Metal sounded like IRON MAIDEN, I would be a fan of the sub-genre.

4 solid stars that should be 4.5 but sadly not 5 because of "Can I Play With Madness" which is bellow their level.

Highly recommended.

Review by friso
5 stars The English (progressive) heavy metal band Iron Maiden was the first thing I really loved as a person and I have listened to their music since around my eleventh birthday. I still listen to their first ten records or so with great joy. Of these records 'Seventh Son' from 1988 is considered to be one of the most interesting for listeners of progressive rock because of its conceptual approach, synth layers and progressive song-writing and production. The band had already explored using synth-guitars on the sci-fi themed 'Somewhere on Time', but here the band lost its heavy and frontal edge to much in process (in my opinion that is). On 'Seventh Son' the band presents some timeless melodic metal classic like 'The Evil That Man Do' and 'The Clairvoyant' and some more symphonic metal pieces like the doomy ballad 'Infinite Dreams' and the epic title-song - which serves as an Maidenesque elaboration on Rainbow's 'Stargazer'. The opening song 'Moonchild' serves as a good musical introduction to this rather dark album; for it establishes the re-newed Iron Maiden with its fantasy story-line songwriting quite well. The poppy metal song 'Can I Play With Madness' became a minor hit and though its clearly no highlight on the album, it does offer some conceptual song-writing ideas in an accessible format. In conclusion, one of the best prog-infused metal albums of the eighties and a highlight in Iron Maiden's long and fruitful career.
Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The last great Maiden album or the start of the commercial descent. Pick your choice.

After the ill-received attempt to open up their sound on Somewhere In Time, Maiden gave it one more brave try before encountering their final collapse. Nevertheless, 7th Son is the result of a band applying a formula to recreate their earlier glories, rather then the sound of musicians trying to challenge themselves.

The resulting creative slack can be heard on most songs. Infinite Dreams is a nasty piece of commercial sing-along pop-metal, with bad transitions, uninspired playing and all hard-rock clichés clutched together. But it gets worse, nothing tops Can I Play With Madness in ultimate cheesiness. In fact only 3 tracks come near to the height of their best material: the opening Moonchild, the 7th Son epic and the album closer Only The Good Die Young. They all feature adequate Maiden style-exercises. Also The Clairvoyant has a number of good moments, typically in the verses and the instrumental parts. Overall, the trivial choruses make this whole album too ordinary and even indigestible for me.

For many this is a power-metal classic so please feel free to try your luck. For me this is where a superfluous progressive pretension can't hide the lack of interesting ideas, with mostly predictable and commercial music as a result. 2.5 stars

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Seventh album and one of the most progressive for Iron Maiden.

The progressive metal of Iron Maiden began with "Powerslave" and "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" takes it to the next level with a full blown conceptual masterpiece, the best Iron Maiden album along with "Brave New World". The songs are longer on this release with multiple time sig changes, complex arrangements and intricate guitar breaks. There is a great deal of synth passages here giving this a decidedly progressive feel. The lyrics are very much locked into the theme of apocalyptic cataclysm, thematic content of Biblical proportions; the number seven being such a pivotal number in the Bible, yet Maiden were spouting 666 in their early years.

Bruce Dickinson the 'Air raid siren' is at the peak of his powers here with some absolutely incredible vocal work such as 'Moonchild'. This begins with very gentle acoustic and soft vocals until the fiend is unleashed and a breakneck speed riff blitzes along. It is complex and the rhythm is interconnected by lead guitar, McBrain's pounding drums and a stunning bassline from Harris. The lyrics are interesting; "Seven downward slopes, Seven bloodied hopes, Seven are your burning fires, Seven your desires". The theme is ingrained from the start.

'Infinite Dreams' is a slower song with dark lyrics, "Suffocation waking in a sweat, Scared to fall asleep again, In case the dream begins again, Someone chasing I cannot move, Standing rigid a nightmare's statue, What a dream when will it end, And will it transcend."

'Can I Play With Madness' is one of the big songs that has featured in live performances over the years. The lyrics are as engaging as ever, "Can I play with madness? The prophet stared at his crystal ball, Can I play with madness? There's no vision there at all, Can I play with madness? The prophet looked at me and laughed at me, ha ha, He said: Can I play with madness? He said you're blind, too blind to see." A very polished sound with pristine production provides an upbeat atmosphere, with harmonies and twin duelling guitars that are bang on note perfect.

