IRON MAIDEN

Heavy Metal / NWoBHM • United Kingdom
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Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, east London in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band's discography has grown to thirty-seven albums, including fifteen studio albums, eleven live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations. Pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Iron Maiden achieved initial success during the early 1980s. After several line-up changes, the band went on to release a series of US and UK platinum and gold albums, including 1982's The Number of the Beast, 1983's Piece of Mind, 1984's Powerslave, 1985's live release Live After Death, 1986's Somewhere in Time and 1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Since the return of lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith in 1999, the band have undergone a resurgence in popularity, with their latest studio offering, The Final Frontier, peaking at No. 1 in 28 different countries and read more...

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IRON MAIDEN Discography

IRON MAIDEN albums / top albums

IRON MAIDEN Iron Maiden album cover 4.04 | 161 ratings
Iron Maiden
NWoBHM 1980
IRON MAIDEN Killers album cover 3.94 | 154 ratings
Killers
NWoBHM 1981
IRON MAIDEN The Number Of The Beast album cover 4.39 | 204 ratings
The Number Of The Beast
NWoBHM 1982
IRON MAIDEN Piece Of Mind album cover 4.21 | 177 ratings
Piece Of Mind
NWoBHM 1983
IRON MAIDEN Powerslave album cover 4.50 | 229 ratings
Powerslave
NWoBHM 1984
IRON MAIDEN Somewhere In Time album cover 4.35 | 176 ratings
Somewhere In Time
Heavy Metal 1986
IRON MAIDEN Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son album cover 4.44 | 200 ratings
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
Heavy Metal 1988
IRON MAIDEN No Prayer For The Dying album cover 2.98 | 121 ratings
No Prayer For The Dying
Heavy Metal 1990
IRON MAIDEN Fear Of The Dark album cover 3.37 | 134 ratings
Fear Of The Dark
Heavy Metal 1992
IRON MAIDEN The X Factor album cover 3.22 | 110 ratings
The X Factor
Heavy Metal 1995
IRON MAIDEN Virtual XI album cover 2.65 | 107 ratings
Virtual XI
Heavy Metal 1998
IRON MAIDEN Brave New World album cover 4.11 | 155 ratings
Brave New World
Heavy Metal 2000
IRON MAIDEN Dance Of Death album cover 3.81 | 115 ratings
Dance Of Death
Heavy Metal 2003
IRON MAIDEN A Matter Of Life And Death album cover 3.89 | 116 ratings
A Matter Of Life And Death
Heavy Metal 2006
IRON MAIDEN The Final Frontier album cover 3.68 | 119 ratings
The Final Frontier
Heavy Metal 2010
IRON MAIDEN The Book Of Souls album cover 4.25 | 74 ratings
The Book Of Souls
Heavy Metal 2015
IRON MAIDEN Senjutsu album cover 3.99 | 21 ratings
Senjutsu
Heavy Metal 2021

IRON MAIDEN EPs & splits

IRON MAIDEN The Soundhouse Tapes album cover 3.69 | 15 ratings
The Soundhouse Tapes
NWoBHM 1979
IRON MAIDEN Live!! + One album cover 3.70 | 6 ratings
Live!! + One
NWoBHM 1980
IRON MAIDEN Maiden Japan album cover 3.68 | 24 ratings
Maiden Japan
NWoBHM 1981
IRON MAIDEN No More Lies: Dance Of Death Souvenir EP album cover 3.50 | 6 ratings
No More Lies: Dance Of Death Souvenir EP
Heavy Metal 2004

IRON MAIDEN live albums

IRON MAIDEN Live After Death album cover 4.17 | 63 ratings
Live After Death
NWoBHM 1985
IRON MAIDEN A Real Live One album cover 3.43 | 30 ratings
A Real Live One
Heavy Metal 1993
IRON MAIDEN A Real Dead One album cover 3.46 | 28 ratings
A Real Dead One
Heavy Metal 1993
IRON MAIDEN Live At Donington album cover 3.11 | 18 ratings
Live At Donington
Heavy Metal 1993
IRON MAIDEN Rock In Rio album cover 4.04 | 33 ratings
Rock In Rio
Heavy Metal 2002
IRON MAIDEN Death On The Road album cover 3.52 | 21 ratings
Death On The Road
Heavy Metal 2005
IRON MAIDEN Flight 666: The Original Soundtrack album cover 3.57 | 22 ratings
Flight 666: The Original Soundtrack
Heavy Metal 2009
IRON MAIDEN En Vivo! album cover 3.82 | 11 ratings
En Vivo!
Heavy Metal 2012
IRON MAIDEN Maiden England '88 album cover 4.18 | 15 ratings
Maiden England '88
Heavy Metal 2013
IRON MAIDEN The Book of Souls: Live Chapter album cover 4.00 | 3 ratings
The Book of Souls: Live Chapter
Heavy Metal 2017
IRON MAIDEN Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City
Heavy Metal 2020

