Iron Maiden are heavy metal legends, having released a staggering number of albums and continuing to perform over 40 years since forming! Their self-titled album, “Iron Maiden” was the one that started it all and I believe is arguably their best effort.
Right from the start there are a couple of things that separate this album in particular from the myriad other records under the band’s belt. For one, there is a rawness to the songs and performances on a level not found on any other Iron Maiden record. These songs aren’t ultra-slick recordings devoid of life and the band has a fantastic energy that gives each song a kick in the ass. Second, this is the tightest and most consistent Iron Maiden album. I feel that most of the band’s other albums are at least a little bloated with some songs that stick out as unquestionably lesser in quality. On “Iron Maiden”, each song is a hit and nothing overstays its welcome.
The sound and songwriting on “Iron Maiden” is exceptional. Steve Harris’ bass playing rightfully takes the spotlight on a few moments and it is so great to actually hear the bass in a heavy metal song. The guitar solos from Dave Murray and Dennis Stratton are melodic as hell and fun and the drums from Clive Burr are a standout on tracks like “Charlotte the Harlot”. And I have to admit that as much as I love Bruce Dickinson on later Maiden albums, I always have preferred the rough punk edge to Paul Di’Anno’s vocals that were present on this album and the second Iron Maiden record. The songs on “Iron Maiden” are each distinct and have a purpose in the track listing. They showcase a ton of catchy hooks, very technical and fast playing, macabre lyricism, as well as a softer side to the band on songs like “Remember Tomorrow” and “Strange World”.
For my money, this is the best Iron Maiden album. In fact, this is one of the best heavy metal records. Ever. Period. This is Iron Maiden when they were a little rough around the edges but still contained within them powerful and beautiful songs with the musicianship to match.
Favorite songs: “Prowler”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Charlotte the Harlot”, “Iron Maiden”