“We’ve never managed to pull anything off like this before,” said Steve Harris to Kerrang! in 1988 shortly before its release, as the album was blasted out for press in the fittingly spooky surroundings of a German castle. “For me, it’s like the enormous leap we suddenly made from our first two albums to releasing Number Of The Beast – very much a step forward, a step up.”
He was not wrong. Described by Bruce Dickinson as “a heavy metal Dark Side Of The Moon”, Seventh Son… lives up to that lofty comparison both in terms of quality and ambitious, intelligent creative scope. A concept album telling the story of a boy with supernatural powers – the seventh son of a seventh son, a repeating character in religious tales and folklore – as the songs unfold, it details how the lad is seen as dangerous and a freak in his village for his ability to see the future. However, as the threats against him from his angry neighbours intensify, things go badly wrong, as Bruce notes towards the end that, ‘For all his power, [he] couldn’t foresee his own demise.’
“It’s a classic story of good vs. evil, only with no guarantees whatsoever that it’s the good guys who eventually come through,” laughed Bruce in explanation. “Nothing and nobody comes out of this story unscathed. Which is everyone’s story, really, isn’t it? None of us get through our lives smelling of roses everywhere we go; everything is a constant battle to try and stay sane, to cut through all the bullshit that gets in our way. To find some sort of meaning, some pattern. At the same time, there’s more to it than that. It’s quite a mythical tale, and in trying to tell it we really allowed our imaginations to run free.”
Having felt creatively uninvolved in Somewhere In Time, the singer really put his fingerprints all over its follow-up’s expansive themes, bringing it to life with an eccentric twist on classic British storytelling. While tales of the supernatural and cinematic vision were not new concepts for Maiden, or heavy metal at large, the inventive, original story and dramatic music of Seventh Son… was leagues beyond the simple swords-and-dragons fantasy that had become such a staple of the genre."
- Nick Ruskell, Kerrang!
|Can I Play With Madness|
|The Evil That Men Do|
|Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son|
|Only The Good Die Young|