on October 9, 2004
While Bruce Dickinson is THE voice of Iron Maiden, I think Paul DiAnno's contribution during the early Maiden years is too often overlooked. "Phantom of the Opera" and "Sanctuary" are the first great tunes that turned me on to Iron Maiden, and alerted me to just what an incredible group they are.
I won't go as far to say that I like DiAnnio over Dickinson... there is nobody in all of heavy metal that could reproduce that melodic war-cry of a voice he lets rip! But DiAnnio was unique, and left enough of an impression on this album that I think he deserves a bit more of a nod than he gets.
If you have only heard the highlight CDs of Iron Maiden like "Number of the Beast" and "Powerslave," believe me, you are missing out. Those albums are excellent, true. This album is one of the finest beginnings of any band in the this genre of music.
"Phantom of the Opera" is such a unique piece in the heavy metal tunes of that era. There are so many terrible metal lyrics from that era, which makes this great song stand out. The combo of common mental torment, silent film references, and the classic Maiden guitar licks make everyday domestic-despair sound like gothic horror.
One of those rare albums that is every bit as good as Iron Maiden's later efforts! Worth the time and dough!
on May 28, 2002
This is the album that started it all. Iron Maiden's fantastic debut. It's not exactly the Maiden we all know and love today, but it's still a solid debut, one of the best ever. Paul DiAnno has a much different vocal delivery than Bruce, more rough and aggressive, but it still works. And, he's also an excellent singer, as you will see on such tracks as "Remember Tomorrow" and the surprisingly soft "Strange World" (one of the few Maiden songs that never gets heavy).
The musicianship is excellent here. The music itself sounds like a cross between 80's punk and Deep Purple. However, the technicality is taken up a notch. Even without Adrian Smith, the guitars still blaze like a wildfire. Steve Harris puts on what may be his best performance to date. He is truly one of the best bassists in rock. He even gets a couple of brief solo spots. Nice drumming from Clive Burr. He's not as techinically proficient as Nicko, but he may be a bit faster.
The music is generally not as epic (most of the songs are under 4 minutes), but they're still great. Standouts would have to be "Prowler", "Phantom of the Opera", the aforementioned ballads, the awesome instrumental "Transylvania" (check out Iced Earth's album "Horror Show" for their incredible cover of the song), and of course "Iron Maiden". But I don't think there's a bad song here.
I don't think this album can stand up to the later work with Bruce, but it's still great stuff, one of the best albums of 1980. I personally think it destroys "British Steel" and "Back in Black", even if those two (great) albums were much more commercially successful. While it would have been alright (or as Paul would say, "olroight") if they had kept Paul and made a bunch of albums like this, I for one am glad they got Bruce. But, it's a shame that Paul never really did much after this. He's very talented. Anyway, this is a great album, and every Maiden fan needs to hear where it all began.
UP THE IRONS!!!
on October 5, 2002
Iron Maiden's 1980 debut album has certainly stood the test of time well. Still earthy and gritty, Iron Maiden is a great offering of NWOBHM class, a touch of streetwise punk and moody side tangents. The variety and skill the band showed at such an early age is quite impressive and as a result, their first album is a classic that still deserves praise and attention.
The band's later inclination towards epic arrangements is still in early bloom here, as "Phantom of the Opera" shows. The seven minute song is the band's first epic track and shows a good sense of ambitious arrangement as well as the twin lead guitar attack the band would ultimately be infamous for. But the album also offers a lot of dirtier and harder rocking songs like the opening "Prowler" and "Running Free". And as a very interesting counterpart to the epics and rocking tracks, "Strange World" and "Remember Tomorrow" are both hypnotic and geniunely introspective mellow pieces that prove the band could quiet things down to create a very strong pensive mood. Original lead vocalist Paul Di'anno offers a fabulous gritty voice to the material. His voice is what originally lent Iron Maiden a street level credibility that other, higher octave bands might not have gotten in 1980.
Even when compared to their awesome later releases, the debut from Maiden still holds a place as a remarkable album in my collection.
on May 3, 2006
To some Iron Maiden are a joke, well because to them heavy metal itself is a joke (whereas other bands like for example Coldplay, U2 are the modern day Beatles) and there's not much point in trying to convince them how incredible something like Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is.
