Top 10 Underrated Iron Maiden Songs
Arguably one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time, Iron Maiden have built a career that stands loud and proud over the competition. With such a deep catalog to work with, there will always be those songs that, for one reason or another, slip through the cracks or are discarded by the roadside. In honor to these forgotten gems, we bring you 10 of Iron Maiden’s most underrated songs.
‘Charlotte the Harlot’
Somewhat lost in the shuffle of songs on the band’s debut album, ‘Charlotte the Harlot’ tells the tale of a, shall we say, less-than-reputable female. Signature heavy riffage and an unexpected mid-song tempo change pave the way for a brain-melting guitar solo. It’s all punk energy meshing with metal proficiency. In other words, total Maiden.
‘The Wicker Man’
Possibly the most significant event in Iron Maiden’s history was the addition of Bruce Dickinson as the band’s singer in 1982. The second most significant event was Dickinson return after a nearly seven-year absence in 2000. ‘Brave New World’ signaled not only Dickinson’s second coming, it also marked the return of guitarist Adrian Smith, who had left the band a couple of years before Dickinson. The duo’s reunion made for the best Maiden album in almost a decade. ‘The Wicker Man’ kicks things off.
‘Moonchild’ shines on the band’s seventh album, ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son,’ which features plenty of classic Maiden elements. But there’s also other colors thrown into the mix. Prog, of all things, figures into ‘Moonchild,’ with a Tangerine Dream-style keyboard sequence rolling under the guitar, bass and drums. But it’s quickly disposed once the band kicks into high gear. There’s also another in a long line of head-spinning guitar solos as Dickinson lays on the drama.
’22 Acacia Avenue’
The sound of the opening riff alone deserves a spot on our list of the Top 10 Underrated Iron Maiden Songs. Martin Birch’s production helps develop Iron Maiden’s sonic end here. His skills behind the board were a perfect fit for the band, and this gem from 1982’s ‘Number of the Beast’ still sounds like magic. It’s another song about the perils of prostitution, complete with a nod to Charlotte (see No. 10). She must have been something in her day.
‘No More Lies’
With both Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returning to the band in 2000, Maiden’s next chapter led them to ‘Dance of Death’ three years later. And they weren’t just another reunited group cashing in on its legacy. They sound as powerful and defiant as ever on ‘No More Lies,’ which includes such trademarks as soaring melodic vocals and instrumental dynamics.
Written by Steve Harris and guitarist Dave Murray, this rapid-fire rocker from the 1986 LP ‘Somewhere in Time’ steamrolls out of the speakers. After a half-minute haunting intro, the song kicks in full speed ahead. The twin lead riff helps ‘Deja Vu’ soar while drummer Nicko McBrain never lets up for a second.
The pummeling rhythm and riff make ‘The Duelsists’ a natural for our list of the Top 10 Underrated Iron Maiden Songs. Featured on 1984’s ‘Powerslave’ album, the song holds up well after nearly 30 years. The intricate machine-gun-like guitar that leads to the solos can knock the wind out of unsuspecting listeners. ‘The Duelists’ is a powerhouse rocker that fights to the death — for honor, splendor and pleasure.
Released as the B-side of the band’s debut single, ‘Running Free,’ ‘Burning Ambition’ rocks full throttle in less than three minutes. It’s the sound of a young and hungry band still finding their sound, stylistically falling somewhere between UFO and Eddie & the Hot Rods. ‘Burning Ambition”s melodic riffage, super-charged rhythm and the young- loud-and-snotty vocals of Paul Di’Anno make it classic early Maiden.
‘Die With Your Boots On’
This piledriving rocker from the 1983 album ‘Piece of Mind’ features an attention-grabbing vocal performance by Dickinson. But it’s the surprisingly poppy sing-a-long chorus that adds a new dynamic. Plus, there’s another blazing guitar break. Turn this one up loud.
From the opening rumble of Steve Harris’ bass, Maiden are off and running with the title track from their second album. Haunting minor-key riffing sets the stage for ‘Killers” vicious attack once the band kicks in. Dynamics, an Iron Maiden constant, work overtime as Paul Di’Anno delivers one of his finest vocals. With dizzying lead guitars and energy on full throttle, everyone is on fire here.