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Iron Maiden - Piece Of Mind CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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3.77 | 665 ratings

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4 stars The Number of the Beast, along with the first two albums, had cemented Iron Maiden as one of the leaders of the NWOBHM movement. The addition of Bruce Dickinson had ushered in an entirely new approach for Maiden; rather than Di'Anno's punky growl, the band now had a singer who could give the vocals an operatic bent, soaring above the thunderous noise of the guitars and drums. This resulted in Maiden soon diverting from more striaghtforward traditional metal to the fantasy-themed power metal, which they would soon conquer. Piece of Mind shows the completion of the classic lineup with new drummer Nicko McBrain. His inventive yet simple kitwork would complement Steve's galloping basslines like no previous drummer could. It also marks the full lyrical transtion to fantasy lyrics which had only been in a few Maiden songs up til that point. Bruce adds his Purple and VDGG influences to Steve's already strong songwriting to make some of the best fantasy lyrics in power metal.

The album opens with "Where Eagles Dare." Nicko wastes no time in announcing that he is the new Maiden drummer with the best performance ever heard on a Maiden song. Likewise, Bruce's performance is also his best. The song's chugging mid-tempo riff grabs you from the start and refuses to let go.

"Revelations" continues Bruce's strong performances. Amazingly he sounds even better than he did on Number of the Beast. It's very melodic and is another Boblical reference (remember the title track from NotB).

"Flight of Icarus" is the first of three straightforward rockers that comprise the middle of the album (think of Run to the Hills and NoTB from the last album, but ass on). This is a vocal stunner, with Bruce hitting some very high notes. It brings the tempo of the album back up to a mid-level chug.

"Die With Your Boots On" is where the trademark gallop comes in. This is very starightforward, but it's an addictive track with a catchy chorus.

"The Trooper" has Steve's best bassline, and it's one of his finest performances. The song deals with a soldier (duh) who is mortally wounded in battle. This song is a Maiden classic.

"Still Life" has a creepy intro complete with backwards speaking. The vocals are great, and this really varies the triple punch of the album's middle.

"Quest For Fire" and "Sun and Steel" are a little weak. They are straightforward but lack the punch of Die With Your Boots On and Flight of Icarus.

"To Tame a Land" is a great mini-epic closer that is very dark. The guitars here are the best on the album, though not as good as the fretwork that would be on their next opus.

This album is almost as good as its successor Powerslave, though this album is more varied than their magnum opus. This is Bruce Dickinson's album. His vocals here are a good portion of his best work. His lyrical contributions have ensured that Piece of Mind cements the band within power metal. Nicko mcBrain is the next most significant member; his inventive bass drums and cymbals making Maiden more progressive than it ever was. Maiden and metal fans must own this album along with everything Maiden has made from the debut through 7th Son, then from Brave New World on. Proggies, however, will find this album too straightforward.

Grade: B

1800iareyay | 4/5 |


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