[Metal/Heavy] Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of A Seventh Son (30th Anniversary)

Today marks the 30th anniversary release of “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” by Iron Maiden. This album has a special place in my heart, because this is the album that introduced me to Iron Maiden (via the song eponym to the album).
I still remember listening to this album as a friend of my brother came in and put that CD into the Hi-Fi system. It was some lovely tunes to my ears, allowing me to get over the stereotype of Eddie (as a teen) and indeed appreciate something different from the hard rock I used to listen while in middle school and discover the realm of The New Wave of British Heavy Metal, made of wonderful melodic riffs of Adrian Smith and Steve Harris and storytelling lyrics narrated by Bruce Dickinson.
It is also interesting to note that it was the introduction of keyboards into Iron Maiden and according to some excerpts in Wikipedia, Bruce attributed the decreased sales on the US Market on the presence of these keyboard elements. However, he also questioned and criticized some comments that the album was sounding as “European-style Iron Maiden”, arguing that there is no a European or American-style Iron Maiden. It is interesting because reading it today explains while there is such a rift in metal style between the US and Europe (with me having hard time to find decent band in the former, while having most of my collection coming from the latter).
It also support my opinion that US metal listeners have a fond for simple but brutal riffs (without keyboards), while European metal listeners have a certain attraction to complex instrumentations and the presence of keyboards.
The album is an 8 track album totaling about 40 minutes. We get into it very progressively with “Moonchild”, followed by “Infinite Dreams” and by “Can I play with Madness”. “Can I play with Madness” is one of the three tracks that got a release as a single and an official music video in the glory age of MTV (when MTV was about Music TV, just that).

But things start to get very serious with “The Evil Things Man Can Do”, one of my top 10 Iron Maiden songs. A song that want to make you raise your arm and yell “Up The Irons”

But the piece of resistance, the paroxysm in the album is only coming with the song “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” in which we get the most of the keyboard element and this was my first song that I ever listened from Iron Maiden.
After being introduced by the riffs of Adrian and the keyboards comes Bruce narrating about the story of the Seven Sons.
Here they stand brothers them allAll the sons divided they’d fallHere await the birth of the sonThe seventh, the heavenly, the chosen one.
Followed by the “Ooooooooooohhhhhhhh” of Bruce. Oh my, this is such a musical orgasm to listen, with all the goosebumps and the piloerections on my arms!
Here the birth from an unbroken line/ Born the healer the seventh, his time/ Unknowingly blessed and as his life unfolds/ Slowly unveiling the power he holds“.
All followed by the interlude guitar solo with Adrian and Steve that gives this depth and complexity, interrupted by Bruce monologue “Today is born the seventh one/Born of woman the seventh son/And he in turn of a seventh son/He has the power to heal/He has the gift of the second sight/He is the chosen one/So it shall be written/So it shall be done“. Listening to this beauty while you are 14 is priceless!
Things cool down with the seventh and eight tracks “The Prophecy” and “Only The Good Die Young”.
After 30 years, this is an album that still stand strong, and would definitely recommend as a primer for anyone that want to get into Iron Maiden. Up the Irons!

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[Music/Metal] Iron Maiden Book @ Isleta Amphitheater (Albuquerque, NM – 06/27/2017)

I know, you may wonder why write down about a live concert two weeks after attending it? Well, sorry not sorry. A lots of writing have been thrown on my face: one paper in revision sent back to a journal, another paper submitted to another journal, a grant writing and some experiments. So, finally I was able to catch some breath and bring some of my feedback on the biggest concert I have even attended.Long time Iron Maiden fan (since I was a teenager in the early 90s), don’t ask me why and how it took me so long to attend one of their concert.
When I saw Iron Maiden came in Albuquerque, NM that was a big game changer. First, it was a drivable distance from where I live. I either have Albuquerque or Oklahoma City (4 hours each either West or East) or drive all the way to Dallas (5.5 hours). Second, I don’t know about other concert places, but tickets to attend the Iron Maiden concert was also more affordable than attending Metallica (that was negotiating about $100+ for a decent seat). One thing I have omitted that I got scooped on was the VIP parking. It cost you a $20 extra but honestly I think it worth the investment (I will explain later).
So here I was, quickly taking the road after work toward New Mexico. The good thing about entering the state is switching to Mountain Time, saving me one hour. The venue was at the Isleta Amphitheater, just near the airport. It is nicely located out of town to avoid the nuisance, but also well designed for a concert event. The thing I was not anticipating was the queue. A damn long queue, bumpers to bumpers.

