Iron Maiden: Iron Maiden-80’s-1980.

Paul Di’Anno V.
Dave Murray -G.
Dennis Stratton -G.
Steve Harris – B,V.
Clive Burr – D.
Songs
Side A
1.Prowler03:56  Show lyrics
2.Remember Tomorrow05:28  Show lyrics
3.Running Free03:18  Show lyrics
4.Phantom of the Opera07:20  Show lyrics
Side B
5.Transylvania04:19  instrumental
6.Strange World05:32  Show lyrics
7.Charlotte the Harlot04:13  Show lyrics
8.Iron Maiden03:36  Show lyrics
 37:42 

Posted in

2 Comments

  1. Slater922, April 14th, 2021
    Written based on this version: 1987, CD, EMI

    I don’t think there are any words in the English language that can describe how influential Iron Maiden is. Ever since they gained mainstream success with their 1982 album “The Number of the Beast”, the English band has come out with hit after hit, impressing many with their versatile stories that range from a battle in “The Trooper” or some space themes in “Speed of Light”. And yet, they all began with this humble little album known as “Iron Maiden”. Their eponymous debut may not be that impressive at first, and you may find it to be pretty weak. However, the more you listen to it, the more you begin to appreciate it. While it isn’t flawless, it still remains a strong album overall and a great start for this iconic band.

    Well, where do we start with this project? Well, we do begin the album with the track “Prowler”. The track itself seems like your typical NWOBHM song, with some hard-sounding guitar riffs and some basic drumming skills. However, when you look a bit deeper into the instruments, you start to uncover some great stuff. The guitars have a very powerful sound that gives the riffs a tough, yet playful sound. The drumming may not seem that special, but the beat patterns are very energetic and set the basis for the other instruments. The bass, while not that prominent, still follows a similar flow to the guitars and also works with the drums for bringing in the foundation. All of this is combined to make an excellent track. In fact, each track has its own specialties that makes it sound special. Whether it be the more dark and gloomy atmosphere of “Remember Tomorrow” or the more relaxed and nostalgic tone of “Strange World”, no track feels like a repeat of the other. They may not seem that impressive at first glance, but looking further in them reveals some of the best instrumentals heavy metal had to offer at that time.

    But while these instruments are great, they need a great vocalist to back them up. This is where Paul Di’Anno comes into the picture. Now Di’Anno’s time in Iron Maiden was very short. He was only involved in “Iron Maiden” and their next album “Killers” before he left the band. Now, I like Bruce Dickenson and all, but Paul had a certain charisma that gave his vocals a very unique sound. One of the best examples of this would be in the track “Phantom of the Opera”. The track itself has a very upbeat and epic tone to it, and Paul reflects that. His voice is very vibrant and dynamic enough to make his talks of not falling for the Phantom feel serious. Not only that, but his voice flows perfectly to the instruments and further enforces the crazed atmosphere it’s going for. But when Paul isn’t being uplifting, his more chill personality is great, especially in the track “Strange World”. There, his singing is very melodic and gives the themes of being in a dream a more sincere tone. It also reflects the very soft and calming instruments very well, and further executes the grand and dreamy atmosphere. Paul Di’Anno’s vocals may have been a bit weaker in “Killers”, but here, they’re fantastic to listen to.

    And then there’s the lyrics. Now if you’re hoping to find some amazing poetry of history that Iron Maiden is famous for, then prepared to be disappointed, since they haven’t exactly reached there yet. However, the lyrics they have here are just as powerful. For example, in the track “Running Free”, this verse quotes:

    Just sixteen, a pickup truck, out of money, out of luck.
    I’ve got nowhere to call my own, hit the gas, and here I go.

    This verse sets up the story of a 16-year-old who has no home and only has a pickup truck, so he has no other choice than to drive away from his place. The lyrics themselves are pretty basic in terms of storytelling, but what makes the lyrics great is their execution. The overall atmosphere of the track has a more abrasive and rebellious tone to it, and it reflects well to the character’s desire to “run free”. Paul’s vocals are also great, since his expressions of anger and rebelling enhances the character’s personality. Just about every lyric on this album is like this, where the basic stories are further enhanced by the instruments and vocals. The lyrics of “Charlotte the Harlot”, however, are a bit weak, since the more cheerful tone is slightly off-putting to the darker themes. Nevertheless, the lyrics are great overall.