IRON MAIDEN demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

IRON MAIDEN Where Eagles Dare album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Where Eagles Dare
NWoBHM 1984
IRON MAIDEN Justice Of The Peace album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Justice Of The Peace
Heavy Metal 1995
IRON MAIDEN Wrathchild album cover 3.33 | 3 ratings
Wrathchild
Heavy Metal 1999
IRON MAIDEN BBC Archives album cover 4.54 | 9 ratings
BBC Archives
NWoBHM 2002
IRON MAIDEN Beast Over Hammersmith album cover 4.40 | 6 ratings
Beast Over Hammersmith
NWoBHM 2002
IRON MAIDEN Best Of The B'Sides album cover 3.58 | 9 ratings
Best Of The B'Sides
Heavy Metal 2002
IRON MAIDEN The Final Frontier album cover 2.75 | 2 ratings
The Final Frontier
Heavy Metal 2010

IRON MAIDEN re-issues & compilations

IRON MAIDEN The First Ten Years album cover 4.10 | 5 ratings
The First Ten Years
NWoBHM 1990
IRON MAIDEN Best Of The Beast album cover 3.90 | 13 ratings
Best Of The Beast
Heavy Metal 1996
IRON MAIDEN A Real Live Dead One album cover 3.29 | 17 ratings
A Real Live Dead One
Heavy Metal 1998
IRON MAIDEN Eddie's Head album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Eddie's Head
NWoBHM 1998
IRON MAIDEN Ed Hunter album cover 3.11 | 5 ratings
Ed Hunter
Heavy Metal 1999
IRON MAIDEN Edward The Great album cover 3.11 | 10 ratings
Edward The Great
Heavy Metal 2002
IRON MAIDEN Eddie's Archive album cover 4.62 | 9 ratings
Eddie's Archive
NWoBHM 2002
IRON MAIDEN The Essential Iron Maiden album cover 3.83 | 6 ratings
The Essential Iron Maiden
Heavy Metal 2005
IRON MAIDEN Somewhere Back In Time: The Best Of 1980-1989 album cover 2.70 | 9 ratings
Somewhere Back In Time: The Best Of 1980-1989
NWoBHM 2008
IRON MAIDEN From Fear To Eternity: The Best Of 1990-2010 album cover 3.42 | 6 ratings
From Fear To Eternity: The Best Of 1990-2010
Heavy Metal 2011

IRON MAIDEN singles (43)

.. Album Cover
3.25 | 4 ratings
Running Free
NWoBHM 1980
.. Album Cover
3.56 | 5 ratings
Sanctuary
NWoBHM 1980
.. Album Cover
2.88 | 4 ratings
Women In Uniform
NWoBHM 1980
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 3 ratings
Twilight Zone
NWoBHM 1981
.. Album Cover
3.33 | 3 ratings
Purgatory
NWoBHM 1981
.. Album Cover
4.10 | 5 ratings
Wrathchild
NWoBHM 1981
.. Album Cover
3.60 | 5 ratings
Run To The Hills
NWoBHM 1982
.. Album Cover
4.08 | 6 ratings
The Number Of The Beast
NWoBHM 1982
.. Album Cover
4.08 | 6 ratings
Flight Of Icarus
NWoBHM 1983
.. Album Cover
4.08 | 6 ratings
The Trooper
NWoBHM 1983
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 5 ratings
2 Minutes To Midnight
NWoBHM 1984
.. Album Cover
4.08 | 6 ratings
Aces High
NWoBHM 1984
.. Album Cover
2.67 | 3 ratings
Running Free (Live)
NWoBHM 1985
.. Album Cover
2.75 | 2 ratings
Run To The Hills (Live)
NWoBHM 1985
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 3 ratings
Wasted Years
Heavy Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
3.83 | 3 ratings
Stranger In A Strange Land
Heavy Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
3.33 | 3 ratings
Can I Play With Madness
Heavy Metal 1988
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 4 ratings
The Evil That Men Do
Heavy Metal 1988
.. Album Cover
3.88 | 4 ratings
The Clairvoyant
Heavy Metal 1988
.. Album Cover
3.67 | 3 ratings
Infinite Dreams
Heavy Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 2 ratings
Holy Smoke
Heavy Metal 1990
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 3 ratings
Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter
Heavy Metal 1990
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 2 ratings
Be Quick Or Be Dead
Heavy Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
3.21 | 3 ratings
From Here To Eternity
Heavy Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 2 ratings
Wasting Love
Heavy Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Fear Of The Dark (Live)
Heavy Metal 1993
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Hallowed Be Thy Name (Live)
Heavy Metal 1993
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 2 ratings
Man On The Edge
Heavy Metal 1995
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 3 ratings
Lord Of The Flies
Heavy Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
2.25 | 2 ratings
Virus
Heavy Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Angel & The Gambler
Heavy Metal 1998
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 3 ratings
Futureal
Heavy Metal 1998
.. Album Cover
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Wicker Man
Heavy Metal 2000
.. Album Cover
3.25 | 2 ratings
Out Of The Silent Planet
Heavy Metal 2000
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 2 ratings
Wildest Dreams
Heavy Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
3.25 | 2 ratings
Rainmaker
Heavy Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 4 ratings
The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg
Heavy Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 2 ratings
Different World
Heavy Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 8 ratings
El Dorado
Heavy Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 2 ratings
Coming Home
Heavy Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
3.33 | 6 ratings
Speed of Light
Heavy Metal 2015
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Empire of the Clouds
Heavy Metal 2016
.. Album Cover
3.88 | 4 ratings
The Writing on the Wall
Heavy Metal 2021

