Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

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Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#1 Post by Frozen within » 26 Aug 2011 16:48

Really, I never quite got that. Three quarters of the album sounds bland and uninspired to me.

A song by song description, the way I see it :

Be quick or be dead : quite a strong opener actually, lots of energy, well composed and interesting all the time, never failing to keep me listening.

But then,

From here to eternity : fuck you Janick, with intros and intermezzo's like that you must have aimed to destroy maiden's legacy altogether. It's a boring song, and Bruce doesn't even try to sound decent anymore.

Afraid to shoot strangers : a song that, after a boring intro, a couple boring verses and a rather nice bridge, tries to impress by shifting gear, but it sounds forced and wipes away the little atmosphere that was building up.

Fear is the key : starts off with a nice eastern vibe, but the most boring rock' n roll riff ever that follows lets me know where Maiden stands in 1992. The song never really sets off and feels like a compromise of 5 guys instead of a song. Could've been cool if they followed up on their original idea ...

Childhood's end : trademark intro, followed up by an interesting though standard melodic passage. A typical Maiden verse, a harmless but ok bridge, of course a repetition of these 2 parts. Janick surprises but not sucking too much with a solo, which leads to the epicentre of the song, pretty cool I think. All in all nothing outstanding but good nonetheless.

Wasting Love : awesome song, especially for a semi-ballad. Bruce shows he still has the talent to write, and sing, great vocal melodies. The build up is perfect, great chorus, the band is in good shape here. One of the few songs that almost saves the album.

The fugitive : a promising beginning, the feeling of a threat about to reveal itself. But unfortunately, they once more abruptly change course when Bruce starts. Only to resume where they were going a few moments later. A so so chorus doesn't do much wrong the must have thought. By then it feels like the guys collided once more and it becomes an incohesive mess.

Chains of misery : Finally a good midpaced rocker again ! Bullseye, this one. Love the theme as well, but more importantly, it sounds finished and well composed. Bruce varies better here with raw and melodic vocals, works like a charm to me. A lot of emotion poured into the track, obviously.

The apparition : seriously, these guys were in some sort of identity crisis back then. Not necessarily that bad, but there's no direction with this track, it meanders toward a disappointing end without ever reaching any climax (gotta have a climax in a Maiden song).

Judas be my guide : how on earth could this song end up on a record otherwise as bland as it turned out to be ? This is even one of the best songs they wrote that decade. Thank god that Bruce and Davey got Steve's permission to contribute to the album, this track is the absolute highlight of the album for me. A compact, steady and melodic as fuck song, the trademark Murray touch definately there.

Weekend warrior : shouldn't be a Maiden song, it belongs in the discography of some glam rock outfit. It pained me to hear they had slipped so far since Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Of course every band is free to try new things, but creativity should go hand in hand with a focused vision. The latter was missing during this period.

Fear of the dark : not terrible, but how come this song turned out to be the absolute favorite of audiences worldwide ? I just don't get it, it's just decent, but nothing compared to other classics (I, for the record, don't consider FOTD to be a classic at all) like Hallowed be thy name, Rime of the ancient mariner, or Brave new world.

All in all, on FOTD Maiden sounds like a band grasping for straws, but not finding many. Bruce sounds weary and ready for a fresh start (well, we all know the story from there) and Janick never really feels like he fits in. The songwriting hadn't reached its dramatic low point (that honor goes to Virtual IX) , but was surely on its way down fast. I just don't understand why tens of thousands of people scream for Fear of the Dark (the song) from the start of a Maiden gig. Really, someone cares trying to explain that to me ?
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#2 Post by LeBard » 26 Aug 2011 17:49

Frozen within wrote:All in all, on FOTD Maiden sounds like a band grasping for straws, but not finding many. Bruce sounds weary and ready for a fresh start (well, we all know the story from there) and Janick never really feels like he fits in. The songwriting hadn't reached its dramatic low point (that honor goes to Virtual IX) , but was surely on its way down fast. I just don't understand why tens of thousands of people scream for Fear of the Dark (the song) from the start of a Maiden gig. Really, someone cares trying to explain that to me ?
It does. But isn't that eh, universally accepted? Fear of the Dark is a shitty album, full of filler. That's the general consensus I have encountered. But as you said, they were grasping for straws and they found one: Fear of the Dark is a great song. I mean, if you can't hear it you can't hear it, but when I first heard it when I was 14 it blew my mind. I must have listened to that song so many times by now. I can barely stand it today, but only because I know every nook and cranny of it. Every tiny detail in the whole musical landscape that is the song. I can definitely relate to people who like it; it's such a catchy tune. Evoking lyrics, sweeping harmonies, and simply a damn good rock song. It also proved that one really good track can save an entire album.

I don't regard it as high as classics like Rime of the Ancient Mariner or Hallowed be thy Name, but it's up there with Number of the Beast (the song) if you ask me, when it comes to "notability". *shrugs*

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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#3 Post by t.a.j. » 26 Aug 2011 18:32

I've always found it rather bland, too and agree with you about most of the songs, I do enjoy the second half of Afraid To Shoot Strangers, though and Fear Of The Dark is a nice song.
It is a step up from No Prayer, though, which to me is the absolute low point of their discography.
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#4 Post by Orodaran » 26 Aug 2011 19:31

I think the song is considered a classic, and rightly so, but the album is accepted by most to be what you described it, a mediocre album full of fillers that isn't among their best.
"There's a time when a man needs to fight and a time when he needs to accept that his destiny's lost, the ship has sailed and that only a fool will continue. The truth is I've always been a fool"
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#5 Post by T3hOverlord » 27 Aug 2011 04:26

yeah i never really heard of anyone calling the album itself a classic, it kinda sucks, but everyone loves the live version of the title track, the studio version even sucks. Only song I like on that album is The Fugitive.

