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Review: Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Iron Maiden
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

Label: EMI
Year released: 1998
Originally released in: 1988
Duration: 44:06
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: November 13, 2019
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers Rating
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

Rated 5/5 (100%) (42 Votes)

When it comes to Iron Maiden, I'll admit that I come from a very different place than many other fans. My first album of theirs was The Final Frontier, which I initially disregarded and only returned to a year later to discover it was brilliant. I worked my way backwards from there, finding a string of albums that were good but lacked the depth and energy that made Frontier special, though I found Fear of the Dark to be nearly as good for entirely different reasons. It's only recently that I've gotten to the classic Maiden albums, and while I've liked most of them and deeply respect their place in Metal history, I don't think they are all the flawless masterworks many people claim them to be and sort of presumed that they didn't truly have one.

That is, until I got to this, Iron Maiden's seventh album, appropriately titled Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Admittedly, it didn't grab me all that much at first, but repeated listens revealed an album that took all the energy and ambition the band had always proudly displayed and approached it with a mature songwriting sensibility to create not only the most epic album of their early days, but the best damn thing they ever did, period.

Having said all that, it's probably the hardest of their Golden Age albums to get into. They rein in some of their trademark energy, making the songs and performances a little less direct than before. That's not to say that this is as ponderous as some of their later works would be, as opener "Moonchild" and the single "Can I Play with Madness" can attest. You still get the blazing twin-axe duo of Murphy and Smith, Murray's rollicking bass work, and Bruce's powerful, commanding voice coming together to create the propulsive and energetic Metal that they basically invented, but there's more nuance to the compositions that gives them an almost prog-like sound in places. This is most evident in slower tunes like "Infinite Dreams", "The Prophecy", and the glorious epic of the title track, with songs that slowly build and unwind until they hit jaw-dropping heights that make many epic bands these days sound pompous and ridiculous in comparison. But honestly, every song on here is fantastic in one way or another, with tight musicianship, vocal lines that are open and engaging without simply following the song, and some absolutely breathtaking twin harmonies that stand among the best ever penned down.

Maiden would go on to reach dizzying highs and flabbergasting lows afterwards, but I don't think they ever really topped this one. If you can only have one Iron Maiden album, this would be the one to go for, as it basically represents everything that made the band the legendary force that it is. A truly timeless classic.

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