Clive Burr, the former drummer of Iron Maiden, died on 12 March 2013 at the age of 56.
One of the greatest debut albums ever and one of my favorite NWOBHM platters. A few of these songs were originally released on the "Soundhouse Tapes" which are currently only available in bootleg form, although one of the songs has been released on the 2-disc version of "Best of the Beast." "Iron Maiden" is filled with Maiden classics: "Prowler," "Running Free," "Sanctuary" "Remember Tomorrow" and "Iron Maiden." Many of these songs are STILL played live. "Phantom of the Opera," is a killer early Maiden progressive tune. Lots of excellent harmony based soloing, like Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash. I also really like Paul DiAnno's vocals. He was raspy and aggressive, yet still melodic. Still one of my favorite Iron Maiden discs.
I have the "enhanced disc" version of this. The nice thing about these versions is they have HUGE booklets with tons of photos as well as the lyrics. The cover is slightly different from the original. The original cover is pictured up top on the left, the new cover on the enhanced CD is on the right. If I ever run across it again, I'd like to find the bonus disc version. So many CDs, so little money!
"Killers" is one of the greatest NWOBHM albums to be released. The song "Killers" is a masterpiece and would inspire many guitar players. Of course "Wrathchild" is also a favorite. When Castle released this disc with ALL of "Maiden Japan" I had to have it. It was the first bonus disc version that I bought as I had been searching for a CD version of "Maiden Japan" to replace the vinyl copy I had sold. I only recently found out that "Women in Uniform" is not a Maiden original but a cover of some obscure Australian band whose name I do not know. The bonus disc in "Killers" alone was worth the $10 I paid for the two disc set. Imagine my surprise when I found a "used" copy of this and it had JUST been released. I also picked up the Raw Power enhanced version as the sound quality is much improved from past releases.
“Women in Uniform” was originally recorded by a band called Skyhooks.
Number of the Beast was the first Iron Maiden album to feature vocalis Bruce Bruce (ex-Samson) on vocals, and by golly if it ain't one heck of a great album! Iron Maiden were one of the hopefuls of the NWOBHM movement and "Number of the Beast" really pushed Maiden up and above the pack. This album is rock solid, European heavy metal at it's best. Each and every song is as intense as the next. Galloping heavy metal lead by the jaw-dropping bass work of Steve Harris and injected with a heaping-helping of dual guitar harmonies and some smoking guitar lead breaks. I remember hearing this back in the early 80's and hearing a big Thin Lizzy influence in much of the guitar work. All this is brought together perfectly with the vocals of Bruce Dickinson, who became one the voices of heavy metal. No other name, save for perhaps Ronnie James Dio or Rob Halford, says "heavy metal" like Bruce Dickinson. It was this album, along with "Piece of Mind" that solidified Bruce's position as one of the genre's best.
Being a Christian and raised by Christian parents, I actually ignored this one for a short time, assuming that what all the anti-rock preachers were saying was true. Iron Maiden worship the devil!? OK, I'll give them that the lyrics aren't exactly wholesome, I mean "22, Acacia Avenue" is about a prostitute and the title track repeats "666" about a million times. However, this is only skimming the surface of what the songs are about, when in fact neither are promoting the ideas that they might seem to be promoting. "22, Acacia Avenue" actually exposes the depravity of the situation without glorifying it. The title track from the surface looks like the typical "look how evil we can be" type lyrics that were popular in the early NWOBHM scene. However, that is not the case either. Rather, the lyrics are written from the perspective of a dream. The man dreaming this nightmare doesn't know what to do about it, or whether he should even believe what he is seeing. Basically, the song takes some of it's storyline from the Bible, but puts it into a completely fictional setting. I honestly don't think that Maiden ever expected anyone to take the lyrics as anything more than entertainment. It's not really different than reading a fictional story or seeing a movie in my opinion.
Favorites track: "Run to the Hills," which is one of those songs that sticks in your head forever, "Gangland" and the awesome bonus disc B-side track "Total Eclipse." I think this is the only B-side track that Maiden has ever played live. I wonder why they didn't put it on the album as I read somewhere that it was recorded during the same session. Anyhow, I had to have that song on CD so of course I spent the money for the Castle bonus disc version, even though it only has two songs on it. Most of the rest of the Castle 2-CD reissues had 5 or more songs on them. I also own the Raw (CD129) version of this as the mastering is superior to the Castle versions. Unfortunately "Total Eclipse" is not included on this newer version.
