Top 10 Best Iron Maiden Albums

Iron Maiden, the legendary British heavy metal band, has been cranking out anthems since the late 1970s. Their discography, a sprawling beast of its own, is packed with albums that have shaped the landscape of metal music.

From their early days with vocalist Paul Di'Anno to their iconic era with Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden has continuously pushed the boundaries of heavy metal. Their music is a journey through galloping riffs, soaring vocals, and intricate song structures. Their lyrics often touch on historical events, literature, and mythology, adding another layer of depth to their music.

So, what are the best Iron Maiden albums? It's a question that has sparked countless debates among fans. Each album represents a unique chapter in the band's evolution, showcasing different styles and sounds. Some might gravitate towards the raw energy of their early releases, while others might prefer the more progressive and experimental nature of their later works.
The Top Ten
1 Powerslave

I remember hearing Aces High on my boombox and immediately riding my BMX bike to the mall to buy this cassette. I listened to this every day during that wrestling season. I'm still listening to this album 30 years later.

Beautiful balance of grit and polish on the production. Aces High, 2 Minutes to Midnight, Back in the Village, and Flash of the Blade have ripping guitar riffs. Losfer Words is a fantastic instrumental with twin guitar harmonies. So much has been said about Mariner, but it truly is Iron Maiden's epic apex, the epic metal song by which all other epic metal songs are measured.

2 The Number of the Beast

The definitive Iron Maiden album. I would actually say that "Powerslave" is better to listen to, but tracks like "Number of the Beast" and "Run to the Hills" are all-time classics and were so important for metal and Maiden at the time. "Hallowed Be Thy Name" is an absolutely fantastic track also.

If you want to get into Iron Maiden, get this and "Powerslave," and you will be hooked. Guaranteed.

Clive Burr, Clive Burr, Clive Burr. His exquisite sound, touch, and groove is the beating heart of this album, and Bruce is already a tour de force. So many heavyweight classics here we can overlook Gangland. Last of the warm, woody classic production.

Such maturity in the groove, arranging, and lead guitar work. Had they chosen Total Eclipse instead of Gangland, this would be maybe unbeatable.

3 Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

This album is not from this earth. It comes from another world far away from here. It is perfectly fixed in time and space, forever standing there. The first time I heard it, it transported my soul into another dimension. I have never felt a more intense emotion than when I heard the interlude in the title track.

You listen to the first six albums and think that Iron Maiden reached their peak, and then you realize they got even better. The songs, lyrics, harmonies, vocals, and even the artwork are beyond human capability. This is a true metal masterpiece. Immortal. In my opinion, it is the best album of any music genre of all time. Ever.

4 Somewhere in Time

I received this album along with Powerslave from a younger cousin who only bought them because he liked the album covers in 1990. Immediately, Somewhere in Time became a staple in my playlist. The energy the album puts off made me feel like I could run two marathons.

I liked a handful of Powerslave songs and eventually heard everything from 1980 to 1992. The coming and going of Dickinson drives me crazy. Amazing band! No one sounds quite like them.

This album made me fall in love with Iron Maiden (and classic metal in general). There isn't one skippable track on this one as they're all spectacular! Alexander the Great might actually be one of my favourite heavy metal songs of all time.

Somewhere in Time needs to be at least in the top 3.

5 Piece of Mind

From the moment I heard this album, I fell in love with it. From the awesome drum intro of Where Eagles Dare (what a fantastic baptism of fire for Nicko!) right through to the last strains of To Tame A Land, it's a masterpiece throughout. I also have to add that this is my favorite production of any Maiden album. The levels are perfect, everything can be heard clearly, and the guitars just chime throughout.

Also, this album contains my favorite Maiden song ever, Revelations.

I vote for Piece of Mind because it has that classic sound. It made me really get into Maiden, and it's all killer, no filler. Besides, it has some of the best metal songs of all time: Revelations, The Trooper, Still Life, and last but not least, To Tame A Land.

This is the one Maiden album I can listen to whenever. The rest are not as enjoyable at all times like this one (Seventh Son bores me, and Number of the Beast is a bit overrated). This album, plus Powerslave and Brave New World, equals metal bliss.

