by william kosh
Bands like Pantera and Metallica are elemental to our modern conceptions of heavy metal, but Iron Maiden may be the textbook definition of the genre. With aesthetic influence that can be seen everywhere from Attack On Titan to Gwar, Iron Maiden brought us the most colorful aspects of what we think of today as “metal.” Intricate songs whose lyrics weave through history and mythology? Check. Multilayered, full-sounding harmonies? Bingo. What’s their secret? How do they shift between old-testament levels of self-seriousness and van mural levels of kitsch without catching whiplash? And who the fuck gave them permission to make a bloody trip to the netherworld feel like spring break in Valhalla? Nobody, frankly, but a band as groundbreaking as Iron Maiden doesn’t require permission or precedent to do what they do. They even have their own beer now, with lead singer Bruce Dickinson working with Robinsons Brewery to create the English ale Trooper.