'The Evil That Men Do' is another melody driven popular track that graces live sets with catchy chorus that every Iron fan knows, "Living on a razor's edge, Balancing on a ledge, Living on a razor's edge you know, you know, the evil that men do lives on and on..." The lead solo passage is virtuosic with fret melting prowess from the legendary Smith and Murray.

'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' is the tour de force of progressive classics that clocks in at virtually 10 minutes. There are a myriad of twists and turns in the musical structure from peaceful chants to majestic flourishes back to blistering pulse racing tempo metal gallops. The lyrics are powerful and epic, "Today is born the seventh one, Born of woman the seventh son, And he in turn of a seventh son, He has the power to heal, He has the gift of the second sight, He is the chosen one, So it shall be written, So it shall be done." The instrumental break is genius featuring fractured guitar riffing and complicated drum metrical patterns.

'The Prophecy' features a trade off between bass and lead that drive it and it is difficult to pin down any particular melody as it is chaotic with an off kilter time sig and ethereal soft passages. The theme of prophecies and good versus evil continues, "I had their lives in my hands, Their fates their fortunes in my visions, No one believed in my true prophecy, And now it's too late."

'The Clairvoyant' is one of the highlights, with a frenetic dynamic riff that begins it that every Maiden fan would instantly recognise. The emotional lyrics from Dickinson are about holding and never giving up no matter what happens, and this is sung at top volume with utter conviction; "There's a time to live and a time to die, When it's time to meet the maker, There's time to live but isn't it strange, That as soon as you're born you're dying." This became a Maiden anthem for good reason and once again is a live favourite.

'Only The Good Die Young' is another popular Maiden track with speed metal licks and powerhouse vocals. It ends the album on a high note and the guitars are as awesome as ever with twin tapping and arpeggios, high string bends and speed picking; Murray and Harris are a force to be reckoned with.

The progressive style is a welcome change on this album leading to more prog metal to come and it was the only direction for Iron Maiden after they showed their versatility on previous albums, such as "Powerslave", with the ultra brilliant masterpiece 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner', or at least glimpses of their talent such as 'Hallowed Be Thy Name'. On the next few albums the versatility and virtuoso instrumentation is taken to the highest degree. Enjoy the ride, as it does not get much better than this.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is suppose to be the creative peak of Iron Maiden's career and yet I lack everything that has to do with progress and imagination on the missed opportunity that is Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.

The album follows the same generic album formula that the band have been using since The Number Of The Beast. Even if it did work on a few occasion, like Powerslave and Somewhere In Time, most of the time it just resulted in a mixed bag of albums that really couldn't be considered challenging by any means. This is pretty much the issue I have with this record, but I'll have to admit that the high regard that most people have for this release irritates me even more than usual.

Musically this album is not different from the previous releases where we had our singles, one or two epics and a few album tracks that ranged from average to pretty decent in quality. Yes, there is the minor addition of synthesizer sound on a few instances but it's used very sparsely and most people would probably not even notice it on most occasions. It's really not like the band have completely reinvented their sound here like for example Rush did between Moving Pictures and Signals. To be honest, this is pretty much your typical Iron Maiden '80s album in every regard of the definition.

The individual songs are suppose to be interlinked by a conceptual arc but I honestly never saw it as such since there is no feeling of a mood or progression between the compositions. What you get is a typical array of tracks that I've mentioned previously. There are only two real exception to the rule. One being Can I Play With Madness which is in my opinion the worst single released by the band and I tend to skip it almost every time I listen to the record. The album's title track is suppose to be a 10 minute epic of the album but the tracks is just so bland and uninspired that there's just no comparison between it and excellent predecessors like Hallowed Be Thy Name, To Tame A Land, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner and Alexander The Great. The format is pretty much the same as on Rime Of The Ancient Mariner but without any real kick to it, making the overall performance feeling very underwhelming.

I would only recommend Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son to the existing fan base of the band and fans of their pseudo-intellectual prog related merits that are depicted on this record. Most newcomers will most likely get a lot more value out of experiencing Powerslave or Somewhere In Time before approaching this flawed record.

