I’m generally quite predictable. In these articles (otherwise known as drops in the ocean) I tend to say a little about the band’s legacy and some history before introducing the track. The tracks themselves are usually fairly obvious ‘classics’ or fan favorites. (It is fair to say, that I haven’t actually written enough to constitute a trend, but I’m gambling on the fact that if anyone bothers reading this, they won’t expend the effort to verify my claims). But what hasn’t already said about Iron Maiden? Bruce “compulsive dabbler” Dickinson has said a lot of it at any occasion that some misguided soul listens to him. It would be pointless to sing the virtues of Run to the Hills (not a favorite of mine by a long shot), or 2 Minutes to Midnight (surely one of the greatest metal tracks of all time?)
No, I humbly bring your attention to a track that, perhaps, you haven’t considered for a while. Somewhere in Time is not considered among Maiden’s most revered albums, although it sits comfortably in the middle and has by far the best cover art (feel free to debate this, but you ARE wrong). It was certainly one of their most commercially successful, and Heaven Can Wait was a live favourite for some time.
But amongst the radio friendly (Wasted Years) and pseudo-prog epics (The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner) sits a hidden gem.
Sea of Madness, penned by the band’s pop-metal factory Adrian Smith, harks back to the melodic flourishes of Piece of Mind. It’s a simple trad-metal anthem. No new ground is trodden here – verse-bridge-chorus, repeat, guitar solo (nothing to write home about), quiet bit, repeat the fist bit again. There’s a bit where Bruce goes who-a-o-a-o-a-o. And what a chorus, truly anthemic, unintelligible lyrics, talk of madness, sadness and eagles. What could be more (mid eighties, post NWOBHM) metal?
OK, so I’m pushing the definition of the word to call this song a classic. Maiden didn’t roll it out along with (other hidden classic) Moonchild on their recent Somewhere Back in Time (see what they did there?) tour, but it’s seriously one of my favorites, so just shut up for a few minutes and give it a go – you’ll love it, I promise. If you don’t, then Number of the Beast is pretty good too.