Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
My favorite Maiden Album. -Isaac Engelhorn (4/18/2003)
Track List:
  1. Moonchild
  2. Infinite Dreams
  3. Can I Play With Madness
  4. The Evil that Men Do
  5. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
  6. The Prophecy
  7. The Clairvoyant
  8. Only the Good Die Young

Total Time: (44:04)

Composed by:
Steve Harris,
Adrian Smith,
Bruce Dickinson,
Dave Murray

Arranged by:
Iron Maiden

Performed by:
Iron Maiden

The 80s. A time when pop music sucked a little less than today, but it still sucked. It was also a time, though, that heavy metal was socially acceptable in the United States. That has sadly changed since the ruination of most popular musical media by grunge and hip-hop over the course of the last decade. Though not one of the notorious hair-metal bands that actually ruled the scene in the US at the time (that's a good thing, trust me), Iron Maiden was and has remained a favorite among many metal fans. Gaining popularity in England during the era known as NWOBHM (the new wave of British heavy metal), the band hit it big in the states with their third studio album, The Number of the Beast, and while that is regarded by many as Maiden's top effort, arguments could be made to the contrary for just about every other album that they released between 1982 and 1988. Although most Maiden fans appreciate it, the album Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is not often regarded as their best due to its experimental and progressive nature, and despite this, it sits on top of the Maiden heap as my personal favorite.

Even though it may seem odd, the very reason most people prefer other Maiden albums is the reason I like this one so much. Seventh Son symbolized a band not only at the top of their skill, but at the top of their creativity as well, and the progressive rock elements that abound here, such as keyboards, guitar and bass synths, and somewhat pompous song arrangements do nothing but fuel my enthusiasm. Many of the songs feature different sections of tempo and style, yet all flow together in mood and theme with a level of class that the band simply hadn't been able to achieve up to this point. The title track itself clocks in at just under ten minutes and becomes one of bassist Steve Harris' most epic and varying efforts.

Also, to put it bluntly, there is not one bad song here, a fact that most other Maiden albums simply can't escape from, and even though "The Prophecy" is the weakest song on the album, it is still enjoyable, fitting with the rest of the songs and closing with a nice, soft accoustic guitar solo, compliments of guitarist Dave Murray. It's no small wonder that four songs on this album made the top ten on the British charts. "Can I Play With Madness" and "The Evil That Men Do" end up becoming two of the strongest straight-forward rockers that the band has made, with "Infinite Dreams" as a softer, more thoughtful single, and "The Clairvoyant" is simply the most catchy. Most would probably recognize the melodic guitar riff and chorus of the latter song with ease. Finally, though it wasn't one of the terrific singles, guitarist Adrian Smith and vocalist Bruce Dickinson's "Moonchild" is also one of Maiden's best tunes.

The saddest thing about this album is that it would be the last good album from the band until 2000's Brave New World. Even though the tag team of Murray and Smith was as good as ever, Smith left the band once the tour was over, only to be replaced by the fast-playing, though somewhat sloppy Janick Gers. The band had a few good tunes during the 90s, but the albums from that period as a whole were basically boring husks of previous efforts. Dickinson's voice went hoarse for a couple of years and the songwriting was just lazy. Not to mention the fact that Dickinson himself later left the band and was replaced by the horrid Blaze Bayley (though to be fair, I haven't heard Bayley's albums with the group, and never will).

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son makes for a great listening experience at any time, even though I would recommend getting used to Maiden's general sound and catalogue before purchasing this. The only weakness I can think of is the fact that several of the song's choruses wind up being the same line repeated over and over, but the music and lyrics are otherwise completely solid. What's more, the new CD re-releases of all of Maiden's albums can be used to view the videos that the band put out, as well as many other assorted goodies, when the CD is placed in your PC. Though many would dissagree, this gets my stamp for 'Best Maiden Album Ever'. Investigate this band a little more and buy it.

Up the Irons!

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is Copyright 1988 Metal Is Records. CD produced by Martin "Dissapearing Armchair" Birch. This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.