IRON MAIDEN movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.42 | 6 ratings
Live At The Rainbow
NWoBHM 1981
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 3 ratings
Video Pieces
NWoBHM 1983
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 5 ratings
Behind The Iron Curtain
NWoBHM 1984
.. Album Cover
4.76 | 33 ratings
Live After Death
NWoBHM 1985
.. Album Cover
4.67 | 3 ratings
12 Wasted Years
NWoBHM 1987
.. Album Cover
4.53 | 15 ratings
Maiden England
Heavy Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
4.75 | 6 ratings
The First Ten Years: The Videos
NWoBHM 1990
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
From There To Eternity
Heavy Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
3.70 | 5 ratings
Donington Live 1992
Heavy Metal 1993
.. Album Cover
3.15 | 9 ratings
Raising Hell
Heavy Metal 1994
.. Album Cover
3.31 | 7 ratings
Classic Albums: Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast
NWoBHM 2001
.. Album Cover
4.48 | 23 ratings
Rock In Rio
Heavy Metal 2002
.. Album Cover
3.91 | 12 ratings
Visions Of The Beast
Heavy Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
4.68 | 15 ratings
The History Of Iron Maiden Part 1: The Early Days
NWoBHM 2004
.. Album Cover
3.83 | 12 ratings
Death On The Road
Heavy Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
4.25 | 25 ratings
Flight 666: The Film
Heavy Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
4.19 | 9 ratings
En Vivo!
Heavy Metal 2012

IRON MAIDEN Reviews

IRON MAIDEN Senjutsu

Album · 2021 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Senjutsu" is the 17th full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. The album was released through Parlophone BMG in September 2021. The material featured on the album was actually already recorded in early 2019 in Paris, France with producer Kevin Shirley (same studio and producer as used on "The Book of Souls" from 2015), but as a consequence of a heavy touring schedule and the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak meant the band sat on the album and kept quiet about having recorded it for over two years.

"Senjutsu" is a double album release, featuring 10 tracks and a total playing time of 81:53 minutes. Disc 1 features 6 tracks and disc 2 features 4 tracks. The album features quite a few lenghty tracks, and disc 2 features no less than 3 tracks exceeding 10 minutes in length. It´s almost needless to say that "Senjutsu" sees Iron Maiden continuing to pursue the more progressive, atmospheric, and slow building songwriting approach of most of their post-2000 releases. The pace is predominently mid-paced and even slow at times, and you won´t find many uptempo moments on "Senjutsu". With three guitarists in the lineup the tracks are often layered and intriguing in terms of the guitarist trio complimenting each other, and as the tracks also often feature keyboards, the album is loaded with epic atmospheric moments. Lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson has molded the melody lines to suit him singing in a lower register, which is probably wise considering his age. Although he is still a force to be reckoned with, reaching those really high notes is not something he does that often on "Senjutsu" (although he can still sing in pretty high registers when needed). While the always busy rhythm section of drummer Nicko McBrain and bassist Steve Harris deliver a tight and organic attack, the generally low pace of the songs do have a power sucking effect on their contributions.

Disc 1 opens with two rather uninspired mid-paced tracks in the title track and "Stratego". The former is a slow and repetitive track and the latter isn´t particularly memorable either. Thankfully "The Writing on the Wall" is a pretty great track, showing that Iron Maiden can still develop their sound and try new things which still make sense within the boundaries of their musical style. The almost 10 minutes long "Lost in a Lost World" follows and again it´s a slow building epic track, which features some great moments, but is ultimately a little too long and honestly a bit dull. "Days of Future Past" and "Time Machine" don´t really rock the boat either (the latter features a nice main lead theme, which is repeated quite a lot through the song, but that´s about it for the positives), and upon conclusion it´s only "The Writing on the Wall", which stands out on disc 1 as something a little out of the ordinary for Iron Maiden.

Disc 2 opens with "Darkest Hour", which is another relatively unremarkable track, and the same can be said about the 10:20 minutes long "Death of the Celts", which follows. Massive epic tracks featuring many layers of guitars, keyboards, drums, bass, and vocals, but they aren´t the most accessible nor the most memorable tracks. The album concludes with two more lengthy tracks in the 12:39 minutes long "The Parchment" and the 11:19 minutes long "Hell on Earth". Both are slow building and progressive structured songs, which are solid, but nothing out of the ordinary for post-2000 Iron Maiden. It´s the type of material the band could write in their sleep, and being Iron Maiden the end result is of course of a high quality, but there is a long way from delivering something solid to delivering something excellent.

"Senjutsu" features a dark and a little murky sounding production, and I have to say that I don´t think Shirley did a particularly great job producing the album. The sound doesn´t suit the material that well and it´s like the songs don´t open up to the listener but instead remain in an inaccessible format. As if it isn´t enough that the generally slow-to mid-paced tracks often suck the energy out of the performances, the sound production further enhances the feeling that the songwriting and the playing are relatively uninspired. It´s not that it isn´t a professional sound production job, but Iron Maiden´s music would by now prosper from a different production approach.