6 Brave New World

This is the best Maiden album and the greatest album ever, in my opinion. Every song here is amazing: The Wicker Man, Ghost of the Navigator, The Mercenary, Out of the Silent Planet, and freaking The Thin Line Between Love and Hate are my favorites, but the rest are great too.

Bruce sounds incredible, the drums are still great, riffs and solos are amazing, and the songs have this emotional power no other album has.

Renewed energy. Kevin Shirley, a sublime fit, and the first to truly capture the full weight and passion of Nicko's drums. Not a bad song on this album.

It is epic and progressive like Seventh Son, raw and exciting like the early stuff, but bigger sounding than either. If the playing was as tight as the early days, it would rate even higher for me.

7 Iron Maiden

This album might just be my second favorite studio album of all time, with the first being the first Rush album. Paul Di'Anno's vocals on this album are so much more raw and so much more powerful than Bruce Dickinson's ever were, the bass hit harder than ever and even drove the music back then as opposed to Bruce Dickinson's overproduced vocals driving the music, the drums were big and punchy, and the guitar had one of the most amazing tones that lent itself superbly to the music. Easily my favorite Maiden album.

8 Killers

I'd actually put it at #1 as it's the last album that blew me away, probably because I skipped it for a long time while the other ones feel more known and predictable. I didn't like it at first, but later I was amazed by this album's energy and amazing solos and riffs. I'm really appreciating the singing now, too. I was so pumped up the whole time.

Both instrumentals and Killers are my favorite songs, belonging in my top 20 Maiden songs ever, because I'd save room by picking only 1-2 classic anthems. But the cohesive energy along the album is another highlight. I don't feel there's a real filler here, which is rare in Maiden albums.

9 The Book of Souls

I have listened to many an Iron Maiden album, and like any album by any band, there are songs on each that I don't care for (ironically, most of them tend to be the title track). In fact, most Iron Maiden albums net me three, maybe four songs that I listen to again and again. I love them, but they're not perfect.

That being said, The Book of Souls is the closest thing to perfect they've ever made. Every song I enjoy to some degree. Every track has a reason to be here. While The Book of Souls may not necessarily contain the best songs Iron Maiden has written, it contains no bad ones.

Even the big ones like Number of the Beast or Somewhere in Time have at least one track that I can't stand to listen to. The only complaint I can bring against The Book of Souls is that some of the songs go on a bit too long. Yes, my one and only gripe is that The Book of Souls contains too much Iron Maiden.

10 A Matter of Life and Death

Underrated, deserves to be higher up. Several songs here are 5-star quality. 'These Colours Don't Run', 'Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg', 'Out of the Shadows', and 'The Longest Day' are, in my opinion, some of their best material.

Brilliant from start to finish, and those who have never heard it seriously need to check it out. You will not be disappointed. Up the Irons!

This album is just pure Maiden all over. But it's not just that. It's also one of the heaviest albums. Not to say that it hasn't got quiet, proggy moments. It's also Nicko's best performance on any Maiden album. 'Different World' is an amazing opener, 'These Colours Don't Run' uses 9th chords all throughout beautifully, 'Brighter than a Thousand Suns' is groovy, and 'The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg' is the pinnacle of it all.

Amazing effort!

The Contenders
11 The Final Frontier

This is the best album by Iron Maiden! I've been a Maiden fan since 1980 and still remember the day when "Killers" came to the record store as their latest album. So, I have "some" background.

"The Final Frontier" is an exceptional, quality prog-influenced album from the band that has been able to well integrate their experience as musicians and composers into this record. Really great compositions and arrangements, like the masterpiece "Isle of Avalon," which has a great instrumental piece in the middle, and "Mother of Mercy," which has really dramatic vocal melodies, and much more. As well known, Bruce was influenced by Peter Hamill of VDGG, and that really shines through. Not a single weak moment on this album.

12 Fear of the Dark

I have to vote for Fear of the Dark. I think this is a very good album overall but way too underrated. This album contains so many good songs like Fear of the Dark, Afraid to Shoot Strangers, Be Quick or Be Dead, and so on.

If you haven't listened to this album, or just once or twice, you should definitely get to know this album better. It deserves it.

