* - Asterisk means I already had a good mp3 copy of this album, but threw up a few words anyway in the name of having an internet-based chronicle of all my legally-purchased, store-bought music
- STOP ALL THE DOWNLOADIN' means the CD was only bought after an illegal trial period
Iced Earth - The Glorious Burden (2004, SPV) - I dunno, this is probably going to be very False Metal of me, but this is the only Iced Earth record I've ever really been all that into. If you forgot, this is the first one that happened in the post-911 world, where Barlow had quit the band to go do his patriotic duty for the security of the homeland, which mostly seemed to revolve around screaming about Freemasons on the YouTubes or some such nonsense. But they hired Ripper Owens, who's legendary for being history's most amazing singer that literally no one ever wants in their band as a first choice, and he's so dang good and so is most of this. It ends with the big super prog-rock Gettysburg Trilogy, which is amazing for two-thirds of the way, and then the third song just sounds like some Original Cast Recording of a way cheaper reenactment than what Ken Burns could've afforded or some shit, seriously, it is awful.
Infectious Grooves - The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move... It's the Infectious Grooves (1991, Epic) - Thinking about it now, and the best part of this CD has always been the skits between some of the songs. Which is not to say that the actual music is bad; even after funk in all its forms was purged from heavy metal sometime in the late 90s, it still stands up. But the skits man, the skits. The lizard man that's dripping the green funk on the carpet wants into the recording studio, but they won't let him in, and he is super-upset, because he sincerely believes that he is a person of great renown. It was prime comedy to 11 year-old me, only to later be eclipsed by many of the same dudes when that one Suicidal Tendencies track started with Cyko Miko going "stand by stomach, here come banana" with a mouthful of what was presumably a banana. And the art was brought to its zenith later when our through-the-hole-in-the-backyard-fence neighbor Rick got that one 2 Live Crew Cd where they play a live intro of all the members with a clip of a dude saying "ah, he's full of shit" spliced between every one.
Insane Clown Posse - The Great Milenko (1997, Island) - Due to bizarre and unforeseen circumstances, I got "Halls of Illusions" stuck in my head in 1999ish, figured it might be worth a Columbia House pick too see if anything was there, and I dunno, it just didn't take. I will say that my general opinion ICP is a positive one, not only for producing the two greatest volumes of bootlegged wrestling footage in the history of the sport in the Stranglemania series, but also in gratitude for the Juggaloretariat standing as the final barrier of true resistance to the United States falling under full-blown fascism. That being said, actually listening to their music is just a bridge too far for me, as I find myself unable to sanction their buffoonery. Also, when I ripped the CD, Windows Media Player's default category for this CD is "metal," and I thought ICP rap group-denial ended in the 90s, what the goddamn hell, y'all.
Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden (1980, Capitol) - AW HELL YEAH, IT'S TIME FOR THE IRON MAIDEN GAUNTLET. Anyway, this is the first Iron Maiden album, what with the singer who isn't Bruce Dickinson and the guitar player that isn't Adrian Smith and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and what-have-you. And now I'm reading the track list, and there's only 9 songs on it, but like 7 would be ones I'd set aside for future mixed tape considerations. The mixed tape was a precious thing to people in the age of vinyl LPs, not wanting to constantly switch out cassettes, or not having a tape player in the car, and now it's all been ruined by technology. You had to use those 90 (or even 60, but rarely 120) minutes wisely, because tapes cost money, so you had to distill things down to the absolute 90-minute essence of goodness, but now you just throw 19,000 songs on an SD card in your phone and spend more time skipping tracks than playing them, because it's bullshit, all useless bullshit.