Be Thy Name" has been covered by Iced
I could have shot myself for not buying the Castle bonus disc version of this when it was available. It contains two of the coolest cover songs that Iron Maiden has ever done, besides Thin Lizzy's "Massacre" that is: Montrose's "I've Got the Fire" and Jethro Tull's "Cross-Eyed Mary." Well, wouldn't you know I was thumbing through a bunch of crappy used CDs at one of those big chain stores and found a copy with the bonus disc for $3.99. I almost fell over when I saw it sitting there after having viewed it just a few nights before for some ridiculous price on eBay $3.99 Baby...and in mint condition. That's what I call a deal!
In any case, this album is the be all and end all Iron Maiden album, in my opinion. If I was forced to live with only one Maiden album for the rest of my life this would be the album I would pick. From beginning to end "Piece of Mind" shreds! "Flight of Icarus" is an absolute marvelous song and one of my all time favorites. "Die With Your Boots On" "The Trooper," "To Tame A Land," well shoot, they're just all phenomenal. Oh and I should mention this is the first album for Nicko McBrain (ex-Pat Travers) as well, cementing what many consider to be the classic Maiden lineup. (McBrain! Piece of Mind! HA! Quite the coincidence.)
Iron Maiden - Powerslave (Raw Power/enhanced version) 1984
Iron Maiden - Live After Death (Raw Power/enhanced version) 1985
Simply one of the greatest live heavy metal albums ever release, ranking up there with Judas Priest's "Unleashed in the East," Kiss' "Alive" and Thin Lizzy's "Live & Dangerous." "Scream for me Long Beach..." it's foever engraved in my mind forever.
The original vinyl release, which I also have, came in a gatefold cover and had a full color booklet cram packed with photos from the tour.
In the early 1990's I had the crappy CD version that excluded ALL of side four from the two record set. Well, finally the missing tracks were added to this new "enhanced CD" version in 1998. However, I have a gripe. For some stupid reason this CD screws up my PC and my MAC every time I put it in! I have other Maiden "enhanced CDs" that work just fine, so what's with this one. I even took it back to the store and picked up another copy, assuming the one I had was defective. Oh well, the videos are from the "Live After Death" video anyhow, so I guess I am not missing anything.
When "Somewhere in Time" was first released I must confess to be a little disappointed. Having become a Maiden fan during the DiAnno years, and following the band through the years to this point, "Somewhere in Time" seemed a bit more melodic, less metallic, more polished. It took me a little time to really get past the processed guitar sound. However, once past that initial disappointment, there was much to enjoy here, from the length tracks like "Heaven Can Wait" and "Alexander the Great" to the hook-infused "Wasted Years" and "Stranger in a Strange Land". The former was is one of my all time favorite Maiden songs.
"Seventh Son" was a bit of a let down at first, but this album grew on me and has become one of my favorites. The letdown was originally brought on by the fact that the production is way too clean and synthesizers/keyboards are used more prominently than ever before. After the initial shock wore off, however, I realized that the songs were actually pretty good. I did manage to pick up the Castle reissue with the bonus disc on this one before they disappeared. "Massacre" is an awesome version of the Thin Lizzy classic. "Black Bart Blues" is a joke song but is amusing. The two early classics, "Prowler '88" and "Charlotte the Harlot '88," re-recorded with Bruce singing are great, with the addition of the live tracks, makes the bonus disc a great listen and almost as long as the album itself.
