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Being the first demo of a band, you might think that there isn't any point in getting it. In most cases, the production is god awful and the songs are usually re-recorded for their full length. In every way, the demo might be worthless and pointless but for the band's benefit when they need it. Not in Iron Maiden's case. There are much about this demo that makes it worth getting, even if you have their debut.
First off, the production is amazing, for being a demo from 1979. Each instrument is clear and mixed well so that nothing is overbearing. The only thing I can say is a flaw in the production is a vague fizzing sound and the drumming sounds a little soft. Other than that its well produced demo.
There are two songs on here that are also featured in Iron Maiden's debut, the song Iron Maiden and Prowler. If you love them on the debut, that doesn't mean you shouldn't get The Soundhouse Tapes. The songs sound much different that the debut version and I think they sound much better on this demo.
The song Iron Maiden, with the drums not as loud, doesn't sound as aggressive. Instead the oddly rockish beats played make the song sound a bit more classic rock than heavy metal. But this is only slight. The guitars, when they play the leads sound more clear and loud, as oppose to the debut where it hardly sounds any louder than the other instruments. Also the vocals are more eccentric and energetic in the demo. Paul Di'anno screams out the lyrics in a crazy fashion and randomly wails as oppose to the more tame and less varied vocal work off the debut.
The song Prowler's rhythm guitar is less distorted and raw. It sounds more like a rock sound. However the lead guitar is quite distorted and metallic. The hard rock beat is still there, perhaps a bit more of a punk style beat, and combined with the simple and strong bass, the song is blessed with a energetic and catchy rhythm. The solo is as crazy as ever, and the rough distortion sounds even more metal.
The other song, Invasion, is new one, for me at least. It doesn't really sound different than the others. The classic rock/punk beat is still present, with the bass dishing it all out with power. The guitar is of the slight distortion but overall, a clean tone. The solo is great as well, as is basically a shred fest but you can clearly hear it fit in key of the rhythm. A solid song overall for the classic Iron Maiden fan.
Looking at this short demo, you still might think that there might be some good stuff here but it still not worth getting. Well, you're wrong. The raw production, energetic vocal performance, and cool rhythm section makes this a unique and enjoyable demo. I honestly have probably have listened to The Soundhouse Tapes far more times than the Iron Maiden album because the sound is that good. If you are a fan, get this.