Before I start my review, a little background info:
Iron Maiden was released in 1980, Maiden's first album, and shows very obvious signs of the punk roots/influence on Maiden. Only two of this album's line up are still with maiden today: Founder/Bassist Steve Harris, and the incredible axe-wielder Dave Murray. Dennis Stratton, the second left after this album, and was replaced by the fantastic Adrian Smith, who together with Murray created the classic Maiden sound. Stratton currentyl plays with Praying Mantis, I believe. The lead singer, Paul Di'anno, left after the follow up album Killers, and last time I heard he had a band called Paul Di'anno and the Killers. Clive Burr left after the third album, Number Of The Beast (Maiden's best work to date). He played with a few bands, but retired. In 2001 and he was diagnosed with MS. You can donate money to the Clive Burr MS Trust Fund on the Maiden website.
And now onto the actual album:
Prowler: This song is definatley a "grower". First time you hear it it sounds clumsy, but the more you hear it the better it becomes. It starts with a medium-temp riff, slows down, and then goes back to the first speed. 4/5
Sanctuary: For me, this really kicks the album off. The opening riff in the very beginning sounds like a cleaner prowler, but about 10 seconds in the song blows you away. Short, fast verses, a brilliant solo and a great chorus, this is one of the many highlights of the album. 5/5
Remember Tomorrow: A great song, this 'un. Slow, melodic verses with power-house bridges, only the iffy middle section stops it from getting full marks. 4.5/5
Running Free: Another absolute blinder of a song, probably the join best on this album, and one where the punk roots show must. A great drum beat starts this, before a powerful bass line joins in. Great guitar playing here, a wicked twin-solo, and the verses and chori kick major backside. One of the best Maiden songs ever, and a great one they do live (re: Live After Death, Live At Donnington. the crowd loves this song) 5/5
Phantom Of The Opera: Great song, this. The first of many Steve Harris epics, a really great song and a fantastic middle of the album. The opening is a bit dodgy on first hearing, but once you hear the verses it falls into place. A great riff, and fantastic middle section, and one of the best of the epics - only really beaten imho by pachendale and ancient mariner. pure maiden 5/5
Transylvania: This is the weakest part of the album. In truth, it was Maiden's first instrumental but it pales in comparison to Genghis Khan and Losfer Words (Big 'Orra). However, it can be thought of as an intro to Strange World, which makes it have a higher score. 3/5 (4/5 if combined with Strange World)
Strange World: THe other joint best song on this album. I'm a great fan of Maiden's more slow, melodic stuff (Fear Of The Dark album is, of course, excluded), and is better IMHO than Journeyman. A brillant song. 5/5
Charlotte the Harlot: THis one returns to the fast-paceiness of the album. Great opening riff, nice slower section, good solo, would get 5 if it weren't for the follow-up song (22 Accacia Avenue, from NOTB) being much better. 4.25/5
Iron Maiden: What a way to end an album! This song is a staple of the live show, and unlike the trooper, doesn't pale after hearing it live. This song is absolutley brillian, has a semi-solo by steve, and is brilliant, with one hell of a riff. 5/5
All in all, this is one hell of an album. Absolutley brilliant, better than the Killers follow up, this is Di'anno at his best. m/ Nice artwork too.
all in all: 4.75/5