8 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Gee - hear that punk influence?,
This review is from: Iron Maiden (Audio CD)
I grew up listening to Iron Maiden in my early teens, sort of grew out of it after that, but I get a bit nostalgic when I hear the songs now.
Listening to this album now it is interesting to hear just how much of the fast punk sound is in it! Anyone who has had the opportunity to hear the Soundhouse tapes will notice that the punk influence is even more pronounced there! Iron Maiden was a way different band before they got signed, and their debut album points a little to where they came from.
Iron Maiden's other influences are evident on this recording; I hear glimpses of early Rush (particularly Steve Harris' bass lines), Wishbone Ash and Black Sabbath.
Curiously, Paul DiAnno's vocals are much better on this album than on the next release, 'Killers'. Vocally, the best performance is on the ballad 'Strange World' where he gets to sing more melodically.
This album is full of catchy head banger classics like 'Prowler', 'Running Free' and 'Charlotte the Harlot' as well as some longer pseudo-epics like Phantom of the Opera (memorable opening riff) and Transylvania.
Melodically and harmonically the material is fairly simple and predictable. Lots of straight diatonic harmony over mostly Aeolian modal material--this is a heavy metal staple. Iron Maiden also really exploit the 'twin guitar' harmonised melody line sound--the melody usually harmonised a diatonic third above. In fact they did it so much, it became a signature sound of theirs.
The solos on this album are mostly of the messy noodling variety. On the upshot, Dave Murray does play with a lot of passion. As with all Maiden albums the bass is fairly high in the mix. Steve Harris has always had a fairly unique sound although his influences are obvious on this recording: Geddy Lee and Chris Squire in particular. Clive Burr's drumming is solid and suits the direction of the music on this recording. The overall sound production of this album is similar to the late 70s Judas Priest sound.
Iron Maiden were always going to be successful, they had the right sound and the right time for hard rock and heavy metal audiences of the early 80s. It would be another couple of years before they really hit the big time but this was certainly an auspicious beginning.
This album a good document of the evolution of hard rock/heavy metal during the late 70s and early 80s.
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Initial post: Jan 5, 2010 5:31:01 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2010 5:37:35 AM PST
Glad you mentioned Priest in there. While nowhere near as good as Sad Wings of Destiny, there are elements of the hard and soft on this first Maiden album that reminisce parts of that album. As I listen to parts of Strange World now I can't help think a little of "Changes" or "Dreamer Deceiver" in it's softer parts and there are other places that remind me of Priest as well, though the singing and songwriting isn't in the league of Halford on that album (SWOD). Charlotte the Harlot or Running Free could have been KISS songs (in places), and speaking of which, there's another band that was preminiscing punk even in '74. Personally, I think 2 stars is a little low for this album. The more I listen to it, the more I kind of like it (my favorite Maiden is still Powerslave). "Pre-Maiden" influences mixing with sounds that become trademark, like you say, is part of the charm on this album but there's still quite a bit here that's already wholly Maiden (the Trooper-like riffs in Transylvania, or pre-'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' chugging along in Phantom of the Opera), etc.
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