Iron Maiden - No Prayer for the Dying (Raw Power/enhanced version) 1990
Adrian Smith leaves and enter ex-Gillan guitarist Janick Jers, who had also played on Bruce Dickinson's "Tattooed Millionaire." "No Prayer for the Dying" shows Maiden on a downward spiral. It's not that it's a terrible album, especially when compared to a few of the albums that would be released in a few years without Bruce Dickinson. However, the fire that was there for albums like "Number of the Beast," "Piece of Mind," and even "Seventh Son" just isn't there. Whereas those albums were completely enjoyable from beginning to end; there are only a handful of songs that I think are good on this disc. "Tailgunner" is a rambunctious Maiden metal romp and probably my favorite track on the CD "Holy Smoke" is a song about the atrocities committed by some corrupt TV Evangelists. Unfortunately, this picture painted by this song is pretty accurate. IT's a shame, but a few bad men can really destroy the public reputation of all. "Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter" is a song that Bruce Dickinson wrote and recorded for the "Nightmare on Elm Street 5" soundtrack. Apparently the song was doing so well, that Steve Harris decided it would be a good song for Maiden to record and release as a single. I think this may have been a point of contention between Steve and Bruce and may have contributed to the parting of ways that would take place in a few short years. Other than the controversial lyrics, the song is actually quite good. "Public Enema Number One", besides having a humorous name, is also a decent song. "The Assassin" on the other hand ranks as one of my least favorite tracks. The rest of the album is just average, with little touching the excellence of past albums. It's almost like Maiden on autopilot. This remastered, enhanced version contains videos for "Holy Smoke" and "Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter" as well as a 24 page full color booklet with various Eddie paintings, band photos, liner notes, etc. The remaster cover is different from the original. The original cover is pictured up top on the left, the new cover on the enhanced CD is on the right. The entire package is wrapped with a slipcase.
Iron Maiden - Fear of the Dark (Castle/2 CD version) 1992
I have read so many bad reviews of this disc, but I don't think it's such a bad disc. The first two songs are, in my opinion, essential Iron Maiden. "Be Quick or Be Dead" is one of the heaviest songs Maiden has done in a long while. "Wasting Love," however, is a poor attempt at a power ballad, but even it is better than almost anything from the Blaze-era stuff. The disc as a whole is better than the abysmal "No Prayer for the Dying."
Well, I USE to have the enhanced disc version of this but I traded it off for a copy of the '95 Castle two disc version. The good news is that I have the bonus disc. The band news is that the trader promised a mint disc, but what I got was a disc that was scratched to hell in a jewel case that was literally falling apart. Anyone who knows me, also knows that I am anal about my CDs. I take very good care of them. I have discs that are over ten years old that still look new. Well, I guess that is the risk you take with internet trading. Both discs play fine despite looking like they may have been used as frisbees on a beach made of sandpaper.
"Nodding Donkey Blues" is a joke tune, "Space Station No. 5" was originally recorded by Montrose but a majority of the 11+ minutes is Bruce bellowing over an acoustic guitar about nonsense issues in a fake British accent, or in other words another joke song. "Roll Over Vic Vella" is a joke takeoff on Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven." (Hey, with all these silly joke songs, maybe they could release this as an album and call it "Diver Down.") "I Can't See My Feelings" is the first serious cover on the disc, originally recorded by Budgie on the album "Bandolier." (thanks for the info David Dasen) The last three songs are live songs, all from "No Prayer for the Dying." Surprisingly the live setting makes these songs better than the studio versions. Also, if I am not mistaken, none of these songs have made it onto any other Maiden live platter. Still, this is not one of the better bonus discs, for that see "Seventh Son" or "Killers."
Iron Maiden - A Real Live Dead One (Raw Power/enhanced version) 1993
Iron Maiden, a band who has been tearing up stages across the globe for decades sounds somewhat weak and tired on this collection of songs. Bruce sounds bored or something, probably dreaming of his solo career that would soon take flight. Anyhow, the production is excellent for a live disc. Disc One was originally released as a single disc called "A Real Dead One". Disc two was originally released as a single disc called "A Real Live One". When the enhanced discs versions were released, the two separate live discs were released as this two disc set titled "A Real Live Dead One". Of the two discs I prefer disc one as the older material has some songs that have yet to see release as a live version. Overall, however, "A Real Live Dead On" is no where near the aggression of "Live After Death."
Iron Maiden - Live a Donnington (Raw Power/enhanced version) 1994/1998
Now this is a good live album. "Donnington" was originally released only as a limited edition vinyl import and thus was one of the more highly sought out Maiden releases. There were a bunch of bootlegs of the album out, so I guess Maiden decided it best to re-release the album on CD and beat the bootleggers. Fine with me as I would not have paid the outrageous prices that the original or the bootlegs were going for. In any case, this was one of the last Maiden shows with Bruce, and both the band and Bruce gave it their all. Even the later day songs sound fresh and energetic. Buy this one rather than the lackluster "A Real Live/Dead One." Buy it quick too, before it goes out of print.
