Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden
"Iron Maiden's" debut album was released on April 14, 1980.
This is not just another debut album.
It is one of the most influential debut albums in the metal world.
Because this album started a new era.
Because the metal world is divided into two, the one before Maiden and the one after.
One cannot even imagine what the metal world would have looked like without Iron Maiden.
No, we did not exaggerate!
If Black Sabbath's first album ignited the metal engine, then exactly 10 years later, with this album, Maiden pressed the button that put it in turbo mode.
Maiden did to Metal what the Beatles did to rock. Just as no rock music fan did not hear of "the Beatles", the is no metal fan who doesn't no Maiden. Just as you would not find a rock music lover without an album by the Beatles in his library, you will not find a "Metalhead" who does not have a Maiden album at home.
40 albums, of which 16 are studio albums, one of which is double, over 2000 performances in front of millions of fans around the world, of which only one of them alone was in front of 300,000 people, sales of over one hundred million albums worldwide. Make no mistake, Maiden is the biggest metal band in the world, period!
It is not that this statement underestimates the value of other big bands in metal. Definitely not!
It is not diminishing the tremendous contribution and influence of the great bands - the founding generation, who brought the world genres like hard rock and metal, such as "Black Sabbath", "Deep Purple" and "Led Zeppelin".
It also does not underestimate the great influence of the next generation of bands, the dual guitar pioneers, such as "AC/DC", "Judas Priest", "Thin Lizzy", and more. But "Maiden" created a revolution. It took the metal world to a whole new level. And it all started on April 14, 1980!
True, this album is not the classic Maiden that will begin to take shape two years later with the masterful album "The Number of The Beast", but this album has all the important elements that will make it so.
Here's the dominant and pulsating bass of Steve Harris, who may not yet have found the final formula for the "galloping" style so identified with him, but is close to it, as in the song "Runnin' Free" - the first single from the album Steve Harris wrote Together with singer Paul Di'Anno and whose words are a kind of autobiography about the singer's life, as a disturbed 16-year-old child, rebellious and free.
There are the famous harmonies of the "dual guitar" that ride on top of each other, like the small "lines" of "Prowler" - the album's powerful opening song, and there are the alternating solos between the two guitarists as in the song "Charlotte the Harlot" (starting on 2:57), written by Dave Murray solely and is the first of four in a series of Maiden's "prostitutes" songs.
There are also the progressive buds with the frequent rhythm changes, and the roots of the film-based, book-based, or event-based epic songs, such as "Phantom of the Opera," based on Gaston Leroux's famous 1910 novel, which was later released through the Broadway musical. It's one of the favorite songs of Steve Harris who to this day holds the opinion that it's one of the greatest songs he has ever written.
There are also the instrumentals like "Transylvania" that will be further developed into sections like "Genghis Khan" and "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)". And there are even the complex and dynamic slow-fast, quiet-noisy tracks like the magnificent "Remember Tomorrow" which holds the basic formula that will create memorable tracks on subsequent albums, like "Hallowed Be Thy Name", "Revelations" and even "Fear of the Dark". The song was written by Steve Harris and Paul Di'Anno, with Di'Anno basing the lyrics on a sentence his grandfather said on his death bed while suffering from diabetes. "Remember tomorrow," he told Paul. "Remember because you can have a better day ...".
But despite the existence of all the "primary colors" that make up Maiden's style, the musical material and overall sound of this album still do not transmit pure metal. Paul Di'Anno's singing style reflected what happened in those years in Britain. He introduced the band to punk, both in his more aggressive musical style and singing and also in his look and appearance. This effect was also expressed in the dirty and rough guitar sound like the one which opens the song "Prowler".
Although Maiden's DNA screams from almost every song as we detailed above, this is still not the classic Maiden who will need another two years to get there. Paul Di'Anno is a great singer, but he is not Bruce Dickinson and his vocal abilities, as well as the relatively limited vocal range, may fit like a glove to the songs on this album, but they are not yet enough to make Maiden one of the most important bands in metal. This will only happen with Bruce Dickinson's famous scream in "Hallowed Be Thy Name", which will open the ears of all metal listeners in the world, and make them completely change their perception regarding the role and status of a singer in a band.
Also, Dennis Stratton is not Adrian Smith, and although he contributed some beautiful solos to the album, he did not fit into the band and was released from it due to musical disagreements, with his friends testifying that he did not play the loud solos with the same passion as those in the quiet tracks like "Strange World" 'Which is without a doubt one of the most beautiful songs on the album, but is "a different and weird" in relation to Maiden's repertoire.
And yet, as we have said, it is one of the most important debut albums in metal, not necessarily because of the qualities not because of its influence, but because of the big bang that was created in its wake. The album immediately won critical acclaim and was received with open arms by the audience. Even the band itself treats this album with reverence as 4 of its 8 songs (in the original release) are among the most played songs in the band's performances to date: "Phantom of the Opera", "Running Free", "Sanctuary" and "Iron Maiden", With the latter been played in every band performance ever.
It is interesting to note that years later all the songs on the album except "Strange World" were recorded by Bruce Dickinson, both during performances or as part of B-Sides, which further illustrates the respect the band has for this important album, which was not only marked the opening signal for the great career of The band, but also constituted the milestone that would herald the beginning of the NWOBHM revolution and put the metal world in a completely different perspective!