Iron Maiden vs. The World

January 14, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

The world is an immense place, so immense that it requires a speed of 11.2 km/s just to escape its gravity. But Iron Maiden is an immense band, so immense that the earth itself cannot escape the pull of the Irons. Is there a force on earth powerful enough to contain these Monsters of Metal?

Only science can tell.

The Pomp Culture Foundation for the Study of Speaker-Melting Rock presents its current findings in today’s installment of Iron Maiden vs. The World:

Iron Maiden vs. the United Nations

Who better to represent The World in this first showdown than the largest international organization of independent nation-states, the UN? Currently consisting of 192 member states, and spanning six continents (the Reptiloid Nazis living under the surface of Antarctica do not recognize the legitimacy of the UN as a governing body, and have rejected all peace overtures), the UN has been a fixture in world diplomacy since 1945. It consists of numerous administrative bodies that address issues as varied as world peace and security, children’s health, and economic development.

But, in a fair fight, could the UN top the mightiest band in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal? And how can such a fight be considered “fair?”

The Methodology:

Given that this is the first of at least two installments of this feature, here’s a one time explanation of the means used to determine a victor. So pay attention!

The PCFFSSMR has determined after years of study that, like all things scientific, the best way to compare seemingly unrelated subjects is to pit them to a specially designed battery of tests. Each test measures a criterion of performance necessary to succeed in the pitched field of battle. Like the UN Security Council, there are 5 permanent categories:
  • Intellectual and/or Literary Merit – What, if any, has the combatant added to the world of thought? Has the combatant synthesized the diverse strands of thought and words to create new and lasting value?
  • Influence – How has the combatant changed the world by deed? What great changes have been wrought through the actions of the combatant?
  • Image/Aesthetic – How does the rest of the world perceive the combatant? How does the combatant “brand” itself?
  • Pomposity – Without pomposity, where would this site be? This is a vital category.
  • Rocking Your Face Off – Probably the most important category of all. Nothing in life has any value if it doesn’t rock your face off.
In addition, there are two revolving categories which reflect the specific conditions of the specific conflict. In this case they are:
  • Stability of Membership – Has there been a unified group membership throughout the combatant’s career?
  • Frontman – Who is the champion selected to represent the combatants on the field of honor? Who all eyes turn to when the follow-spots are on?
Got it? Good. It’s time to move along, because we have some ranking to do:

The Battle:

Intellectual and/or Literary Merit
The UN is not exactly the most romantic of bodies. It doesn’t inspire poets or playwrights, and it certainly doesn’t produce much poetry on its own, as the most recent UN Resolution on Iraq can attest. On a philosophical level, I suppose the UN can derive some justification from the works of Bertrand Russell regarding the necessity of a single world government. But that’s just reaching.

Iron Maiden, on the other hand, has a discography that is rich and varied, seamlessly synthesizing such disparate source material as The First Detective Story (“Murders in the Rue Morgue”), Romantic Epic Poetry (“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”), classic Cult Television (“The Prisoner”), War films (“Where Eagles Dare”), and Romany legends (“Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”) into new and varied musical offerings. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Advantage: Maiden


Iron Maiden’s merging of the heaviness of bands like Black Sabbath, the technical precision of bands like Judas Priest, the mysticism of Led Zeppelin, and the raw attitude of early UK punk created a template for any of a number of Metal followers. To this day, an Iron Maiden tour can fill stadiums from Brazil to Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia. And they could probably still fill a decent sized nightclub anywhere else.

The UN, on the other hand, has about the political power of a hall monitor. Overridden time and again by China, the Former Soviet Union, and the United States, the UN Security Council might as well just send an online petition to those that transgress against peace.

Advantage: Maiden


Okay, here’s where it gets tough. Maiden is not, what one would call a “pretty” band. Or even a “presentable” one. And, like all Metal bands in the ‘80s, they wore clothes that looked, to be charitable, goofy:

Awful, awful decade.

