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


Iron Maiden


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2.55 | 394 ratings

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2 stars Iron Maiden's 'No Prayer For The Dying' is generally considered by fans to be one of the weaker outputs from The Beast. It's even worse when you put this record in its chronological context, coming off the back of the utterly sublime 1988 album 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son'.

After reviewing 'The X-Factor', perhaps my favourite Iron Maiden record (shock!), I thought it would be fun to re-visit 'No Prayer', which like many fans of The Beast I consider to be their worst record by a long way. Its not that the songs are bad, so much as a lot of them are utterly uninspired. This is a record from a band running on empty and struggling to find direction after having a hugely successful string of albums in the 1980's.

According to the band this record was an attempt to go back to the garage band sound found on their first albums, notably the self titled 'Iron Maiden' and second album 'Killers'. The problem with this approach is that regression isn't a great strategy for any band. I'd have preferred them to carry on their progressive metal styling from 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' rather than try to recapture something they did a full decade prior. I'm glad to say that the most recent incarnation of Iron Maiden, starting in 2000, does return to progressively influenced metal music.

But back to the album in question, there is no doubt about it, 'No Prayer For The Dying' has some pretty fun Maiden moments, there are lovely Steve Harris bass-lines, great twin guitar action and Nicko McBrain is as creative as ever behind the skins. Bruce Dickinson sounds in good, not great form in this album. There are some good progressive moments on here, but there is also a lot of filler as well, and some really insipid songs on this record like the painful 'Holy Smoke' or the even more painful 'Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter'.

There are good songs on here though, its not all bad. 'Mother Russia' is perhaps the stand-out song. 'Tailgunner' is a very good song also, the bass-line in that song is a lot of fun! 'The Assassin' has some progressive moments. Like I say its not all bad. Ultimately you have to review an album within the context of what band has produced it. For some metal bands 'No Prayer For The Dying' would be considered a crowning achievement and a highlight of their discography. But this is Iron Maiden, a bunch of extremely talented musicians led by probably the best heavy metal bass player and composer, Steve Harris. For Maiden this album sounds ordinary and uninspired. And for that it deserves no more than 2-stars.

AndyJ | 2/5 |


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