• Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden (1980) - The first steps of a legend - 70% (09/07/11)

    Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden (1980)


    When it comes to talk about one of my favourite band's debut album, I feel torn between many diversified and innovating tracks and complete lack of coherence concerning the composition of the album. I feel torn in between many lacks in the song writing and composition and on the other side the legendary status of this milestone.

    From dreamy progressive rock ballads to straight punk influenced rock songs and a heavy metal epic blueprint you get pretty much everything on this record but the whole thing simply doesn't quite fit together yet. The whole album feels like an experiment, a compilation of ideas of different personalities, like some first careful steps into different directions. The fact that this album is so imperfect with its simple cover artwork, rather mediocre sound and has a considerable miss of equilibrium gives a very charming and authentic touch to the final result, though. One should also pardon the band their first mistakes as their whole epic career was continuously build upon this first album.

    I happen to like the part of the atmospheric progressive rock ballads most. "Remember tomorrow" shows for the first time the band's great technical skills, their capacity to write long and coherent songs with a magic atmosphere. "Strange world" is even more simple, dreamy and atmospheric and it turned out over the years that this very unusual track happened to be my favourite one on the record.

    "Phantom of the opera" is the band's first epic track and one of the first and most important epic tracks of heavy metal music that distinguished the band from many other that wrote short and sweet tracks to satisfy the masses and take advantage of a new hype. Iron Maiden were always more progressive and courageous than any other heavy metal band of the same age and delivers a stunning and diversified epic blueprint for their own and other band's future epic works. This track has a very important historical meaning even though it's far from being perfect. The vocals are too hectic and not always perfectly audible. The instrumental parts are sometimes way too long. There is not enough emotion and atmosphere in a song that refers to a legendary musical. But nevertheless, this song is something great and fits neither to the progressive rock ballads nor to the straighter and shorter punk rock influenced tracks. This song is the first one that simply sounds like Iron Maiden. This is where they get their own identity and deliver something one has never heard before in that way.

    To come back to the punk influenced heavy metal tracks, they happen to be great and entertaining live tracks but the studio versions vary from very enjoyable like the straight and yet diversified bonus track "Sanctuary" to boring and faceless like the album's weak point which is "Charlotte the Harlot" as well as the unnecessary and overrated instrumental filler "Transylvania".

    In the end this album is divided into three different parts that don't fit together and that vary from great to inspiring but imperfect to rather faceless material. The record is without a doubt technically and musically the most simple and in my opinion weakest track of the band's legendary works from the eighties. But this album should nevertheless please to any fan of heavy metal music as this first and rather shy debut album was a huge milestone for a whole genre and the begin of an incredible legacy.


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