Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Iron Maiden - Powerslave CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden

Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
5 stars Powerslave is by far my favorite Iron Maiden album released just yet! It contains the harder side of the band in their early days and is also incredibly filled with talent. Some of thier best songs, Aces High, 2 Minutes to Midnight, Flash of the Blade, Powerslave, Rime of the Ancient Mariner (a good story!), Losfer Words, and The Duelists all contain excellent music. If you want to give IM a try this is the album. It's hard Metal with good Prog attributes. To me, this album Powerslave always considered one of their more prog albums along with Seventhson of a Seventhson and their newer three albums. Give it a listen, it has the power that I like and has incredible musicianship. 5/5 stars, masterpiece of the historical Iron Maiden.
Report this review (#93099)
Posted Monday, October 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
Jazz Rock/Fusion Team
4 stars The third of the Classic Three, and probably the best. This is THE Iron Maiden album for me sometimes, and sometimes it's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, depends on my mood. Basically this is where everything came into place and Maiden could do no wrong. Not one song is a downer. The album mostly has this Egyptian feel to it, obvious due to the cover...

The opener Aces High starts with a bang, and this song is where Bruce Dickinson got his 'air siren' name from, most likely from the final notes of the chorus. This song is fast, full of intricate guitar work and solos, tight drums and bass, and mega intense vocal delivery.

2 Minutes to Midnight keeps the album going with it's instantly recognizable main riff (Maiden has tons of these) and great chorus.

Losfer Words (Big 'Orra) is the band's best instrumental track. This is where the Egyptian themes really start coming into play. This song is powerful and intense and excellent guitar work.

Flash of the Blade and The Duelists once again keep the album moving, for there's really no break in the album till towards the end. FotB has nice chorus melodies, especially in the vocals. The Duelists sees the band playing with different time signatures and more complex rythyms. Excellent songs.

The last 'normal song' (in terms of Maiden's standards) is Back in the Village, probably the most fun song with the most ridiculous guitar riff on the album. It's so fast yet so incredibly catchy. This song is competition for fastest Maiden song on the album with Aces High.

Once the song is over, the prog-metal begins. After a very haunting and evil Pharoah laugh, a drum roll leads right into the title track...

POWERSLAVE. One of the heaviest songs the band has made, the Egyptian theme is now in full swing and it couldnt be more amazing. This is the band's most evil, haunting, yet beautiful song the band has made. After the main theme of the song ends, it moves to a more melodic, sad part of the song. The song builds up with an excellent solo before building up the song into another solo, but with more power and musicianship. After the solo is probably the MOST underrated twin guitar part Maiden ever wrote. Maybe it's cause the bass is more prominant in that part, but it is so beautiful, i wish it were more clear.

Finally we move to the epic 14 minute track, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The song takes its time throughout the song. The first section telling the story. When the song moves into 6/8, the song starts becoming more than just your average Maiden tune. Once Bruce is done singing for a bit, the song becomes this dark force that no one could anticipate, nor contend against. When the mood eventually calms down a bit, the song gets darker until you can't even see your hands in front of your face. But there is a beakon of hope, as the song turns more and more uplifting and builds and builds and builds and builds until it cannot build no more and EXPLODES into prog-metal euphoria. My sweet Jesus i have goosebumps, chills down my back and wet pants all at once when the solo comes in. Word cannot describe how amazinf this song is, you just have to listen to it yourself. It just makes you want to go "Yes!" and raise your fist. I dont care if you like prog-metal or not, if you dont enjoy this song, then you are not a prog fan in general in my eyes.

I have no more to say...

Report this review (#93116)
Posted Monday, October 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

When one talks to a Maiden fanboys, Powerhouse comes usually in their top three and if you talk to progmetalheads, it usually always ends up on their podium as well. So we are ready for yet another formulaic metal full-frontal attack. Actually what the artwork tells us is that their mascot Eddy (mentally interned on the last album) is either completely bonkers (imagining himself as a Pharaonic mummy) or the group's concept is now dry and therefore ready for new temporal adventures out of lack of new Invention avenues. Clearly for me, the second option is the one I chose: there is a strong taste of staleness installing itself in Maiden album with this album, but it did not come as a sudden event, it is a gradual and almost imperceptible downslide to repetititititive riff-erama's galore.

