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Iron Maiden - Powerslave CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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4.13 | 765 ratings

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5 stars In my opinion this is Iron Maiden's most progressive album of the 80s, or possibly their best "prog candidate" ever. Seventh Son, Brave New World, A Matter of Live and Death ... they may contain more easily recognizable prog metal trademarks, but on Powerslave you get really many somewhat progressive songs together on one album ... and the other more "usual" songs are unusually quirky and innovative - and I think they show that the band had managed to find their own style (Out of the ashes of the NWOBHM, so to speak). Of course it's not a prog metal album - I'd say that it barely qualifies as prog related. But then again that doesn't mean that it's inferior in any way - In fact it's one of my favorite metal albums of all time, and essential for any prog metal fan who's at all interested in the roots of the genre.

Here are my comments on the most interesting tracks (from a prog standpoint):

Losfer Words: An interesting instrumental track that I love to play on the guitar ... a nice, melodic track which is progressive alone because it disrupts the album's "non-prog" flow started by the two preceding tracks. Also it's a very good example of Iron Maiden's capability to write songs that feature polyphonic parts for bass, rhythm guitar and lead guitar - quite intriguing.

The Duellists: An epic structure - although the song is only about 6 minutes long, it develops nicely and showcases an element which Iron Maiden used extensively and which was unusual for NWOBHM bands: Altering power chords by moving the base note one half note lower, creating a "reversed" major chord on the 5th step (e.g. A5 (A+E) -> Emaj (G#+E)). It's difficult to describe - but it's something which really expanded the "vocabulary" of metal, at least when used that extensively and consistently as Maiden do.

Powerslave: Oriental influences often lend a progressive touch to any style of music - it works for metal as well as for pop (George Harrison/sitar, anyone?). This is Iron Maiden's oriental epic ... one cannot help compare it to Metallica's Creeping Death. While I'd say that Creeping Death is more progressive, this one is more melodic and a perfect example for a heavy song with a melodic/acoustic interlude. That is followed by a fairly straight solo spot, which is in turn followed by a densely layered melody ... then another solo spot, a lengthy drum fill with a clever chord "descent" which takes us back to the song again. Why am I describing it in that much detail? Well, to show that although this is not considered to be prog metal, it's still a few magnitudes more complex than your average metal song.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Clocking in at over 13 minutes, this is as close to a prog epic as it gets for Iron Maiden. The track has an interesting, literature based lyrical concept, and is divided into three parts: The "main part" (about the voyage of a ship which becomes cursed when one of the mariners kills an albatros), a narrational part in the middle and a lengthy outro which picks up many motives from the main part and describes how the curse was lifted, and what happened after the voyage (thoughts of the one mariner who survived the voyage). Well, musically it's not that progressive (except for the part before the narration begins) ... but it's one of my favorite Maiden tracks, and I love every minute of it.

MikeEnRegalia | 5/5 |


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