Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)


The sea changes of 1986 had come to fruition by '88, so that year's hard rock choices were more or less hairspray and thrash. This is one reason why Seventh Son of a Seventh Son was a such a breath of fresh air when it came out at the time. Maiden never made the kinds of concessions that their influences and contemporaries made to keep up with newer bands, they just made the kind of records they could be proud of with the resources they had at the time. This is a record they should be very proud of. It takes everything good about Somewhere in Time and PERFECTS it. If you've been following along with our reviews of the previous records, or are familiar with them yourself, you know what to generally expect. The great musicianship, the soaring hooks, interesting lyrics, cool album artwork. All of that is here. This time out, they refined their use of keyboards, and finally went balls out and did an official concept album. And unlike other bands large and small who have tried this and failed, Maiden nailed it to the fucking wall. Maiden's lyrics were more often than not drawn with a very broad, epic brush, so the tale of a prophet whose warnings go un-heeded worked as a front-to-back experience, and yet each song can be taken and enjoyed on its own. I've analyzed which Maiden albums have the most individual songs that I listen to (vs. listening to the whole thing), and this record is way, way up there. As in, not as high as Number of the Beast, but on par with and often surpassing both Piece of Mind and Powerslave. Just a great group of tunes here, and it's both the last album that Adrian Smith played on during his first tenure with the band, and the last great album they made for a long while.

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