IRON MAIDEN – Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (2015 Remaster for iTunes)
With this feature of “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” we continue the saga of IRON MAIDEN catalog albums which have been Remastered for iTunes, encoded from 24-bit / 96 khz high resolution masters. All these albums have been freshly mastered from their original analog sources with iTunes in mind, delivering the music to listeners exactly the way the artist and recording engineer intended.
The other Iron Maiden brand new 2015 iTunes remasters can be found (HERE).
Iron Maiden’s founder member Steve Harris comments about this superior mastering technique:
“The Remastering for iTunes procedure allows the listener to experience the music as close as possible to the way the artist intended it to be heard. So, of course, I was very keen for the Iron Maiden albums to be mastered in this way.
The records have been available digitally before, when this medium first became a platform for music distribution, but were mastered with CDs in mind. The iTunes process involves a different approach and it’s great to finally deliver the music to our fans in as close to a pure and accurate sound as we could possibly achieve.”
In my humble opinion, “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” is the last great Iron Maiden album, reconnecting with the band’s proggressive roots.
By this point, Maiden had earned the respect of metalheads the world over with their steadfast adherence to unadulterated metal and their grandiose aesthetic. They’d made concessions neither to pop-metal nor to thrash, and their passionate fan base would never have tolerated a radical reinvention.
But what do you do when your epic ambition itself has become a formula? You go even bigger and make a concept album, of course.
The concept is based on the European folklore which held that the seventh son of a seventh son would be born with special powers that could be used for good or evil (and probably also in part by fantasy author Orson Scott Card, who’d touched on this idea in his own work).
As such, the lyrics are Maiden at their most gothic, obsessed with supernatural mysticism of all stripes; the story line concerns the title character, born with a gift for prophecy but mistrusted by his village, which ignores his warnings of apocalyptic doom and makes him a tormented Cassandra figure.
Musically, this is Maiden at their proggiest, with abrupt, stop-on-a-dime transitions between riffs, tempos, time signatures, and song sections. And this time they used real synthesisers, obtaining a unique, original mixture of sounds. Yet nearly every song has a memorable chorus adorned with full-fledged keyboards, which are used here more to add atmosphere rather than taking center stage.
No less than four of this album’s eight songs reached the British Top Ten in some version: concert favorite “Can I Play with Madness,” (a really successful single), “The Evil That Men Do,” “The Clairvoyant,” and “Infinite Dreams”, while the album became the band’s first U.K. chart-topper since The Number of the Beast.
The title track is this album’s extended epic, and it’s moved out of the closing spot in yet another subtle statement about shaking things up.
About this remastering, Steve Harris continues; “Now with this fresh mastering, the guitars are louder, the drums more substantial and the overall tone is so very much improved, in my opinion.
Tony Newton and Ade Emsley, who worked closely with me on the project, did a terrific job recapturing everything from the original masters, and together we’ve re- mastered them all digitally and I’m really happy with the results.”
Tony Newton adds: “The process started with locating all of the original album mix tapes (or whichever format they were mixed to). Then the choice of analogue to digital convertor was chosen for the most accurate capture to make it as close as possible to the sound of the mix as it was intended by the band.
When a lot of these tapes were last captured it was in the 1980s, early days of digital and only 44.1khz/16bit files were possible. On top of this, the new A/D convertors are far superior now, and, of course, it is possible to produce files of far higher resolution.
The result of this is that the songs now sound more defined with added depth and warmth.
Steve Harris ends; “I was very excited to be asked to be part of this project. I honestly feel that there is a massive improvement in the quality of these classic albums.”
I really love these new Iron Maiden’s remasters. All sound great in the car and with headphones the sound is wider.
If “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” doesn’t epitomize Iron Maiden’s sound or define an era the way the first three Dickinson albums did, it nonetheless ranks among their best work. Talented guitarist Adrian Smith left the band after this record, closing the book on Maiden’s classic period and heralding a dire — and distressingly immediate — creative decline.
01 – Moonchild
02 – Infinite Dreams
03 – Can I Play with Madness
04 – The Evil that Men Do
05 – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
06 – The Prophecy
07 – The Clairvoyant
08 – Only the Good Die Young
Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Dave Murray – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar, synthesiser
Steve Harris – bass guitar, string synthesiser
Nicko McBrain – drums, percussion
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