George Starostin's Reviews



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Phil Burgwin <> (06.01.2003)

Not about a specific one of your album reviews - just a general comment really. I actually found your site by accident but your reviews are superb. While back I read a whole bunch of 'reviews' Q magazine gave to Iron Maiden albums. An example - Number Of The Beast, no comments just 2 stars out of 5. Just plain, pointless stupidity imho. Just like you said - even if the reviewer is not a metal fan they still should recognise the obvious hard work that went into the album and the talent of Maiden. I also found your comment about not liking Bruces rantings on Live After Death interesting because for me its just the opposite - I love it when he yells 'scream for me ...' and I love all his rantings and would be extremely annoyed if rantings were took out of a live album. FYI they actually took out one huge ranting on Live After Death. The bit were Bruce yells 'THIS IS NOT WHAT TO DO WHEN A BIRD SHITS ON YA!' just before rime - the Live After Death video has the proper ranting on it where Bruce talks about hemp and the Queen Mothers (its very funny). I love the rantings, you dont. Each to his own I guess. Anyways my fav two Maiden tunes are '22 Arc Ave' and 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner' and I really just wanted to tell you very well done for clearly a huge ammount of thought and effort put into your reviewing of the 355+ artists/bands and keep up the good work (and give your self a pat on the back, put your feet up and have a nice cup of English tea heh heh).

Jamil Justiniano <> (09.02.2003)

These ARE the most meticulously ridiculous Iron Maiden album reviews I've ever seen. Too fucking "technical" for my taste. Enjoy the music as it is, in this case, Heavy Metal. In MY case, I just grab a beer and rock on. You're just a Maiden(80's fantasy metal)-Hater disguised as an "average fan". Somehow, you seem to hate (you just don't admit it directly) the bands integrity, imagination and professionalism that has kept them on top for 20+ without completly "selling out". They have endure and surpassed every obstacle on their way. Hell, they even survived the awful 90's decade. Not all the "influential" bands have done that (Rainbow, Judas Priest...anyone?). In a way, they ARE unique...they are LEGENDS, dude. But, that doesn't mean they are perfect in every aspect, I mean, nobody is. I bet you don't even have the BALLS to say all those things directly to the band members. I bet they will all laugh at you and say...."who's the bloody ROCK STAR, kid???...if you don't like the way it is, then do it yourself, mate!...hahaha". But, I must be honest here, No Prayer for the Dying is by far their WORST album; Fear of the Dark is ok, sometimes; their 2 90's albums are so-so; Paul Di'anno's voice was great (but, if he was that great, why is he NOWHERE to be seen?) and Quest for Fire is cool, just musically speaking. The bottom line is...MAIDEN RULES and YOU DON'T. Have a nice day. Up the motherfucking Irons!!!

Lionel Marechal <> (27.10.2005)

I don't like Iron Maiden as much as I'm supposed to. The thing is, I really like good heavy metal ; a good album by Judas Priest, or Accept... makes my day. But I don't like Maiden nearly as much as those bands. I'll try to explain why.

In fact, most of my complaints about Maiden come from one thing : they couldn't choose between their love for basic, straight-to-the-point heavy metal, and artsy (at times even proggish) tendencies. I find that they sound a bit too "diluted", not kickass enough for a simple HM band (their guitars sound more like plastic than metal for my ears!) ; however, they're too much formulaic for an "art" band. I mean, lack of diversity is not a problem for bands like Motorhead or Judas Priest, since they can bash away without asking questions, and still be kicking ass. And lack of rocking power is not a problem for art rock or prog rock bands as long as they have enough ideas to fulfill their ambitions and/or create atmosphere. But Iron Maiden, IMHO, sometimes fail on both counts : their kickass potential is compomised by too long songs, while they don't bring enough ideas or atmosphere to justify this length. Their double-solos are moderately good (though highly influenced by Thin Lizzy) but get tiresome after a while.

Another problem I have is with Bruce Dickinson, who has a good voice but has the bad habit (for me) to strain vowels like an opera singer, and it annoys me. Take a song like "Aces High" : first, we have a moderately kickass riff, then nice verses, but in the chorus, it begins to drag, "Flyyyyyyyyyyyy, flyyyyyy to liiiiiiiiiiive..." for what seems like hours (and I nearly fall asleep).