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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#6 Post by Palantyre » 27 Aug 2011 09:36

Childhood's End is one of Maiden's best songs btw.
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#7 Post by Joost » 27 Aug 2011 09:41

As everyone already said, the song is considered a classic, the album isn't. Why is the song considered a classic? Watch this. This live version, for me, almost epitomizes Maiden's comeback/reunion with Brave New World and Rock in Rio.
You charge each other for the time and breath it takes to say 'good morning',
But the truth is slowly dawning -- things are getting out of hand,
We all pursue our shattered dreams along the roads to our own ruin --
Watch our empires sink and wash away like castles made of sand.
And so cast off the lies that are your lives and find the truth within.
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#8 Post by Gandalf de Grijze » 27 Aug 2011 11:15

yeah, but that wasn't Iron Maiden, that was Iron Miden according to the video title...
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#9 Post by Dragon Guardian » 27 Aug 2011 16:41

Its not, only the title track is viewed as a classic and is still a part of their live set. The album is decent but nowhere near to their 80's albums or their comeback ones.

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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#10 Post by Frozen within » 28 Aug 2011 08:55

Oh fuck, there was general consensus that it's nothing near a classic ? I must have talked to te wrong people then, since they regarded FOTD so highly. Thanks for clearing this up for me :)
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#11 Post by Baby_Kürsch » 29 Aug 2011 13:35

Why does Bruce sound so terrible on this album??
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#12 Post by Orodaran » 29 Aug 2011 19:26

'cause he wasn't giving a fuck anymore, probably....
"There's a time when a man needs to fight and a time when he needs to accept that his destiny's lost, the ship has sailed and that only a fool will continue. The truth is I've always been a fool"
~~~~~~~~~~~~
A slight call afar is tempting me, like a whisper sweet or an awful scream; I cannot ignore what I've always been, I'm leaving again - one last time? in my little kingdom I can be what I really wanted to be... The wanderer

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BG news (if you're lazy to check the site) :: You're on Facebook? Look at my photos from concerts, travels and more :: Oh, and since you're at it, check my photos also on 500px

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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#13 Post by spamel » 30 Aug 2011 12:44

I don't consider it to be a classic, but then again it isn't shit! Virtual XI was a waste of studio time and money IMO, and X Factor wasn't much better although I would like to know how that would have come out with Bruce singing. NPFtD wasn't too bad either, still not a classic album but Hooks in You was a great song. Another Adrian Smith track though, says it all really! All of the albums have a gem in them somewhere, but maybe not the version on that album if you get me? Clansman is great on the Rock in Rio album, bag of shite on Virtual XI!
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#14 Post by Frozen within » 30 Aug 2011 14:17

Yeah, some songs only reveal their merit once played in front of an audience indeed. I just never got why (the track) fear of the dark became one of those songs which is sung by hundreds of thousands word for word, everytime again. I guess you just have to feel it, or you don't.
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#15 Post by t.a.j. » 30 Aug 2011 14:33

I prefer The X-Factor over any of the later albums, to be honest. I find that it has no weak and only one mediocre song (Man on the Edge). True, Blaze is nowhere near the singer Bruce was and most of the older songs he tried to sing live, he pretty much blew, but I don't think Bruce could have sung on that album. The X-Factor just works with Blaze's vocals (though I'm pretty sure there were other singers who could have done a much better job), something Virtual XI would lose completely. Blaze sounds very much out of place there and once you hear Bruce sing The Clansman, you know for whom it was written. Virtual XI also has many weak moments, boring passages, overly long songs and very few highlights.
And thus, my list of Maiden's weakest albums: 1. No Prayer For The Dying, 2. Virtual XI, 3. Fear Of The Dark.
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#16 Post by The Rider Of Rohan » 31 Aug 2011 07:41

What about No Prayer? Wasn't exactly a great album either.

Virtual XI was still pretty good. Had some standout songs like Clansman, Lightning, Eyes and Collide.
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#17 Post by Frozen within » 31 Aug 2011 23:47

I think productionwise Maiden never sounded as bad as on Virtual IX. The guitars sounded so tamed and too far on the background imo. Plus no bandmember seemed to have any creativity to share at the time. I feel like they reached their creative peak with SSOASS, after which Steve wanted to ditch the (prominent) keys and shift into higher gear. Adrian Smith, who was always the most creative and productive contributor, backed away and was replaced by a very one dimensional and underskilled guitarist. Fuck, I do sometimes wonder what Maiden could have sounded like when 1988's lineup would have remained intact, don't you guys ? I mean, they were really exploring at that time and wrote some great stuff.
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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#18 Post by t.a.j. » 01 Sep 2011 07:59

I wholeheartedly agree.
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They say that there's a broken light for every heart on Broadway.
They say that life's a game, then they take the board away.
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story
Then leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret...


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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#19 Post by Andreas » 03 Sep 2011 00:38

Fear of the Dark is a fantastic song by Van Canto.

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Re: Why is Maiden's Fear Of The Dark considered a classic ?

#20 Post by ra me nivar » 30 Dec 2011 09:53

For me, after 1984 and excluding Senven Son of a Seven Son for still putting my thingie high after all the years and listens, the best two albums 'by' Iron Maiden are:

1. The Chemical Wedding, with Bruce and without Iron Maiden, where he really managed to deliver something that Maiden seemed to be closing inside him, and

2. The X Factor, with Iron Maiden and without Bruce, for all reasons stated above by t.a.j.

As for me all the rest lies miles below these two, you can imagine how depressing I found it when they reunite. I remember being at that gig screaming "for everyone's good, Bruce, please leave agaiiin!". Hopefully people around thought I was kidding.

And someone please shot Janick in the head (or in both hands).

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