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Iron Maiden Is Great Thanks to Murder

Some friends of mine in New Jersey had a theroy about Iron Maiden. They surmised that the first five Maiden albums were perfect metal records, mainly because every song was about, alluded to, or conjured up images of killing. Even the instrumentals...

Dave Mustaine’s recent comments about Obama planning shootings to influence gun laws reminded me of two things: He’s still a douchebag and Megadeth are still a band. Thinking about Dave and his really gross lips and the grosser shit that comes out of them, I was reminded of a theory that some friends of mine in New Jersey had (see, I don’t hate NJ, just Gaslight Anthem) about Iron Maiden. They surmised that the first five Maiden albums were perfect metal records, mainly because every song was about, alluded to, or conjured up images of killing. Even the instrumentals, which is pretty damn impressive.


Was this theory sound? Thinking about the bands that came after Maiden, like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax, we find that all of them have a good track record with death-themed songs, but don’t have the same commitment to murder that Maiden did. And none of them had a five-album tear like Maiden. Coincidence? Or conspiracy? To go deeper, let’s recap every track of their first five albums to examine just how much killing was going on.

Iron Maiden

This is about stalking and flashing a woman, then (probably) killing her. If you google “flasher linked to murder” you do get several results. :(

“Remember Tomorrow”
A song written for Paul Di’Anno’s grandfather about being dead.

“Running Free”
“Pulled her at the bottle top / Whiskey dancing disco hop / And all the boys are after me / And that’s the way it’s gonna be.” Getting away with killing a stripper.

“Phantom of the Opera”
A tribute to a disfigured maniac who lives under an opera house, where he tortures and kills people.

Instrumental about a city where vampires kill people.

“Strange World”
“Happy in a new strange world” with “girls drinking plasma wine.” This is probably Hades, which means you’re dead.

This is about running from the law after witnessing a murder.

“Charlotte the Harlot”
Prostitutes are often the targets of homicidal maniacs. Though this one makes it through this song, she eventually goes to hell in the 1992 track “From Here To Eternity.”


“Iron Maiden”
A guide to luring a person to your house so you can kill them. Key lyric: “Iron Maiden wants you dead.”


“The Ides of March”
An instrumental referring Caesar getting betrayed and murdered.

All about an unwanted child who’s looking for his father who he’s never met and is going to kill. Hey, that’s the plot to “Boy Named Sue” too!

“Murders In the Rue Morgue”
Do I have to draw you a roadmap?

“Another Life”
A guy contemplating suicide on an album called Killers.

“Genghis Khan”
Another instrumental, this one about a military leader who is famous for killing people by the thousands.

“Innocent Exile”
So this is about a man wrongfully accused of a crime, but the crime is murder, of course.

Guess what this is about?

“Twilight Zone”
A guy is stuck in purgatory and debates killing his girlfriend so they can hang out.

“Prodigal Son”
Whenever you ask for help from someone who murders innocent kids, you have likely done a shitload of killing on your own.

Where you go when you die, probably after being murdered.

The Number of the Beast

What happens when Vikings invade your shit? People die—a lot of them.

“Children of the Damned”
Guess how it plays out when six kids are born with psychic powers and they aren’t the X-Men? They get killed.

“The Prisoner”
Based on a television show about a former secret agent who has probably killed people.


“22, Acacia Avenue”
We check in with Charlotte again, she’s still fucking mad dudes and giving them diseases. There’s a solid chance some die.

“The Number of the Beast”
Ritual killings in the woods.

“Run to the Hills”                                     
Cowboys killed a shitload of Native Americans.

“Dead men tell no tales/ In Gangland murder’s up for sale.”

“Total Eclipse”
Guess what happens when the world ends? Everyone dies.

“Hallowed Be Thy Name”
A man reflecting before he’s hanged.

Piece of Mind

“Where Eagles Dare”
Based on a novel about spies, World War II, Nazis, and other stuff related to killing. Also includes a suicide.

Inspired by the writings of Aleister Crowley, featuring venom, black abysses, and serpents.

“Flight of Icarus”
Based on that Greek myth you probably learned about in grade school where a dude flies too high, then catches on fire and falls to the ocean and dies.

“Die With Your Boots On”
Bruce mentions almost every type of bad thing that could happen ever, including starvation and earthquakes.

“The Trooper”
Charging heavily armed Russian soldiers who are ready for your attack is a bad look but a great topic.

“Still Life”
Don’t let the word “life” fool you, this shit is about drowning.

“Quest For Fire”
Cavemen vs. dinosaurs. Doesn’t end well for anyone, really.

“Sun and Steel”
An ode to a dead samurai.

“To Tame a Land”
You don’t rule Dune without a lot of casualties.



“Aces High”
A great pilot flies around and kills people.

“2 Minutes to Midnight”
Tick tock goes the doomsday clock. When it strikes midnight everyone dies.

“Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)”
A weak instrumental with little to no killing, and the band doesn’t even like it. ‘orrible song without killing.

“Flash of the Blade”
A song about a swordsman that was also used in the film Phenomena about a girl who can talk to insects and solve murders, but the killings already happened, so she’s not preventing them.

“The Duelists”
You know what happens when someone challenges you to a duel? One of you dies.

“Back In the Village”
The sequel to “The Prisoner,” which mentions bombs, burning, killers, and killing.

Egyptians were super good at killing and also preserving dead people.

“Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
More than 13 minutes detailing nautical killing.


The original draft of this theory was created several years ago by Chris Zusi but was lost. Brett Beach and Geoff D’Agostino were also instrumental in consulting and finding killing themes in each of these songs.