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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 The year was 1984, and Iron Maiden were becoming something of an enigma in the heavy metal world with the release of Powerslave. No, there was no shortage of classic power chords & riffs, and there was no loss of the "heavy" in their brand of heavy metal. However, they were beginning to experiment with elements that weren't too prevalent in heavy metal at the time but were mainstays of progressive rock (i.e. shifting time signatures, exotic harmonic structures, epic songs, etc.).

Tracks such as "Aces High", "Two Minutes to Midnight", and "Flash of the Blade" are standard Maiden fare with powerful vocals from Bruce Dickinson, heavy guitar riffs & harmony leads from Dave Murray & Adrian Smith, and monster bass guitar from Steve Harris. "Back In the Village", which features my all-time favorite Maiden guitar riff, is more of the same. However, on "Losfer Words" and "the Duellists" (they were obviously fans of Ridley Scott), the rhythms, chord scructures, and harmony leads are much more complex. Thus begins the progressive leanings of Iron Maiden.

The progessive elements on Powerslave are most prevalent on the last two tracks of the album, the title track and the epic "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". "Powerslave" features an Egyptian-inspired harmonic structure and lyrics about Horus and Osiris as well as a nice coda section with excellent harmony leads from Smith & Murray. "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", which nterpolates a few lines of the Coleridge epic poem, is the most progressive song on the album. Over 13 minutes long, it features complex time changes including a beautiful but hauntingly slow middle section, and it also features some of Nicko McBrain's finest work on drums.

Powerslave was revolutionary for 1984, and it signified a new direction for heavy metal. For this reason, it must be considered a classic among heavy metal albums. For fans of metal and especially fans of Iron Maiden, it is absolutely essential. For fans of prog, it is highly recommended.

jimidom | 4/5 |


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