The usually short hits (but not so short this time) Two Minutes To Midnight and Aces High, the two mid-length so-called epics (Duellists and the title track), a few fillers (Losfer and Blade).. Everything points to yet another chapter of déjà-vu/entendu, if it was not for the closing monster track: the 13 min+ Ancient Mariner. Not that this track is breaking uncharted Nubian desert (which for an ancient mariner would be rather annoying ;-), but it does bring a little "je ne sais quoi" that does perk the ear of this old dog. Although of a relatively basic complexity, we have here a real piece of metallic gleam of hope, a bit of an epic; one of these tracks that obviously helped progmetal's development along with Queensryche or mid-period Metallica. And the start of many more migraines for those having metalhead brothers.

Definitely not enough to bring the album to an essential status, not even really saving the album from sinking slowly into oblivion (lost in a metallic ocean of now-average and rather boring riffs, overflowed a tidal wave of such albums), this last track is worth a notice, but little more. Do I read/sound over-articulate and non-sensical for such an album? Most likely a reaction to the album which is more than likely contagious in redundancy. Definitely a bit stale, but ultra fans will love, and I actually very happy for them. To each his own. Now about that Univers zero album..

Report this review (#93156)
Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars To me, this albumstands out as the definite highlight of Iron Maiden's career, mixing elements from all previous releases into an incredible, slightly progressive blend of melodic guitars, raw basslines, tight drums and very nice vocals.

As always, Iron Maiden delivers some of the finest riff based heavy metal, but on Powerslave, this is combined with ambient parts, prog metal style guitars and experimentation with egyptian scales. The songs are varied and build up very nicely, the calm sections making the heavy ones even more effectful, and there is not a single "unnecessary" track on the album. Aces High, 2 Minutes To Midnight and the mighty 13 minute long Rime Of The Ancient Mariner are some of my personal Iron Maiden favorites of all time.

A great album, and one of the finest moments in heavy metal history.

Report this review (#93163)
Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Powerslave" was perhaps the first Iron Maiden album to really contain progressive elements, something that would become more and more notable over the next few albums. Of course, the progressive elements are mostly only notable on the last two tracks; the title track and "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" which also both stands out as some my personal favorite Maiden tracks. This album is perhaps their heaviest, but still holds a close hand to their ordinary, less-heavier sound. After several listenings, this turned out to be my favorite Maiden release ever.

This was Drummer Nicko McBrain's second album with Maiden (he replaced Clive Burr for the "Piece of Mind" album) and you can hear he has found his place in the band here, with his powerful and great drumming style. The guitar riffs are among Maiden's best ever; well- composed yet aggressive in a way without ex-aggerating in any sense. A couple of singles was made from this album as well promoting this album even further among it's already huge sales. "Powerslave" soon became one of the landmarks in the heavy metal scene, and it still is. Every track is a winner here, something that is very rare for most albums, and I would say in overall that this is Iron Maiden's best release this far.

I highly recommend this album to any fans of this band. This may be not essential in a regular prog collection, but it's definitely essential in a heavy metal collection. I really can't go under 5 stars with this one, although it only merits a 2.5 on a prog scale, It's perhaps their most perfect this far, In my opinion.

