Ranking Iron Maiden Albums

Iron Maiden Eras:
Paul DiAnno Era (Iron Maiden -> Killers)
Bruce Dickinson Era (Number Of The Beast -> Fear Of The Dark)
Blaze Bayley (The X Factor -> Virtual XI)
Bruce's Return (Brave New World -> Book Of Souls)
Ranking Scale:
☆ - No Rating / Cannot Rate
★ - Terrible
★★ - Weak
★★★ - Decent
★★★★ - Good
★★★★★ - Masterpiece

Last Update: 16/07/2021

Iron Maiden is my favorite heavy metal band, and that's that really.
What else is there to say? Their style kept changing throughout the entirety of their career, giving birth to various excellent albums that sound wastly different. Just take the Bruce era for example, the first three albums of it shared the same sound, then somewhere in time introduced a more electronic feel to it, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son absolutely mastered a more melodic style, and finally NPFTD and Fear Of The Dark close the era off with a darker atmosphere.
Brutal Opinion: Iron Maiden never released a bad album.

As of Early 2021, Iron Maiden has released 16 albums.


Virtual XI (1998)
★★★


      Do you believe what you hear, can you believe what you see, do you believe what you feel, can you believe?
8 tracks spanning 54 minutes. Usually a red flag, but Powerslave and Somewhere In Time have the same stats, they're only a minute or two shorter.
This album jumps between good songs (Futureal, The Angel And The Gambler, The Clansman, Como Estais Amigos) and weak songs (Lighthning Strikes Twice, When Two Worlds Collide, The Educated Fool) - notice I omitted Don't Look To The Eyes Of The Stranger, as it fits into both categories. The songwriting here sucks bigly... The atmosphere is very weird too. Blaze's perfomance here is worse than on the X Factor. I do find the album enjoyable though. I don't see any issue with The Angel And The Gambler for example. But it is their strangest for sure.
      Also notice the slight change on the logo from here and up until The Book Of Souls. What did they mean by this? And the cover is ugly... Not Dance of Death ugly or Final Frontier ugly, but still. Eddie does not deserve to be portrayed as an archon-orc-type thing.


Best Songs: Futureal, The Angel And The Gambler, The Clansman, Como Estais Amigos



Book Of Souls (2015)
★★★


      Hold on - 92 bloody minutes? So this is even longer than The Final Frontier??? This better be a good album. It even has their longest song - Empire Of The Clouds - 18 minutes.
This is a very consistent album with one major flaw - song are far too long. The Red And Black for example is 13 minutes long. Why??? It runs out of steam on 5th minute and should end there. Same goes to pretty much every single track - making them this long is what causes the album to be exhausting to listen to. Apart from that, i'd say all songs are alright, only a few are truly memorable, but the only boring one is Man Of Sorrows. It's useless. The best songs on here are The Red And Black and the Book of Souls, and the latter is so good it pretty much renders the 18 minute madness that comes at the very end useless.
All in all, it's a great closing album for Maiden, song-wise it's a simple kind of a metal album, just stretched for far too long. If only had it been, say, ~30-40 minutes shorter...


Best Songs: If Eternity Should Fail, The Red and the Black, The Book of Souls, Death Or Glory, Shadow Of The Valley, Tears Of A Clown



The Final Frontier (2010)
★★★


      Decent songs, but they're too long. First one, for example, is 8 minutes long, 4 minutes of intro and 4 of a fairly good song. Why make such a long intro?
This album also has the worst mixing of them all, and Bruce's least exciting perfomance, especially on a few songs where he sounds a bit whiny. Last 2 songs are easily the best - The Man Who Would Be King and When The Wild Wind Blows. That being said, all songs are solid, but if you're not a fan of maiden then it may be a bit boring.


Best Songs: El Dorado, Mother Of Mercy, Coming Home, The Alchemist, The Man Who Would Be King, When The Wild Wind Blows




Dance Of Death (2003)
★★★


*NOT THE ORIGINAL COVER

      This is a decent maiden album. Starts off with real nice songs and then goes in a slightly different direction, also has Dance of Death and Paschendale which are the most known songs from it, they're alright, I like other songs on here more. In general, there is an interesting atmosphere and no weak songs, but it's not impressive either, especially compared to what came before it and what followed after. A little bit of overproduction here and there too. A decent album but nothing to write home about.
The cover is atrocious though. So sad, I wish they continued working with Briggs.


