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Nightmare Fuel: Iron Maiden
Not exactly what you'd imagine when you hear a catchy song like "The Final Frontier". Is it?
If the Satellite 15 part of "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier" doesn't make you feel like some shit is about to go down, you are insane beyond belief. It will break anyone still sane after bejng able to listen AMOLAD in its entirety. Essentially, it starts off with an extremely bizarre bass riff that becomes the underlying riff for two whole minutes, followed by a tribal drum riff being repeated over and over. Then doom metallish guitar chords kick in, where suddenly a second three beat drum riff kicks in and loops over and over for a minute while a bizarre Hell Is That Noise guitar riff plays. The drums and guitars stop eventually, only for a few guitar chords and Bruce singing about being lost in space and desperate for someone to hear his call ensue. Then suddenly a double bass drum riff and military drum line kick in, only for it to end with four Scare Chords (for some this is where the intro really gets kickass). Then, of course, the rather upbeat and positive title track happens. Apparently it's a demo that Adrian Smith handed to Steve Harris and it appears on the album as is. One must wonder what the hell that H was smoking when he made it.
The band topped themselves with the intro for the 2011 Final Frontier tour. As Satellite 15 plays, the intro video consists of shots from the The Final Frontier video, random shots of an EQ, exploding nebulas, grotesque X ray imagery, a CG Bruce who looks slightly deformed singing, Eddie roaring in the audience's faces, melting film and explosions. Meanwhile, the band stays in the dark with sullen facial expressions remaining unnaturally still, and could only be seen by camera flashes and quick glimpses of light as the lights shine outward. Then Bruce runs to the mic stand and thus the awesomeness starts. Seen here.
On the topic of intros to tours, Maiden England Tour has quite the pleasant imagery. After some awesome shots of glaciers falling, deformed CG Bruce returns yet again and sings the "seven deadly sins" part. When the synthesizer loop plays, the imagery begins getting less based on glaciers and more based on... towns being destroyed, abandoned houses, fruit rotting, bugs, and a particularly disturbing shot of a bunch if presumably dead hands falling onto a pane of glass.
Try listening to "Dream of Mirrors" and not getting unsettled by its lyrics.
"Rime of The Ancient Mariner"'s slow and creepy middle part is the last thing you want to listen to at midnight with the lights off. The fact that a brief snippet of that part is played over a photo of the band staring at the camera (with creepy stares too) on a brief segment of the documentary on Disc 2 of Live After Death doesn't help either. (2:33 in this video).
"The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg". The fact that it's from an album full of lyrics rife with Nightmare Fuel is bad enough (The Legacy in particular), however the lyrics sound like a sad clown's lament and the horrifying image that the line "a thousand souls weighing down on me" creates. Sweet dreams.
"Still Life", about a man who sees ghosts in his swimming pool. At the end, he takes his girlfriend with him and they drown themselves in the pool to be with the ghosts.
"When I was living this lie, fear was my game/People would worship and fall, drop to their knees!/So bring me the blood and red wine, for the one to deceive me/For he is a man and a God, and he will die too!" To be fair, the whole song is pretty creepy.
The guitar riff to "Sea of Madness". Seriously, it is one of the most unnerving and unsettling riffs ever written.
The cover art for The X Factor. Eeewwwww.
The censored cover makes for some good Nothing Is Scarier fare. The same event is shown but from far away.
"Lightning Strikes Twice", the lyrics could be a metaphor for childhood abuse. Either way, the lyrics are largely unsettling. "It takes me back to my childhood again..."
The video for "The Final Frontier". An astronaut heads to a planet to get a pyramid box and key, only to be creeped on by Eddie, who hides in the walls. When he arrives at the objects, he suddenly notices a noise behind him, only to turn around and find Predator-like Eddie, whose movements are just plain WRONG. While it may seems as if he escapes, he isn't totally lucky: when he attempts to open the box, Eddie yanks him by the neck and throws him to his death in Space. What a charming, fluffy, happy ending.
"Face in the Sand". The music is all calm at first, but soon gets crushingly heavy as the song is about 9/11.
The lyrics of "Fear of the Dark":
Have you ever been alone at night
thought you heard footsteps behind
and turned around and no-one's there?
Eddie has been known to look like the fantasy equivalent of Crazy Awesome. However, the original 1980 album cover of Iron Maiden shows a more detailed drawing of Eddie- this is because Derek Riggs based the texture of Eddie's skin on a disturbing image he saw of a decapitated American head hanging from a Vietnamese tank. Image can be viewed here, if you dare.◊
Their cover of "Kill Me Ce Soir" by legendary Dutch band Golden Earring. The original is bad enough with its ultra-trippy atmosphere and reversed guitar backing and lyrics about a fan who misinterprets a song by his favourite artist and takes it too far, but Maiden's version tops it. It starts off typical Maiden-sounding and Bruce sounds normal, but over the course of the song he gets raspier and more utterly deranged sound as if he is that fan in question.