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Iron Maiden - Powerslave CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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4.13 | 749 ratings

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4 stars Iron Maiden is one of my top five favoirte bands in history. Having said that, I do not believe they belong on this site, despite the high level of musicianship from each player. However, since they're here, I might as well review them. Powerslave is usually consider to be the band's finest hour and I must agree. I've heard some reviewers on this site claim it isn't exciting, but Maiden albums rarely are, the galloping rythmns merely fool you into thinking ithe albums are fast paced (the first two albums are but not so much on later records). Instead, you get a melodic power metal masterpiece with the crazy Nicko McBrain and the bass god Steve Harris anchoring the squeals of Adrian Smith's and Dave Murray's guitars, plus the soaring vocals of Bruce Dickinson. Harris is an undisputable bass god and likely second in metal bassists only to Sabbath's Geezer Butler. His playing on this album is his best, so get ready.

The album opens with the ode to World War I pilots "Aces High." This is a rather fast song with Harris' bass leading the way and Bruce's voice is superb.

"2 Minutes to Midnight" is one of the most serious songs Harris ever penned. It deals with the threat of nuclear holocaust as a result of the arms race in the Cold War. Murray's and Smith's solos are some of their finest.

"Losfer Words" is the band's finest instrumental offering, though don't expect any YYZ. The interplay between the guitarists and Harris reveals what talented musicians these guys are.

"Flash of the Blade" returns the band to the Rainbow inspired fantasy lyrics that made them the power metal stars they are today. It's a bit dull compared to the triple punch of the album's first few tracks.

"Duellists" is a splendid piece with Bruce's amazing vocals. The song structure is somewhat prog and manages to vary while keeping its chugging pace.

"Back in the Village" is my least favorite song on the album, though it's far from atrocious. The lyrics are a bit too close to Flash of Blade in my opinion, but then all fantasy lyrics tend to blur at some point.

"Powerslave" contains Adrian Smith's greatest solo and Steve's best bass workout, in my opinion. The song grinds it way through a mid to slow tempo riff that fades into a beautiful solo from Smith. Steve doesn't gallop like he usually does; his sound is slower and fuller than on many other tracks in the Maiden catalogue. Bruce's vocals are as usual strong and the lyrics, though silly, are interesting.

"Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is one of the band's crowning achievements (likely second only to Hallowed Be Thy Name). Concerning the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem of the same name, the song twists and turns through the mariner's fateful voyage. One of Bruce's finest performances and enough breaks and time changes to warrant a look even from prog folkies (no offense Hugues:). It stands as Maiden's longest track to date and one of their most progressive.

Powerslave is certainly a must have for metalheads, though proggies could avoid it easily. However, if you like your prog with an edge of heaviness (prog metal, 70s King Crimson, Fragile era Yes), then this would probably be a welcome addition to your collection. I can't give it fives stars on a prog site, but it is certainly an excellent addition to any audiophile's collection.

1800iareyay | 4/5 |


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