So upon conclusion "Senjutsu" is not really the triumphant return that fans have been waiting for the last 6 years. It´s a solid heavy metal album with progressive songwriting structures and ideas, performed by a seasoned crew, but the album does not feature the most inspired compositions, and the lack of pace tends to suck the energy from the tracks and the performances, and when the sound production doesn´t manage to help the material shine either, we´re left with a solid but not great effort, and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is probably me being a little too nice.

IRON MAIDEN Senjutsu

Album · 2021 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
Very few bands succeed in getting me excited about releasing a new album since there is so much music to discover that was released over the decades prior and i have no need to be current or contemporarily “correct,” however there are a few bands that just seem to have won me over and remain relevant despite having been on the scene for decades. IRON MAIDEN is certainly a band that has cast its spell on me and continues to enchant me with its musical style that has been a fascinating mishmash of metal, punk, prog and other elements since its self-titled debut emerged in 1980. While there are many classic bands like Deep Purple, Yes and Metallica that were once all time favorite bands, their new products are so pathetically weak that i cringe when i hear that they are actually contemplating a relevancy in the modern era! Well, that’s not the case with IRON MAIDEN.

This band has always been a cut above the competition and over time has virtually established itself as the pinnacle of heavy metal longevity having churned out one excellent album after another and although it’s true that these guys may not be up to the level as their classic seven album run, they still manage to unleash an unexpected surprise that while not their peak always seems to satisfy. Such is the case with the band’s 17th studio album SENJUTSU which in Japanese ( 戦術 ) loosely translates as “tactics and strategy” and the first time the mighty MAIDEN has used a Japanese theme since its lesser known live EP “Maiden Japan” was released all the way back in 1981. However this time around, MAIDEN implements Japanese music sounds (such as the taiko drumming on the title track) and subject matter.

So… what about this new album? How does it stack up against the classics of the past? How is it relevant for the modern world of metal? Does it even matter? Well, after a few spins of actually buying this double CD set i have to say, awesome! OK, let’s just get this out of the way right now. IRON MAIDEN clearly peaked in the 1980s with its masterpiece “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” and has never topped that crowning achievement and all the six albums that preceded for that matter which are unabashed classics of metal as well that have likewise never been topped but that does not mean for a minute that IRON MAIDEN are not relevant or enjoyable even in the third decade of the 21st century where metal has branched off into myriad mind-numbing directions. MAIDEN clearly established its core sound in the 1980s and has been simply refining and recycling those ideas ever since. But for me it totally works!

When it comes to aging bands that are clearly using past ideas to perpetuate a longevity in the metal universe there are a few trends i’ve noticed. Firstly, aging bands try to be relevant in the brave new world and try to tackle trends that they have no business doing so. Think, Queensryche of the 90s, well hell many 80s bands trying to become more “alternative” in the 90s! Then there are bands like Judas Priest that decided to go full on prog. Well, “Nostradamus” was a complete shit show and ultimately they reverted back to their classic 80s sound. And then there are those bands that just never change. You know the ones. They had their heyday in the 1990s and have had umpteen renditions of the classic album that everyone revers so deeply. But then there’s IRON MAIDEN which somehow manages to be classic and new at the same time. Playing it somewhat safe yet taking a few risks.

SENJUTSU is the perfect modern representation of IRON MAIDEN really and an excellent followup to “The Book Of Souls” which for the most part simply cannibalized its past glory in the form of riffs, melodies and subject matter and crafted an unthinkable double album that followed another double album! That little tidbit which is both the boon and bane of this band who having achieved unthinkable success really has no fucks left to give and sallies forth like nobody’s business. This leads us to the fact that musicians who have the financial success to do what they want may not always coincide with what the fans want. Granted that IRON MAIDEN has been very generous in not getting too “out there” for their fans and keeping a consistent sound for all these decades but still many will deem this band as one that has become irrelevant as they approach retirement age. I beg to differ. Unlike many a band of the modern era who has traversed a multi-decade career, i find IRON MAIDEN to be extraordinarily adept at walking the razors edge as they run to the hills.

OK, get to the friggin album already! In short it won’t win over any haters but will surely please fans who have incorporated this band’s overall sound into their musical lexicon. SENJUTSU is a very atmospheric album and sounds like an extended version of the atmospheric parts of “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.” One of the complaints is that this album doesn’t have enough metal in it. It is true that it’s lacking the sizzling solos and riffing frenzies of the past but still retains the classic MAIDEN compositional fortitude. Side one is pretty strong with all those classic ear worms that MAIDEN has always had a penchant towards and continues even in the modern era. Bruce Dickinson’s vocals seem as strong as ever although a bit less energetic than in the past. That could be said for the entire band. They have slowed down a bit but without the aggro-metal angst of the past, however it makes the compositions sounds even stronger and reveals MAIDEN as masters of compositional fortitude with the metal virtuosity simply icing on the cake.

