Several years before Steve Harris formed what would become (arguably) the biggest heavy metal band of all time, four young Basildon rockers going under the dubious moniker of ‘Bum’ decided they had to change their name. Innocent as it may seem today, the name Bum was causing them a lot of problems, with many promoters and clubs refusing to book them as it was seen to be ‘offensive’. My, how times have changed!
Having witnessed Cream perform live in their school hall (!) in 1966, they were inspired enough to get working on a band of their own. They paid their dues initially as Stevenson’s Blues Department, playing regularly as main support to Fleetwood Mac and Jethro Tull amongst others.
Upon hearing the first Led Zeppelin album and witnessing their live performances the band adopted a heavier approach and the subject of Black Magic began to creep into their lyrics. The full impact of which can be heard here album opener God of Darkness, an occult-rock classic recorded a year prior to the first Black Sabbath album. Many have said it to be the first ‘proto-doom metal’ track ever recorded.
By 1970 the band had changed their name to The Iron Maiden and duly signed a deal with Gemini (an offshoot of President), who released their excellent and only single ‘Falling/Ned Kelly’ in 1970. Clocking in at just over six minutes, Falling was planned to be the first ever 33rpm single, however, as jukeboxes only played 45s they were forced to cram the whole track on to one side at regular single speed. B-side, Ned Kelly, was scheduled to be included in the soundtrack of the movie of the same name featuring Mick Jagger, with world tours planned to coincide with its screening. Unfortunately PRS issues forced this amazing opportunity to be aborted.
Not long after the release of Falling the band were no more, with bassist Barry Skeels going off to join legendary occult progressive rock bands Monument and Zior. Guitarist Trevor Toms went on to join Spirit of John Morgan and Nik Turner’s Inner City Unit amongst others.
Clearly The Iron Maiden were never destined to achieve their full potential. Captured on ‘Maiden Voyage‘ is a glimpse into what could have been, were they given the chance to develop. Alongside the said 45, amazingly we have managed to locate the original master tapes and restore the audio of their 1970 album demos, which were never completed. This Rise Above Relics release is by far the most superior sounding and detailed edition of ‘Maiden Voyage‘ yet, including a 40 page booklet with detailed notes and MANY unseen photos.
God of Darkness
Ballad Of Martha Kent
On Diehard Only – 2 Bonus 7″ acetate repros w/ satanic/numbered insert.
Side A / Side B
Help /Ramblers Blues
Side A / Side B
God of Darkness / Ballad of Martha Kent