I don't think that they were an extremely innovative band, either. I sometimes hear things like, "they took metal to the next level", but many of their stuff was actually done before by Judas Priest (doesn't "The Ripper" sound very maidenish?). They helped to introduce classical influences into metal and were a big influence later for melodic speed metal (aka "power metal"), but not any more than, say, Accept (think of "Breaker" or "Fast As A Shark" especially). Apart from that, they're a pretty nice band, actually. And Harris is a real good bassist, that counts for something (sometimes the bass lines are better than the guitar riffs!). I still miss a few of their records, for instance, I have no album with Paul Di'Anno, and I have never heard them live either (maybe they solved the problem of energy on stage?).


Eric Rogozin <> (02.10.2002)

You know, I was surprised too when I put it on fo the for the first time. When I was a little little boy, due to the album covers I thought that Iron Maiden music was something scary, brutal and atrocious. And once somebody gave me this album to listen. I was pleasantly surprised. It was the time when I allready had almost full Deep Purple, Rainbow and Scorpions catalog and it was pleasant for me to know that Iron Maiden had yet more in common with these bands than with death-metal which I hated then and I hate now.

To the album. I'm not a Iron Maiden fan by any means but some their albums I like. It seems to me that I'm almost the only person in the world who prefers this early version of Iron Maiden over the pretentious, stodgy, repetitive and monotonous Dickinson stuff. You know, this is the example of what was interesting and in a certain sense revolutionary in 1980-1981 but became banal some years after. Also Paul DiAnno's vocals seem more interesting and fitiing in with the style to me than pathetic vocals of Bruce. This all means that I dig first two Iron Maiden albums more than anything they have released after.

So it was NWOBHM. A lot of people say that their main inspirations were Judas Priest and Motorhead but I hear more Rainbow and Scorpions influence here. And all the more so they handle their instruments better than Judas Priest or Motorhead. Steve Harris plays his bass lines like a madman and and his bass guitar was sure always the leading instrument in the band, guitarists are no great shakes but rather fine, the drummer Clive Barr (by the way, a lot more competent drummer than Nico McBrain) plays perfectly and Paul Di'Anno has really a beatiful voice, somehow reminding me of Paul Rogers.

The songs:

"Prowler" is good and quite catchy. I suppose, hundreds metal bands have been stolen the main melody from this songs after. We can hear this vocal hook now everywhere.

"Remember Tomorrow" is a true classic metal ballad, once again a blueprint for subsequent metal bands. Paul Di'Anno screams cool in the chorus.

"Running Free" is IMHO one of their bests. Dickinson ruins this song totally.

"Phantom Of The Opera" - I hate this song! Stupid generic metal.

"Transylvania" - I always detested Iron Maiden instrumentals but this time it rules. On the first two albums their instrumentals are good, further they suck.

"Strange World" - The best Iron Maiden song ever, perhaps the best metal ballad ever (Note: I don't consider Scorpions to be heavy metal, they are hard rock). "Strange World" sounds similar spiritwise a lot to "Catch The Rainbow". Also a little bit reminiscent of Scorpions "We'll Burn The Sky".

"Charlotte The Harlot" - one of their bests. Catchy chorus, elegant passage to the notable slower part.

"Iron Maiden" - "Iron Maiden can't be bought, Iron Maiden can't be sold". Enough said:))

So, seven good compositions and one truly bad composition.

Rating: four. Only it would be better for them to choose another album covers.


Pat D. <> (15.04.2002)

Title track kicks booty. Great dueling solos, although i'm forced to give the nod to Dave's contribution over Adrian's. In case you havent figured it out yet, Dave's solos are usually the blindingly fast ones, and Adrian's are usually slower and with more feeling and sustain. Although Mr. Murray would put that theory to shame with his emotive soloing on the Maiden classic track known as "Powerslave" (yes, that is all Dave).

Cosmic Charlie <> (20.04.2002)

I guess I'm in the minority in that I actually prefer the Pre-Dickinson Iron Maiden. I got into the band in grade school, and loved the Dickinson stuff. But now, I can't help but see those albums as thematically cartoonish and musically bombastic and tedious (with some exceptions). But it's the DiAnno stuff, particularly Killers, that I still listen to. They played with more of an edge than, a bit too polished to be punk, but dark and dangerous in a natural, unforced way. They really aren't trying on the few generic rockers; but overall, Killers offers top-notch playing, drama, and well-crafted tunes. BTW, I think the cover is a great work of art, as far as album covers go.