**** star songs: Infinite Dreams (6:09) The Evil That Men Do (4:34) The Prophecy (5:05) The Clairvoyant (4:27) Only The Good Die Young (4:42)

*** star songs: Moonchild (5:39) Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (9:53)

** star songs: Can I Play With Madness (3:31)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review by Warthur
5 stars The peak of Bruce Dickinson's first stint in the band when it comes to musicianship, complexity, and artistic achievement, this semi-concept album finds the band in excellent form, fully integrating synthesisers into their sound in a way which proved that the lessons of Somewhere In Time had been well-learned. If I had to pick out one song from here as my favourite, it must be Infinite Dreams, which crams in a whole album's worth of quiet reflection, operatic bombast, and metal accomplishment into just six minutes, but more or less every track on here is a keeper. Essential Maiden, on a par with Number of the Beast or Powerslave.
Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars Here it is. The album that IRON MAIDEN had been hinting at finally coming to fruition. Steve Harris' progressive rock influences had been showing themselves from the very first album and creeping their way into each album with an ever stronger presence until on "Powerslave" the fully formed progressive behemoth "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" reared its monstrous almost 14 minute head. Surprised was I that the next album "Somewhere In Time" was not the fully developed concept album hinted upon, but on SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON, the seventh deadly sinful studio album, all that progginess unleashes itself and in a truly satisfying way that makes this my absolute favorite MAIDEN album of their entire career and since I pretty much like every stage of their career (with the exception of the 90s) that is a major accomplishment in my book.

The story and album title comes from the 1987 novel "Seventh Son" by Orson Scott Card, upon which the concept is loosely based. In ancient western myths the seventh son of a seventh son (or daughters as well) supposedly possessed heightened occultic abilities such as clairvoyance, phophetic dreams and the like. The story unfolds starting with "Moonchild" where Lucifer tries to manipulate the parents of the seventh son as to harness his powers for his own evil. The rest of the album continues through the trials and tribulations of the father of the seventh son and son himself learning to control their powers and cope with the clairvoyant visions of their world slowly being decimated by evil forces. All in all the lyrics are vague and have a definite air of mystery which makes this an album that can be interpreted in many ways.

The real treat on this album is the music itself with extended song lengths, multi-segmented song structures, atmospheric keyboards added, progressive time signatures and just the fact that IRON MAIDEN didn't deviate from their sound or formulaic songwriting approach. They simply did what they were already so adept at laying out and simply let the music process progressively unfold when and where it made sense to do so. The result is a smashing success that still sounds like an IRON MAIDEN album but also doesn't at the same time. Unlike other metal bands who were also dabbling with keyboards at the time, MAIDEN used them only to embellish the music and not create a whole new instrumental section. One of my favorite albums of all time that sits well on the top of my huge heap of must-have releases.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is apparently the end of a string of seven classic albums from one of the 1980s progenitors of the prog metal scene.

P.S. I know that a 1998 remaster and 2015 remix exist but I've made the effort, as always, to go back to the original version(s) when and where possible in order to be sure I'm reviewing the year-appropriate music (with its original production values).

1. "Moonchild" (5:39) the album intro sets the scene but also establishes the sound and performance commitment to the material. Some very RUSH like sounds to the opening, but things kick into gear in the second minute, a pretty cool gradual transition into full speed. Bruce Dickinson makes quite the theatric effort for the get go. It's pretty good (even if I dislike that 4/4 rock drum beat). (8.75/10)

2. "Infinite Dreams" (6:09) a HENDRIX-like blues-rock musical base over which Bruce does more of his iconic magic. He's so convincing! Musically, it's rather derivative (and boring) though the performances are all great--especially those of the bass and guitarists. (8.75/10)

3. "Can I Play With Madness" (3:31) machine gun guitar riffing over an AC/DC musical foundation shifts to boring standard chorus delivery. Bruce feels like he's phoning it with a Roger Daltry performance in on this one. (8.5/10)

4. "The Evil That Men Do" (4:34) straightforward Thin Lizzy style intro turns into a fast-paced rocker over which Bruce gives a top notch performance with plenty of impressive high notes and great dramatic Richard Burton-like allocutions in between. A top three song for me. (9/10)

5. "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" (9:53) opening with a fairly original intro weave, by the second half of the first minute the band falls into line within a repeating Led Zeppelin-like chugging bass-and-guitar riff while Bruce sings. At first Bruce's performance is a bit lackluster, but then the chorus comes with Bruce's repetition of the song title is quite impressive. Unfortunately, there is very little else remarkable about this over the course of the first half of this song other than Bruce's impressive wordless vocalise after each verse and chorus. At 3:55 occurs the first shift, and, after it, some of the album's more proggy music: Mellotron-like banked vocal chord play within quiet, delicate instrumental contributions from the rest of the band members. This cinematic space is then dispelled at 6:55 and then smashed to smithereens by a supercharged (and impressive) metal instrumental passage until the song's end. Quite impressive! (18.25/20)

