Iron Maiden Albums Ranked

Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. Pioneers of the new wave of British heavy metal, Iron Maiden achieved initial success during the early 1980s. After several line-up changes, the band went on to release a series of UK and US platinum and gold albums, including 1982’s The Number of the Beast, 1983’s Piece of Mind, 1984’s Powerslave, 1985’s live release Live After Death, 1986’s Somewhere in Time and 1988’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Since the return of lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith in 1999, the band has undergone a resurgence in popularity, with their 2010 studio offering, The Final Frontier, peaking at No. 1 in 28 countries and receiving widespread critical acclaim. Their sixteenth studio album, The Book of Souls, was released on 4 September 2015 to similar success. Here are all of Iron Maiden’s albums ranked.

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16. Virtual XI (1998)

“I don’t really feel like rehashing all the standard debates with regards to the Blaze Bayley era, so I’ll just try and get right down to the meat of this all. Suffice to say, the songs on this album are generally pretty good, but it rarely moves into truly remarkable regions. Yes, it is almost comically repetitive at some points, but this really only comes up in two songs. The way some people talk about it, you’d think every song was atypically repetitive, by Iron Maiden standards.”

15. The Final Frontier (2010)

“I’ve purchased this album mostly just to complete my collection, but also because I’ve read a couple of good reviews about it. I grew up listening to Maiden (around 1986 or so), and still think they’re a great band. However, I can’t put myself to listen to their last several albums over and over again like I do with the older ones. There are a couple of good moments here and there… the production is good, Bruce’s still awesome… but for a band with three guitarists, I don’t really hear good layers of guitars in there.”

14. The X Factor (1995)

“Just got my 2 Blaze albums. I have never listened to the Blaze era until now. Being that I am huge fan and only know Maiden from Bruce/Paul, I was very skeptical of these 2 albums. So, last week I did some homework on Blaze via youtube. I watched him perform along with a few interviews. I have to say I kinda fell in love with the guy. He was incredibly nice, genuine and had very good positive intentions with Iron Maiden. With that said, I became very open minded when I dropped the needle on this album today. I can honestly say that I am really enjoying every moment on the album.”

13. Dance of Death (2003)

“I don’t want to come off as a snob. Or a bitter old timer. But I miss the Martin Birch produced Iron Maiden era. Not just because the albums were better. Even though they were. I’m well aware that it is not really fair to compare any of Maiden’s modern releases with NOTB, POM, Powerslave, Somewhere, or Seventh Son.”

12. No Prayer for the Dying (1990)

“It is a very cool and unique vibe that the band gives off here – it’s like the groovier and more driven side of late-70s/early 80s classic rock, mixed with the darkness and epicness of more traditional Maiden like “Piece of Mind” and “Powerslave.” I would consider “Holy Smoke” on the far end of the groove/classic-rock side, and “Mother Russia” on the opposite side of this spectrum of Groovy/ClassicRock -to- Dark/Epic.”

Great songs all around, give ’em a listen.

11. Book of Souls (1998)

“Having owned this for a while now i can give it a honest review. There is a criticism that they have become too proggy with long tracks. I do agree that some of the tracks are a bit too long and could have either been trimmed or even dropped completely afterall this is a double cd and that’s because most tracks are long. Maiden usually had one or two long tracks on a album but the rest were under 5 minutes, on this album its the complete opposite of that. Personally i find empire of the clouds a bit monotonous and i dont particularly like the red and the black. bruces vocals are a little bit strained here and there aswell. Overall good but i think they could have trimmed this down to a single cd and made it more enjoyable. Death or glory and book of souls are stand out tracks for me.”

10. A Matter of Life and Death (2006)

“The best of the “reunion era”. Themes of war, religion, and death throughout. A few of these songs should eventually be included in the “Maiden classic tunes”. Most notably “Brighter than a Thousand Suns”, “The Longest Day”, “The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg”.and the epic “For the Greater Good of God”. Other really good tracks as well.”

9. Fear of the Dark (1992)

“This album is a great album. There are some great songs on here. Janick is a damn good guitar player. I have been playing myself for 7 years and I’m sure he’s probably a whole lot better than the people who criticize his playing. Besides in my opinion Dave Murray is the heart and soul of the Maiden guitar sound anyway. Well enough defending Janick. Anyway, about the songs. They are all pretty good. I guess The Apparition and Fear is the Key could be considered fillers (my reason for only 4 stars) but they are Maiden which makes them pretty decent. Be Quick, Fear of the Dark, Afraid to Shoot Strangers are the classics and in many cases the reason people buy this album.”