Eric Rogozin <> (03.10.2002)

Probably my favourite Iron Maiden album. I dunno if this honour must go to this album or "X-Factor". It's comes out due to the fact that only these two Iron Maiden albums don't have bad or even mediocre songs in my opinion.

"The Ides Of March" is the fine intro followed by a classic - "Wrathchild" with its cool bassline and chorus which I earlier used to hear as "Rockchild".

"Murders In The Rue Morgue" is somehow pedestrian but chorus is catchy and in the one place in the song Paul Di'Anno sounds just like Ian Gillan. "Another Life" is decent.

"Chenghis Khan" is the last good and interesting Iron Maiden instrumental but it is really wonderful and convincing. It's easy to imagine Chenghis Khan hordes marching to conquer all the world when listening to this track.

"Innocent Exile" is the excellent metallic rocker which was by the way written by Steve Harris many years before the release of "Killers", no wonder that this song reminds me of Sweet a little bit.

What can I say further? Then comes "Killers" - maybe one of the most famous metal songs, really a classic. Paul Di'Anno screams primely and he screams naturally unlike the pathetic screams Air Raid Siren called Bruce Dickinson does.

"Prodigal Son" is a beatiful ballad where Paul Di'Anno sings his heart out and he sounds mild, pleasant and convincing. It is the kind of song pleasant to listen to in a dark room with alight candles.

"Purgatory" represents a good melodic heavy metal song with the line "please take me away take me away so far away" in which Paul Di'Anno sounds very similar to Ian Gillan once again. (Yes, there would be no Iron Maisen and thousands others without Deep Purple, we could feel their presence everywhere).

"Drifter" is a little bit throwaway but I wouldn't call it mediocre, just normal Iron Maiden where everything is kept OK and not without a charm. What I'd like also to mention here is the magnificent producing. Martin Birch knows how to make a great sound (we all remember In Rock) and I like a style of putting a bass guitar in a foreground.

In general, if every album of Iron Maiden sounded like Killers we could talk of heavy metal as a tasteful and intelligent genre. But as fas as the things go we can only pick some diamonds from a bin. But anyway at this point Iron Maiden were certainly more clever band than Judas Priest.


Pat D. <> (15.04.2002)

This isnt actually the best album to get a good sampling of Bruce's finest moments (yes, he gets better at emoting on later albums, which is why i dig his singing so much), but even here he kicks ass on the added B-side "Total Eclipse". Just as you are perplexed with people choosing Bruce over Ronnie, i cant see how anybody could choose Ronnie over Bruce. Give "Infinite Dreams", "Blood Brothers", "The Prophecy", "Powerslave", "Alexander the Great" or "The Clairvoyant" a spin to see what Bruce can really do. Honestly, i've never heard Dio come close to those performances. Never been much of a fan of his, though.

Anyways, although i gave this a nine when i reviewed it on Nick's site, i'd have to drop it to an eight or seven nowadays. The lyrics are just so blatantly cringe-worthy (see '22 Acacia Avenue'). Now, perhaps they arent much better on the almighty Powerslave release (which i would still give a 9 to), but my lord, the guitar interplay on that album is unfreakingbelievable. This album isnt bad, but it seems a lot more basic and unmelodic than Powerslave.

Eric Rogozin <> (31.10.2002)

Is this the Holy Grail of heavy metal? No, no, no. For me Killers is the Holy Grail of heavy metal. I'll try to explain why. First of all, let me say that it would be difficult to consider the guys to be the satanists. The famous phrase "666 is the one for you and me" can be understood as "666 means the same for you and me". This one the title song (which is the only song in Iron Maiden catalog concerning Satanism direct) could serve as the soundtrack to Omen movie.

It was the time when NWOBHM was the mainstream. NWOBHM songs were always on radio; everybody was talking 'bout Iron Maiden, Saxon, Samson abd the likes; Iron Maiden albums were always on high positions in charts. And it's not very difficult for the mainstream music to become generic once. Iron Maiden and Killers were full of ideas, exciting, interesting and entertaining, while The Number Of The Beast is phoney, corny and so freaking generic.

Now I gotta put my two cents about Bruce Dickinson. I respect his singing abilities a lot but his screaming is so pathetic, overblown and repetitive sometimes that I can't help but say that his screaming is also slightly generic, even not slightly. I do like screaming style of vocals a lot but a good screaming is something more than dull monotonous soulless banal wailings. Not to speak of derivative wailings. So I see his nick name Air Raid Siren to be rather fair because air raid siren always sounds the same. Despite all my criticism towards him he does a superb job at times.