Side two is by far the less exciting of the two sides. Padded with 10-minute plus tracks minus the opening “Darkest Hour,” side two is more of a jamming session whereas side one is more about extended variations. Thinks of this like George Harrison’s “All Things Will Pass” metal style and you’ll get over it. Even the extended metal jams are IRON MAIDEN style and given the interesting musical scales and band interplay, i still find these jams satisfying musical experiences. Yeah, IRON MAIDEN is past its prime. So friggin’ what! I’m more impressed that these guys are still making music that i find enjoyable well into their sixties! These days metal is more than just playing fast and loud and IRON MAIDEN is holding a space for 80s metal while other bands are expanding into unthinkable creative metal madness. While many bands of this stature simply release albums as an excuse for a tour, i have to say that i find each and every album released by IRON MAIDEN to be quite enjoyable even if not on the same level. True i’m like others and don’t love the Blaze Bailey years but i can’t say that any Dickinson album isn’t enjoyable on some level and this one is no exception. In fact this one has delivered an unthinkable return value! Long live MAIDEN!

IRON MAIDEN Senjutsu

Album · 2021 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
Senjutsu (2021) is the seventeenth full-length studio album by UK NWoBHM legends Iron Maiden. The album marks a close to what has been their longest gap between studio albums to date, the last being The Book of Souls (2015). The same line-up that has been present since Brave New World (2000) still remains: Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Steve Harris (bass), Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers (guitars) and Nicko McBrain (drums). Like The Book of Souls before it, Senjutsu is a double album. Similar design in cover artwork would also suggest an intentional relationship between the two, with mascot Eddie evolving from a tribal incarnation to one inspired by Japanese Samurai.

The music on Senjutsu is unmistakeably that of Iron Maiden in their modern day incarnation. Perhaps a little less overtly influenced by progressive rock/metal even in the album's longer songs like the trio of ten plus minute closers, Death of the Celts, The Parchment and Hell on Earth, but the progressive subtleties are there for those prepared to listen for them. Subtle is a good word to describe the entire album. It's not in your face. It's more of a slow burn than the band's most well known back catalogue, even when you compare the lead single The Writing on the Wall to its counterpart from The Book of Souls, Speed of Light. Iron Maiden have opted to avoid their more faster paced material on the album as well.

While in all Senjutsu actually sounds like a rather unique entry in the Iron Maiden discography, there are certainly hints present in the release that conjure up recollections of past Iron Maiden albums. Personally I hear moments that could easily have been part of A Matter of Life and Death (2006), The Final Frontier (2010) and even Virtual XI (1998), the latter most obvious in the aforementioned Death of the Celts, which could easily be a companion song to The Clansman.

One thing that Senjutsu does extremely well is how well the material flows together. Iron Maiden are not typically one of those bands that can be called 'album artists', as no matter how good the albums taken as a whole are, there are always songs that stand out individually, be they the singles chosen to promote it, or otherwise. I feel like it would be saying something negative about Senjutsu to suggest that it is otherwise here, but this definitely comes across as more of a work that functions best when considered as a whole. Greater than the sum of its parts, if you like.

The band's instrumental performance is on point and Dickinson is also on fine form. As always, the production values of Kevin Shirley may leave something to be desired compared to those of the late Martin Birch, but the production of the album is consistent with that of other post-Birch Iron Maiden, to the point that I would not even think to mention the production in this review if I didn't keep seeing grumblings about it since Senjutsu was released. I don't get that. Senjutsu sounds exactly like I'd expect an Iron Maiden album to sound like in 2021.

While it is perhaps clear that Senjutsu won't become the favourite Iron Maiden album of either myself or many others, at this point in their career, seventeen albums in and over forty years since the release of their debut Iron Maiden (1980), I don't need it to be. I need it to be another great album that proves that the lads have still got it. And guess what?

They have.

IRON MAIDEN Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City

Live album · 2020 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City" is a live double album release by UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. The album was released through Parlophone Records in November 2020. The material featured on the album was recorded on 27th, 29th and 30th of September 2019 in Mexico City, during the Legacy of the Beast World Tour. The tour wasn´t in support of a particular album, as the band had wrapped up The Book of Souls World Tour in 2017, but rather in support of, or maybe more correctly accompanying the "Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast" mobile game. This meant that the band played quite a few legacy tracks on the tour and even revived a couple of older tracks they hadn´t played in years.

So while it´s no surprise to see that the tracklist includes tracks like "Aces High", "2 Minutes to Midnight", and "Hallowed Be Thy Name", it´s a bit more surprising to see tracks like "Where Eagles Dare" and "Flight of Icarus" included. The latter hadn´t been played by Iron Maiden since the tour supporting "Somewhere in Time (1986)". What´s even more suprising to me is the inclusion of the two Blaze Bayley-era tracks "Sign of the Cross" and "The Clansman". The last surprise on the tracklist is "For the Greater Good of God" from "A Matter of Life and Death (2006)". It´s not as such a surprise that the track is included, but it´s just the first recorded live version to be released of the song. So it´s a well balanced tracklist with both great legacy tracks, and a few more deep cuts to spice things up, and the combination works great on "Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City".