Often, my favorite album to listen to for the overall tone and the guitar work is Fear of the Dark. As much as I love Adrian Smith, Janick Gers's influence on this album is greatly welcomed by me!

Production-wise, it has the right amount of atmosphere and cleanliness without being overproduced or sterile. Of course, the title track remains Maiden's most singable song.

13 Dance of Death

I think that Iron Maiden has been at its best since Bruce and Smith came back in 1999. Their albums recorded during the first decade of the century have just been epic and at another level. Albums like Brave New World, Dance of Death, A Matter of Life and Death, and Final Frontier are Maiden playing luxury heavy metal.

Dance of Death is perhaps my favorite, but A Matter of Life and Death and Final Frontier are equally as good. All are epic songs that take you places. I love ALL Maiden albums, but in my opinion, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is the only album that can compare to their latest three albums.

14 The X Factor

Awesome album. This is Iron Maiden making exceptional elite music. It surely sounds darker and different than most Maiden albums, but this band's sound is unmistakable, and you still recognize the unique Maiden playing. Of course, Blaze is a different kind of singer than Bruce, but he does an excellent job here. The album's darker music and production go great with his voice.

Choosing the best Maiden album is too hard for me. In my opinion, this is their best album of the 1990s (yes, even better than Brave New World), and one of their all-time best. From the 1980s, their best work is without a doubt Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

Picking their best album from the 2000s is harder, as they are all among their best of all time. It's a close pick between AMOLAD and Final Frontier, although Dance of Death is also spectacular. Incredibly, Iron Maiden has overall been more prolific, sound tighter, and write better music in the 2000s than at any other time in the band's long history.

15 Live After Death

Of all the live metal albums out there, this is arguably one of the best, if not the best. It really captures their live show perfectly. Put this album on your turntable, sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy a live performance by one of the best metal bands there ever was.

I get that many won't rank a live album with studio albums, hence the low rating. But if you are a true fan of the band, you know this one got played on your stereo more than at least half the records listed higher! Top 3 for me!

One of metal's greatest live CDs. From the album artwork to Churchill's speech to Rime of the Ancient Mariner, it's all just amazing. Iron Maiden rules live, and this album captures that amazing raw energy.

One of those bands where some songs sound better live.

16 Senjutsu

Masterpiece from start to finish! Full of melody and emotion. My favorite songs are The Parchment, Hell on Earth, Stratego. It's, in my opinion, better than Book of Souls as a whole album.

And it's a grower. It took me a few listens to really appreciate the awesomeness of the songs. Brilliant album, I give it 10/10.

Interestingly, despite an entire catalogue of albums, LPs, and EPs from Iron Maiden from the past, this is the first which I've fully listened to (all 10 songs listed). All songs have a mystical feeling, epic guitar solos, and opening coupled with Bruce and Steve's powerful vocals make this a solid hit in my book.

I'd give this a perfect 10/10.

17 Virtual XI

As much as I love most Iron Maiden albums, this one takes the prize. While it can be repetitive, it's also very rewarding to listen to. The repetition can establish a good groove and vibe, such as with The Angel and the Gambler. Blaze's performance is excellent as usual, Steve's bass clicks its way along the record with straight-up rocking bass lines, and the guitar duo delivers memorable riffs yet again.

Oh, and did I mention Nicko's simplistic (not overdone) but always great drumming? Fantastic album. It definitely grows on you and has stood the test of time.

Lastly, don't like Blaze? Check out his solo versions of Futureal, Sign of the Cross, etc. - Blaze's voice is doing better and he can just go all out, and it sounds awesome.

18 Flight 666
19 Rock in Rio

ROCK IN RIO! Amazing setlist choice and amazing overall performance by the best band in the world. Rock in Rio is their best live album, in my opinion, and it always will be.

Up the irons!

20 A Real Dead One
21 En Vivo!

At the age of 6, I heard Number of the Beast and didn't get it. The next year, I heard The Trooper and gradually became obsessed to where I am today. I know every Iron Maiden song or studio album, but this was my first Maiden CD.

I got it for Easter, and my dad and I would always drive around listening to the album over and over again. A great album and one with a lot of sentimental value to me. UP THE IRONS!

22 Death on the Road
23 Live at Donington
24 Maiden England
25 Soundhouse Tapes
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