Report this review (#93198)
Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Iron Maiden's first four albums are a document of the band's continuous upward drive to rock stardom, from the gritty clubs of Acacia Avenues to the pretensious nonsense of biblical narratives, culminating in a sold-out headlining tour of the US. This, the band's fifth studio LP, showcases a band much more confident in its own abilities... everything about the album is grandiose, from the acrobatic lead-off track "Aces High" to the almost ludicrously excessive closing epic "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," clocking in at a then- unheard-of (for the metal genre) 13 and a half minutes. Other highlights include the symbolism-ladden Cold War paranoia of "Two Minutes to Midnight," and the pummeling title track, notable not only for it's catchy Egyptian-style riffing but for the now par-for-the- course instrumental section that bisects the song, perhaps the band's most lyrical and sophisticated attempt at such prog aspirations. Iron Maiden's penchant for the dramatically larger-than-life makes this album live up to the gigantic Eddie pyramid that graces this masterpiece's cover art, but with enough bite and menace to retain their credibility in the metal crowd. I've heard countless Maiden fanatics name this album as their favorite, and sometimes I find it hard to disagree... there's not a sour note on the whole affair.
Report this review (#93237)
Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Powerslave" is a straightforward heavy metal album of the mid 80's. The drums and the bass sound a bit like on "Piece of mind", but the electric guitars are slightly more fuzzy and less incisive. I find all the tracks sound about the same, so that this is a very disciplined and conservative album. The tracks are slightly progressive, and Dickinson's voice is good although he adopts a repetitive complaining & angry tone, maybe a bit more than usual. To be honest, "Powerslave" is not an exciting album: maybe it is because the guitar sound & effects and the drum patterns could be more varied. Harris' bass contrasts with the monochrome rhythmic guitar riffs: unfortunately, those monolithic guitar riffs often create like a wall to the very elaborated bass, so that the bass seems trapped inside this sound. One can notice Harris' omnipresent typical spring-like noise produced on his bass strings. The best bit is the mellow one on the "Powerslave" track: a very pleasant combination of melodic guitar solo and catchy bass; unfortunately, it does not last long enough. The last track, "Rime of the ancient mariner", is a progressive metal epic song lasting 13 minutes: it is the best one on this record, being very catchy and addictive; it has a mellow bit with a good frightening atmosphere and a morbid narration: it is very appreciated since it temporarily interrupts the monolithic rhythmic guitar riffs. This album is very appreciated among the metal community.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Report this review (#93549)
Posted Thursday, October 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A killer LP from the best heavy metal band of all time IMO. Killer riffs, voice, solis, and so on... Progressiveness in all that ? : instrumental parts of "The Duellists", and of course the famous 2 last tracks with their dark and thrilling atmospheres. Pure musical delight No more to add about it.
Report this review (#93608)
Posted Friday, October 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
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.

Report this review (#93865)
Posted Monday, October 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars These guys were the first band to play in an Eastern bloc country with full arena production.They also broke the record for most sellouts at the Longbeach venue in California on this tour. Bet you guys didn't know prog was this popular did you ? Haha.This record along with "Number Of The Beast" are the two most popular IRON MAIDEN releases among non-prog fans. For me it's this one and "Piece Of Mind". The twin lead guitar attack of Murray and Smith and the incredible vocals of Bruce (the human siren), and the world class bass playing of Harris has made these guys a force all over the earth. Steve Harris wrote 4 of the 8 tracks.

The first two songs were actually released as singles."Aces High" is about WWII fighter pilots and the imagery is just fantastic ! "Two Minutes To Midnight" is about the threat of nucleur war.The only instrumental "Losfer Words" is so intense. The rhythm here is punishing to say the least as the guitars play over top.This is a top three song on this record.The next four songs are great and all are part of the Egyptian theme of this album. "Flash Of The Blade" opens with such a good guitar melody and it comes and goes throughout. The song turns heavy when the vocals come in. Just a great sounding tune. "The Duellists" has a killer rhythm with huge bass lines from Harris. Check out the guitar 3 minutes in and a minute later.

"Back To The Village" has some amazing guitar to open then that killer rhythm section takes over with vocals. Outstanding sound 3 minutes in. "Powerslave" has a haunting intro and when it kicks into gear it doesn't get much better than this. Bruce spits out the words. A calm after 2 1/2 minutes as this absolutely gorgeous guitar comes in followed by a ripping assault. Just an incredible instrumental section here. It turns heavy 5 minutes in with vocals to end it. The best song in my opinion is the epic "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner". A very progressive and long song at 13 1/2 minutes. Again the rhythm is killer as vocals join in. A calm 5 minutes in and you can hear that the ship and crew are adrift at sea. The spoken words and sound affects are an excellent touch. At 9 minutes in they sound like SABBATH circa "Master Of Reality". Then we get that galloping rhythm after 11 minutes.