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A good 2-miles at slow speed, with sellers selling you some bootleg tees along the road. Later on, Bruce announced we were about 15’000 fans up to the Hill to attend that event. Nice! But it was also a nice opportunity to enjoy the desert landscape of New Mexico. Albuquerque gives you the desert and the mountain skyline to enjoy. Neat!

 

Arrived at the parking spot, it took me another 30-40 minutes to finally reach the stage. I basically missed the whole Ghost performance but was not a big loss. I already saw them las October as the main act and second the recent turmoil with Tobias Forge and his former bandmates put me a bit into cold feet.
Of course, the ritual was at the march booth to grab an official Iron Maiden tee and find my place. I can tell, the Isleta venue is very well organized place, well designed. The only caveat? The parking! A good 20 minutes walk in, 20 minutes walk out. You don’t want to get stuck in traffic on the return thus you have to leave the event early. This is why I think investing $20 for the VIP parking worth its weight of pesos.
Iron Maiden like their stage and you can feel it by the details they put in the decoration.

The A/V was good, so even with a fairly-priced ticket you could enjoy the show. Sure the pit has its added value, but such as its price ticket. Bruce definitely knows how to pull the show. It was great! Bruce knows how to nurture the fans and likes it! I have captured some videos on my Phone (note to myself: invest in a iPhone with a bigger capacity next time!)

The only piece of criticism (that other people also mentioned) is that Iron Maiden played a good half of the show titles from the current album. Its an okay album but you know there are way much better songs in Maiden repertoire. There were some oldies played (Children of The Damned, Powerslave…..) and the classic “awesome” ones (Fear of The Dark, Iron Maiden, Number of the Beast…..) but you know feel a bit hunger. Bruce clearly stated once he is against playing classics in concert, leaving it to tribute bands. The complete setlist can be found here:

http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/iron-maiden/2017/isleta-amphitheatre-albuquerque-nm-13e4ddf9.html

I left by the beginning of the encore, in order to save being stuck in traffic but also I was exhausted from a long day. It was amazing to see how Iron Maiden transcend generations (like a Dad came with his teenage son and his 3-4 years old son. Seeing the little one brandishing his horns was cute!). I was amazed by the Latin-American fanbase that came in force, I don’t see that much Latin-American in my local gigs but I guess Mexican fans came in force and Latin folks know their metal very well.

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If you have a chance to attend an Iron Maiden concert in town, go on. Their metal is very accessible and it is impressive to see 40 years later the band has still the vigor and the charm live, reminding me why I loved Iron Maiden at the first place.

 

 

[Metal/Heavy] Iron Maiden – Number of the Beast 35th Anniversary

Today marks the 35th anniversary of Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” release. 35 years and this beast has not any inch of its stamina and elegance. A damn good album it was, certainly one of my favorite from Iron Maiden by its consistency and its engaging lyrics. It was an 40 minutes beautiful album spanned over 8 tracks.
It starts with “Invaders” telling the story of Viking invaders ready to raid, loot and set ablaze. A sort of setting the path to what we refers as “Viking Metal” nowadays. It is followed by “Children of The Damned”, playing on one of the melodics that give the Iron Maiden sound, with engaging lyrics and remarkable Bruce storytelling. The third track, “The Prisoner” is directly inspired by a 60’s British TV series called “The Prisoner” in which people are trapped in a prison island, strapped from their name and referred as Numbers, with Number 6 being the main character.
The fourth track “22 Acacia Avenue” gives on the energy of Bruce and Iron Maiden, a very pleasurable experience.
Then comes one of the masterpiece of the album “The Number of The Beast”, the fifth track of the album. Introduced by Vincent Price (a master writer in science-fiction and horror), it starts into a grandiose shredding going up crescendo until Bruce starts with his mythical “Yeaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!”. The archetypical Iron Maiden song, if you never heard about Iron Maiden before, this should be your first song to listen!

