Iron Maiden is a British Heavy Metal band. They are one of the most successful metal bands in the world and were a major part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.The band takes its name from a fabled medieval torture device, allegedly used to dish out Cruel and Unusual Deaths to witches and the similar, as an alternative to burning at the stake. If you're really interested in how it worked, all we're going to say is that it involves a human-sized canister with a hinged lid, and a bunch of Spikes Of Doom on the inside of the lid. You know where this is going.It was founded in 1975 by bassist Steve Harris. The band went through a lot of lineup changes before the release of their first album, simply called Iron Maiden, in 1980, recorded by Harris, singer Paul Di'Anno, guitarists Dennis Stratton and Dave Murray, and drummer Clive Burr. In the follow-up, Killers, (1981) Stratton, due to Creative Differences, was replaced by Adrian Smith, from the band Urchin. This was also the last album with Di'Anno, who was fired for drinking problems but wanted to leave the band anyway and shows no animosity for it.The real success came a year later, in 1982, with The Number of the Beast, which marked the debut in the band of Bruce Dickinson, Di'Anno's replacement. The band's classic lineup came full circle in 1983 with the arrival of drummer Nicko McBrain, replacing Clive Burr, for personal problems. With this lineup, the band recorded four studio albums (Piece Of Mind, Powerslave, Somewhere In Time, and Seventh Son OfA Seventh Son) and a live album, (Live After Death) which marked the climax and end of the so-called "Golden Years".Unfortunately, from this point onwards, the things weren't going so well for the band. Adrian Smith left the band due to Creative Differences (although it was in good terms, it was just that he wanted to play in a softer mood than that one of Maiden) and he was replaced by Janick Gers, who played in the band White Spirit, and with Fish (former singer of Marillion) and Ian Gillan. The follow-up to Seventh.., No Prayer For The Dying, was considered inferior to the former albums, despite having the band's first #1 hit. ("Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter") The follow-up, Fear of the Dark, charted in #1, but after it, Bruce Dickinson left the band.He was replaced by Blaze Bayley, who wasn't well received. Not only that, but the band also changed their Record Producer, and thus, everything was set for the band's Dork Age. The two albums released in the Bayley-era (1995's The X Factor and 1998's Virtual XI) weren't so well received, and it seemed that the band was going to broke......but 1999 brought the biggest news: Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned to the band, but only Blaze left, thus making Maiden a sextet with three guitarists. Not only that, but the follow-up to Virtual, Brave New World, was a big hit, with a lot of people claiming the album as another classic album of the band. This lineup (Dickinson-Smith-Gers-Murray-Harris-McBrain) continues to our days, having recorded other three albums: 2003's Dance of Death, 2006's A Matter Of Life And Death and 2010's The Final Frontier, the band's most recent #1 album.Their sound is characterized by twin guitar (later triple guitar) harmonization and galloping bass, as well as the operatic vocals of Bruce Dickinson. Their most notable songs fall into three themes: ominous ("The Number of the Beast", "Fear Of the Dark"), historical (war songs such as "The Trooper" and "Aces High", historical events such as "Run to the Hills" and the biographical "Alexander the Great") or derivative ("The Wicker Man", "Flight of Icarus", "Brave New World").
Special mention to "Heaven Can Wait", from Somewhere In Time, where they invite some fans to the stage.
"Fear Of The Dark", from the eponymous Fear of the Dark, is a song that's been particularly adopted by the fans as an audience participation song, but is interesting in the fact that the fans don't sing along much to the lyrics, but vocalize to the guitar. It's become such an audience participation staple that pretty much every Iron Maiden compilation will have a live version of the song.
Badass Native: "Run to the Hills", from The Number Of The Beast, averts this.
Averted: while most fans are not at all enamoured of Blaze Bayley's run, the band continue to perform the best and most memorable material of that era, namely "Lord of the Flies", "Man on the Edge", "Sign of the Cross", (All of them from The X Factor) "Futureal" and "The Clansman". (From Virtual XI) All of these live versions appeared in live albums or singles.
While No Prayer For The Dying and Fear Of The Dark are usually ignored on setlists aside from the eponymous song from the latter album ("Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter" and "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" have also been played since Bruce's return), a Discontinuity is averted in From Fear To Eternity, which contains three songs from each of those albums.note Albeit not "From Here to Eternity" even if it's the inspiration for the album title...
Compare Fear of the Dark and No Prayer For The Dying with any of the previous albums. The vocals, for example - less operatic, more raspy.
Some songs also work as Darker and Edgier counterparts of earlier songs. Compare "Charlotte the Harlot" to "22 Acacia Avenue" & compare "The Trooper" to "Paschendale".
The entirety of A Matter of Life and Death is quite a bit darker musically than previous albums, though the lyrics are still pretty much what you'd expect from Iron Maiden with possibly a more focused emphasis on Humans being bastards. The album's dark feel is largely due to the complex and melancholic melodies, and the quality of Dickinson's voice as he gets older.
The X Factor is by far Maiden's darkest album. When listening to it, one should keep in mind that Steve Harris was going through a tough time: 1) Bruce left his band, 2) Martin Birch stopped producing his records, 3) his father had died, and 4) he was going through a divorce. How could one expect him to write up beat songs about literature and poetry when he was clearly going through a depression. This becomes very clear once you read some of the lyrics: "I'm scarred for life, but it's not my flesh that's wounded", or "I've been depressed so long, it's hard to remember when I was happy".
