Iron Maiden - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
Heavy Metal
8 songs (44'08)
Release year: 1988
Iron Maiden, EMI
Reviewed by Jack

When it comes to Iron Maiden, we all have our favourite album for various reasons. One of the main reason is we all discovered the band at a different period of time and thus started listening to the band with a different album. As for myself, although my first encounter with the band was with Somewhere In Time that I just listened once at a friend’s, I really started listening to the band on a daily basis with their seventh studio album, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, their first concept album.

Before writing this review, I took the time to read some other reviews of this album only to discover that most of the reviewers share the same opinion for this album as me, although not necessary for the same reasons as I do since many of the reviewers claimed having discovered the band in the early 80s. On the other hand, I noticed that everyone doesn’t necessary like the same songs off this album although some titles do come forth on mostly every review. What also makes this album so strong is all the songs are more or less of the same ilk, very strong and consistent, although not all of them are defined by the fans as classics. Besides, the songs flow perfectly one after each other as if they couldn’t be dissociated from this album, but at the same time you can take all of them apart and they still work perfectly.

After the release of six strong studio albums, plus a phenomenal live album, this seventh one had to be no exception to the rule and it was definitely not. Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son doesn’t hold the strongest and greatest Maiden classics, after all The Number Of The Beast has a lot for itself, Piece Of Mind and Powerslave do have their own strong timeless classics and I find my favourite Maiden song ever on Fear Of The Dark. Somewhere In Time had its couple of classics although I do not necessary rang them among the band’s greatest classics and was somehow an experimental album that worked for Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son as this one indeed continued the path first explored on the previous album, but this time the band definitely strengthen their songwriting and showcased everything they are known for: excellent songwriting, cutting edge guitar riffs, fantastic guitar works and guitars melodies, strong bass a bit quieter in the mix than usual though, and above all awesome vocals from one of the best vocalists in 80's metal scene. Not to mention the usual long epic title track, although this time it may not be the strongest title track ever.

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son does bring sometimes more than all the previous albums and that’s probably why it remains on top among many fans. The band had a tendency to sound more or less the same album after album with that raw angry sound of the early 80s, but even though the band had tried it on their previous effort, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son marks the successful introduction of the heavy use of keyboards and guitars synths into the usual Maiden formula. The band indeed took a clever risk by experimenting further more these new stuff which make it much deeper in sound than other Maiden albums, the keyboards and synthesizer effects creating a deep atmosphere which made this album a bit more progressive. Besides the sound they achieved on that particular album is huge and harmonious and never to be found again, but it still fully preserves the classic maiden sound.

The only complaint one might come up with is the length of the album that clocks only at 44’03 and there is only eight songs, but one has to remember that compact discs were not the standard at the time and album length were thought in relation with the support which at the time was the vinyl that was best suitable for about 20 minutes of music on each sides. Besides, I know some die-hard fans complaining this album lacks the punch of earlier releases and the music is too progressive for their tastes and thus consider it a commercial album, but they forgot this period in time represents the band’s peak of musical creativity and this album was not a drastic change but a continuation in the band’s evolution. Not to forget it was the band’s last great album for quite a long time.

The artwork isn’t the strongest done by Derek Riggs. He still was the only one doing the band’s artworks at the time, but it still remains one among my favourite. Just like they had it for Live After Death and Somewhere In Time, it isn’t just an ordinary front cover, but rather an epic painting that depicts more a landscape with Eddie in it rather than just Eddie in the forefront. The inside painting of Eddie writing chapters of his life with two candles symbolising the Good and the Evil represents the true lyrical concept of the album: the endless battle between Good and Evil, both sides trying to bring human on its side. By the way, why is the good always symbolised by a woman and the Evil by a man? Sometimes women can be as evily as men if not more... The concept is not a story that continues songs after songs though, but rather a peculiar or definite concept behind all songs.

I strongly believe Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son has to be considered as the band most outstanding records ever and without this album, I doubt the band would have been able to come up with albums such as Brave New World and Dances Of Death a decade later with the return of Bruce Dickinson. To sum it up, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son is the only album by the British band that when it comes to its end I crave for more and automatically press the start button over and over again until my wife starts to complain about it.

Killing Songs :
Infinite Dreams, The Evil That Men Do, The Prophecy, The Clairvoyant, Only The Good Die Young
Jack quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Iron Maiden that we have reviewed:
Iron Maiden - Senjutsu reviewed by Goat and quoted 60 / 100
Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
Iron Maiden - Flight 666 DVD reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Iron Maiden - Killers reviewed by Thomas and quoted CLASSIC
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