The sound production is not surprisingly of a high quality featuring a powerful and organic sound, and audience responses/noises when that is called for. While this is certainly a hi-fi quality live production, you´re never in doubt that it´s a live release, and that´s how the best live productions usually work. The band are in fine form too and deliver the music with great skill and conviction. I think Bruce Dickinson struggles slightly on the faster-paced tracks, but other than that slight issue his performance here is as commanding as ever. It´s quite frankly amazing how he is able to control his voice and sing the high notes without sounding strained.

Some of the highlights of the album (other than the legacy tracks, which we´ve all heard a thousand times before on preceding live albums), are "Sign of the Cross" and "The Clansman". I realise Iron Maiden have released live versions of the two songs featuring Dickinson on some of the preceding live albums, but every time I hear those songs with him on vocals, I´m in awe of how great those tracks actually are, with a more unique vocalist performing them. Upon conclusion "Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City" is yet another high quality live album release by Iron Maiden to help make the waiting time before the band release a new studio album more bearable for the fans. It´s not the most necessary release in their discography, but it´s greatly entertaining and high quality release through and through. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

IRON MAIDEN The X Factor

Album · 1995 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
The 90s were a brutal time for established metal acts with almost all of them suffering a significant decline in popularity. It was both pathetic and amusing to see the most regal kings of the 1980s stumbling around like blind men as the alternative 90s swept away everything that the 80s had excelled at. While a few bands like Metallica adapted with some commercial success, most of the giants of the past were floundering about like fish out of water and so too was the case for one of the greatest of them all, IRON MAIDEN.

When asked which era is one’s favorite in the mighty MAIDEN history books, absolutely nobody will point to the Blaze Bayley years as their highlight. After an incredibly successful decade with one amazing album after another and incessant touring that no mere mortal could sustain, by the time IRON MAIDEN reached the eight album “No Prayer For The Dying,” it was beginning to be obvious that the band was burning out a bit and although that album had some excellent tracks on board, the album itself was much weaker than anything that came before. While “Fear of the Dark” was a bit of a step up, it too failed to reach the sheer perfection of the 80s output.

Frustrated and exhausted, guitarist Adrian Smith left all the way back before the “No Prayer For The Dying” album. He saw the writing on the wall and the next to depart was lead singer Bruce Dickinson who left after the “Fear of the Dark” tour in order to embark on a solo career. With such impossible boots to fill, Steve Harris was forced between breaking up the band or finding a replacement. After an incredible amount of searching the new singer was former Wolfbane vocalist Blaze Bayley who appeared on what many have deemed (including myself), the nadir of IRON MAIDEN’s otherwise stellar career. Yep, the 90s were not kind.

THE X-FACTOR was the first of two albums to feature Bayley behind the mic and appeared in 1995, three years after “Fear of the Dark.” The album was a departure in many ways. Longtime producer Martin Birch retired and left another void in the band’s status quo as well as the album cover art being the first not created by Derek Riggs. The band’s darkest days were reflected by the darker cover art and subject matter that was partially inspired by Steve Harris going through a divorce as well as an established 80s band suddenly losing its way in the alternative 90s wilderness.

THE X-FACTOR was released to lukewarm response and for great reason. The band simply was unable to adapt to the 90s and clung on to many of the aspects that made MAIDEN such an excellent 80s arena metal band. Only a few problems with that approach. First of all Bayley’s vocal style doesn’t quite have the range required to bring out the best of IRON MAIDEN’s musical approach and secondly the music which is excellent, heavily borrows from the “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” playbook and THAT was just not cool in the year 1995 when Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots were dominating the heavy metal world. It also didn’t help the band that more extreme forms of metal like death metal, black metal and doom metal were making MAIDEN sound a bit outdated.

This 10th album by IRON MAIDEN is somewhat of a mixed blessing. The band said that one of the singers they auditioned sounded shockingly identical to Bruce Dickinson but they wanted to find a different styled singer. Bad choice. MAIDEN sort of paralleled Judas Priest not only as the metal gods of the 1980s but also in the fact that both bands lost their lead singers about the same time and decided to replace them. While MAIDEN was a superior band in consistency, Priest actually made a better decision once they added The Ripper as their top screamer. Priest got the memo and learned how to adapt the music to the singer whereas MAIDEN simply added a singer and went back to the coffers to pad the music with ideas already presented.

Musically THE X-FACTOR is actually really, really good with the best tracks presented on the first half of the album and some weaker ones providing filler on the second half. Another problem with this album is that it is WAY too long and at almost 71 minutes could have been trimmed down by about 20 minutes. The opening “Sign of the Cross” is a powerhouse and by far the best track on the album with creepy keyboards and Gregorian chants ushering in a very progressive track that features dark lyrics and some of the most interesting instrumental workouts since “Seventh Son.”

The single “Lord Of The Flies” provided the catchy single but once again Bayley lacked the vocal dexterity and larger than life charisma that Dickinson exuded in abundance. Despite the weak vocal performances, musically this is an excellent album but due to the lack of a top dog like Dickinson at the helm feels woefully unbalanced due to MAIDEN’s failure to adapt the music to the singer’s ability. The fact that Harris dropped Paul Di’Anno due to his inability to keep up with the band makes it all the more surprising that this didn’t turn out so well. The rest of the album musically speaking is like the sequel to “Seventh Son” with keyboards provided by guest musician Michael Kenney adding eerie atmospheric backdrops to Harris’ idiosyncratic bass playing and the twin guitar harmonies of Dave Murray and Janick Gers.

