IRON MAIDEN's "Seventh Son" Album Turns 30 - "Iron Maiden Had It All, Which Is Why They're Still Tearing It Up Decades Later"; VINCENT CASTIGLIA, MATT HARVEY, DEZ FAFARA And Others Reflect
April 11, 2018, a year ago
Iron Maiden released their seventh studio album, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, on April 11th, 1988. To celebrate this milestone, Billboard spoke with some of today's modern metal mavens on how Seventh Son played a role on their travels along the heavy metal superhighway.
Says DevilDriver's Des Farara: "I love the intro to Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. Once that first riff hits, it's obvious Iron Maiden! Then, when the vocals hit with that straight Bruce tone, it brings me everything I love about Maiden! I heard Number Of The Beast for the first time taking bong hits in 8th grade and from then on was HOOKED. I personally I enjoy when a band expands their sound or moves the needle with what's expected of their sound, so and that's exactly what they did on Seventh Son. First time I heard this record I was off tour driving to the beach for the first relaxing moment in months and all the way there the record kept reminding how much I love touring. And love to tour so instead of a relaxing day at the beach I backed my car in and turned this record up ALL DAY LONG and had metal moments with friends and Maiden at my favorite spot."
Metal album cover artist Vincent Castiglia reveals: "I bought Seventh Son on cassette around the time that it came out. It was groundbreaking. Iron Maiden had it all, which is why they're still tearing it up decades later. Every song was like a history lesson or something. And the music, the compositions, the solos, the ingenuity of their sound - there was no stone left unturned in their creative pursuit. Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son and Somewhere In Time are actually two of my favorite Maiden albums. A lot of people, metal purists, didn't like the synths, but I loved them, and still do today."
Matt Harvey (Exhumed, Gruesome) states: "I remember spending my allowance on Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son as soon as it came out. I listened to it on my Walkman as I mowed my Dad's lawn that Saturday morning. I was immediately drawn in by the idea of a concept album, and the narrative dynamics were mirrored by the more nuanced instrumentation of the record - "Infinite Dreams" in particular seemed to be much more dynamic than the stuff on Somewhere In Time. I'm a huge fan of both of those records though, mostly because they're the albums where Adrian Smith's songwriting really comes to the fore. His sense of melody almost veers into an AOR kind of vibe, but in Maiden, he's offset by Steve Harris' distinctive and hard-driving songwriting approach. It's a perfect alchemy here, with Maiden turning in some of their best performances and a great storyline that is actually pretty fucking dark. Bruce's delivery is unapologetically theatrical which brings things to life, and in lesser hands would feel clumsy and ham-fisted. Seventh Son is the final Maiden masterpiece to me - capping off a phenomenal, perhaps unrivalled streak of "all killer, no filler" that continued unbroken from their eponymous debut to this album. Even "Can I Play With Madness" makes the cut, with a classic ever-so-'80s video featuring the late, great Graham Chapman (of Monty Python fame) and an a cappella chorus that has aged surprisingly well. I personally really dig the synths on the record, they came out from the shadows where they had been dwelling on Somewhere In Time to add a necessary layer of dynamics that bring the story to life and make it feel truly narrative. Guitar synths were everywhere in the mid-80s and this was perhaps their best use (although ZZ Top did great stuff with them as well, and Turbo has finally gotten a long-overdue re-evaluation and vindication). It seems almost redundant to praise Maiden's "classic era" at this point - like saying "water is wet," but these anniversaries are great opportunities to revisit these killer records and place them in proper context, which in the case SSOASS, is firmly in the pantheon of stone-cold heavy metal classics."
Read more at Billboard.com.