Happy Saturn’s Day
This week has been an interesting trip down memory lane as regards to music. I have been revisiting an old but new friend – Iron Maiden. In my teenage years, I found my journey through the metal bands of the day difficult for a lot of reasons but most notably was there were so many of them and secondly my religion was openly hostile to anything that looked evil. Iron Maiden was just one of many great metal bands in the 1980s and I have to say must have listened to them a lot for a couple months back in the day but had to walk away. I guess it is hard to tell greatness when things are new and back then metal music was still very new. But mostly there was no way a good ‘Christian boy’ was going to slap Iron Maiden posters on his wall with their mascot Eddie grinning back at you on them.
I reflect a lot on this, as my musical choices these days have a large dose of “I don’t give a fuck what people think about what I am listening to”. One of the things I have toyed with is getting copies of some of those old posters and lining the wall with them in my new ‘man cave’ someday when I get one.
As for Iron Maiden themselves, I think they are one of those bands that reflects a musical genius that still resonates today. The music itself is multilayered and skilfully done. While not speed metal per se, they do have rifts that keep going and a fantastic drummer who does not stop. It is relentless metal you might say. Their lead vocalist is legendary.
But it is not just the music but two other factors that make Iron Maiden a great metal band. Firstly, their lyrics are top notch with intricate poetry. I challenge anyone to pull up just the lyrics and read them and not think about how deep they can be. Many of their songs are based on literature both books and poems so there is that connection whether it is Edgar Allen Poe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, or Frank Herbert.
The poetic part I can appreciate much more now that I understand it better. I suppose I have to thank in part Miss Salty for that, ironically. The fact that I now can go back an look at lyrics as poetry and see them a little deeper I have her to thank for that. At the same time, some of the pain associated with that relationship is why I listen to more music these days so…
Secondly, they understand that metal is a spectacle. They are one of those great concert bands that sounds better ‘live’ and puts on a real show for their fans. Deep poetry, well done musical rifts and heavy metal theatre in one great package.
Run to the Hills – This is probably for me the most known song of Iron Maiden. The song is a commentary on the whole western settlers vs. Native Americans conflict. Being a British band their criticism is scathing in some regards and to be honest, they have a good point.
The Trooper – Based on Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “Charge of the Light Brigade, This song is a high energy, which is also a social commentary on the soldier’s thoughts during battle and war in general.
Hollowed Be Thy Name – The Lord’s Prayer line coupled with the story of a man condemned to execution. Classic deep lyrics actually make this my favorite Iron Maiden song. The song is not so much about capital punishment as it is about death and facing it bravely, no matter what is on the other side of it. Which the song basically asserts the truth of – no one knows.
The Number of the Beast – Another Biblically based song. One of the reasons I couldn’t have this band’s posters on my wall as a teenager. I am fairly sure it wouldn’t have been appreciated.
Murders in the Rue Morgue – Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” it is another classic.
I would like to say more but Iron Maiden speak as a band speak for themselves every song they write. For the playlist, I have tried to find live performances as much as possible because that is the best way to listen to them. IMHO.
Run to the Hills – Live 1985: (with band introduction)
The Trooper – Live 2013:
Hallowed Be Thy Name – Live 1982
The Number of the Beast – Live 2008
Murders in the Rue Morgue – Live 2005 – with introduction
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.