6. "The Prophecy" (5:05) delicate electric guitar arpeggi with synth wash chords below in support are soon joined by two more electric guitars (more in the metal sound palette). But this is just the 45-second intro. A pause precedes the launch into the full-band power metal music over which Bruce Dickinson provides another great vocal performance (sounding, at times, quite a bit like 1970s vocalist . Very impressive skills put on display from the band in the lightning- fast instrumental passage and the delicate acoustic finish. (9/10)

7. "The Clairvoyant" (4:27) for this song the bass gets a brief solo intro (impressive!) before the rest of the band joins in to establish the fabric for the rest of the song. The bass continues to impress as the melodic guitar play over the top supports Bruce's subdued vocal. At 2:02 there is a shift into a "there's a time to live, and a time to die" section before returning to the original two-step for a brief guitar solo. The "time to live, ?" sections feel quite incongruous with the rest of the flow of the song: the motif being force-spliced in against the nature of the song. (8.667/10)

8. "Only The Good Die Young" (4:42) opens with a sound that seems to conjoin some Blue Öyster Cult and AC/DC sounds and ideas. The chorus is kind of let down, as if Bruce and the band only thought to put it in there as an afterthought, but it is followed by a nice instrumental passage. The lyrics may make this song a fan favorite, but the music is, to my ears, nothing to write home about. A bit of a let down; a disappointing way to end the album. (8.667/10)

Total Time: 43:57

I like the production of this album better than that of the Queensr˙che albums I've just listened to. Plus, Bruce Dickinson's vocal performances just feel more authentic, less play-acted than those of the uber-talented Geoff Tate.

Apparently this album gets (some of) its inspiration from Orson Scott Card's Seventh Son /Alvin Maker series--a fantasy series that I love and devoured back in the day. It's a connection that I fail to hear or feel.

B+/a high four stars and an excellent addition to any prog metal loving music collector's album collection. A metal band that actually convinces me that this should fall under the umbrella of "progressive rock music."

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5 stars  This is my favorite Maiden album and there are moments we can call this music truly progressive. It's currently the highest rated Maiden album. It is quite progressive by late eighties metal standards. Feature that the tempo changes, which were usually reserved for the longer tracks, are all over t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2349795) | Posted by nikitasv777 | Sunday, April 12, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I am really happy to see such high reviews for such a great over-looked album. But to see the ratings this high is especially nice. The highest rating for an Iron Maiden album? Wow. When Iron Maiden released Seventh Son, it was at a much different time than when they released Powerslave four ... (read more)

Report this review (#1438163) | Posted by ster | Wednesday, July 8, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Iron Maiden-Seventh Son of a Seventh Son After Iron Maiden's addition of synthesizers in the last great album 'Somewhere in Time', Iron Maiden was able to release the album that is often labeled as the godfather album of progressive metal. Even though I feel like since 'The Number of the Beas ... (read more)

Report this review (#1298737) | Posted by Fearabsentia | Wednesday, October 29, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Iron Maiden have always been a band i have huge respect for. Many Proggers write them off as Heavy Metal but they were much more than that in a very Adrian way. "Moonchild" starts off with some very Ian Gillan sounding vocals from Bruce Dickensian, before going into a very "The Lord Our God" ... (read more)

Report this review (#1046400) | Posted by Alard Charlton | Friday, September 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Seven holy path to hell! The Seventh Son of a Seventh Son may be the most mystical effort of the symphonic heavy metal giant Iron Maiden. The songs are "captured" between the acoustic intro and outro giving rise to the thought of number 7 being realy special and mystical. This record contain ... (read more)

Report this review (#645713) | Posted by the philosopher | Sunday, March 4, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I think this is their best album. Iron Maiden always flirted with prog rock, and Seventh Son... is the best example of how to make a prog metal album with mass appeal without being over indulgent or losing its edge. There are short and anthemic songs (Can I Play With Madness, The Evil That Men Do, T ... (read more)

Report this review (#635058) | Posted by tupan | Friday, February 17, 2012 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Iron Maiden's seventh son of a seventh son was the most advertised album in its marketing. As far as advertising and logo artwork this album had all the bells and whistles. It was advertised at Tape World on a tape display showing the Iron Maiden logo. The album was once more purchased a ... (read more)