The louder this record is played the better it sounds ! Up the irons !

Report this review (#95152)
Posted Thursday, October 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars What to say about this album? Amazing artwork, catchy songs, great production... This is in fact the first Maiden album I bought, at a time I wasn't too much in listening to metal, but I got very impressed back then. Clearly this album is the reason why Maiden has been added here, as it is the real first effort with significant progressive elements.

However, the album starts with two basic metal songs, "Aces High" and "2 Minutes To Midnight", both sharing the same war theme with fast paced riffs (both ending as classic Maiden hits and live favorites). "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" is a great instrumental, sharing the same complexity as its predecessors "Transylvania" and "Genghis Khan" (the last guitar part is amazing). "Flash Of The Blade" is maybe the only weak track here - nothing original in the melody. "The Duellists" is again one of my favorites - very catchy double verse/chorus structure, very melodic instrumental mid part that seems to last forever although it's only 2-3 minutes long. "Back In The Village" is another catchy song, almost funny too like "Quest For Fire" on the previous album. Then the two masterpieces: "Powerslave", written by Bruce Dickinson, is a mid paced song with an instrumental break in the middle, and "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner", written by Steve Harris, a conceptual epic song based on Samuel Coleridge's book.

Rating: 90/100 (5 stars)

Report this review (#98283)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#102200)
Posted Friday, December 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 Stars

This album avoids the main problem of "Piece of Mind". The music here sounds a bit more original and the songs are a bit more different from each other. Most of the songs are strong and tight, with the 2 longer ones showing the future direction of the band. The progression the band went thru in this album is literally 'prog'. Here, the band started writing more complex songs, exploring ambient atmospheres, and incorporating egyptian scales in a couple of songs. Powerslave features Iron Maiden's longest song, being 13 minutes long. For me, it is the weakest track on the album, as it drags in moments and has some really unoriginal riffs.

Just like Piece of Mind, the album begins with a catchy metal song of high caliber. Aces High has terrific guitar playing and excellent refrains. 2 Minutes to Midnight is another accessible metal song with melody and power. It has an interesting tempo change where the slower section offers wonderful guitar playing. Losfer Words is an instrumental with good ideas scattered, as well as virtuosity. Flash of the Blade has an original idea for a riff, nice harmonized choruses, and a creative moment with many guitars playing at the same time. The Duellists is a more sophisticated song with excellent guitar performances and a longish instrumental section with plenty of good musicianship including the bass playing. One of my favourites of the album. Back in the Village is a straightforward fast-paced metal song, but it has good guitar riffs, saving it from mediocricy.

Now, to the more progressive part of the album:

Powerslave is my favourite song of the album. It has a very captivating main riff played on the verses which uses egyptian scales and excellent vocal melodies. The bridges feature nice melodies and the choruses combines a great vocal hook (as well as vocal harmonies) and another great guitar riff using low notes. After two choruses, a highly melodic (yes, I'm overusing the word melody) guitar solo sets the start of a long instrumental section with the band playing at its best. The bending down of a chord sets the song back again to the verses and choruses and the song finishes.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner does not grab me as much as it does to other fans of the band. However, it really has some high points. I just don't like that much the main riff played in the beginning: it's too basic and unoriginal. Luckily, a tempo change at minute three makes way for a new guitar riff that is more interesting and a more enjoyable rhythm. An unusual guitar line in a different scale leads way to an overlong ambient section with narration. Nothing really happens during it, just an acoustic guitar and an electric one playing the same thing over and over again, making it as boring as the first 3 minutes. Luckily, a more interesting and slightly heavier section wakes me up. Pay attention for the scream in this part, it is even better than the one in "Number of the Beast". Afterwards, some guitar solos appear and the boring riff of the beginning comes back and finishes the song and album on a low point. This song reminds me of the beginnings of the Death Metal band Opeth.

