Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Iron Maiden: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

Iron Maiden's seventh studio offering is a concept album focused on the magical belief that the seventh son of a seventh son could be endowed with special powers. There are no songs on here about British battles, cinematic efforts, or literary works, but there are plenty of references to the occult. The album deals with prophecies ("The Prophecy"), clairvoyance ("The Clairvoyant"), madness ("Can I Play with Madness"), and the struggle between good and evil ("Only the Good Die Young" and "The Evil That Men Do"). Are you sensing a pattern here?

The cover art is a surreal landscape of ice, light, and magic, and Eddie has been reduced to a cybernetic torso clutching a screaming fetus still in the amniotic sack. His head is cracked, and it is on fire. He looks pissed.

This is not one of my favorite Maiden albums, but there are a few songs on here that I like very much. One is the opening track, "Moonchild," which features a lot of guitar synthesizer action right at the front. The others are "Can I Play with Madness," "The Evil That Men Do," and "Only the Good Die Young."

One other song worth pointing out is "The Prophecy," which seems to be a nod (intentional or otherwise) to Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell." Both songs end very similarly with the hard, electrified guitars fading and giving way to an acoustic melody that is repeated over and over until it too fades away. I'm not sure if Dave Murray and Steve Harris had this in mind when they put together the song, but "Heaven and Hell" is exactly what I thought of the first time I heard it.

In sum, this is a decent album. Not the band's best, but worth listening to.

UPDATE: The guitar synths of "Moonchild."

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