For the seasoned MAIDEN fan, you will hear snippets of past ideas ranging from the intro of “Children of the Damned” providing a recycled riff on “Look For The Truth” and many other examples of MAIDEN mining their past however the band also offers some interesting new ideas to their roster such as the bizarre guitar riffs on “Judgement of Heaven” which sounds somewhat familiar but slightly different. The album is certainly not a waste of time on the music side of the equation and if this one happened to be rerecorded with Dickinson i would dare to say that this would be an excellent album and a major return to form. However as it is the incongruent nature of Bayley’s vocals not strong enough for MAIDEN material brings this down a lot.

Basically this album has 4 star music and 2 star vocals but it wasn’t really Bayley’s fault. His style just wasn’t compatible with this demanding music that needed an operatic singer to bring it to full life. What i would like to see happen is this album to be rerecorded with maybe a bunch of guest singers who could hit the higher notes. I rarely listen to this one due to the frustration of wanting Bayley to step up to the plate but alas it never happens! Any true MAIDEN will want this in their collection despite its flaws. It’s not unlistenable and is by far a better album than the absolutely awful “Virtual XI” that followed. All i can think of when i listen to this one is “Where was Ronnie James Dio when we needed him?” HA, if only :D

IRON MAIDEN Movies Reviews

IRON MAIDEN Live After Death

Movie · 1985 · NWoBHM
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siLLy puPPy
Universally cited as one of the absolute best live albums of all time, LIVE AFTER DEATH is the first live album / video release of IRON MAIDEN’s classic early Bruce Dickinson years and was recorded during their “World Slavery Tour.” Despite lasting a whopping 331 days, this double LP album only took two venues as their source for representing their electric live performances. The first 13 tracks were recorded at the Long Beach Arena in California, USA and the remaining five tracks were taken from a night at Hammersmith Odeon in London. While LIVE AFTER DEATH was released both as audio LP and video VHS in 1985, the two aren’t exactly identical in content. The audio LP originally contained 18 tracks (one of which is “Intro: Churchill’s Speech”) but the VHS visual experience only had 14 tracks. Unfortunately when LIVE AFTER DEATH was originally released on CD it was too long for a single disc and instead of simply issuing a double disc, EMI unwisely decided to cut the last five tracks which included the Odeon performance, therefore it is highly advisable to obtain the Sanctuary remastered version which was released as a double disc and retains the entire run of one classic song after another.

LIVE AFTER DEATH is the absolute perfect live album. I very rarely put live albums high on my list of favorites because more often than not something or many things prevent them from capturing my attention and worthiness as essential. If it’s not the weak production values then it is the inability of the band to capture the magic that is manufactured in the studio. That is not the case here. IRON MAIDEN was at the pinnacle of their creative prowess at this point and after several outstanding and classic albums to mine for material, they perfectly execute these live performances and offer every little ounce of excitement heard on the studio releases. Bruce Dickinson nails the vocals and the thundering trio of Steve Harris’ bass and the guitar synergy of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith accompanied by Nikko McBrain’s stellar drumming style doesn’t get any better. While most of the tracks are performed rather faithfully to their studio versions, there is plenty of live improvisation taking places as well. Standout moments include Bruce’s attempt to get audience participation on “Running Free” and another great difference can be heard on “Revelations” where the tempo is upped and Bruce changes the vocal phrasing to make the track sound different and refreshed.

The video release offers all the theatrical visuals of the tour. The “Powerslave” album was based on ancient Egypt and likewise the stage was Egyptified to the max with sarcophagi, hieroglyphs and a mummified Eddie embellished with ridiculous amounts of pyrotechnics. The tour was a smashing success and this release whether it be audio or video is the perfect testimony to the genius that went into every single detail. The sound and mixing is perfect as well as Martin Birch found the perfect balance of every cast member and delivered one of the most satisfying production jobs for a live release that i have ever heard. In the visual department Jim Yukich perfectly captured two nights in Long Beach showing a great band doing great things at the peak of their game. Another piece of perfection with this one is the brilliant cover art of Derek Riggs surpassing previous album themes of Eddie as the mascot by incorporating those themes of previous albums covers and then putting it all on steroids. The spread of the album is breathtaking in content and color with the boldness of the yellows and blues. Every aspect of talent on board with this release guarantees to wake the dead. I cannot find one negative thing to say about it. It is true that Bruce doesn’t hit every note exactly as on the studio version every single time but when he doesn’t he offers interesting new ways of interpreting the classics. This is simply one of the most perfect live releases i have ever encountered and even MAIDEN themselves haven’t even come close to achieving similar results. Masterpiece.