Iron Maiden - Killers (1981, Capitol - Mine is the 1998 Raw Power version) - This CD is a testament to the power of a cool record cover. The image of Eddie the Head about to straight-up axe murder a dude is pretty much the default Eddie art, even moreso than the first album. I got the cover of this on a beach towel somewhere, and I can remember a minute in the 2000s when they sold this shirt at Walmart. And I've seen so many people cite this as their favorite Maiden record, like I'm pretty sure Scott Ian was one, and guys - ~~~~HOT TAKE ALERT~~~~ - this is just not that great at all, and when compared to the other 80s Iron Maiden records (which you kind of have to do) it actually kinda sucks by comparison. It's the kind of album that might lead one to immediately replace 2/5 of the band, you could say. Anyway, don't @ me, fukk u if u disagree, etc.
Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast (1982, Capitol - again, 1998 Raw Power version) - This is the one where Bruce Dickinson showed up and they *became* Iron Maiden for real, and an accurate review of this would to just type "YEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHH" in 175-point typeface, with the understanding that it's supposed to remind you of the beginning of the title track. That's not practical though, so I'm stuck here doing this ol' bullshit. Maybe sound-producing text with implied meaning beamed into your brain will be part of HTML 5 or 6 or whatever they're on by now. Man, remember frames? Frames were my jam back in the day and most old versions of the old site had those, but now, that's all dead because of stupid people and their stupid phones or slow computers or whatever. Also, I really never minded Flash-animated intro pages. Fuck you.
Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind (1983, Capitol / 1998 Raw Power) - Man, most of my old Maiden stuff are the old Raw Power versions that had a whole Enhanced CD section on them, and I never thought this would be the case, but they actually kinda work on Windows 10. Pretty sure they just got reduced from enhanced CDs to regular ones once I switched from XP to Vista in one of my many past tragic computer deaths. Looking back, stuff like this was clearly done more for the sheer novelty factor of it all than for any practical video-watching purposes. Just so we could boot up a CD on our 15-inch CRT monitors and go "I'M WATCHING A MUSIC VIDEO ON A COMPUTER, AND I HAVE LIVING MEMORY OF WHEN THEY LITERALLY ONLY DISPLAYED TWO COLORS AND DID SUB-ATARI BEEPS FOR SOUND, MY GOD" or whatever. All the video footage on the enhanced part is the size of a postage stamp, AND THAT WAS THE WAY WE LIKED IT. Also, "The Trooper" is on here, you guys.
Iron Maiden - Powerslave (1984, Capitol - This time, it's the Sanctuary/Metal Is reissue of the '98 Raw Power reissue. Whew.) - "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is a crazy musical achievement that keeps getting more amazing in modern times, when the band thinks half the album consisting of ten-minute songs is a thing you should ever do. The damn thing is literally over thirteen minutes long and never gets boring at any point, and I have the ADD attention-span of a goldfish with a head injury, so it's really saying something. Anyway, all the old 80s Iron Maiden albums (except maybe Killers) were the inspiration for both the fire and 100 emojis, but the span from Powerslave to Seventh Son is pretty much Peak Maiden and also the height of both the British Empite and Western Civilization as a whole. It's pretty good.
Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time (1986, Capitol, same version as Powerslave above) - It's funny to think back now about how permissive my parents were with entertainment, as opposed to what other kids had to deal with. BecauseI'm pretty sure in in 1986, most grown-ups in the Mississippi Delta would've figured Iron Maiden as horrifying devil music to protect their children from at all costs, and meanwhile, my older brother got this tape (which I still have somewhere) in his Easter Basket. I mean, I knew people whose parents wouldn't let them watch the Smurfs, because it was inherently ant-Christian, and I saw Full Metal Jacket in the theater as a little kid, and when my cousin got a cassingle of "Me So Horny" by 2 Live Crew, their concern was less due to lyrical content than thinking it was just awful garbage bullshit music. Anyway, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" and "Alexander the Great" are interminable crap, but the rest of this is amazing.
Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988, Capitol / 1998 Raw Power) - One of the things I miss about old Iron Maiden is the Derek Riggs art, and the way it progressed from album to album. Like the Eddie on the cover has the crazy lightning eye from Live Before Death, the cyborg eye/neck/ribcage from Somewhere in time, and the little clip holding the top half of his head on from Piece of Mind. I guess the problem is that they pretty much removed 75% of his physical form for the cover of this one, and there'd be nowhere to go from here but to make him a ghost or something else otherwise physically intangible. (which they did on Brave New World, come to think of it) After this, they just kinda hit the reset button on Eddie, and No Prayer for the Dying in 1990 had a terrible cover for a terrible album.
