11. The Final Frontier (2010)
Maiden’s newest effort and one of their most controversial among fans. There are some brilliant moments here, but many fans felt let down, still others considered it a return to Maiden mastery. The first single, “El Dorado” swept fans back to the height of the band’s career. However, the album gets off to a sluggish start with the overdone and underwhelming “Satellite 15… The Final Frontier” and tracks like “Coming Home” and the excessively long “Isle of Avalon” weigh this effort down. Other strong tracks include; “Mother Of Mercy” and “The Talisman.” Best song: “The Alchemist”.
12. Fear of the Dark (1992)
Fear of the Dark is something of a hit or miss album for Maiden. The title track is a master-beast of Maiden glory. Other songs like “Be Quick or Be Dead” and “From Here To Eternity” are weighty listens, but the album is steeped in weaker tracks that do not fulfill the epic promise. There are many a maiden fan who would argue this album belongs higher on this list. Best song: “Afraid to Shoot Strangers”.
13. Dance of Death (2003)
One of those Maiden albums that are either beloved or discarded. The album starts strong but finishes in a string of filler tracks that do not do the band justice. The good songs cannot elevate the entire album enough to rank it higher, though certain fans consider this one of the band’s better works. Stronger tracks include “Wildest Dreams”, “Montségur”, and the title track. Best song: “Paschendale”.
14. No Prayer for the Dying (1990)
This album marked the temporary departure of Smith and the introduction of Jannick Gers. Smith was not happy with the band’s direction, nor was Dickinson, and the sense of discontent and lack of accord seeps through into the music. “Tailgunner” gets it off to a decent start, and “Holy Smoke” keeps the hope alive, but that’s pretty much it for this dismal effort. You can tell how a band feels about an album by how much of it they play live… Poor production quality as well. Best song: “Holy Smoke” and “Bring Your Daughter… To The Slaughter”.
15. The X Factor (1995)
The introduction of Blaze Bayley: Fizzle, Pop, Sputter. The album’s failure is certainly not Bayley’s fault. Clearly the band was in disarray. Smith and Dickinson gone, a metal genre in mourning over its many losses in the face of grunge. The power riff is gone in favor of a broodier feel. Still it’s a decent album, but it doesn’t feel like Maiden. Quality tracks include; “Blood on the World’s Hand”, “Lord of the Flies” and “Man on the Edge”. Best song: “Sign of the Cross”.
16. Virtual XI (1998)
One would be hard pressed to fan any fan that doesn’t at least have this in their bottom three on this list. The second album with vocalist Blaze Bayley, Harris struggles in the writing here. While “Futureal” and “The Clansman” solid Maiden tunes, “Angel and the Gambler” is practically embarrassing at almost 10 minutes long and only four minutes of viable worth. A fairly lifeless record overall. Best song: “Como Estais Amigos”.