Iron Maiden

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I bought my first Iron Maiden record in 1982. “The Number of the Beast” garnered great reviews from the heavy metal community.

Here in America it also received threats from church officials as being an agent of satanism. Heavy metal music does a lot of satanic material. It just fits the genre so well. This kind of music is a tonic for many fans. I love complex guitar based music. Soaring vocals are a huge component as well.

Circus magazine wrote a response to the controversy. The article explained Iron Maiden are not devil worshippers, just devil-may-care.

I was a fan for life after that era. Their mascot Eddie, a re-animated ghoul, appears on every album cover. Created by Derek Riggs, he assumes different types and styles that fit each album’s themes and concepts.

From their eponymous debut in album to their first double studio album in 2015, the band’s music has evolved from traditional metal to a more progressive groove.

Their line-up changed several times. Original vocalist Paul DiAnno quit due to substance abuse. His replacement was Samson singer Bruce Dickinson who turned out to be their ticket to global stardom.

For two albums, Bruce was replaced by Blayze Bayley. Their 10th and 11th albums were as good as anything they had done before but fans did not like this change.

In the year 2000 the band made a huge comeback with Bruce’s return. Guitarist Adrian Smith also came back. This current line-up of the group proved to be their best.

Since the year 2000 Iron Maiden are Bruce Dickinson (Vocals), Steve Harris (Bass), Adrian Smith (Guitar), Dave Murray (Guitar), Janick Jers (Guitar), Nicko McBrain (Drums).

The past 20 years of a nearly 50 year career have produced critically acclaimed records like “Brave New World”, “A Matter of Life and Death”, “The Final Frontier”, and “The Book of Souls”.

This followed their now classic albums of the 1980’s: “Killers”, “The Number of the Beast”, “Piece of Mind”, “Powerslave”, “Somewhere in Time”, and “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son “.

A documentary film, “Flight 666”, follows Maiden on a record setting world tour in which lead singer Bruce Dickinson piloted the band’s plane called Ed Force One.

Around the world Maiden’s fan base grew not only larger but younger too. In my opinion Iron Maiden have the best fans.

In the past four decades you will have seen people wearing Iron Maiden shirts or patches or bracelets or hats.

In 1982, Eddie was a demon spawn. Then in 1983 he was condemned to the rubber room. In 1984 he was an entombed pharaoh. In 1986 he became a cyborg. In 1988 he became the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

Now in their fifth decade, Iron Maiden are nominated to the Rock Hall of Fame.

Not seeking this award, the band will continue to empower their massive audience that spans the globe with their upcoming seventeenth studio album.

Bassist Steve Harris founded the group on Christmas day 1975! He said at the end of each decade that Maiden had another ten albums in them. And their sixteen studio records all have songs that became big concert classics.

This is a snapshot song list of my favorites from the band’s ongoing career:

Remember Tomorrow

Strange World

Transylvania

Iron Maiden

Wrathchild

Running Free

Sanctuary

Murders In The Rue Morgue

Another Life

Innocent Exile

Prodigal Son

Killers

Phantom of the Opera

Die With Your Boots On

The Prisoner

The Number Of The Beast

Run To The Hills

Revelations

Hallowed Be Thy Name

Flight Of Icarus

Where Eagles Dare

The Trooper

Still Life

To Tame A Land (inspired by Dune)

Sun And Steel

Aces High

Two Minutes To Midnight

Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

Powerslave

Sea Of Madness

Somewhere In Time

Wasted Years

Stranger In A Strange Land

Moonchild

Infinite Dreams

The Clairvoyant

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

The Evil That Men Do

No Prayer For The Dying

Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter*

Holy Smoke

Public Enema Number One

Be Quick Or Be Dead

From Here To Eternity

Afraid To Shoot Strangers

Wasting Love

Judas Be My Guide

Weekend Warrior

Fear Of The Dark

Sign Of The Cross

Lord Of The Flies

Man On The Edge

The Aftermath

Judgement Of Heaven

The Unbeliever

Futureal

The Angel And The Gambler

The Clansman

The Educated Fool

Wildest Dreams

Rainmaker

Dance of Death

Paschendale

The Wicker Man

Brave New World

Blood Brothers

Out Of The Silent Planet

Different World

Brighter Than A Thousand Suns

The Pilgrim

The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg

Lord Of Light

Satellite 15…The Final Frontier

El Dorado

The Alchemist

Isle Of Avalon

Star blind

The Talisman

The Man Who Would Be King

When The Wild Wind Blows

If Eternity Should Fail

Speed Of Light

The Book Of Souls

Death Or Glory

Tears Of A Clown

Empire Of The Clouds

*The only single to reach #1 on the chart.

