Music News

Iron Maiden

During Iron Maiden's '80s heyday, positive notices for the band from reviewers not affiliated with the hard-rock specialty press were rarer than gray hairs on Ving Rhames's head. The outfit's sound, driven by hell-bent drummer Doug Sampson and featuring the eviscerating vocals of lead shrieker Bruce Dickinson, produced heavier metal than all but true believers could handle. Moreover, the players' fondness for crazy narratives and cartoonish visuals that usually starred a skull-faced freak known as Eddie prevented most scribes from taking them seriously. Fans and fellow rockers had no problem doing so, however, and a couple decades down the line, Dickinson and company are frequently name-checked by current acts; both Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt and My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way lauded the band in recent Westword profiles. The group is clearly ripe for the sort of historical revisionism that's turned onetime music-journalism whipping boys such as Black Sabbath into born-again critics' faves. As a bonus, aficionados report that Maiden, which is touring with Rob Zombie and Mastodon, remains far tighter and more lethal in a live setting than anyone might expect decades later. Good things come to those who wait -- but who'da thunk it'd take a quarter of a century?
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts