THE (Original) IRON MAIDEN (Maiden Voyage) 2LP/CD
If you are familiar with the obscure record label Audio Archives then you probably know THE IRON MAIDEN - and I don't mean the world-famous heavy metal band, but another outfit from the UK that was formed in the late 1960's under the name BUM, later changed into THE IRON MAIDEN. The band broke up in the early 1970's and left behind a 7" and a demo for an unreleased album named 'Maiden Voyage'. Unnecessary mentioning that THE IRON MAIDEN have been buried in history forever, if Audio Archives did not exist. Audio Archives was a small label with a particular focus on totally unknown rock bands from the 1970's, covering a broad range from heavy and prog to psychedelic and blues. They released some very good stuff from great bands such as Necromandus, Hackensack, Iron Claw and Monument, just to name a few. Not to forget the excellent 'Downer Rock Genocide' compilation on which THE IRON MAIDEN as well as the forerunner BUM are also represented. Not forgetting this album, that has been released in 1998 with a different cover artwork.
One thing should be made clear at the outset: THE IRON MAIDEN can't hold a candle to the above mentioned bands and I was really surprised when I received the news that Rise Above Relics intends to re-release 'Maiden Voyage'. Already when I bought that album almost 15 years ago I was not overly enthusiastic about the included 8 tracks and I must say that there is no reason in 2012 to change my opinion. This is primarily related to the fact that THE IRON MAIDEN were not the best songwriters. Also, there's a lack of forceful riffs and very often THE IRON MAIDEN lose themselves in almost endless guitar solos and the associated jamming.
But from time to time the band shows how it could be done better, as for example in the opening cut 'God Of Darkness'. The riffs are heavier and the vocals are more expressive as with other tracks. This also goes for 'Falling', which was the A-side of the band's only 7" released in 1970 by Gemini Records. In these moments THE IRON MAIDEN managed to move out of the shadow of Led Zeppelin due to a darker approach. However, as was mentioned earlier, there are also a lot of dry periods as, for example, 'CC Rider' or 'Ballad Of Martha Kent' that is just too cheesy for my taste. Added to this are the long winding guitar noodlings which are rather tedious. And it does not help either that Rise Above Relics did manage to locate the original master tapes and to restore the audio of this album demo, because that doesn't change the songs.
Of course, it would certainly be very interesting to listen to 'Maiden Voyage' after a proper studio production and there is no doubt that this was a talented band. Despite this I do think that it is not always necessary to re-issue each musical obscurity from the 1960's/1970's. As I see it, that includes 'Maiden Voyage'. So, only when you collect each forgotten 1970's rock band then this CD should interest you. And those who own the original Audio Archives version can save their money, because here are no bonus tracks.