Great Metal Albums of 1988: Iron Maiden- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

Having listened to Iron Maiden’s last two studio albums, “The Book of Souls” and “Senjutsu,” recently and then rediscovering the 1988 “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son,” I can’t help noticing some similarities. When I listened to the album for the first time after quite a few years, I thought that it reminded me a lot of those other two albums. Opener “Moonchild” starts with an acoustic intro with soft vocals from Bruce before going into traditional Maiden territory. You know, the rhythmic power chords, Steve’s bass, Bruce’s versatile vocals and a cool guitar solo. It sets things up nicely for the rest of the album.

Follow on track, “Infinite Dreams” is definitely what I loved about Iron Maiden at the time. A lead guitar intro which goes into a more softer rock song, though I like the guitar hooks in the background before things liven up a lot. Nicko’s drumming takes command on the song leading it into a cool change up in the middle and then possibly the best guitar solo on the album. What I didn’t know was that it was released as a single to coincide with the release of the 1989 video “Maiden England.” Still, I will call it the hidden gem on the album.

As for singles, there are three. The most notable of this is “Can I Play With Madness” which went to number three in the UK charts. The other two singles, “The Evil That Men Do” and “The Clairvoyant,” peaked at five and six respectively. Back then, I always counted it as a victory for metal when a metal song breached the top ten in the charts. For me it was sticking a middle finger up at the establishment, which was great. With that said, all three songs deserved their places there. None of them were altered to meet accepted musical trends at the time but simply was Iron Maiden doing what they do best. On the other hand, and I hope American readers will correct me if I’m wrong, none of these songs made much of an impact on the Billboard charts most likely down to the lack of play on American radio. I don’t blame the band one bit for being pissed off at American radio at the time.

If there is any track which gives weight to the links I have drawn between “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” and the last two albums, it has to be the title track. First of all, the song is over nine minutes long. It starts out in a progressive metal style with some high vocals before the guitars crunch in. Similarities with “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” can be drawn here, especially in the middle of the song with the light guitar and bass instrumental and then Bruce’s spoken word telling us about the seventh son of the seventh son. One difference is the choir sounding vocals accompanied by synthesizers which almost lull you to sleep before hitting you over the head with a guitar solo trade off which goes on for the final few minutes of the song.

Not the hidden gem, “The Prophecy” is still a great song. The intro is in line with the concept of the album and Bruce’s vocals take command. You got an almost hypnotic guitar solo at first before it explodes into a mega one. Still, it’s Bruce that makes this song tick. Following “The Clairvoyant” and closing out the album is “Only the Good Die Young.” No, it’s not a Billy Joel cover! Instead, it’s a fast paced metal rocker which takes the album out in a fine frenzy.

Track Listing:

  1. Moonchild
  2. Infinite Dreams
  3. Can I Play With Madness
  4. The Evil That Men Do
  5. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
  6. The Prophecy
  7. The Clairvoyant
  8. Only the Good Die Young
Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson- vocals

Steve Harris- bass, synthesizers

Adrian Smith- guitar, synthesizer

Dave Murray- guitar

Nicko McBrain- drums

Iron Maiden were sitting on top of the metal world in 1988, although they’re pretty much still doing that today. They could do no wrong in 88 and “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” is a reason why. Even if American radio (fools they are) didn’t take notice.

Next post: For the next couple of weeks, I will be cutting my album reviews to one a week. This is because I am writing a joint post with another blogger ranking albums. Unlike the joint post I wrote with 2Loud, this band has a few more albums I need to listen to. So next week’s post will be: Judas Priest- Ram It Down

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at:

With respect to this album, Bruce Dickinson and arguably the rest of Iron Maiden deserve a knighthood. To make this happen, click the link:


25 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1988: Iron Maiden- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”

  1. Unfortunately, American Radio continued to decline since 1988. But great comparisons between the last couple of albums and ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.’ I guess current Maiden isn’t that different from Maiden in the 80s.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kind of the last from their peak era, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am a fully biased Maiden fan (and a relatively more recent convert) and I approve this album whole heartedly.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My favorite Maiden album. This was a fantastic bookend to their peak period.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My fave Bruce Maiden album. Some great great tunes on here. I can still do Clairvoyant word perfectly in the car, maybe not quite hitting all the notes though!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Saw Maiden open for Sabbath at OzzFest over 15 years ago. A good metal band, but not great.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. […] Great Metal Albums of 1988: Iron Maiden- Seventh Son of a Seventh Son […]

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Possibly my favourite album of all time, by anyone, ever.

    Liked by 1 person

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