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8. Brave New World (2000)

“I’m not going to review the album itself, because we all know how incredible “Brave New World” is. There are actually opinions floating out there that it is one of the best Heavy Metal albums of all time. But I am writing this review to state that this is absolutely one of the most amazing remastering jobs of any “older” material I have ever heard (and I’ve heard a lot). From the opening guitar licks of “The Wicker Man”, to the crazy speed changes of the drumming in “Dream of Mirrors”, to the closing chords of “Thin Line…”, it is a crystal-clear, smooth-as-hell, hear-all-instruments, perfectly-produced and remastered record. I actually discovered numerous new sounds and hooks that I have simply never known existed in almost every song. The “Ghost of Navigator” came alive more than ever.”

7. Killers (1981)

“I just had to give this album 5 stars as it still remains one of the best metal albums to come out of the early NWOBHM era,following on fast,and i mean fast,from Maidens classic first album. When this first came out I could never understand why it was not that well received in the metal press,i seem to remember Sounds only giving it 3 stars! Well this is faster,heavier and more kick ass than that first album. Maiden dont fail to disappoint here,with all the band members delivering the goods.”

6. Piece of Mind (1983)

“To say this is the first sign of Maidens deeper Prog Rock elements isn’t entirely true. Killers is loaded with incredibly complicated textures and lyricism, but Steve’s writing was still maturing, and Paul, god love him, did not have the range to use his voice as a 4th melody instrument. Clive, for all his style, was not as technically gifted as Nicko, nor did he have the jazz chops Nicko brings to PoM.

Piece of Mind, like Killers, shows Steve’s incredibly mature writing, in some cases chill-inducing brilliance, just like Number of the Beast. The subtle touches of vocal chops, the end of Revelations comes immediately to mind, show Bruce’s growing influence and vocal dynamics. This also the true beginning to their literary and history songs.”

5. Iron Maiden (1980)

“All you truly need to know about Iron Maiden’s debut album is “Phantom Of The Opera.” Say what you will about Paul Di’anno, but his gruff and bluesy voice marries the tempo and theme of Iron Maiden’s first epic perfectly. “Phantom Of The Opera” is quintessential Maiden and would be their first of many truly great prog-epics. The speed changes, time adjustments, etc. make this song the monster that it is. The album is worth the purchase on the strength of this song alone! Trust me! However, other phenomenal songs are the dangerous and great-paced opening song “Prowler,” the cautionary and lamenting tale that is “Charlotte The Harlot,” the quiet/loud, slow/fast, semi-ballad quality of “Remember Tomorrow,” and the punk anthem “Running Free.”

4. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)

“As much a must-have as powerslave. If you’re a metal fan you’ll love it. If you’re anyone else you’ll at least appreciate it for its scope and energy. The opener, moonchild sounds like it could be a spots team into. Can I play with Madness is an all-time Maiden great. The title track reminds of the ambition of tracks like time of the ancient mariner or phantom of the opera, and the clairvoyant comes in the a wrecking ball to really bring the album home. Wonderful experience start to finish.”

3. Somewhere in Time (1986)

“Simply , The most progressive Maiden album, tied with Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, epic from start to finish, there is no fillers. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’s intro…the most nostalgic thing in the universe and my favorite track on the album. Synthesizers gives a cosmic and transcendental touch to the entire album. It is a great combination of real metal and synthesizer. It has a great atmosphere and has a nice balance of complex and simple. Sea of Madness is probably the fastest on here, the main riff is excellent and who can resist the ‘OHHHHHHohohOHHHHH.

Steve Harris’s bass is great as always, and Nicko actually does fantastically in sections on the drums. The only song that does not fit this description is Alexander the Great, a pretty fantastic Maiden epic which chronicles the titular ancient Greek hero.”

2. Powerslave (1984)

“What is the best Iron Maiden album? That sure is subjective isn’t it? I think Powerslave might be. I mean, c’mon. Does the Maiden catalog get better than Aces High, Two Minutes to Midnight, or Rime of the Ancient Mariner? Not really. Best songs, best album art. Sonically, the best they have ever sounded. Damn, I love this album so much. However, my first metal concert was Iron Maiden in 1984 on the Powerslave World Tour, of which they made arguably the best live album from. So it’s subjective but still a phenomenal album. Up the Irons!”

1. The Number of the Beast (1982)

“Number of the Beast is one of the best heavy metal albums ever released. Iron Maiden has no shortage of legendary albums in their discography, and this one is absolutely amazing! This is their third album, but it is the first to feature Bruce Dickinson as the lead singer; boy, does he impress in his debut! He delivers every note with precision and emotion! Every song on this album is memorable. Every metal fan should have this classic album in their collection!”