Review Summary: Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son deserves a seven for score.
Maiden was on a roll. They just didn't go down, they produced quality album after album. Then one good April day in 1988, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son came out.
Being Maiden's first and so far, only attempt at a concept album, it is also Maiden seventh album. The lyrics, the performance, the songwriting, the production: everything just so damn good! Every song is pretty much where it belongs, with one exception, though it's only because it follows a much better one.
"Seven deadly sins, seven ways to win, seven holy paths to hell and your trip begins" gives you a taste of things to come. Starting with a brilliant, omnius and somewhat grandiose synth intro, Moonchild is one helluva way to open an album. It's fast, it's pissed, it makes you gasp for more. It also has some nice doom metal elements.
Infinite Dreams is a calmer song after the opener. The lyrics, coming form one of Steve's famous nightmares (666 anyone?), are extremely well presented by one of Bruce's best moments. It keeps building up, and doesn't have a single boring part in the entire song. The careful listener is astonished by Nicko's feet: he uses only one pedal and thumps so fast?
The commercial song of Seventh Son, Can I Play With Madness, is either liked (not loved) or hated. I personally like it, and think it's a fun little piece. This song has much in common with Bruce's following years, since his vocals are, in retrospect, similar to the ones used in the next two albums. The music is very poppy, happy, even prancing of sort. It's still the weak part of the album, but it's short. And that's what makes it good.
A "love-song", or at least as much of a love-song Maiden can make, The Evil That Men Do, gallops forward witf fury and in the same time it drowzes off. Which is a good combination, mind you. This is a great live song, especially with the somewhat dull chorus. Some say that this song is Maiden trying to get a poppy feeling, but I disagree. It is pure Maiden. The love-song feeling comes from the fact that the album-story required such a part, simple as that.
In my humble opinion, the title track is the greatest song throughout the history of mankind. Sure, this sounds fanboyish, but it is. A Maiden epic from every viewpoint, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son is orchestral, powerful, creative and everything else you'd want from such a song. Bruce's appearance is short, yet great, but it is the instrumental which really stands out. Adrian and Dave are as good as ever. The eerie bass pumping the way to the grand instrumental, the continous solos, and the absolutely perfect conclusion. I cannot find a single fault with this song.
Which is why the next song looks so pale. The Prophecy is good, but it doesn't keep the momentum going after the musical titan before it. It has never been played live to my knowledge, which might be because Bruce's vocals cannot be done live. It is a slow, but not calm, song, with a feeling of desperation.
A live favorite, The Clairvoyant starts with a classic 'Arris bass intro. It is a fast song, even faster when compared to the previous one. Nicko's drumming should again be noted. The synths really find their place here. And the solos are of quality, but short. In this case, it's a bad thing. The song ends at Bruce streching the "AGAAAAAAIIN!!!" on and on.
And the album ends with Maiden's most underrated track, Only The Good Die Young. Another fast, galloping song, it has the best lyrics I've ever read in any metal band. Especially great is the mid-song bass "solo". It ends with a wild cadenza, and the short verses in the beginning of the album are repeated, with a slight change (Bruce laughing instead), thus closing the circle.
To those who care, the story of the album speaks of a child with mystical powers, like healing and seeing the future. The child is born after his parents go through much pain and misery. He tries to help with his powers, warning people of a disaster, and when the disaster comes, he is blamed for it.
"Have a good sin."