We continue in the apotheosis with the legendary “Run To The Hills” marking the sixth track. Damn if there is a top 10 Iron Maiden songs, this one should be in the top 5. You get into an exalting drumbeats and guitar melodics, with the story of Native Americans told by Bruce, witnessing the arrival of the European explorers and other conquistadors. Oh yeah, thats Iron Maiden baby!

“Gangland”, the seventh track is in my opinion one of the weakest track of the album, if not the weakest one. Its good but not much arousing to my ears. But this is not enough to eclipse the last track of the album “Hallowed by Thy Name”. This has to be in your top 5 Iron Maiden songs. If I have to pick one song from this all album this is the one I pick!
Great lyrics, great melodics, great everything!

[Heavy Metal] Iron Maiden – Book of Souls (80%)

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Iron Maiden. One iconic heavy metal band of the late 70’s and still running on. What I liked about Iron Maiden are the powerful metal riffs, the meaningful lyrics from Bruce Dickinson, this overall feeling of nice melodics carried by guitars and the drum giving an epic storytelling with their album. Iron Maiden was one of my favorite band when I was a teenager and discovered the world of “hard rock” back in the early 90’s. Too late for me to really enjoy the golden age of heavy metal, just in time to appreciate Metallica just before their pinnacle “Black” album and before the hiatus that will take me a decade to outgrow.
Here I am 25 years later, with my hands on Iron Maiden latest album “Book of Souls”. My taste has been narrowed up now, and for me heavy metal is a genre that have greatly shrieked over the age and reminds somewhere in the golden age of the 80s (I would say the same to Punk, that for me is taking place in the late 70s/early 80s).
In 25 years the metal scene has greatly evolved and me too. Do I will still to Iron Maiden and like their album? I jumped on the Book of Souls and submitted to my “commute test”.
What I can tell? I knew better albums from Iron Maiden but to see that Iron Maiden and Bruce’s energy on this album makes a nice experience. Yes, I did not find any catchy tunes that were in some gems of their 80s release. But Iron Maiden kept on the consistency. It is some damn good Iron Maiden to listen, something you would like to have right now and wish for a time-machine car or hot tub or loo (only kids that have known Lucasarts point’n’click with catch this last one), just to get me as I am right now (36) be in my full capacity in the 80s.

The album is overall good, it is Iron Maiden, nice instrumentation, nice lyrics. But nothing really transcendental, nothing like a “Run to The Hills”, a “Aces High” or “Fear of The Dark” that made some milestones in Iron Maiden discography. Maybe one, “Empire of the Clouds”, a 18-minute melodic ballad reminding me some of the epic titles from the band.

Bruce is heading the bar even after his tongue cancer and still navigating Eddie Force One in the right direction for more than thirty years. Thats some awesomeness to see that Iron Maiden can still hold up well for all these time.

I found maybe the pace a bit slow for my taste, but this is also my bias for listening some fast-paced tempos recently such as Sonata Arctica or Arch Enemy. But certainly, one of the best heir of Iron Maiden is probably with Sabaton, taking over the themes of epic battles and military bravery in their songs.

To conclude, although it is not the best album from Iron Maiden, it reminds us that Eddie is still alive and kicking hell, although accusing its age and faced health issues. Seeing one reference in the heavy metal still showing such a vigor and energy is heart-warming and really wish me that a DMC DeLorean car would come fly by around and a crazy Doc would say “lets fly back in 1985 Marty!”.