IRON MAIDEN Flight 666: The Film

Movie · 2009 · Heavy Metal
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AtomicCrimsonRush
I enjoyed this rockumentary on the Irons thoroughly because it did not try to emulate the plethora of other rockumentaries we have all seen that focus on the infighting of stage crews and band members encountering one disaster after another (Metallica, Anvil) and then at the end they all make up and play their last song together. The Spinal Tappiness of such docos is worn out now. This doco on Maiden does the opposite, very little goes wrong and the band are always in high spirits, having fun and getting on. Now they have grown up, even their families go on the road with them. They commend each other in interviews as essential to the band and all have positive things to say as to the role of each member. They like to tease the air hostesses with annoying songs to the tune of Go West, and they play tricks on each other. They reference Monty Python and other British icons. They always have time for the fans, rabid for an autograph. The music is as good as ever and they are one of the bands who actually bother to visit cities or towns that are rarely visited by other massive groups. The fans are so grateful we see them pour out adoration and even tears for their beloved Irons. One cries his soul out when getting a drumstick during a show. It is a very moving scene, he has obviously been touched by the experience.

The doco is a powerful look at how to stay together as a band, they do not drink and do drugs liberally, instead take their music seriously and give everything to the fans and into the albums. They always seem upbeat in their approach to life, and I was quite taken aback by the optimism of all concerned and it was refreshing. Being in a band and making millions should be an experience to savour, not be burdened with. The crew seem to love their work and do not take it for granted. There are none of the obligatory shots of semi naked girls or demonised shots of angry band members. Instead the band are more role models, though they know how to swear as much as the fans do. The performances are snippets of their greatest tunes, played in various venues, such as my beloved all time favourite Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. To see Dickinson piloting the Ed Force One plane is surreal and it follows a map and we are on the journey. We are also treated to a lot of info about piloting, and it is quite astonishing to see how accomplished a pilot Dicko has become. Because of his skills, the band are able to fly quickly to their destinations with all their equipment on the same plane, and this is groundbreaking.

This is the best doco I have seen on Iron Maiden. The bonus disc consists of full versions of all the songs featured in the film. A must for fans of the monsters of metal.

IRON MAIDEN The History Of Iron Maiden Part 1: The Early Days

Movie · 2004 · NWoBHM
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friso
Iron Maiden - The Early Days (2004), subject (1976-1983)

Such an amazing band!

I'm in love with Iron Maiden now for 10 years, it al started when I was eleven years old. I saw the band live once, during the tour to promote this dvd. This was the best show I've ever seen and might see in my live.

On this super-complete dvd we've got lot's of interesting Iron Maiden material, covering the first four albums and some footage of the band before the first album.

The Early Days documentary. This 90 minutes of documentary that shows the prehistoric times of Iron Maiden. All former band members are discussed, the reason line-up changed, the circumstances they were in, who the material came to be, etc. This way we learn that there was an Iron Maiden that only had Steve Harris playing in it of all the current members. Interviews with the now unknown former members (1976-1979) are done in nice settings and it's nice to hear their stories. Steve Harris reflects on a lot of subjects and early member Dave Murray is also to be seen in some interviews. The old footage and photo's are nice for Iron Maiden fans. This documentary also shows a short making of of the first four albums and the line-up changes that occurred during that period. This dvd is a real threat for fans and it's fun to watch for people who are new to the band. The process of the creation of such an important band is interesting and fun to watch.

LIVE AT THE RAINBOW, Filmed at The Rainbow, London, December 1980 This is pure gold! This set shows Iron Maiden playing seven songs from their first two albums, though Killers wasn't record yet. This particular part of dvd is mega-essential because of the wild performance of lead singer Paul di'Anno. There isn't any better footage of the band in this phase of the band! Iron Maiden plays very motivated, the songs are great and the people enthusiastic. They were so good in their early days! As I said, essential for both fans and people who like the metal/hard rock genre.

BEAST OVER HAMMERSMITH, Filmed at Hammersmith Odeon, London, March 1982 One of the early shows Iron Maiden performed during the time Bruce Dickinson had joined the band and The Number of the Beast came to be. Iron Maiden plays unbelievably motivated and this can be seen as the one of the highlights of Iron Maiden's and vocalist Bruce Dickinson's career! Most tracks are from The Number of the Beast and the material is fresh! It's also nice the band included the important b-side Total Eclipse in their set. Essential metal footage.

LIVE AT DORTMUND, Filmed at Rock and Pop Festival, Dortmunde, Westenfalle, Germany, 1983 This concert was recorded during the Piece of Mind tour. Most songs originate from this album. Though the footage is almost as good as the Beast over Hammersmith from 1982, it's lacks some of it's bombastic enthusiastic power of Hammersmith. Still this is a very interesting show and fans will appreciate this very much!

EXTRA'S The first five clips of Iron Maiden and some top of the pops performances are nice, but they are less hard to find then the gigs on dvd one. Still a great bonus to complete the release.

LIVE AT THE RUSKIN, Home Video filmed at The Ruskin Arms, 1980 This is home video footage of the band in an early stage. This might only appeal to hard-core Iron Maiden fans for it's historical value.

Conclusion. This is the meaning of completeness! This is everything I could ever ask for, concerning the theme of this dvd. Five stars without doubt. Every fan should own this and others might be surprised on how energetic and complete this release is.

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