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Iron Maiden - Piece Of Mind CD (album) cover

PIECE OF MIND

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

3.69 | 390 ratings

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The Whistler
Prog Reviewer
2 stars In a time when 2.5 ruled the earth...

See! See! I TOLD you this was going to happen! What the crap is this? I'll tell you what this is! This is dull, dull, eighties radio metal! In their attempt to keep putting out unstoppable metal albums, Iron Maiden has stripped away all their uniqueness that made me fall in love with the band, and reduced themselves to a third rate heavy metal band.

Piece of Mind is not quite the career low I make it out to be, but it's just such a disappointment. A disappointment I could see coming a million miles away, but a disappointment nonetheless.

"Where Eagles Dare" is a fairly lifeless piece of radio metal. Toe-tappin' fer sure, but it lacks the memorability and energy of all other Maiden openers thus far, and about halfway through, I loose interest. "Revelations" tries to fool you with a moody intro, but it's not much better. It speeds up a little towards the middle, which is cool, but hardly enough to save it.

"Flight of Icarus" at least sounds a little more like the band wants to play it, but as soon as that picks up, Dickinson starts to remind me why I think he's an irritating little Dio-wannabe. But, hey, at least it's short and headbangin', and that's all I can ask for at this point.

"Die With Your Boots On" is also a little more energy laden, but it's also fairly mindless with the warfare imagery (seriously, what's up with the screwy vocals?). Especially when it's paired up with "The Trooper," the album's best, and only classic number. A great galloping bassline and artillery mimicking percussion frames a truly headbanging look at the Charge of the Light Brigade. Only from Iron Maiden; too bad they can't keep it up.

Backwards "hidden" vocals certainly can't save "Still Life," which tries to go all moody and powerful, but just ends up sounding like a bad Number of the Beast outtake. At least here I can tell that they're really trying to be intelligent and tricky (it's not H.P. Lovecraft related, is it?), but c'mon! It's just not very good is all.

Now, "Quest For Fire" is just plain fun, since the strong opening riffage is immediately followed by the line: "In a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth!" Oh yeah. It's THAT good. Sadly, any cool music that could come from the song (and it's one of the more decent offerings) is swamped by the subject matter. "Sun and Steel" is slightly less embarrassing, and a solid, if not terribly original sounding, Dungeons and Dinosaurs metallic offering (it's about swords!).

Ah, but we've saved the least for last. "To Tame a Land" is the most pointless Iron Maiden epic to date. The moody intro is actually effective, but it quickly dissolves into unimaginative Arabic riffage that just ponders on and on and on over its seven minutes without ever actually really doing anything. C'mon guys! I could write a better epic about sand worms in five minutes...

So the basic problem with Piece is that, when the Maiden try to create something purely headbangin', it comes out cheap. All the "lesser" material on the album is something that any number of bands, from which I expect far less, could produce. And they'd probably do it better too. Aha! But when they try and do something intelligent and recapture their earlier glory, they fall flat on their faces (is it any wonder than Frank Herbert didn't let 'em actually name "Too Lame a Land" after one of the Dune novels?).

I mean, of course the classic Maiden sound is here, which is most of why I give it so "high" a rating. Everything thumps along with the standard "Maiden formula," so I don't mind the noise that's coming out of my stereo, I just wish it had been...you know, attached to tricky solos, or cool lyrics, or...crap, how about a memorable riff here or there, huh? Would that kill you?

Perhaps it would. Most of the time, it sounds like only Dickinson is keeping faith in the band, and sometimes, even HE sounds as lifeless as the rest of the musicians. Luckily enough though, Steve Harris was a smart enough lad that he able to use this dreadful album as a springboard to catapult him to Powerslave. I mean, can't you hear the start of "Powerslave" in "To Tame a Land," and "Two Minutes to Midnight" in "Die With Your Boots On?" Surely I don't have to point out "Where Eagles Dare" and "Aces High"...

How Steve-o was able to pull a minor metal masterpiece like Slave out of this Piece of Crap is beyond me, but just be glad he did. Skip over this one, download "The Trooper" and go right to Slave, for your own good.

The Whistler | 2/5 |

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