Based on the title, you know what you’re going to hear from this review. That’s right, the first two Iron Maiden albums, the self titled debut and “Killers”. I, as well as many diehard fans, love these albums. There is a certain charm to the sound of these first two releases, possibly due to the feelings of nostalgia associated with certain tracks. “Prowler” was one of the first songs that introduced me to this band back in the day. But these albums have so many good qualities aside from just pure nostalgia. So let’s dive back into the early years of Iron Maiden.
I’ve talked to numerous people about these albums and one of the most common statements I hear is that “they had more of a punk rock sound on their early albums”. While I understand the legitimacy behind making that claim, I feel that a more appropriate description of the sound would be “raw”. These albums are pure raw metal. This is in part due to the aggressiveness and unpolished vocals of Di’Anno, but you also have to take into consideration the speed of the music itself. Aside from these two elements the band was pure heavy metal from the beginning. The riffs were metallic, the solos were melodic, the arrangements were complex, and the sound had an overall more “epic” feel to it (listen to “Phantom of the Opera”).
Another cool feature about these albums were the instrumentals. Songs such as “Transylvania” and “Genghis Khan” added a really nice touch to their respective albums, and to this day, they remain as two of the very few instrumentals in Iron Maiden’s discography. The album “Killers” actually started out with an instrumental titled “The Ides of March”, an appropriate title that foreshadowed the devastation to come. And you can’t discuss these albums without mentioning something about the late Clive Burr. His drumming really helped to solidify the rhythm section along with Steve Harris’s bass lines. Clive managed to keep a steady pace while also throwing in all sorts of interesting drums fills and technical work. The man was a beast behind the kit.
These are not albums to skip over, and if you’ve listened to them and cast them aside, then give them another listen. There are so many classic songs on “Iron Maiden” and “Killers”. I saw Maiden live back in 2010, and even after 30 years they were still playing songs such as “Running Free”, “Iron Maiden”, and “Wrathchild” live. Check out the songs below if you’re new to Iron Maiden or just never bothered listening to anything before “Number of the Beast”.