The time has come to rank Iron Maiden's studio discography and taking on the task is like being asked to pick your favorite of 16 children. The British icons have maintained an astounding career despite never truly receiving commercial radio play, and have been at the forefront of integrity since their formation on Christmas Day 1975. Experiencing rises and falls throughout their four decades, Iron Maiden have recorded some of heavy metal's most cherished albums as well as some missteps that came under high scrutiny.

Through lineup changes across all fronts save for the bass slot that has solely been occupied founder Steve Harris, Iron Maiden's sound has evolved over the decades, always hinging on epic with at least one lengthy composition gracing most of their albums. From the street-ready, punk-enthused early years to straightforward traditional heavy metal to the dark and plodding mid-'90s to their current resurgence with the return of Bruce Dickinson in 1999 and their progressive nature ever since, Iron Maiden have maintained a level of greatness rarely seen in any band.

Click through the gallery above to see how Iron Maiden's albums rank!

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