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Iron Maiden - No Prayer For The Dying CD (album) cover

NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

2.52 | 261 ratings

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Windhawk
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "No Prayer for the Dying" is the eighth studio release from classic British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, and their first release with guitarist Janick Gers. Upon it's release the album was given a lukewarm reception by many, mostly because new guitarist Gers replacing long-time guitarist Adrian Smith led to a distinct change in Iron Maidens sound. Their trademark melodic and harmonic solo guitarplaying was sorely missed by many.

Musically the album shows a band semingly in an identity crisis. There are quite a few examples of the band trying to continue with the musical direction they had on their previous release, "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son". Songs where the guitars are slick, toned down in the mix and generally coming across as a lighter form of heavy metal. In some songs they use synths as on their previous two albums, but in others they choose not to so. But there are harder, grittier tracks on this album as well. Songs with darker textures, meaner vocals, with vocalist Dickinson snarling more than singing. One major change from their last studio release; and what is a major change in the sound Iron Maiden developed throughout the 80's, is that few tracks here contain any structural progressive leanings. One of the main characteristics of Iron Maidens classic albums had been their development towards being a progressive metal band. This is mostly history on this release. Another major change in the sound is a more subtle change; on many songs there's less riffing than what Iron Maiden usually has had; and in the songs where they use their traditional mix of fast riffing and drawn out guitar chords the pace of the riffing most times is noticeable slower. Adding those elements to the fact that the harmony soloing now is mostly history; and a greater influx of traditional metal soloing in the songs; and you have an album with a dramatic change in overall sound.

Many feel that this album shows a band going back to their roots; that this album is closer to the punk-influenced roots of Iron Maiden. Indeed, when recalling this album from memory only that was what I remembered about this release as well. After listening through this album I'll have to admit a faulty memory in that respect. Although many of the songs are more primitive than on previous releases, they are not any closer to Iron Maiden's musical roots. The songs are less complex and more straight-forward only. Indeed, the addition of Gers has led to some songs getting a slight bluesy flavoring rather than punk-influenced; and the overall musical style here is closer to traditional heavy metal than NWoBHM.

As for the songs on this release; my main impression is that the band struggled hard to put an album together. Opening track "Tail Gunner" and "The Assassin" are the best songs here in my opinion; the first being a classic opening track in true Iron Maiden style, and the second one showing a band experimenting successfully with their sound. "Run Silent, Run Deep" and "Mother Russia" gives me the impression of being scrapped ideas for the typical long, epic Iron Maiden tracks they used to have on previous albums, where the band has tried to put together the best pieces of songs previously abandoned. The rest of the tracks are for the most part not convincing; and my overall impression is that the creative well of the songwriters now has run dry; and that the songs selected for this album is a selection of outtakes and previously abandoned ideas. There's nothing truly awful on this album; just too much that isn't good enough.

Windhawk | 2/5 |

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