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Where It All Begins... - 86%

OTB2007, January 10th, 2007

I know what you're thinking - at only three tracks and clocking in at a mere eleven and a half minutes, how can this demo possibly deserve such a high rating?

Well, quite aside from anything else, this is an historically important demo, being Iron Maiden's first release and, as such, marking the birth of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Compared to what other British bands of the day were peddling as metal (Sabbath's abysmal 'Never Say Die' or Rainbow's 'Down to Earth', for instance), it was a breath of fresh air to a genre that was in danger of becoming sterile.

It also marked Iron Maiden as THE band to watch in the British metal scene and with good reason, as their storied career has proven.

Let's not forget that the three songs on this demo - 'Iron Maiden', 'Invasion' and 'Prowler' are all bona fide classics in their own right and, whilst any Maiden fan will have heard them in many different guises over the last 25+ years, they have rarely sounded as raw or as full of energy as they do here.

To the best of my knowledge, this is only release to showcase Iron Maiden as a quartet. Bereft of their second guitar and with Paul Di'Anno's rough-hewn vocals on display, this is as streamlined and concise a version of the songs as you are ever likely to hear. Gutteral, angry and with a definite punk influence - which, surprisingly, is a good thing - 'The Soundhouse Tapes' is a perfect demonstration of what made Maiden such a force to be reckoned with.

Historical, a rarity and, more than that, a slice of molten metal magic.

Up the Irons!