But this album is a whole different thing, before Maiden evolved into a more "traditional" metal sound. This is before the time of Bruce Dickinson and Number of the beast, when Paul Di'anno with his shorter hair, more raw, slightly punk style vocals was the leader. There is simply no way you can dislike this album, no one sang with that much feeling and sincerity, no one more determined than Steve Harris (who wrote nearly all the songs here) to lead his band to true greatness. This comes from a time when Iron Maiden had SOUL, not something that metal music in general is associated with. The Maiden signature sound is present from day one, but the song writing and playing is of a higher standard, whether it's Harris bass lines, Clive Burr's (one of rock's most criminally overlooked drummers) grooves or Dave Murray's Hendrix influenced, unstructured soloing. When Paul Di'anno sang no one listening to it is left in any doubt that he felt how he sang. If you can't feel the being of Remember Tommorow and Strangeworld you have no soul. Dennis Stratton's opening solo on the latter track (atleast I think that's him) is out of this world and should rank as one of the best guitar solo's written for it's emotion if not complexity. Sad he was fired after the first Maiden album because his evolving music style was at odds with the bands.
Then there's the rockers Prowler, Running Free, Charlotte, Sanctuary. Any album with a string of songs like these could only be called classic. A band nowadays could build their career with just one of these songs. And ofcourse there's the first of their long epics, Phantom of the opera which despite it's subject is not a cheese fest like Webber's awful music. This is one of Maiden's definitive moments one that would influence scores of musicians worldwide in the decades since.
This is an incredibly powerful album, there has been no rock/metal album that has mattered as much as this since that time (all due respect to people like Nirvana, Radiohead, Metallica, but sorry you never stood a chance against Maiden circa 1979-88. Maiden's debut stands at the pinnacle of greatness, it's as essential listening as Led Zeppelin I & II.
on December 15, 2014
I got the US edition (there is also an European/UK edition, as far as I know), and it came out very good. Good pressing, with no big pressing errors/defects. Sound-wise, I prefer it to the remastered 1998 CD. It sounds darker/more bassy, but it really helps the overall sound and feel. The cover reproduces the original's, which in my opinion is way better than the "new" altered cover used in the remastered CD.
on June 3, 2006
Iron Maiden's debut disc was released in 1980. That year was a huge year- Judas Priest, ACDC, Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne released classic albums. However, Iron Maiden arguably is the best of the bunch. All of the songs are classic, and have a very rock n' roll feel to them. Paul Di'anno is a rough vocalist, and makes songs like Prowler, Sanctuary and Running Free very fun to listen to. Phantom Of The Opera is the best song; it is a 7 minute epic that hints at the band's larger than life albums later in their career. The recording is rough around the edges, but like Metallica's Kill 'Em All, it makes it more fun to listen to.
I recommend this album to all Iron Maiden fans. However, if you are new to this band, you should start with Number Of The Beast or Powerslave.
on April 13, 2003
Though this was their first release and had a more raw, punkish feel to it, it can still hold its own against their later masterpieces. The high point on this album was Paul Dianno's voice. His vocal range on this album was tremendous, going from low growls in Iron Maiden to his soulful singing in Strange World. I liked him more on this album than in their follow-up Killers. Now I will review the actual songs.
Prowler- A great opener! Very hard and very fast, with some pretty funny lyrics as well. The guitar part in the beginning is pretty cool. 5/5
Sanctuary- My least favorite song, I found it kind of boring. Not bad, but there's better stuff here. 3/5
Remember Tomorrow- Very melodic with great vocals. After each verse, ther's a heavy guitar part, which really makes this a balanced song, with both melody and Maiden's signature hardcore sound. Great song. 4.5/5
Running Free- A cool, fun song to listen to. Vintage early Maiden. 4/5
Phantom of the Opera- Their first real epic is a great one. I love the instrumental part in the middle, shows signs of things to come. This albums best offering. 5/5
Translyvania- A really cool instrumental. I'm not a big fan of instrumentals, but this one and Metallica's Orion are real masterpieces. 4/5
Strange World- This is where Paul's vocals really shine. A beautiful ballad with some nice solos thrown in. 4.5/5
Charlotte the Harlot- Really cool guitar playing on this one, definetly the most punk influenced song here. 4/5
Iron Maiden- Pretty cool song, pretty simplistic though. The best chorus ever! 3.5/5
This is probably not Maiden's best offering, but it is one of the best debut albums of all-time and will be playing in my CD player for a long,long time. Highly Recommended.
on September 15, 2002
Here is the album that introduced the world to Iron Maiden. They were a new band. A different band. One that dared to enter a world that was peppered with punk rockers and play a completely different style of music. They would later grow into one of the most sucessful bands in history. But in this album, they are captured only as a new band struggling to compete with the other bad boys. None of them knew what was to come.