    So when all is said and done, there’s a good reason why this album is highly praised. The instrumentals have a very unique sound and Paul’s vocals are an absolute marvel to listen to. Virtually everything about this album is special, and while it does take some time to understand it all, you’ll eventually realize that Iron Maiden still had a distinctive sound in them, even when they were just getting started. Nowadays, everyone seems to know the lyrics to “The Number of the Beast”, but if you haven’t checked out their debut album, then be warned: Wherever you are, Iron Maiden’s gonna get you, no matter how far.

    Like

  2. DanielG06, March 1st, 2021
    Written based on this version: 2014, 12″ vinyl, Parlophone (Reissue, EU)

    Iron Maiden is my all-time favourite band, and I will proudly fanboy them until the day I die. First of all, this album was the first Iron Maiden album that I listened to, and arguably this is the album that single-handedly turned me into a metalhead, so it holds a pretty special place in my heart. For 1980, this was extremely complex and intricate heavy metal, but still it never gets boring, whether you prefer the shorter, punkier 3 minute cuts, or the epic 7 minute anthems, this record has plenty of variety and still keeps things fresh, it holds up fantastically more than 40 years later. The production might be a bit one-dimensional, which is especially noticeable on songs like Sanctuary, which sounds quite dry, and I think this record doesn’t have the production-wise touch that its successor had, so it doesn’t have as much of a classic melodic heavy metal feeling as Killers. Despite this, the lineup worked with what they had, and the result was phenomenal. The drums sound great; the guitars a little bit thin, but honestly I’ve grown to love the sound, or maybe I’ve just listened to this so many times that the old-school crunch of the guitars is burned into my brain.

    The performance from every member is tight and about as virtuosic as metal could get in that period. I don’t know what Dave Murray was on at the time or even nowadays, but he is my favourite guitarist of all time, and the single reason I picked up the guitar. All of his solos are perfect, the melodies are fantastic and sound way too ambitious and smooth for a guitarist in his 20’s. Clive Burr was a beast; his beats were machine-like and I don’t think he misses or botches a single note during the entire 40 minute runtime. Dennis Stratton does a good job on rhythm guitars, but of course Adrian Smith is light years better, a necessary lineup change that happened a few months after this was released. Paul’s voice is great, he may not have had the piercing range that Bruce Dickinson has, but Paul Di’anno definitely could sing. Steve Harris is probably my biggest influence as a songwriter, his basslines are amazing, and he plays with his fingers! That makes his brilliant playing even more impressive, considering how fast some of the riffs are, particularly on Transylvania and Phantom of the Opera, a song that I wanted to talk about for a minute.

    Phantom of the Opera is a masterpiece, the track has an exceptional amount of sections and solos that all blend together unanimously, and regardless of whether some of the material is primitive, the fact that any band could have a song like this on their first album is a feat in itself. The song is emotional, driving, consistent, addictive and memorable, the haunting melodies sound epic and even medieval, this song really is a timeless classic that any metalhead should recognise. It’s outstanding. This sense of melody and articulation is carried out in other great songs such as Strange New World and Remember Tomorrow, some more of my favourites. These tracks are just insanely beautiful, and underrated too. Some of these songs were just written to be played live, you have the massive Running Free, Charlotte the Harlot, and the title track, which I was lucky enough to see them perform in 2018 in London (best night of my life). These tracks are fast, thunderous, anthemic, powerful, and although they have a very classic rock and roll vibe, they were very heavy songs at the time, in a time before Bathory and Hellhammer and Possessed and Sepultura and Exodus and even Venom. I think the reason these songs stand the test of time so well is because of the colossal impact and influence that they had on the genre.

    I think the majority of the album is a great blend of old school metal and very melodic, potent twists. Even on the first song Prowler, the band presents an original style of songwriting that was unheard of that the time, no other band was doing the things that Iron Maiden did, even Judas Priest was just starting to figure it out, and all of the other bands in the entire world were just playing rock, riff after riff and chorus after chorus, and that isn’t an exaggeration. Priest and Maiden really were the first bands to incorporate kickass melodies in their music that really hit hard, with this album possibly being the first of its kind. Anyway, I don’t think I really need to say more. With its perfect bridge between riffs and melodies, I think this is an essential for any metalhead. If it bores you, that’s fine, I’m sure there’s a Limp Bizkit or Black Veil Brides album you can go listen to.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s