Formed on Christmas Day, 1975, Iron Maiden would go on to be one of the biggest metal bands ever, selling out shows all across the world. Their stage shows were filled with explosives and elaborate stage sets, and to top it all off, the band's mascot Eddie would come out on stage and wreak havok. But before travelling the world and selling out stadiums, Iron Maiden were a four piece in England. In 1978, the band released The Soundhouse Tapes, a demo tape that contained the first recordings by the band.
Right from the beginning of the band's signature song Iron Maiden, something sounds different. What sounds different is the lack of a second guitarist. That's right, Maiden were at one point a four piece band with founding member Dave Murray with guitar duties. Like all demo tapes, this is very raw, and sounds very different from the versions found on the band's eponymous self-titled album. The opener, Iron Maiden, is four minutes of raw energy. Of course, the version found on Iron Maiden
is much better, because of the addition of a second guitarist, but this version is still great. Paul Di'Anno's voice is still rough and punkish, and it's a bit easier to understand on this demo, as if his voice is dominating the album, whereas on Iron Maiden
it was the musicianship that stole the show. The following song, Invasion, which would later be redone drastically and put on The Number of the Beast
, is the worst song, hands down. It's catchy, but Di'Anno's voice gets irritating after a while and just drags down the song. The final song, Prowler, is much worse than its counterpart on Iron Maiden
, yet it is still a decent song. It lacks the power and aggression that its Iron Maiden
counterpart had, but is, as I said, still decent.
This ten minute demo is a vital piece of music history, as it is the first recordings of what may be the most influential metal band of all time (excluding Black Sabbath), but really, you'd be better off to just listen to just buy the first Maiden album to get a taste of early Maiden. But hey, it's Maiden. It's good.