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Iron Maiden or Judas Priest?


Iron Maiden or Judas Priest?  

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  1. 1. Iron Maiden or Judas Priest?

    • Iron Maiden
    • Judas Priest

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Hennessey at Satanosphere analyzed this question at length

1) Release date of first actual album, demos don't count (2 points):

Maiden: "Iron Maiden" 1980

Priest: "Rocka Rolla" 1974

Winner: Priest, 2 points.

2) Album cover coolness factor (3 points):

Maiden: Eddie. What else do I need to say? A concept that they stuck with, and an awesome one. WAY better for freaking out your parents than any Priest cover. Eddie made his debut in 1980 on "Iron Maiden" and was still working hard in 2000 with the release of "Brave New World."

Priest: Weak for the most part. There was no particular game plan to the Priest album covers until the release of "Screaming for Vengeance (1982)" which featured the "metalized" eagle swooping down, a graphic style that was continued until the release of "Ram it Down(1988)." It must also be noted that many of Priest's best earlier albums ("Stained Class [1978]," "Hell Bent for Leather [1979]") had cover that were just plain bad. "British Steel's" cover is pretty cool though.

Winner: Maiden by a mile, 3 points.

3) Number of albums released up to 1990 (2 points):

I mean really... Who cared after that?

Maiden: 10

Priest: 17 (sure they had six more years, but numbers don't lie)

Winner: Priest, 2 points.

4) Lead singer's voice. This is going to be a controversial one, I know... (4 points):

Maiden: Ok, for all intents and purposes we are just gonna talk about Bruce Dickinson here. Paul Di'Anno was Maiden's first recorded vocalist and was featured on 1980's "Iron Maiden" as well as 1981's "Killers." I don't mean to denigrate Paul's contribution, but basically Bruce is THE lead singer identified with Maiden as he appeared on their true breakthrough, "The Number of the Beast" in 1982 and all subsequent albums until 1992 (and has returned to the fold as of 1999).

So Bruce has one of the most influential metal voices of all time, generally he works in the higher registers and was probably the main progenitor of the "operatic" style of metal vocals although his work is more restrained that (for the most part) than the folks who ran with the style. Could anyone else sing "Run to the Hills?" Blasphemy.

For all Bruce's qualities, however, he just doesn't have the range of a certain...

Priest: Rob Halford. Rob is somewhat fairly characterized as a "screeching banshee" type of metal singer, of the Brian Johnson (later-era AC/DC) and Udo Dirkschneider (Accept) school, although to be fair Rob probably was the lynchpin in the development of those guys. Anyway, we must remember that Rob has a lot more to him than just the ultra-high raspy screech. His range is especially evident on "Stained Class" where he will go from a speaking voice to a lower growling, to a midrange and then to the patented Halford SCREAM (sometimes all in the same song! SWEET!!!!)!!!! Gotta go with Rob on this one.

Winner: Priest, 4 points.

5) Songwriting (2 points):

I know what you're thinking, why only 2 points for songwriting for crying out loud? "I mean isn't songwriting one of the most important aspects of pop music?" Well yes, yes it is. However, this is not so much the case in metal. Sure, there must have been some good metal songwriting (though I can't think of any right now), but for the most part we're talking monsters and demons and alienation and whatnot here. So deal. One does not listen to metal for brilliant insights into the human condition.

Maiden: Ok, I'm gonna just get this out of the way right now... Maiden wins. Maiden is of the "story song" school of metal, the sort of prog rock/concept album kind of stuff. In fact most of their records are concept albums, aren't they? Anyway, you have your Black Mass seen through the eyes of a witness (very Hammer Studios-esque/Dennis Wheatley), your "Flight of Icarus" (mythology is always a winner), your "Run to the Hills" about the (mis)treatment of Native Americans here in the States, your "The Prisoner" about, well, the TV show "The Prisoner," your supernatural but not Satan-y stuff "Seventh Son," etc, etc. And let's face it, "The Number of the Beast" is probably about the most subtle Black Mass metal song you are ever gonna hear.

Priest: Ugh. You know, I love Halford's voice but he is quite possibly the worst songwriter to EVER have recorded so prolifically. Sorry Rob, hope you never read this. This is a man who rhymes "came" with "mountain" (that's "mountayne" to you)!

The thing is that Priest really tries (for the most part) to be a bit more "serious" than Maiden style... They don't really focus on the occult or supernatural all that much, they also do the message songs similar to "The Trooper" or "Run to the Hills," but the problem is that they SUCK. "Savage" on "Stained Class" is another ode to the indigenous people of the Earth and the West's mistreatment thereof... Featuring the stunning refrain, "Who's the savage?! MODERN MAN!!" Then we have the "Iron Man" knock offs, like "Exciter," "Grinder", etc.