Iron Maiden - The X Factor (CMC International) 1995
the Cross" (11:17)
My initial review of this disc was that it was a complete monstrosity. A big part of that was the fact that ex-Wolfsbane vocalist Blaze Bayley just doesn't seem to fit into the Maiden sound. My other problem is the same problem I have with "No Prayer for the Dying," the songwriting just isn't what it use to be. After a discussion with a Maiden die-hard, I decided to revisit this album. Honestly I actually have pulled this CD out over the years and given it a spin, and I must confess that it grew on me over time. What I failed to see was that "The X-Factor" was responsible for the birth of a new Iron Maiden, one that is quite different from the galloping days of old and one that presents to the world a more dark and melodic Maiden. Having said that, I still think about half the songs on this CD are boring, the other half while something I now enjoy do not touch the greatness of their early discs.
The most noticeable, and often complained about, difference in this disc to the classic Maiden sound is Blaze's vocals. His voice on this album was a complete departure from the Bruce Dickinson era and as such seems a bit out of place at first. Honestly, however, I think Blaze is a good singer and enjoy his work with Wolfsbane. The problem lies in the fact that he doesn't have much to work with in songwriting. The songs that are good he shines in. The first four cuts on this disc, along with the epic "The Unbeliever" are the best tracks. The first single, "Man on the Edge," which was written by Gers and Bayley is actually one of the best songs on the disc and certainly the most commercially accessible. The opener, "Sign of the Cross" has the longest guitar solo in Maiden history clocking in at 5 minutes 36 seconds. This is a really melodic epic number. I am still not to keen on the introduction to this song though. "Lord of the Flies" is probably my favorite song on the disc with it's Thin Lizzy like guitar harmonies. "The Unbeliever", combines a groove type rhythm with some powerful interludes and awesome solo parts. The rest of the disc is just forgettable in my opinion. Apparently many Maiden fans agree as used copies of this CD are in excess in just about every used CD store I have ever been in.
Iron Maiden - Best of the Beast (Castle) 1996
Number Of The Beast" (4:49)
A "best of" compilation with a new cut,"Virus," a Blaze Bayley-era song that is not much better than the crap released on "The X Factor." Unfortunately, I have the single version of the disc which doesn't even include one Paul Dianno song. The two disc version at least has one song off the Soundhouse tapes. Also, essential songs like "Flight of Icarus" are left off for the crappy Blaze stuff. Buy the two disc import version or pass. Cool cover art!
Iron Maiden-Virtual XI (CMC International) 1998
Well, this one is slightly better than "X Factor" but that is really not saying much. Maiden are on auto-pilot with bland songwriting, forcing Blaze to be a bland vocalist. "Futureal" and "The Clansman" rise above the pack but otherwise this disc doesn't even come close to classic Maiden.
Iron Maiden-Ed Hunter (Columbia) 1999
This three disc set is very cool, as it contains the very entertaining Ed Hunter video game. The music is supposedly chosen by the fans through Iron Maiden's web site. I have a hard time believing that any Blaze song made it into the Top 20 by fan vote, but whatever, it's still a very good compilation and video game. Got this one as a Christmas present.
Iron Maiden - Brave New World (Portrait/Columbia) 2000
Bruce is back! Adrian Smith is back! That was reason enough for me to rush out and buy this one the day it was released. Bruce's voice alone makes this disc sound like the return of the prodigal son. No, "Brave New World" will probalby never replace the band's classic 80's catalog, but it's still a solid album.
Iron Maiden - Rock in Rio (Portrait/CD & DVD) 2002
Yet another live album from Maiden. They are quickly catching up to bands like Motorhead and Deep Purple for the most live albums released. "Rock in Rio" features the new millennium reunion lineup that included both Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith. The song selection is as wide as the amount of material this band has released over the years with songs from just about every record they have put out, including the abysmal Blaze Bayley material. Of course, with so much material out there is no way to please every fan without doing a ten hour concert. However, I think the band did a pretty good job of choosing songs from their catalogue. There are an abundance of songs from the newest "Brave New World" CD, which I suppose is only natural since this was the disc they were touring on. Being a Maiden fan since their "Jurrasic Period," as Bruce called it, I like the early songs from "Iron Maiden" through "Powerslave" best. However, the entire show actually has an energy that was missing in "A Real Live One" and almost matches that of "Live at Donnington." However, no Maiden live disc will be able to top "Live After Death" in my opinion. Still, it's live Iron Maiden, therefore, it's essential to die-hard fans like myself.
