Here we go with Maiden’s second album. All Mike would tell me was that this would be a controversial one. With who? And why? Let’s find out! Also, remember, I’m hearing a lot of these songs for the first time (to my memory – it’s possible I’ve heard them before, but I’m damned if I know when).
Ides Of March is a great, short instrumental intro that is a template for a whole tune! I wonder if they ever fleshed it out into a full tune, in later years? They should, so we’ll see, as we go on. Wrathchild comes in hot on its heels. It’s a song I know well from Mike. He talks about it a lot, sent e to it on the youtubes. It’s classic Maiden, just glorious. A high point, for sure. Murders In The Rue Morgue is a restlessly active, super-fast rocker. Woo!
Another Life’s drum and guitar line intro crashes into an blistering tune that, if they ever play it live, must be truly awe-inspiring. It could be this album’s Phantom Of The Opera. Next up is the instrumental Ghengis Khan, which sounds just like I’d imagine the soundtrack for a galloping Mongol horde would sound, perfectly realized. And then it just goes absolutely bananas between the 0:57 and 1:46 marks – whoa! The battle part, perhaps! These guys are serious players – they just keep showing us over and over again. Innocent Exile’s bass line is very dextrous, and the song itself is perfectly slinky. It’s almost bluesy in its metal crush. Loved it. Killers is a natural to follow that one, an almost template 80s metal tune. The build, the wail, the intricate guitar workout, the speed of it all. Cool.
Prodigal Son is the type of ballad only speed-metal guys could make: it’s a ballad but it’s not. It’s slower than their other stuff, sure, but there’s so much going on in the background and that ready-to-burst tempo that made me think it was gonna explode at any moment. Purgatory brings back the speed and intensity. Wow! I hear stuff like this and wonder how it all holds together. One half-beat misstep in those verses and it’d all fall apart. So cool. Twilight Zone brings back that bluesy guitar and melds it to their now-trademark metal rock blend and some great screamo vocals. And finally, Drifter is seven minutes of driving metal that lets us know that this band, even after all the work that fills this record, is by no means done with us. Tired? Who’s tired? So rest in the middle bit where it breaks down for a brief bit. Otherwise, let’s GO! This would be a great fist-pumper live, a perfect way to end a concert. But wait! There’s two and a half minutes remaining on the track… silence… then an annoying buzz until thte end! Does anyone else’s copy have this? Ugh, that wrecks it.
Simply put, there’s not as many known Maiden Hits on this one, but so what? It’s a super-cool record that well and truly rocks. I thought it was fantastic.