on May 27, 2004
Note that THIS is the Iron Maiden CD that I started with. No Number of the Beast, folks. It took a little bit to get used to the Maiden sound, but it was an absolute grower and now I can't get enough of it.
After a much-requested (by the fans) Soundhouse Tapes release, Maiden knew they had their work cut out for them to make their debut LP. So they did, recording it in 1979 and making it ready for release by early 1980. It was an awsome fusion of melodic rock, punk, and heavy metal, and it certainly showed what was to come for Maiden- if their debut was this good, what could come next? This lineup was one of Maiden's earliest album-wise, it had the rough and tumble Paul Di'Anno vocals (no high pitched stuff here- well, maybe a little, hehe) and original guitarist Dennis Stratton and drummer Clive Burr. Sadly this would be Stratton's last LP with Maiden. I usually don't do track-by-track reviews, but since this album is so good, I think I will.
Prowler- An awsome opener! Wouldn't think of anything else opening off this terrific CD. It's fast, tough, and has good guitar licks courtesy of Dave Murray and Maiden's old guitarist Dennis Stratton. Features some ripping solos in the middle. Funny but questionable lyrics, has a good song title though. Maiden hooks you with this song, and sets the tempo for the rest of the record. Greatness. 5/5
Sanctuary- Originally released shortly after this album as a single, Sanctuary is sometimes cut down by fans, but I, for one, love it. It just chugs along with some good backbone by drummer Clive Burr and bassist (our man!) Steve Harris. I like the lyrics alot- ("Out of the winter came a warhorse of steel, I'd never killed a woman before but I know how it feels"). Don't know why this song is so cut down by some people. The only bonus track on this reissue CD. 5/5
Remember Tommorow- Whoa. This is a knockout- you just have to hear it! Sometimes melodic, sometimes hard, but it rocks like no other. Memorable track. 5/5
Running Free- Don't like this too much- I think it is overrated, but that's just my opinion. It just dosn't rock that hard to me and dosn't go along at nice pace. Sort of boring too me, but still OK. Live staple, still to this day. 2.5/5
Phantom of the Opera- Best song off the album, and with good reason. Unbelieveable composition by Harris, it goes through alot of tempo changes and also features some firing and melodic guitar solos by Murray, plus the mean intro riff. Essential listening- you just have to hear the live version on Live After Death- awsome! 5/5
Transylvania- Fairly memorable instrumental track- it's great and I think the album wouldn't feel complete without a burning instrumental. Follows up Phantom of the Opera very well. 4/5
Strange World- MOST UNDERRATED TRACK OF THE ALBUM! Simply love this song- just because it's not heavy dosn't mean it isn't great- full of beautiful solos by Murray, great singing by Paul Di'Anno and solid bass by Harris. One of my favorites off the album. 5/5
Charlotte the Harlot- The sole Dave Murray composition off the album- he did the lyrics and the music. Starts off heavy and fast with funny lyrics, then has a tempo change, and what- back to the original opening riff! Can't help but like this song. 5/5
Iron Maiden- Pretty overrated too, but it's Maiden's signature track, and they do it at almost every concert. It is very memorable with the chorus, but not a very good long term song. Good, but not great. 3.5/5
As for the new 2002 remaster/reissue, well, I haven't heard the old one but as far as sound quality (it was remastered by Simon Heyworth at Chop 'em Out in 1998, and he, with Robert Fripp, also remastered the entire King Crimson catalogue in SACD and they sound unbelieveable. He does an excellent job) and packaging, it is great. It comes with some slightly informative notes (major dates in for the band in 1980) and full lyrics, plus some great photos. Also contains original album and singles artwork and comes with a slipcase. No complaints. It is well done and the Enhanced CD portion comes with two live videos (from 1981 I think- Live at the Rainbow, with Adrian Smith) plus complete tour dates and some more rare photos and info.
I would say this Maiden CD is simply essential and will be in my head (and CD player) for a long time. It is certainly one of metal's all-time best debuts.