The definitive Iron Maiden album is Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. A concept album, consisting of eight songs that reflect Iron Maiden’s best attributes as individual musicians and as a cohesive rock band. It is also Iron Maiden’s seventh studio album, hence the title fits quite well.
It begins with “A Word from our Sponsor…” Moonchild starts with keyboards! A first for Iron Maiden and something which the band would later embrace for select songs in other albums to come. The lyrics relate how Lucifer is threatened by the birth of the Seventh Son and wants to claim him for his own bidding. It is both a menacing threat and offer to humanity to give up the power of the chosen one.
Infinite Dreams is told from the point of view of the Seventh Son, where he questions the meaning of life and if we are reborn. This song is also one of Bruce Dickinson’s best vocal performances; a perfect blend of holding long notes similar to Hallowed By Thy Name (Number of The Beast) but even better.
In almost every tale there is of course an old man that warns of things to come and that is what Can I Play with Madness entails. The Seventh Son asks the old man what future he has, given such powers. It never ends well and so you already know the answer to the question you ask.
The Evil That Men Do is about regret, love, and the choices we make. We live, we balance ourselves on an edge. We all eventually fall. We accept our fate and move pass the tragedy, the evil that we do.
Now if you had the album on cassette, this is where you flipped to side 2 and got to song number 5: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. The title song marks another great vocal performance for Bruce, however it is more a showcase for the instrumental side of Iron Maiden. It allows for great solo work by Adrian Smith and Dave Murray, along with the accompanying awesomeness of Steve Harris on bass, and Nicko McBrain on drums. For me this is an instrumental and a great one at that.
In The Prophecy, the Seventh Son speaks to the world of the disaster that looms, but no one heeds a lunatic prophet. This is perhaps the first song we get that is a bit weaker compared to the rest of the perfect five songs that preceded it. On any other album, The Prophecy would be stellar, but on this album specifically it falls just a tad.
By the time, we get to song number 7, you might thing we are done, but no, The Clairvoyant is a classic Maiden song. It begins with a Steve Harris bass line and then springs into action with the guitars and drums. The chorus is absolutely Maiden at their best. The song is about the duality of life and death. Without the other, the other has no meaning. Moonchild and The Clairvoyant are the most live performed songs. I honestly can’t pick which one is my favorite.
All things must end and Only the Good Die Young closes out the stellar album. Unfortunately, the song rehashes a lot of the same topics covered in the previous seven songs and for me it is the least interesting song of the eight.
In conclusion, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is the perfect Iron Maiden album. It showcases the classic lineup of Iron Maiden at the peak of their abilities. It is definitely without a doubt the best vocal performance from Bruce Dickinson. Music wise, it is the most balanced of the studio albums, where all the instruments come in at the right volume.
- Infinite Dreams
- Can I Play with Madness
- The Evil That Men Do
- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
- The Prophecy
- The Clairvoyant
- Only the Good Die Young