The album kicks of with the ever popular (and catchy) Prowler, which is an absolute masterpiece in itself. The next song, Sanctuary, was not originally released with the album, but this first attempt still charted at # 4! Iron Maiden's first singer, Paul Di'anno and, of course, Steve Harris team up to create the third tune entitled Remember Tomorrow. It starts out quiet and serene, but bursts into a wild frenzy as only Iron Maiden can do. Track 4 is possibly one of Maiden's greatest songs called Running Free. It is an incredible song that displays all of Maiden's talent. The next song is the perfect, the awesome and amazingly astounding Phantom of the Opera. No words can describe the sheer power and flowing rhythm of this one. It starts out in a rather common way, but launches into a full and ecstatic whirlwind of music. Paul Di'anno is not needed for the next song because it is Transylvania, which happens to be instrumental. It focuses purely on the musical abilities of Maiden, which are demonstrated so well in this tune. Then comes a different side of Iron Maiden. A calm and quiet song named Strange World. Light taps on the cymbals and gentle fills on the drums make for a perfect background for the painstaking guitar work. Charlotte the Harlot has a touch of uniqueness, possibly because it was written by Guitarist Dave Murray. It, like Porwler, is quite catchy and a smashing piece of work. Then comes the anthem of the band and the title track. Iron Maiden is so simple, yet it doesn't compromise the song at all. In fact, Iron Maiden is still one of my favorite tunes. Iron Maiden can't be fought. Iron Maiden can't be sought. You have to listen to it. Do no hesitate to buy the only album that includes Iron Maiden's first guitarist. Get the album that came before Bruce and Nicko, when Paul Di'anno had the microphone and Clive Burr controlled the beats.
And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, guess what? It actually gets better!! If you have the capabilities to access the CD extra, you can view exclusive footage of Iron Maiden playing live at the Rainbow in London in 1981. The two clips are of Phantom of the Opera and Iron Maiden. The video from which they are taken is called Live at the Rainbow. It is very rare (I found a copy on eBay) but this CD gives you the unique opportunity to see Iron Maiden in one of their first concerts. It's to cool not to get!!
on October 27, 2014
When it was announced a few years ago that Iron Maiden would be re-releasing their back catalog from 1980 to 1988 on vinyl, I was thrilled to hear it. But when it turned out to be pictured discs, my excitement tampered off. Though they do look fantastic, ask any vinyl person and they'll tell you their sound quality is less than satisfactory. So when it was announced this year that they would be doing another reissue campaign, but this time on black 180 gram vinyl, I was happy I waited. Not only did they do the original albums, but also each albums' accompanying singles, which have never be available domestically in the States. So the main question is, how do they sound? Well, I hate to say this for my wallet's sake, but this reissue sounds absolutely breath taking. As many people know, the debut album doesn't have the best production in the world(Steve Harris and Paul Di'Anno have both stated their disliking of the mix), but this 180 reissue is the best I've ever heard this album sound. As you can guess, the bass sounds tremendous, but what sounds the best is the quieter parts. I've never heard such separation and respect for each instrument on any version of this album before. The package is pretty faithful to the original, down to the labels on the discs and the mix is from the direct analog masters. The inner sleeve is lined which is very nice to ensure minimal dust gets on it. If you've hard trouble finding original pressings in good condition, these may suffice or even beat out the originals!
This great release was a gamechanger for the hard rock/heavy metal genre. It was HUGE, and unlike anything anyone had heard before! I can remember hearing this for the first time, while in my late teens, and although I was already a huge fan of hard rock like The Scorpions, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Rush, Led Zeppelin, etc., it was this album (and Judas Priest's 'Stained Class' and 'British Steel') that spearheaded a new sound and direction for 'heavy metal' (which was previously called 'hard rock')! I was fortunate enough to have seen this tour with Judas Priest at NYC's Palladium 'back in the day'.