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I took a glance through the archives recently here at the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll and then a subsequent glance through my music collection and decided that for someone who loves massively thick and fuzzed out guitar sounds... I don't have nearly enough hard rock and heavy metal in my collection. Can't tell you why really... perhaps it has something to do with my somewhat intense aversion to the stereotypical mid 80s hair metal sound. That's not a knock against that era of music, or people who are into that music, it just doesn't do much for me personally.
Although they may be considered just another metal band from around that mid 80s era to some, Iron Maiden is a band that has a little more to offer to my ear than just that. Although I listened to a Iron Maiden sort of on and off in my youth and during the time when I was really into metal, I didn't really get into their work until just recently actually. Great hard rock, and a lot more than meets the eye, or well... ear.
It certainly does rock though, and rock hard as this clip from a live show in 1980. The song is of course the one that bares their name. Special thanks to the people involved in bringing this to us... etc etc... as always.
So, as I'm sure you can tell... Iron Maiden is a heavy metal band, and not only is the music hard hitting, fast, powerful and massively epic, they play it with a vigor unlike any other. People who aren't "metal heads" might notice some things that can be considered obvious metal cliches: like the necessary "head bang hair", the liberal use of leather and/or studded leather, smoke machines and fog lights, screaming shredding solos and plenty of hard rocking action.
All of those things might be cliches, but there's something different about it when it's coming from a band like Iron Maiden. They're dynamic and vibrant where as many bands that would follow would both push the envelope to excess, but also become something of parodies of themselves.
All of that aside, what it really comes down to, as always, is the music and musically Iron Maiden is easily one of the most interesting metal bands. There's just little moments that seem to hint at genres like classical, prog rock, punk, blues, even jazz, all wrapped up in a hard rockin' take no prisoners exterior. The songs are all larger than life, totally epic, and hard hitting as anything, but every so often I find a little something that stands out and recalls these other styles... might even go completely unnoticed on the first listen. I also hear a lot of things that preempts some of the bands I listen to who cite Iron Maiden as an influence, which is pretty cool as well.
And of course they....ROCK... which is quite apparent in this clip. Talk about a show stopping number... theatrics and all. It might be a bit excessive and pretentious but they pull it off better than many other bands ever could.
Overall, they have some great songs/albums throughout their catalog, making Iron Maiden a band worth checking out whether you're a long time metal fan, a regular hard rock fan, or even someone like me who may have dismissed them as part of the more stereotypical 80s metal movement. I just added more than a few albums to my collection.
If you're interested there are plenty of other clips from across Iron Maiden's career on YouTube along with this one. Don't hesitate to check out their albums as well as not only is there some amazing studio work, there's some killer live tracks (with great guitar work) as well.