Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best. As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones. I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate! This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?
NOTE: I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only. There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.
This week, we will go after the mighty Iron Maiden. This English outfit is a heavy metal icon and one of my favorites! In fact, there are days where I may view them as my favorite band of all time. However, that changes from time to time. That said, if I’m in the mood for heavy and progressive classic metal, Maiden is who I turn to.
Having been around for more than 40 years, Iron Maiden has undergone several lineup changes, primarily the comings and goings of lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson. The band’s classic lineup consisted of Dickinson on vocals, guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, bassist Steve Harris, and drummer Nicko McBrain. This is also the current lineup, with the addition of long-time guitarist Janick Gers to round out the group to six members.
Blaze Bayley’s vocal debut with the group. Nothing against Blaze, but the songs for this album don’t stand up to other Maiden releases.
Best Song: Sign of the Cross
Best Deep Cut: Sign of the Cross (anything on here is a deep cut)
See notes above. Although, The Clansman is a great song.
Best Song: The Clansman
Best Deep Cut: The Clansman
A major drop-off from the preceding Iron Maiden albums.
Best Song: Tailgunner
Best Deep Cut: No Prayer for the Dying
Although #14 on the list, there are some decent tracks on this record, notably the brilliant, Paschendale.
Best Song: Paschendale
Best Deep Cut: Paschendale
Not a bad release. In fact, I can see myself pushing play on any of the top 14 albums in this list on any given day.
Best Song: Satellite 15…The Final Frontier
Best Deep Cut: The Talisman
Dickinson’s last album before his 8-year absence. There are some moments here, such as the wonderful title cut.
Best Song: Fear of the Dark
Best Deep Cut: Afraid to Shoot Strangers
Maiden toured on this album by playing it in its entirety. Weekend fans were not impressed, but I would have liked to have seen it.
Best song: These Colours Don’t Run
Best Deep Cut: These Colours Don’t Run
Making the Top 10 on this list is nothing to sneeze at. There are some great songs on this record, such as, If Eternity Should Fail, The Red and the Black, The Book of Souls, Death or Glory, and Tears of a Clown.
Best Song: Tears of a Clown
Best Deep Cut: Tears of a Clown
The latest Iron Maiden album. A more than solid release, indeed. The band takes a page out of its last album (The Book of Souls) and creates several marathon tracks that are neither boring nor overwhelming. Give a listen to the title cut, Stratego, Lost in a Lost World, The Time Machine, and Hell on Earth. For a band to put out something this strong after 40 years is quite an accomplishment.
Best Deep Cut:
Dickinson returned for this album. A very successful return it was.
Best Song: Blood Brothers
Best Deep Cut: Blood Brothers
The first of the classic 80s albums to appear in this list. There are some great songs on this one, such as Caught Somewhere in Time, Wasted Years, Heaven Can Wait, The Loneliest of the Long Distance Runner, Stranger in a Strange Land, and Alexander the Great.
Best Song: Wasted Years (OK, this may sound like I’m taking the easy way out, but I assure you, I love this song!)
Best Deep Cut: Alexander the Great
This is another classic record with some outstanding songs. Give a listen to Moonchild, Infinite Dreams, Can I Play With Madness, The Evil That Med Do, The Clairvoyant, and the title track.
Best Song: The Evil That Men Do
Best Deep Cut: Moonchild
We have reached the Top 5 and we are going to see why these albums are among the big boys. This record gave way to the ridiculously successful World Slavery Tour in 1984-85. Is there a one-two punch from this band stronger than Aces High and Two Minutes to Midnight?
The album closing title cut and Rime of the Ancient Mariner are epic deep cuts that may not be considered deep cuts at all to more seasoned Maiden fans.
Best Song: Two Minutes to Midnight
Best Deep Cut: Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The debut of drummer extraordinaire Nicko McBrain. I’m partial to drummers. I wonder why?
Nicko leaves little doubt as to his talents with the opening drum lick of, Where Eagles Dare, which kicks the whole thing off. There are so many great songs here, including, Revelations, Flight of Icarus, Die With Your Boots On, The Trooper, and Still Life.
Best Song: Revelations
Best Deep Cut: Revelations
I am quite partial to the Paul Di’Anno fronted albums, not because I think he’s a better vocalist than Dickinson. In my opinion, he is not. However, the songs on these two records reflect a young, up and coming, and hungry band who is destined for big things.
Check out the title cut, Wrathchild, and Murders in the Rue Morgue, which is certainly in my personal top five Maiden songs.
Best Song: Murders in the Rue Morgue
Best Deep Cut: Murders in the Rue Morgue
There isn’t a clunker in the bunch on this one. An incredible debut record from a then unknown band out of England. Check out, Prowler, Remember Tomorrow, Running Free, Phantom of the Opera, Charlotte the Harlot, and the title cut. Remember Tomorrow would slot into my personal top five, as well.
Best Song: Remember Tomorrow
Best Deep Cut: Remember Tomorrow
“Woe to you, oh earth and sea
For the devil sends the beast with wrath
Because he knows the time is short…….”
Dickinson’s debut is the best album in the band’s entire catalog. And it’s not all that close, either. From the quoted title cut above, and including the classic, Run to the Hills and Hallowed Be Thy Name, the record also contains incredible deep tracks, Children of the Damned, The Prisoner, and 22 Acacia Avenue.
Try as they might, Iron Maiden could never top this one.
Best Song: Hallowed Be Thy Name (#1 on my personal list)
Best Deep Cut: Children of the Damned