Rob is highly concerned with individuality and being your own man, this stuff pops up all over the place in Priest songs. Problem is that his oddball almost non-sequitorial lyrics are just silly. Silly.

The best songwriting Priest seems to have done was on their "pop" songs like "Breaking the Law," "Living After Midnight" and "You Got Another Think Coming."

And of course I would be remiss to ignore the topic of sexuality in Priest's lyrics. Let's face it, Rob was a horny little devil and many of the Priest songs are odes to S&M/B&D and as such they ooze with a certain disconcerting obsessive fever bordering on the creepy...

Winner: Maiden for sure, 2 points. I almost wanna hit Priest with a negative here, but I will resist.

(A side note: it's my personal opinion that the lyrical style of early Metallica [up to "Master of Puppets"] is basically a combination of the Maiden school and the Priest school of lyrics. Priest comes in with the strongly individualistic stuff, and the staccato near word association, while the influence of Maiden on subject matter is clear on songs like "For Whom the Bell Tolls.")

6) Heaviness. This one is hard to define, but basically what we are talking about here is menace... Black Sabbath had it, Def Leppard didn't. Slayer has it in spades and nu-metal will never have it... (5 points):

Maiden: Ok, despite some songs about evil and madness and war and whatnot we need to face the fact that Maiden's music is often times more bombastic than crunchy. Their guitars are usually fairly "clean" and there is an almost "bouncy" feel to a lot of their work.

Let's put it this way, no one ever sued Maiden `cause some kids tried to off themselves to the music.

The album covers are scarier than the music.

Priest: We're going to ignore "Rocka Rolla" here, just to let you know.

Fact of the matter is that Priest kicked ass. The guitars have a heavier sound on the early stuff; the prototypical aggressive speed metal riff was pioneered by these guys. There is a darkness to the music that Maiden just can't match. This is, of course, when Priest is at their best. At their worst (most of the 80's albums with the exception of "Screaming of Vengeance"), they were overproduced, poppy and pretty harmless.

Winner: Priest, 5 points.

7) Style (2 points):

Maiden: Spandex, biker jackets, Union Jack.

Priest: Spandex, biker jackets, outrageous S&M gear.

Winner: No clear winner here. Priest for comedy's sake, Maiden gets the "less silly" vote. 2 points each.

(Side note: I find it immensely humorous that the leather `n' studs image of metal was really kind of created by Rob Halford as he began to wear the gear of underground gay S&M practitioners. And it's still with us today... GO ROB!!)

8) Stage show in the height of popularity (3 points):

Maiden: Gigantic Eddie figure that moves and breathes fire and stuff!!

Priest: Rob rides onstage on a huge Harley.

Winner: Maiden, 3 points.

9) Videos at the height of popularity (2 points):

Maiden: Live performance mixed with cool old film clips and the giant Eddie doing cool stuff!

Priest: "Breaking the Law" is pretty cool... But there's one where the band is all at the gym with their shirts off and they are all sweaty... And then there's the "Point of Entry" stuff with this dumb stop motion animation.

Winner: Maiden, 2 points.


Maiden comes in with 12 metal points.


Coming up next, "So who would really win a fight between Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig?"

I can't really argue with any of that, thus I voted Priest.

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First time that I saw Iron Maiden they were supporting Judas Priest.

Both were excellent live bands and, although post-'Killers' Maiden is not for me, I accept that they continued to be an excellent live band.

I prefer Priest's twin guitar attack to Maiden's (influenced by 'the boss') heavy bass attack, but 'Iron Maiden' clinches it for me as the freshest, innovative debut album of the NWOBHM era.

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I take the Nigel Blackwell approach to this question. After some detailed analysis the following type of dilemma is apparent

"Help me Mrs Medleycott I don't know what to do. I've only got 3 bullets and there's 4 of Motley Crüe"

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Both crap. Wouldn't give 'em house room.

There are only three metal bands that count for anything in my book - Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath (of which only LZ has stood the test of time). And it was all over by about 1975. Everything after that is a bad parody.

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Saw Maiden at the NEC last year. Wasn't a big fan but my mate got free tickets and back stage passes cause he'd played football for the Villa stewards against them earlier in the day. Steve the base player was a nice guy and went round chatting to everyone. Waited all night to hear The number of the beast and Run to the hills, so was a bit pissed off when they didn't do either.

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Priest. Just for the irony mind. And Iron Maiden are West Ham fans...

Who do the members of the Priest support?

IMO, between Sabbath, half of Led Zeppelin, and Priest (and a few other metal bands from the general vicinity, e.g. Stourbridge's Diamond Head), Birmingham pisses over Liverpool in terms of contributions to music. Between the metal being Brum's contribution to the world and my family heritage in the area, I can only view my Villa fandom as sheer serendipity.

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