Best Songs: Wildest Dreams, Rainmaker, No More Lies, Gates Of Tomorrow, New Frontier, Age Of Innocence



Brave New World (2000)
★★★★


      Bruce is back!!! And so is Adrian. This album is very consistent and delivers well. In terms of songwriting it is not that creative as almost every song has a repetitive chorus as it's highlight. Ghost Of The Navigator, The Mercenary and Dream Of Mirrors are my favorites on here. The rest of the album is great too.
Sick album. I like the sound, despite it being sort of pompous.


Best Songs: Wicker Man, Ghost Of The Navigator, Brave New World, Blood Brothers, The Mercenary, Dream of Mirrors, The Fallen Angel




A Matter of Life and Death (2006)
★★★★


      What can I say about this one.. well, it's real good, that's that really. The cover does not represent the music here at all, it is too bland. Main complaint: Overproduced and perhaps a bit too long. There's hardly any room in there for music to breathe, and Bruce's voice is drowning in the mix. In defense of the album though, the songs are bloody excellent and the songwriting is up the mark and above.


Best Songs: Different World, These Colours Don't Run, The Pilgrim, The Longest Day, The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg, For the Greater Good of God, Lord Of Light



Iron Maiden (1980)
★★★★


      The self-titled. A solid debut featuring my favorites Prowler and Running Free, a great instrumental Transylvania and other nice songs. Check it out, they sound raw here and it's a very unique maiden album.


Best Songs: Prowler, Remember Tomorrow, Running Free, Phantom Of The Opera, Transylvania, Charlotte The Harlot



The X Factor (1995)
★★★★


      First album with Blaze Bayley on vocals. I like it, it's got an interesting dark atmosphere and for me it's a sort of a Fear Of The Dark 2. Blaze's vocals are great here, but the songwriting lacks a little. Some songs should have been removed entirely - Blood On The World's Hands and The Unbeliever suck, Judgement Of Heaven and The Edge Of Darkness are the only other weak spots i can think of, but they can stay, it's the other 2 that have to go... I think it's unfair for it to have 3 stars as i come back to it alot. The highlights on here are much more memorable than the ones on Dance of Death, in my opinion.
As for the album cover, this is where all hell breaks loose. The first Iron maiden cover to truly suck horribly (unless NPFTD does it for you), although, not the worst.


Best Songs: Sign of the Cross, Lord Of The Flies, Man On The Edge, Fortunes Of War, Look for the Truth, 2 A.M.



The Number Of The Beast (1982)
★★★★


      Bruce is IN. Iron Maiden is on it's way to release some of the greatest NWOBHM albums, but what about this one? . I didn't like Invaders in the past, but surprisingly now i appreciate it alot. It's got the energy and everything. It doesnt seem as if it would fit better on the previous album though. Children Of The Damned is a sick song but putting it this early is a bit of an oversight I think, it makes you a bit sleepy. Then there is the Prisoner, which I remember Beavis and Butthead singing in that one episode where they went to jail. Good shit. Number Of The Beast and Hallowed Be Thy Name are the best songs on here. Run To The Hills and Gangland are the weakest, between the two I prefer the latter. It's a great album but I don't care much for it. But it's by no means bad, and you should give it a go if you like the other ones, maybe it will be your thing, but I think everything that came after is just more fun..


Best Songs: Prisoner, Number Of The Beast, Hallowed Be Thy Name




Killers (1981)
★★★★


      It's an excellent early maiden release with cool guitar work. Starts off with Ideas Of March - an instrumental that sound like a military march. It then flows into Wrathchild with it's fantastic bass. Some riffs on here are absolutely ethereal - Genghis Khan is the perfect example of just that. You even have some acoustic guitars on the slower Prodigal Son. Despite being an early album, they already play very fast and rapid - as you can hear on Murders In The Rue Morgue, Purgartory and Drifter.
Good album with all highs and no lows. You will also notice an improvement in production, compared to the debut.