Up the Irons!

The list of songs above reflects how well Iron Maiden have covered their horror, science fiction, fantasy, and historical literary interests.

Their songwriting is done now by each band member. Steve Harris is their lead songwriter who composed epic songs lasting a minimum of six minutes on every record. Frontman Bruce Dickinson wrote the longest track in their history so far. “Empire Of The Clouds” runs 18 minutes!

Arguably the most epic of bands, I hope Maiden get elected to the rock hall of fame this year. They deserve this honor.

Dearest readers I leave you with a few of my favorite versions of mascot Eddie:

The Great War

This week the gate will explore a record that reflects on WWI, also known as The Great War.

Songs by Iron Maiden and Motorhead about WWI are explored as well.

A ‘great’ war not because it was a positive event, but a reference to the area it encompassed. The entire European continent was engulfed by the destruction.

The Sam Mendes film, “1917”, nominated for 10 Academy Awards, now playing in theaters is a good moment to look at metal’s contribution to remembering this war.

The Swedish band, Sabaton, whose name is derived from a knight’s foot armor, has an album called ‘The Great War’ (History Version).

Each of the 11 tracks includes a spoken word lesson regarding the conflict. Within a 42 minute span the horrors of gas attacks and scorched earth are laid bare.

Released July 19, 2019 on Nuclear Blast records.
The Great War is the band’s ninth studio album.

#11 U.K.
#42 U.S.

‘The Future of Warfare’ opens with the action in September of 1915. Heralding the arrival of new forms of warfare that will pound the soldiers through 1918.

‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ moves tha action to Arabia and T.E. Lawrence. The guitars roar along with a galloping percussion to pay tribute to the exploits of Lawrence of Arabia. A light in the dark; an eternal flame.

’82nd All The Way’ celebrates the fearless soldiers who did their duty despite the odds of no return. Reference is made to the American effort. Sergeant York is singled out here.

One of the most melodic and harmonic of metal tunes. The guitar solos are inspired.

The cruelty of poison gas attacks are brutal. ‘The Attack of the Dead Men’ tells the tale of a hundred victims of gas who nevertheless rise to strike their foe.

The chorus is mono and somber with slight keyboard accents. The guitar attack is smooth. A beauty of a track that gives hope in a no man’s land.

‘Devil Dogs’ are the squads going to where no soldier would dare go. They were the Marines of this war. Scorching guitars attack against a heavy chorus.

‘The Red Baron’ about the flying aces. Air force was a new invention of this war. The speed matches the feel of flight. Featuring the best keyboards on the record too.

‘Great War’ takes place during the rain soaked battle of Paschendale. Ultimately asking what is so great about war?

‘A Ghost In The Trenches’ describes bloody raids to gain a few inches of ground. Soldiers are ghosts to be in the ditches.

‘Fields of Verdun’ opens with sound effects of a battle in a place no one shall pass.

‘The End of the War to End All Wars’ 4 years and empire’s end could not end war. The machines of battle were now at rest.

A choral blast with guitars, drums, and driving vocals that take us to the end.

‘In Flanders Fields’ concludes the record. Choral music as one would expect in a song of remembrance. Quite beautiful.

Paschendale ” from Iron Maiden’s thirteenth album in September 2003, commemorates the WWI battle.

Guitarist Adrian Smith wrote this well detailed account of battle and it’s awful consequences.

A fallen soldier recounts his experiences while his life fades. The bloody trenches. The hard rain. All the bodies no older than eighteen. Over the wall to their deaths.

The German propaganda machine the likes of which the world had never seen. At least until that point of time.

Account of those nervous minutes before the whistle blows to signal their end propels this track. A progressive metal song with changes in tempo.

1916 Motorhead’s ninth album released on February 26,1991.
On WTG records. Epic/Sony.

The final song on this record was the band’s most somber. A departure from their usual speed and ferocity.

‘1916’ was a stirring tribute to the lives lost during the great war. Written by the late Lemmy Kilmister.

Structured in verse, a poem. Ultimately a recounting of the horror faced and anonymity conferred on the lives of soldiers.

We should know their names. At least we never forget their courage. And never repeat this passage.