Iron Maiden - Fear of the Dark (1992, Capitol) - 1992 and the early 90s in general is weird to look back on, because that time was both the peak for a lot of bands, at least comercially, but it was also pretty much the end of Classic Heavy Metal. Bruce Dickinson quit Iron Maiden, Rob Halford quit Judas Priest, Anthrax fired Joey Belladonna, Ozzy "retired," Metallica became a terrible grunge wannabe band, Death Angel almost died, a whole mess of bands got dropped from their cushy major label deals, and others like Megadeth adapted in shitty ways to survive. anyway, this is all just to say that Iron Maiden has done a lot of good things since this one, but it's honestly probably the last thing they did that even remotely qualifies as "classic."
Iron Maiden - The Best of the Beast (1996, Raw Power) - 🤹 Greeeatest Hiiiiiiiiits. 🤹 Also, I know Paul Dianno is kind of a shitty little bitch sometimes and no one likes him, but it is kinda lame how all the stuff he sang is only represented by "Running Free," and it's a live version with Bruce singing. Also, the two Blaze Bayley era songs just sound out of place on here, and I really feel bad for that dude sometimes. Maybe he needs a hug.
Iron Maiden - Different World single (2006, Sanctuary) - It's a three-song Cd with "Different World" and live-in-the-studio versions of "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and "The Trooper," and I honestly can't think of anything else to say about this. Maybe the real CD single was the friends we made along the way.
Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death (2006, Sanctuary) - I used to work with this dude Shane who was (and remains) history's biggest Iron Maiden fan, and being around that dude for 8 hours a day pretty much rekindled my interest in new Maiden CDs, and I was crazy excited when this came out and bought it immediately, and good god, this is a frustrating record. It's almost there, you guys. It's almost the kind of classic album they hadn't done since Fear of the Dark, but they got it in their crazy-ass heads that everything had to be "epic," but rather than writing a bunch of eight minute songs, they just took a bunch of really good five minute songs and just repeated choruses too many times and sat on instrumental parts for too long and they ruined it, man, they goddamn ruined it.
Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier (2010, Universal) - This is another frustrating one, because on one hand, they reigned it in some and didn't decide that every song had to be an hour long, but the reasonably-sized songs just aren't as good as the ones they screwed up on A Matter of Life and Death. Also, the title track is really good, but they've got it attached to this long, boring intro part, and I wish they could have done a Hellion/Electric Eye arrangement and just split it into two tracks. The music video for "The Final Frontier" is pretty much the most amazing video ever made, though, and it's a shame that they put it out in 2010, when no one would ever see it, because MTV no longer exists in any meaningful way, and YouTube is mostly a place for "music videos" that are just the cover art with the entire album playing. Wonder how much they spent on that thing.
Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls (2015, BMG) - For a kinda-sorta in-depth review of this one, go here and scroll about halfway down the page to the live report from last year. But man, this one fvkkin tears it. I'm gonna sell some of my old football cards, get a ticket to England, find Steve Harris, and just grab him and shake him until he hires a goddamn producer. And by "producer," I don't mean a guy who just twiddles the knobs until it results in something to his liking. I mean a real hard-ass who will throw a coffee cup at his his head and tell him that THERE'S NO REASON FOR ANY OF THESE SONGS TO BE MORE THAN TEN MINUTES LONG. They keep *almost* spitting hot fire on a 1980s scale, but they keep screwing the pooch via the folly of hubris. Gonna hire Lars Ulrich's dad to be their producer, so whenever they do some garbage like "The Red and the Black," he can just say "no, no, I would delete this, I would delete all of this," and together we can Make Iron Maiden Great Again. Man, I just realized I'm being really mean here, so I'll point out that "Speed of Light" was extremely My Jam of 2015.