Best Songs: The Ideas Of March, Wrathchild, Murders In The Rue Morgue, Genghis Khan, Prodigal Son, Purgatory, Drifter




No Prayer For The Dying (1990)
★★★★


      Very weird album, comes after their magnum opus and is followed by the final "Greatest hit". Generally sounds like a weaker Fear Of The Dark, but with weaker production.
Features one of the weakest IrMa songs I've ever heard - The Assasin, horrible chorus in that one. And don't forget, the album cover is the first ever mess up in band's history. Derek did them dirty with this ugly Eddie, although it's better than the forecoming goblin, archon, orc and alien eddie imposter. Anyways, I think it's a good album, with a sad kind of an atmosphere to it. No Prayer For The Dying is the most memorable song on here.
It's up for debate whether this is better than Killers or not though. For now I'll leave this one ahead.


Best Songs: Tailgunner, Holy Smoke, No Prayer For The Dying, Public Enema Number One, Run Silent Run Deep




Powerslave (1984)
★★★★


      This album makes me thing of a sunny summer day, driving to the countryside, etc etc. But anyways, a banger from start to finish. Even though it's one of their best I'd argue that the songs sound very similar. But definitely a fun listen. Features the 14 minute behemoth called Rime Of The Ancient Mariner at the end. Not sure what else to say - it has one of the greatest album covers ever? But after all, that's the case with all of their albums, up till No Prayer..
No point for me to go through the songs, just give it a good, hard listen.


Best Songs: Aces High, 2 Minutes To Midnight, Flash Of The Blade, The Duelists, Powerslave



Somewhere In Time (1986)
★★★★


      After releasing the trifecta of early dickinson albums that shared the same sound, the band decides it's time for some change. More melody mixed with electronic sounds. And it works rather well. This album creates a great atmosphere, and has great songs, that's all that matters. Surprisingly, It seems as if people generally don't like Deja-Vu, while I prefer it over the more well-regarded Alexader The Great. The most unusual songs here are Sea Of Madness and Stranger In A Strange Land, the latter I especially find very enjoyable. That and Heaven Can Wait are very soothing to listen to. Great album, I can see why some see it as their best.


Best Songs: Caught Somewhere In Time, Wasted Years, Sea Of Madness, Heaven Can Wait, Stranger In A Strange Land, Deja-Vu




Fear Of The Dark (1992)
★★★★★


      First time I heard Fear Of The Dark the song, it didn't impress me. I must have listened with my arse. Iron Maiden's true final frontier and masterpiece, featuring their greatest hit Afraid To Shoot Strangers. The riffs in that song are an absolute relaxant. From Here To Eternity is the final chapter in Charlotte's story and is another favorite of mine from this album. Other hits include Wasting Love, Chains Of Misery, Judas Be My Guide, and obviously, Fear Of The Dark. And in defense of everyone else's least favorite song on here - Weekend Warrior - there ain't nothing wrong with it.
This album's atmosphere is dark and at times sad, as if it's some kind of a dawn before a new age, which continues in the next album. Great, underrated album.
There's a prophet in the gutter in the street, he says you're damned... and you believe him


Best Songs: ALL Of Them




Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (1988)
★★★★★


      Time awaits to man, my future it is revealed.. Time awaits no man, my fate is sealed... Well, there ya have it. The one and only, masterpiece to end all masterpieces. WTF is there to say. I listen to it very rarely just so that the great feeling it gives never gets old.
I usually talk about either all or some of the songs just to give the reader a general impression, but in this case, just like with Powerslave, there's no point in that. Turn it on and get immersed into it. One hell of a ride, especially on your first few listens. Easily their peak perfomance.


Best Songs: ALL Of Them




Peace Of Mind (1983)
★★★★★


      But as much as I love Seventh Son... This album is my flesh and soul. The first maiden album i've ever heard, I can't see how Powerslave or, god forbid, Number Of The Beast are viewed as superior. I remember giving it a listen and thinking "Huh.. This ain't that heavy...". Then I listened again, and again, and again, and realized it's a masterpiece. One song from here everyone and their grandma have heard of is The Trooper. And there's a reason for it, it's a sick song. But the rest of them are fantastic too. Hell I wish I discovered it earlier. It's easily one of the best albums to come out of NWOBHM. If you've never listened to Iron Maiden - start with this. You won't regret it.
Fly.. On your way.. Like an Eagle, fly as high.. as the sun.. On your way... Lyrically, their best album, together with Seventh Son.


Best Songs: ALL Of Them




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