The songs here always remind me of something that I heard before, I can't help but have this feeling. But it's not a crime, say, "Charlotte The Harlot" reminded me of Free major hit - "Wishing Well" and it was a good song so it's no wonder that on "The Number Of The Beast" the songs are similar to something. And this album has two really superb tracks - "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and "22 Acacia Avenue" (which is the notional continuation to the allready mentioned "Charlotte The Harlot"). "Run To The Hills" deals with the same topic as Queen's "White Man", but Queen song is thousand times superiour. Maybe there are here some more good songs than only "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and "22 Acacia Avenue", frankly speaking, I don't remember all the songs on "The Number Of The Beast".

Dull and soulless soloing also brings nothing good to this album.

My rating is two stars.

PS. I forgot to mention the title track, that one is a classic and a well-written song. So, three songs here that I remember to be good, maybe some more tracks are excellent, I don't remember everything on The Number Of The Beast.


Pat D. <> (28.04.2002)

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I've been waiting for SOMEBODY to agree with me on this being one of the weaker Maiden albums. All the fun of the last album is gone, and almost none of the melodicism of Powerslave are here, leaving us with a bunch of generic power chord fests that sounds more like generic Judas Priest than the Maidens (i'm not a big fan of the Halfords, can you tell?). The irony here is, most die hard Maiden fans (except Robert Grazer, who still does like PoM) think this is their best. The lyrics are more noticably bad than normal (Quest for fire is just embarassing), and the production/mixing/engineering is easily the worst of any of their 80s output. Still, "Revelations" and "The Trooper" kick all sorts of ass. But the rest of the album? Bleh. And this comes from a huge fan of Powerslave, Number, and Seventh. I'd give it a 4 (or two stars by your system).

Eric Rogozin <> (12.11.2002)

A lot better than the last time. What surprises me in a nice way about Piece Of Mind is Dickinson sounding very good here and guitars sounding not soulless but rather emotional. Gone is the needless pathos of The Number Of The Beast (fluctuating into the needful pathos) and the awful generic stuff of Powerslave haven't yet come.

"Still Life" is the best song here, representing the excellent metal ballad flowing from a quiet slower part to the expressive distorted part. "The Trooper" is the heavy rock'n'roll song about the Crimean War. "Revelations" is excellent, the vocal delivery of Bruce is great in this song when lyrics represent the early versionf of British Anthem if I'm not mistaken. Very cool are also "Die With Your Boots On" and "To Tame A Land". "Where Eagles Dare" represents successful the mountainous athmospere. Dickinson sounds great on this album and not repetetive like before and after, especially he shines in "Die With Your Boots On". "Flight Of Icarus" is somehow pedestrian. That's about the songs. Generally, it's an improvement over The Number Of The Beast. It's not very often case of Dickinson sounding emotional and Iron Maiden guitarists sounding soulful so we must appreciate Peace Of Mind.

Rating: four.

PS. I don't agree with your statement that Eighties metal bassists are better than Seventies hard rock bassists, Eighties bassists are often good but exactly late 60-s - begin 70-s were the era of professionalism. You can pick on Geezer Butler and he's really a mediocre bassist, but, for example, Nazareth's Pete Agnew is excellent.


Eric Rogozin <> (13.11.2002)

For Iron Maiden Powerslave is da best, for me Powerslave is da worst. All that I associate with this album is the word GENERIC. Yes, yes, generic mid-Eighties heavy metal.

The title track was totally ripped off (OK, riffed off) from Rainbow's "Eyes Of Fire". How can nobody notice it! The riff in "Powerslave" is almost identical to that one of good old Ritchie. And of course for me it is more pleasant to associate this superb riff with Rainbow. The lyrics in the title track deal with Ancient Egypt mythology and though I have not usually a problem with Iron Maiden lyrics, this time they sound so pathetic that I can't help but say they are ridiculous. I mean, if anybody will compose a song by the method of stealing a main riff from another song and stealing lyrics from Ancient Egypt History books (I do love a lot historical and mythological thematics but not when they sound so corny), the music will soon be over.

The instrumental "Losfer Words" is very stupid and goes nowhere, I detest it.

Only "2 Minutes To Midnight" is an excellent track (really a classic one) and "Aces High" is good, other stuff on Powerslave balances between the generic corny stuff and the stupidity of "Losfer Words". My rating is one star.


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