Of course, the UN is not much more fashionable. Rivaling the British army’s Redcoats for inappropriateness in the field of battle, I present the intimidation of the Powder Blue Warriors of the United Nations:

Congratulations, Rwanda! It's a boy!

So far, it’s looking like a push. Now, if only each combatant had a symbol the world over could recognize and admire…oh wait…they do…

The UN:

The U.N. - making Canada's flag moderately less queer since 1945.

The Irons:

Trivia: This was Ben Franklin's original suggestion for the American flag.
A map vs. Eddie? Give me a break.

Advantage: Maiden


The U.N., in its own words:

“The United Nations is central to global efforts to solve problems that challenge humanity. Cooperating in this effort are more than 30 affiliated organizations, known together as the UN system. Day in and day out, the UN and its family of organizations work to promote respect for human rights, protect the environment, fight disease and reduce poverty. UN agencies define the standards for safe and efficient air travel and help improve telecommunications and enhance consumer protection. The United Nations leads the international campaigns against drug trafficking and terrorism. Throughout the world, the UN and its agencies assist refugees, set up programmes to clear landmines, help expand food production and lead the fight against AIDS.”

Get over yourself, U.N. Also, where are the periods in your initials? And “programmes” are something I watch on my “colour telly.”

Iron Maiden: In 1988, at the height of their fame, the band released a concept album about a fortuneteller that fails to convince a village of an oncoming holocaust, peppered with progressive metal songs, gypsy folklore, and references to the seven deadly sins.
Winner and Still Champion: Maiden

Rocking Your Face Off:

UN has elected to pass on this challenge. Although I hear former Secretary General Dag Hammarskj√∂ld briefly fronted a Death Metal group called “Fjist.”

Advantage: Maiden

Stability of Membership

Of the 51 original members of the UN, all still remain other than Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, who both ceased to exist as nations in 1992. All of the nations formed afterwards from these two nations have been admitted since this time. Since 1945, the UN has seen a net gain in total membership of 141. The only major personnel shift in UN history as been when the People’s Republic of China replaced Taiwan due to “creative differences.”

Maiden, on the other hand, did not release two consecutive albums with the same lineup until their fifth album, Powerslave. Over the years, they have had 3 drummers, 4 guitarists, and 3 lead vocalists (counting official releases only). Only their bass player and lead guitarist have been with the band from the outset.

Advantage: UN


Currently, the UN is fronted by Ban Ki-moon, a South Korean fan of diplomacy who rose to fame via unlikely means – a homemade video of himself mediating an Assembly that covered Classic UN resolutions like the Congo Intervention and the Founding of Unicef. The UN, desperate to replace the popular Khofi Annan (who left the UN to pursue solo projects), happened to catch this video on Youtube and soon Ban was “Living the Dream” of an International Figurehead. However, many diehard fans look at him as a feeble replacement for such an international star, and some have grumbled that maybe the UN has “outlived it’s usefulness.”

When original Iron Maiden frontman Paul Di’Anno left the group in 1981, few thought this once up and coming metal act had a chance of surviving. However, the addition of Ex-Samson vocalist Bruce Dickinson (yes, THE Bruce Dickinson) meant that not only did Maiden survive – it thrived. Dickinson’s operatic vocals and enthusiastic, sweaty appeals to the crowds of screaming fans to “Scream for” him fit the double barreled assault of Iron Maiden like a pair of zebra-striped tights. Classic album after classic album followed suit. And despite a brief period when Dickinson was replaced with the less-than-inspiring Blaze Bayley, Dickinson has taken the boys to new levels of success, fame, and world domination.

Advantage: Maiden

Given the superlative performance in this Scientifically Conducted Contest, it looks like a landslide. By a score of six to one, Iron Maiden handily defeats the United Nations.

Up next: Iron Maiden vs. The Innocent Laughter of a Child!

Do you have any suggestions for whom Iron Maiden should do battle with next? Feel free to leave them in the comments section, where they will likely be ignored!