April 10th, 2006
I just can’t help myself. Seeing Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey has really put the zap on me. In addition to Dio, the film also featured a couple clips with Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. It’s been a while since I’ve cranked up some Maiden so here we go.
Iron Maiden started in the late 1970s as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Their first couple albums featured Paul D’Anno on vocals and were very punk-inflected although their lyrics were a million miles away from those of The Sex Pistols, The Clash, and that ilk. D’Anno was booted from the band after their second album as his drug addiction took its toll on his ability to perform at concerts. His replacement was Bruce Dickinson who brought with him a soaring operatic style of singing that was the complete opposite of the raspy moaning of D’Anno. Dickinson’s debut was on The Number of the Beast in 1982. Most of the punk edge was gone and more of a traditional metal style prevailed. The album proved immensely popular but the title track garnered them a reputation as Satanists or occultists and Christians in American burned their records. During the recording of the album, producer Martin Birch was involved in a car accident and the repair bill ended up being £666.
For their next album, drummer Clive Burr was replaced by Nikko McBrian and the result was Piece of Mind. It was followed in 1984 by Powerslave. With a 15-minute title song in addition to other longer pieces, the band’s music became a bit more complicated with songs having distinct sections, recapitulations, and lots of time changes. Powerslave is arguably the birth of progressive metal, an unholy alliance between progressive rock and heavy metal. Despite albums with lyrics about the mythological figure of Icarus ascending towards the sun, the book Dune, the Battle of Britain during World War II, the TV show The Prisoner, and a whole wealth of other topics, the Satanist tag remained. 1988 brought Seventh Son of a Seventh Son which is the album that got me into the band. I distinctly recall listening to the spooky instrumental section in the middle of the title song during a thunderstorm when I heard a loud crash. I walked into the bathroom only to find that the glass shower door has shattered. Quite an auspicious beginning! Seventh Son of a Seventh Son extended the experimentation of the previous album, Somewhere in Time, which featured guiar synth. This time around, the band had a dedicated keyboard player. Maiden were not solidly at the top of the nascent progressive metal scene.
It was recorded at Area Spettacoli in Reggio Emilia, Italy on 12 September 1992.
The Number Of The Beast
The Evil That Men Do
Afraid To Shoot Strangers
Fear Of The Dark
Bring Your Daughter…To The Slaughter
Heaven Can Wait
Run To The Hills
2 Minutes To Midnight