Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

Iron Maiden

Raw Power Records, 1988

REVIEW BY: Riley McDonald


"Seven deadly sins/Seven ways to win/Seven holy paths to hell..." so begins the ominous intro to another masterful epic of Maiden's. Realizing that they overkilled the synths on Somewhere In Time, they toned them down a bit, and returned more to their classical structure. Unfortunately, such a move would make this a weaker follow-up to their 1986 piece of perfection.

The first track, "Moonchild," continues the band's reputation for unbelievably good introductions, as well as their fascination with Aleister Crowley (which began in "Revelations"). It's a spacey, ethereal tune with a very mystical feel.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"Infinite Dreams" is easily one of the most complex compositions the band has ever constructed. It starts off softly and slowly, seeming to be a ballad, but before long, it rises to a fever pitch, turning to a full-out metal tune. It's a twisting, weaving song that has lyrics perfectly suited for it.

Track three is regarded by most fans as the song that shouldn't have been. "Can I Play With Madness," has largely been regarded as the Irons' worst song ever. While I can't exactly agree with them there (have any of you heard "Tailgunner"?), it definitely isn't a bright moment. However, the chorus is fairly catchy, and I don't think that it deserves such a bad rap.

"The Evil That Men Do" is easily the album's best. The lyrics are very poetic, and the musicianship is extremely tight. While I think it does sound better live (especially on Rock In Rio), it's one of the best songs the band would ever put out.

For some reason, I find the second half to be a tad weaker. Though each of the songs are very good, I just can't groove to them as easily. "The Clairvoyant" would be the only exception, with a thundering bass riff followed up by dream-like singing by Dickinson.

Being the concept album that it is (it's based loosely on the Orson Scott Card book "Seventh Son"), the album ends as it begins, with Dickinson (at his creepiest with a half-singing, half-speaking tone) repeats the passage at the beginning of the album while an acoustic guitar plays lightly in the background. This adds greatly to the record's appeal.

Unfortunately, this album would mark the end of another Maiden epoch. Guitarist Adrian Smith (who'd been with the band since 1981) would depart. But with Smith would go a piece of Maiden that they would never quite regain. It's hard to define, but it's obviously noted on their next two releases, No Prayer For The Dying and Fear Of The Dark.

However, despite the album's lack of length (only 38 minutes), it remains one of their better releases, and should be cherished by all.

Rating: B+

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