Overall, a very solid album with one huge blunder: Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which sounds like an amateur attempt to write an epic, failing miserable. The rest ranges from good to excellent and provides more complexity than the previous two albums.

Report this review (#104620)
Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best Maiden studio work, owing to intricate guitar shapes with cunning soloes, and Bruce Dickinson in his best years. Also, one of the best albums bass-wise. Interestingly, each song has a "character" in it, no unnecessary tunes here. My favourites are 'The Duellists', with Smith's and Murray's literally duelling guitar play, and the song thanks to which I started to like Coleridge, that is 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner'. In a word, a masterpiece.
Report this review (#108231)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'll have to skip reviewing PIECE OF MIND for now, as I haven't heard the record, yet (it's on its way). So, in my current series of all of the Iron Maiden's albums that I have, let's continue with the one that many fans (if not me) consider their masterpiece: POWERSLAVE.

After Clive Burr had to leave Iron Maiden and was replaced by Nicko McBrain, the band's ideal line-up was finally complete. Even though Burr was a good drummer, his level of playing wasn't up to par with the energetic, stimulant, perfect-for-Maiden style that McBrain brought with him to the Beast. His trademark use of the ride cymbal, while really very, very simple, is so unique, and fits Maiden's music so much like a perfect glove, that now I couldn't imagine the group without their always joyful heavy-hitter. McBrain plays the drums with such a happy, excited face that it even helps the band visual effect (as if it needed any help, with all the Eddy paraphernalia that they got going in their concerts).

Besides the change in drumming (change that really occurred in the preceding album, but as I haven't heard it yet, I have to make my comments here) Maiden's music also experienced an upgrade. Their exploration of more progressive ideas (Maiden's members have never been shy to recognize their progressive influences) and the improvement in their guitar textures marks a huge departure from traditional Heavy Metal acts. It goes without saying that Harris' bass is another big factor in making Maiden what it is, and it also received a push in quality in POWERSLAVE. Dickinson's vocals are, as always, powerful and the perfect match for the music. The punk in their sound was almost completely gone by this point, and the production values were much higher, thus helping the band to achieve the status it eventually did (in my eyes) in SOMEWHERE IN TIME.

My only complaints with this album: it lacks the classical melodic, epic song of other records (even THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST had "Hallowed be thy Name"), that kind of song that only Maiden can deliver, that goes from slow to fast so well-done that the change is absolutely smooth, perfect. The emphasis here is on fast tracks, and even the epic (by it's length), "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", has not enough melody to quench this prog-fan's thirst.

Aces High (9.5/10) If there's something that nobody knows how to do like Iron Maiden is how to open their albums. POWERSLAVE gets started with one of the best fast tracks by the Beast. The simple riff is enhanced by the powerful, throttling bass. The energy is beyond reach, this really sounds like music for war-airplanes. The solo by Smith and Murray is fantastic as always, both of them dialoguing, having a "guitaristic" conversation that even we non-guitar-language speakers can understand. The song reaches its end and we now we're in for one infernal ride. Excellent.

2 Minutes to Midnight (8.5/10) Some distant guitar riff opens this very popular track. The song has power and also a sort of punk-ish air to it, but the great vocal delivery by Dickinson makes it a hit. He makes this song a success, besides, of course, the relentless bass of Harris, who seems to have fingers full of muscles but also full of ideas. The China-cymbal bit in the instrumental section by McBrain is quite precise.

Losfer Words (Big 'Orra) (8/10) I'm not a huge fan of this piece. It's a good instrumental, but as instrumentals go, I prefer more soloing, more melody, and this tracks feels more like a regular song without lyrics than a true instrumental wrote as an instrumental. Of course, the level of playing is very high, specially by Harris who manages to make even the most mundane of ideas into something exciting. The guitar solo in the middle section ultimately catapults this track to a higher echelon. Good.