It has been argued by fans that Blaze Bailey, a baritone, was the fitting singer for that period of Iron Maiden's history.
"Nail that fokker, kill that son" in "Tailgunner", from No Prayer For The Dying.
"I'm a clever banker's face with just a letter out of place" in "El Dorado", from The Final Frontier. In at least one bootleg, Bruce just flat out spoiled the latter ("I'm a clever wanker's face, just a banker out of place.")
"Phantom Of The Opera", in the pre-remaster release, where after 10 seconds of silence, Di'Anno shouts the song's final line again.
Due to a production error, the intro to "Powerslave" haphazardly got stuck onto the ending of "Back in the Village" on the 1998 remaster of the album of the same name. So when one listens to Back in the Village, the song ends with the spooky intro to Powerslave.
Meaningful Name: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, The X Factor and Virtual XI were the seventh, tenth and eleventh albums of the band, respectively. The Final Frontier, the fifteenth, opens with an instrumental titled "Satellite 15" (which segues into the title track).
Cluster F-Bomb: Aside from Bruce live, a few B-sides filled with Vulgar Humor... and another that's not a song, but a recording of Steve and Nicko having an argument after a concert.
Protest Song: Sometimes they go into current world problems, such as the televangelists ("Holy Smoke"), the high crime rate ("Age of Innocence") and the economic crisis ("El Dorado"). And then there's the war-inspired songs...
Pun-Based Title: Piece of Mind and "Public Enema Number One", from No Prayer For The Dying. The live albums Maiden Japan (EP, referencing Deep Purple's Made in Japan) and Maiden England (released on DVD with a "'88" attached) too.
A self-referential pun is From Fear to Eternity... even if "From Here to Eternity" is not on the album although it could fit.
Rock Opera: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and the Charlotte saga.
Shown Their Work: Possibly not all of their great many songs based on history, literature, or whatever it is are entirely faithful and accurate. The number that are, the sheer volume of them, and the actual possibility of discussing whether a metal song is historically accurate mean they more than qualify anyway. Bruce Dickinson having a degree in history from London University doesn't hurt. When the lyrics of "Alexander The Great" talk about the Scythians fleeing across the River Jaxartes, you know they've done their research.
Survivor Guilt: "Murders In The Rue Morgue" is about a guy who hears a scream, when seeking where it came from ends up seeing the victims, and is haunted by the memories.
Title Track: Besides "Iron Maiden", most albums have one (even if borderline such as "Caught Somewhere In Time" and "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier").
Title Only Chorus: A few, such as "Caught Somewhere in Time" and "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son". The subversion became more frequent as band matured, as many choruses included others phrases along the title.
Refrain from Assuming: "Your time will come (4x)", in "The Wicker Man", from Brave New World; "Freedom (4x)", in "The Clansman" from Virtual XI; and "Falling Down (4x)", in "Man on the Edge", from The X Factor''; all choruses. And considering their tendency for Title Only Choruses, sometimes people call the songs by the chorus line.
War Is Hell: Many of the war-inspired songs ("The Trooper", "2 Minutes To Midnight", "Afraid to Shoot Strangers", "Paschendale", "The Longest Day", "Mother of Mercy" - for that matter, all but "Different World" in A Matter Of Life And Death).
Animated Music Video: "Wildest Dreams", from Dance of Death; "Different World", from A Matter Of Life And Death; and "The Final Frontier", from, well... The Final Frontier.note Just for the sake of it, the video is named "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier", but the only part which is played is that of "The Final Frontier".
Mascot / Metal Band Mascot: Eddie the Head, the albino zombie originally designed by Derek Riggs. Eddie appears on all album covers, and on most (if not all) of the band's merchandise.
Eddie and his creator Derek Riggs are the namesake for Eddie Riggs, the protagonist of the game Brütal Legend.
The Merch: They're known for their pretty damn awesome merchandise, which ranges from simple shirts and posters, to pens and binders, to tankards and various pieces of metalwork, to their own wine. There are even some Eddie the Head action figures!
The band was known for their very distinctive album artwork courtesy of Derek Riggs throughout most of their career, and he provided at least some artwork for most of their album covers until his involvement eventually waned entirely after the release of Brave New World (reportedly due to them being difficult to work with). After having these painted scenes for nine (studio) albums, fans were slightly surprised when the album cover for Dance of Death was revealed to be an episode of◊ ReBootgone horribly wrong◊. (Even artist David Patchet hated the cover. The image was only supposed to be a mock-up, not the finished product)
Likewise, a previous 2-D to 3-D jump, The X-Factor◊ (though not hand-drawn to CGI, but hand-drawn to statue) was not well received.
Record Producer: Martin Birch from Killers to Fear of the Dark, Kevin Shirley since Brave New World.
Rockumentary: 12 Wasted Years, The Early Days and Flight 666.
Live After Death's DVD edition has the second part of The Early Days as an extra. Part three comes in the DVD for Maiden England, along with 12 Wasted Years.
Revival: Three tours in The Turn Of The Millennium, "The Early Days" (only songs from the first four albums, and a Earth-Shattering Poster taken directly from the Piece of Mind tour), "Somewhere Back in Time" (besides "Fear of the Dark", only '80s songs, plus an Egyptian Powerslave-like stage which also had references to the two albums that followed), and "Maiden England" (stage and setlist inspired by the eponymous live album, recorded during the Seventh Son tour)