This DVD was recorded live at Rock In Rio festival 19th January 2001. This disc includes 24 bit mastered 5.1 surround sound in DTS or Dolby Digital plus 50+ minutes of documentary extras including individual band member biographies, a photo gallery with voice-over from Maiden photographer Ross Halfin. What more can a Maiden fan ask for in a live DVD?
Iron Maiden - Eddie's Archives (Columbia/Legacy) 2002
Iron Maiden are yet another band like Metallica and Judas Priest that will evoke strong feelings from metal fans everywhere no matter what they do. A month before this disc was released fans were already commenting on the album cover art with mostly negative comments. The idea is taken from that awful Tom Cruise movie "Eyes Wide Shut." I must agree that the cover art is not very "Maiden-like" but I don't judge albums by their covers. Maiden had a lot to prove on this disc. With "Brave New World" the sheer excitement of having Bruce Dickinson back behind the mic was enough for most fans to completely digest that CD With this disc, the band has had three years or touring, has released yet another live album and a best of package called "Edward the Great." So with such a long time between studio albums most fans were expecting something extraordinary. Fortunately Maiden deliver. While I would never say that this disc is on the same par as groundbreaking albums like "Killers" and "Peice of Mind", this CD shouldn't disappoint longtime Maiden fans. The first single "Wildest Dreams" is probably one of the weakest songs on the disc, and even this song is actually pretty enjoyable. This song is still getting radio play on my hometown rock radio station. "Rainmaker" is a very catchy song and would have made a much better single than" Wildest Dreams", in my opinion. While this song is short, it is still definitely a highlight on this album. "No More Lies" is a galloping eight minute epic. It starts out slow like many songs on this disc and quickly explodes into one of the more aggressive songs on the album. None of these tracks really sound like Iron Maiden of old, but I still find these track far more interesting than anything from the Blaze-era of the band or even anything from "Brave New World". "Dance of Death" is a good song but gets mixed emotions from me. The celtic-like guitar lick that frequents the song, while interesting, reminds me of Spinal Tap's "Stonehenge" for some reason. At the same time I hear a heavy Thin Lizzy vibe. Nicko McBrain gets his first writing song writing credit ever on "New Frontier". Not the best song on the disc, however, it's certainly not bad either. Had this disc been included on "Virtual X" it may have been the highlight of that disc. "Age of Innocence" is another excellent track. It reminds me of "Out of the Silent Planet" one the better songs off "Brave New World." This song starts out with a nice soft introduction, not unlike "Rainmaker", and slightly reminds me of something off a Bruce Dickinson solo album. The songs builds into yet another progressive rocker. The disc finishes off with an epic, acoustic ballad that didn't leave me yawning, but isn't exactly my favorite track on the disc either. The song incorporates string instruments such as violins that blend with the acoustic guitars. This song is very different than anything I have heard from Maiden before and perhaps the reason for my initial indifference to this song. It must also be mentioned that Bruce Dickinson still sounds incredible and really adds a lot to the success of this CD Overall, as I stated in the beginning of this review, I would never say that this disc is on the same par as groundbreaking albums like "Killers" and "Piece of Mind" but Iron Maiden are still kicking my butt after all these years.
Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death (EMI) 2006
"A Matter of Life and Death" is Iron Maiden's fourteenth studio album and their third with the current lineup of Dickinson, Smith, Murray, Gers, Harris and McBrain. Early reviews of Maiden's '06 release were that this was "a masterpiece". Many fans were saying upon it's release that is was their best yet. However, from the get go, I never thought this. OK, it's new Maiden and that in and of itself is something exciting in the world of metal. However, "A Matter of Life and Death" is not the immediately like-able album that many are claiming it to be. As a matter of fact, I think that this CD may be a bit weaker than much of the strong Maiden back catalog. First of all, the production is a bit weak. This CD was either mastered very weakly of not mastered at all. The volume needs to be cranked in order to get to the level of most CDs being released now. This is a minor issue in my opinion, but still a slight annoyance. Musically, the band is staying away from the obvious hit singles, like "Wicker Man". Matter of fact, there are virtually no songs that can be immediately identified as classics in that "Number of the Beast", "Two Minutes to Midnight," or "The Trooper" sense, save for possibly "Different World". The opening track is the only song that immediately stands out on it's own, and this is more for the fact that it's more upbeat than the rest of the album. Most of the songs here are long and it seems obvious that the band was going for something a bit different. The songs all flow together both musically and lyrically in one constant piece, rather than having each song standout on it's own. I think this album demands that you site down and listen to it from beginning to end, almost as if the album were one long song. Having said that, in order to really enjoy this CD you must listen to it numerous times in order to begin to appreciate the things that are going on. Without that, the songs are just long for no reason and seem to plod along at the same slow to mid pace. However, I am one who wanted to love this CD, so I gave it those repeated listens despite it not grabbing me by the jugular like I had hoped. I must admit, the more I listened the more I liked it. There are some interesting things going on in each song and I began to appreciate the nuances, the guitar solos, that unmistakable bass playing and even some of the hooks. This is a mature Iron Maiden focusing on progressive song writing rather than on being an onslaught of heavy metal. I can appreciate this, even if I am not as excited about it as I would have hoped. Sure, it's no "Number of the Beast" or "Piece of Mind", but then I guess we shouldn't expect them to just repackage those albums and throw some new song titles over reincarnated riffs and ideas. "A Matter of Life And Death" isn't lifeless, it's just not the Iron Maiden of old. If I had to pick out a few standout cuts, "Different World" and "Lord of the Light" stand out in my mind. This is a CD you'll want to put on when your kicking back or in for that long road trip. If your looking to "rock out", so to speak, then look elsewhere.
The lyrics focus mostly on either current world events, although these events are addressed through universal themes. You won't find any direct or specific references to George Bush or Iraq here. However the more philosophical themes explored quite widely with war being the biggest factor. Specifically "These Colours Don't Run", "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" and "The Longest Day" all explore humanity's longstanding obsession with war and killing either in the name of religion or over a piece of land. For the Greater Good of God", which is an obvious stab at Islamic terrorists, although even this song is a poetic enough that it does not come off as a new commentary. The title is apparently named after a British World War II film titled "Matter of Life and Death".
Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier (Universal) 2010
Maiden's fifteenth studio album was given plenty of pre-release hype including a widely distributed MP3 of the track "El Dorado". The track showcased the band continuing in similar terrain as their more recent albums, but also showed hope of a heavier album as the track is fairly heavy. I suppose when a band has been around 30+ years, there probably won't be a ton of surprises and some repetition of the past will be inevitable. That is certainly the case here. Overall, in the first five listens to the CD I found "The Final Frontier" to be a bit mundane, though certainly not a bad either. The album opens strong enough. The eight plus minute long opener titled "Satellite 15...The Final Frontier" offers some slight twists on the usual Maiden sound. The beginning is an interlude of sorts, with guitars piercing bombastic drums before Bruce Dickinson starts singing nearly two minutes into the track. The song continues to build and finally kicks full throttle into a progressive Maiden brand heavy metal composition. As has been the case for many songs in the band's recent catalog, the chorus is nothing more than the song titled repeated over and over again several times. The previously mentioned "El Dorado" is a more straight forward, heavy metal romp and a fine Maiden pantheon. After this, however, the album begins to start blending into the background. Even with the excitement of a new Maiden platter, while spinning this CD in my car I found my mind wandering instead of ingesting the sounds of some new Iron Maiden. It's a very long album,with the 10 songs clocking in at nearly 80 minutes. At first I thought perhaps the remainder of the album was just a dud. That is not the case, it's just tough to ingest in one sitting. Before continuing to jot down more notes for this review I decided to start listening to the CD from different points rather than from always starting from track one. The next listen I started with "Mother of Mercy" after not playing the CD for a couple days. I discovered that I quite liked the song for the first time, whereas on past listens I had stopped really listening by this point. What does all that mean? I have no idea really other than this is not the galloping heavy metal machine from 1985, this a Maiden 2010.