Book Review: Iron Maiden: Album by Album by Martin Popoff – Voyageur Press $30 US

I’m often skeptical when I read tag lines that say, “Required reading for fans…” but I have to admit, Martin Popoff’s latest tome, Iron Maiden: Album by Album really does fit the bill for required reading for fans of Iron Maiden, and newer fans will find this retrospective especially valuable.

In short, Popoff gives us one of the best books on heavy metal that I’ve read in quite some time – and I’d say I’ve read nearly all them in the genre. I’ve been following Maiden since 1982 and even I learned a thing or two with this read. In fact, I read nearly the entire text in one sitting.  I’ll probably read a few more times before the end of the week.

Popoff doesn’t merely attempt to rehash what critics and the media have written about Maiden in the past, rather the author gives some very nuanced background about each Maiden record in their discography and then brings in experts and musicians like Nita Strauss, Chris Jericho and Ahmet Zappa to offer their thoughts, feelings and perspectives. This results in a rich discourse whereby the reader can easily access a diverse array of dispositions on each record in easily digestible chapters.

I love how the book really doesn’t read like a mere exercise in fandom. There is truly some riveting commentary here and some rather deep analysis. I found the chapters detailing Maiden’s weaker period in the late 1990s particularly insightful. Critical yet fair at the same time.

The book also features over 200 photos, many of which fans haven’t really seen before. There are tons of valuable sidebars that offer readers complete track listings, album personnel and info on where and when the recordings took place.

This is both appropriate as a coffee table book given the layout and the rich photography, yet also serves a solid reference for any Maiden fan hungry for the details about their favorite (and maybe least favorite) records. At an extremely reasonable list price of $30, this is a no-brainer purchase.

Iron Maiden:  Album by Album is available now and can be purchased here.