Report this review (#624709) | Posted by thewickedfall | Wednesday, February 1, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars this has got to be undoubtedly Maiden's best album (with Brace New World, Piece of Mind and Somewhere In Time close behind), simply because they have never done anything quite like it before or after. the title-song is almost 10 minutes but feels like its much too short. it is purely an simp ... (read more)

Report this review (#468128) | Posted by sv_godspeed | Thursday, June 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The prophet stared at his crystal ball and said? 4.5 stars. Iron Maiden's seventh album is arguably their best. It is only one of four Maiden albums to reach number one on UK charts along with The Number of the Beast and later Fear of the Dark and The Final Frontier. It is actually a concept ... (read more)

Report this review (#339359) | Posted by The Block | Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This (in my opinion) is Iron Maiden's darkest album, a concept release about a Clairvoyant, it is also Maiden's most progressive album. Opening with the fantastic MOONCHILD Bruce's vocals are the best theve ever been here, and the keyboard sections really make this a top notch track, INFINITE D ... (read more)

Report this review (#300617) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Sunday, September 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Seventh album and best one! I'm not at all a maiden's fan and I'm not really into their other stuff but this one worth the listen. On this concept album, they fully introduced keyboard ant it sounds great. The songs Moonchild and The evil that men do are excellent and Seventh Son of a Sevent ... (read more)

Report this review (#289235) | Posted by Wilgod3p | Monday, July 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What a great album by one of metals most skilled and influential bands. To many this album is still considered part of the golden era of Iron Maiden, and it deserves to be considered as such. The opening track gets you hooked right from the get go. Though the story is not as clear as other albums ... (read more)

Report this review (#255943) | Posted by TheLastBaron | Sunday, December 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars With Bruce's "Seven deadly sins" speech to start this album, this album definitely sounds like it's heading into proggy territory. After all, this is supposed to be a concept album, something that several prog bands dive into at some point in their careers. I can't honestly tell you what exactly ... (read more)

Report this review (#222121) | Posted by Stooge | Sunday, June 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Iron Maiden and the cure for stagnant faceless derision. The perfect blend of metal and prog? Perhaps not, but for Iron Maiden, this is the closest they came to that oh so tasty blend. More convincing has Bruce Dickinson's vocals become, and the unique nature of their music has been fully reviv ... (read more)

Report this review (#218998) | Posted by Alitare | Saturday, May 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm not surprised seeing high notes of this release on prog site. This was such conceptual Maiden's attempt with intro and outro built on the same tunes. Some lyrics on this album treat about apocalypse and all that mystical biblical themes, visionaries etc. There are also sythesizers added for ... (read more)

Report this review (#217592) | Posted by LSDisease | Saturday, May 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album came out after a disappointing (at least in my opinion) release. Somewhere in Time was nothing compared to Powerslave; there are, of course, some good songs there, like the title track, but all the others were just average and even weak. Seventh Son isn't nowhere near the brilliance ... (read more)

Report this review (#176658) | Posted by Nhorf | Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Yes, a good album. Although it wasn't greeted euphorically in the old days - neither by me and my friends nor the press. That's propably because you can find the hints of decline in this offering - and worse things were still to come: No Prayer... and Fear of the Dark. What my mates and I couldn ... (read more)

Report this review (#163230) | Posted by strayfromatlantis | Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album came a bit as a let down after the great Somewhere in Time, my hopes where up for this album to deliver the full monty, but aside some great songs (The Clairvoyant, The Prophecy and the title track) Seventh Son as an album seems a bit flat, too much of the same, it really is a been th ... (read more)

Report this review (#162118) | Posted by tuxon | Monday, February 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first thing that strikes me about this album is how different it FEELS from previous Iron Maiden releases. I think that is a lot to do with the production and the mix, and also the more prominent use of synths. IN my opinion the production on this album beats any Maiden that came before it. ... (read more)

Report this review (#158313) | Posted by burtonrulez | Friday, January 11, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is one of my favourite Iron Maiden albums even though I don't consider it their best. It is very melodic and almost proggy in many places with layered guitars and some very intense instrumental passages but it remains very firmly a heavy metal album. And it is an album with no weak tracks wha ... (read more)

Report this review (#145968) | Posted by scarista | Friday, October 19, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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