Flash of the Blade (8.5/10) We're back home with a fantastic riff to open this non-stop attack on our energy supplies. The verse is not that memorable but the chorus makes up for it with a catchy melody, ready for arenas. Good song, made even better by Murray's and Smith's solos. The section where only the two of them dialogue is a textbook in good double-guitar metal.

The Duelists (7/10) This one starts with a typical rhythm for Maiden, very similar to that of the last song of this album. I don't particularly love this track, but the guitar solo section enhances it greatly. Too repetitive, this track may be the weakest in the album.

Back in the Village (7/10) The opening riff is decent but not overly original. Pure energy, pure speed, a little of punk forces strike back. Harris' bass just keep on coming with pounding strength. The other not-memorable track in the album, it doesn't hurt it as it's perfectly placed right before better songs.

Powerslave (8/10) The Egyptian-eastern-sounding riff gives this track a distinct flavor that matches perfectly with the lyrics (and overall concept of the album.) This song has a little more in the way of melody, and McBrain's drumming is exactly like it should be. The second section (after the main riff) is menacing, almost black-metal menacing. Then we have an instrumental section with more melody and a great work by Harris. (his bass is just so over the place in the mix). A good track that could've been better.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner (9/10) The long epic of the album, it tells a great story with great resources. At times it could get a little repetitive but there are other moments when it really sounds progressive, with great texturing work by the guitars and master Harris. Dickinson sings his lungs out, but also delivers subtlety and passion. With more variation it could've been the first 10/10 I would've given to an Iron Maiden song, but I'd have to wait for that. More melody, more diversity and this would have been one of THE epics by The Beast. It's probably their longest song, right above "The Sign of The Cross" in THE X-FACTOR, but, unlike that magnificent song, many of the minutes are just too much alike. Great song. Not perfect. The middle instrumental section is amazing, though. It's what surrounds it that lacks enough variation.

Just by seeing the ratings I've given to the songs it's easy for me to say that I like this album more than THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST. As music goes, it's better, with better playing, better ideas, more progressive. That will make me give POWERSLAVE a 4 out of 5. Curiously, though, melody was more present in the 1982 historical album I just mentioned. The right balance would be achieved later.

Recommended for: Any metal fan; Fans of iron Maiden; fans of fast, energetic songs; fans of great lightning-fast guitar soloing.

Not recommended for: People who dislike metal, Maiden and all of that. You know..

.by now it should be clear who should stay away from Iron Maiden. Their music will change, but not as much as to create lovers in those who already can't take metal or the sounds of The Beast.

Report this review (#126351)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars 2.5 stars, actually

I am not an Iron Maiden fan, but from what ive given the chance to hear according to the ratings on this site, i can see why so many people are. This album, i believe, is not as good as Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, because it does not keep a consistent theme the whole album. However it does give you some great songs. The problem i have is that there is some serious filler here, a couple of the songs in the middle are terrible, and it pained me to listen to them all the way through. This is a rather high quality metal album, but that being said its still really straight forward and not for a prog fan. If your a metal fan than go ahead and get it. For the prog fan, Rime of the Ancient Mariner is going to be your only real prog here.

Fantastic metal, RotAM is the only prog though, so 2 and a half stars is quite generous.

Report this review (#130788)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars Despite being filled with enough cheese to fill the pyramid on the album's cover, "Powerslave" is a juggernaut of infectious and bombastic metal, containing some now classic Maiden tracks as well as there most ambitious composition up to this point. "2 Minutes" might just be the most fun Iron Maiden chorus of all time, while "Powerslave" and "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" show the band experimenting with their trademark sound to create some powerful new themes. Add to this not one-- but two songs about swordfighting, and you've got a recipe for heavy metal excellence. For fans of the genre and the band-- "Powerslave" is impossible to disappoint.

