ARTIST: Iron Maiden
TITLE: Iron Maiden
YEAR RELEASED: 1980
CHART ACTION: #4 UK
SINGLES: Running Free (#34 UK), Sanctuary (#29 UK) (US Version)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Charlotte the Harlot, Iron Maiden.
LINEUP: Paul Di’Anno, Steve Harris, Dennis Stratton, Dave Murray, Clive Burr
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: New Wave of British Heavy Metal stalwarts first album finds them defining their sound and delivery. Some of this sounds more proggy than metal.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: First albums are funny, especially for a band that evolves and changes over time. Iron Maiden’s first album definitely has some numbers that fit right in with the rest of their material, yet this album really showcases not only the prog-rock side, but also the softer side that casual fans may not recognize.
Paul Di’Anno’s vocals are gruffer than what you may be used to with Maiden, and he definitely doesn’t use an upper register like an air-raid siren, but for the songs presented here he’s effective. He does add a punk rock attitude to the songs, even if the band disavowed any connection later on.
There are some classics here (I mean, “Running Free” is an all-timer for any band)– they still play many of these songs in concert. It’s just kind of a mixed bag where the songs that tend to be more prog rock oriented don’t have the visceral excitement that you expect with Iron Maiden.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Dennis Stratton was a late replacement as guitarist, and really tried to nudge them into a prog rock (or at least a Thin Lizzy / Wishbone Ash type twin harmony guitar style), but ‘creative differences’ caused his sacking soon after.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. The UK version omitted “Sanctuary”. It’s on a bonus disc now, and there’s a US bonus disc too with outtakes and live cuts.
GRADE: B+. It’s all good, it’s not all MAIDEN, y’know? “Running Free” boosts it up a notch.