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Iron Maiden - Piece Of Mind CD (album) cover

PIECE OF MIND

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

3.68 | 388 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I've finally heard this album enough times as to be ready to share my thoughts about it. Even though it was released after THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST, I review it now because I just got it a few days ago.

PIECE OF MIND marked the debut in Iron Maiden of now-legendary drummer Nicko McBrain. He replaced Clive Burr who had to leave the band due to personal problems (later he would develop a physical illness, and Iron Maiden have proved their worth by helping him in this hours of need). His style is quite similar, though I'd say McBrain's drumming is even more precise, accurate, and more virtuosic. The trademark ride- cymbal rhythm that McBrain loves to do (when he actually follows the hits of the bass drum) is incredibly simple but for me they bring a special flavor to the Beast's faster tracks (where it's usually used). The addition couldn't be more fortunate, as McBrain is really the ideal drummer for the British metal machine.

The music itself is only slightly more developed than in the previous album, but at the same time, it isn't. There are better textures and some interesting ideas, plus the recording for sure sounds way better. But there aren't really great songs as "Hallowed Be Thy Name" was in the preceding record. There are a couple of really weak songs, something that actually represents a decline in quality from the not-brilliant but at least bad-songs-free NUMBER OF THE BEAST.

Where Eagles Dare (8.5/10) As if to say "Hey, we have a new drummer", the album kicks off with a drum intro by McBrain. What unfolds is a very enjoyable track that is among the classics from the band and that, surprisingly, wasn't one of the first singles from the album. From the start the drummer shows that he's no amateur, and this, his first appearance in a Maiden album, proves that he's precise, accurate, creative. The bass work is great, as is the guitars'. The instrumental section flies and flies above our heads, and the lyrics remind us of the film of the same name with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood where two ally spies got into a Nazi fortress high on top a hill. The solo takes us to those heights, and the song succeeds. Surprise: another good opener for an Iron Maiden album.

Revelations (8.5/10) This one starts slowly, as if carrying some extra weight, then it gets more melodic, even more pensive, and then the onslaught of energy comes. It doesn't last long, as the melodic section arrives again. Good performance by Dickinson, a good song, it may lack some hooks but it's powerful and heroic nevertheless.

Flight of Icarus (7/10) One of the singles of the album, I don't see why this is one of the band's usual live songs. The chorus is certainly epic, but could be better. What IS epic is Harris' work, magnificent for such a slow-tempo song. This track doesn't deserve its fame, in my view, though that doesn't mean is bad. Is just not great.

Die With Your Boots On (5.5/10) As I said, this album has a couple weak tracks. This one starts promising, with good energy and a good riff, but then the obnoxious chorus strikes and ruins everything. And, to make matters worse, it appears and reappears again and again. A simple heavy metal track in Judas Priest's vein, I don't like it at all.

The Trooper (9/10) What a change! The main riff, melody of this song is legendary stuff, the kind that surely makes every fan in a Maiden concert tremble and want to scream out loud along with The Beast. Sadly the song doesn't have a chorus that would've make this a true anthem, (the song just has NO chorus at all) but the energy and the memorable opening make it the best in this record.

Still Life (7.5/10) This one starts softly, atmospherically, a conversation between all the electric-string instruments. Dickinson joins the dialogue as an intruder but his great vocals make him a star in the debate. The song never gets anywhere, but it's enjoyable. Nothing amazing, though. Forgettable.

Quest for Fire (6/10) This very short song has a weird beginning where we expect something much faster and then we get a rather mid-tempo rhythm, with Dickinson hitting an awkward falsetto that just doesn't fit him that well. An average song, with no interesting features, but nothing offensive neither. Mediocre.

Sun and Steel (6.5/10) An even shorter song, it starts with energy but no originality. The chorus is just weak, sounds slightly cheesy. Another forgettable filler. The solo is good enough to kick the rating up a notch.

To Tame a Land (6.5/10) The beginning is quiet, reminds us of the glories of "Hallowed Be Thy Name". The main verse isn't fantastic, the riff is not interesting. One of the few weak closers by The Beast, it leaves our minds just seconds after it got in. I expected a great short-epic conclusion, I got all that without the "great" part. Near the end, when it gets faster, some of the grace is saved, and we left the PIECE OF MIND experience with somewhat of a mixed feeling, not knowing what to make out of the last uneven track.

All in all, a disappointing album, specially coming after such a classic as THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST. While that album wasn't perfect either, every song on it was at least decent. Here we have a few advances towards progressiveness but also we take a few steps back towards boredom. For sure, this and NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING are in a battle to decide which one is my least favorite Maiden album. PIECE OF MIND wins, but just by a hair. And, to be more precise, because of a "Trooper".

Recommended for: Hardcore fans of Maiden. Completionists. And also to non-fans who want to have Maiden's best songs and can't get a hold of a Greatest Hits with "The Trooper" on it.

.there would not be any peace of mind without that song in your collection, that wouldn't be a true feast of the Beast.

The T | 2/5 |

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