Songwriting 3 Instrumental Performances 3 Lyrics/Vocals 4 Style/Emotion/Replay 4

Report this review (#131398)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#135455)
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Powerslave is the fifth studio album by legendary british heavy metal band Iron Maiden, and for many this release is seen as the peak of their career musically. With all members now having a minimum of one album and one tour under the belt, the band is very tight sounding. In addition they are more aware of what they want their music to sound like when recording in the studio, and main songwriter Steve Harris still has the ability to conjure up tracks containing slightly surprising creative elements.

Musically Iron Maiden now has developed a distinct style of their own. Small remnants of their early punk roots still remain, the heritage from 70's hard rock can still be heard in places; especially on a track like "2 Minutes to Midnight", but most times Iron Maiden now has a distinct, unique sound on this album. Fast paced riffing combined with slower, atmospheric riffs, harmonic riffs and extensive use of harmonic, melodic soloing are all trademarks of Iron Maidens sound here, as well as drums and bass at times played faster than the guitars; and the bass guitar being a central instrument in the soundscape of most songs. In addition to that, the song structures now begin showing influences from prog rock. The long epic "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is the prime example of that, but also a track like "Losfer Words"; where the band plays around with repeating themes and slight touches of dissonance; is a good example of that influence. The musical style is still heavy metal though; as the influence from progressive rock shows more in structure than in style.

The songs on "Powerslave" are mostly good. Title track "Powerslave" and the long epic "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" dominates the album, but most of the other tracks here are of high quality as well.

Overall this results in a classic heavy metal album; and is a worthwhile addition to most music collections.

Report this review (#136025)
Posted Monday, September 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is truly a masterpiece, and is probably the first really progressive album Maiden released. As always all the musicians are mindblowingly good. Bruce Dickinson is particularly amazing on this album, showing both the rougher side, and the more operatic side of his voice. Steve Harris is also worthy of note, being one of the most influential bassists in heavy metal music.

'Aces High' starts the album in a classsic Maiden way: short and fast. This contains some brilliant interplay between all the musicians at break-neck speed. '2 Minutes to Midnight is a very venomous track, with it's ironic lyrics about nuclear war, and has a great solo to boot. Possbly the Maiden song with the best Catchiness:Skill ratio as well. 'Losfer Words (The Big 'Orra)' is a great instrumental packed with siome of the best riffs and basslines on the album. 'Flash of the Blade' is a very epic sounding track, despite being short and has some very powerful vocals. 'The Duellists' marks a slight drop in quality, but still manages to be brilliant. 'Back in the Village' is a strange track and a sequel to a previous track called 'The Prisoner'. This one has a great catchy chorus. 'Powerslave' is the album's heaviest track and has a real Egyptian feel, that became quite popular in the heavy metal world (see Metallica's Creeping Death, and anything by Nile). The masterpiece, however, is the epic 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner', a song that takes us on a journey through the sea. The story is easy to follow and the music is very atmospheric, with different sections creating different moods. It has some great riffs and solos, everything that you expect from Maiden and more.

While not being my favourite Maiden album as such, this is undoubtedly the best. 5 stars.

Report this review (#148255)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The previous Maiden album, "Piece of Mind" was a bit of a deception. The ultra fast rhythms were gone and place was left for heavier and slower-paced music.

Fortunately, "Powerslave" will be different. Great beats again with a wild opener : "Aces High". But the whole of this album is a fully loaded with the highest energy. I particularly like "Two Minutes to Midnight" and its great guitar break.

This guitar orgy goes on and on, tirelessly. "Flash On The Blade" and its almost punkish mood is just another song which is accelerated to the max. Powerful and effective. Even if all these numbers aren't masterpieces, they are a pleasant metal "symphony".

Because in terms of prog, I'm afraid that the average progheads won't be very pleased with a work like this. Several songs are longer than average, but this won't mean complex song construction. Just extended simple (but good) tracks. For guitar and metallic sounds lovers. In this respect, "The Duellists" is one of the best and most achieved song. One of the highlights.

The title track is also a more elaborate one. Pleasant and melodic middle section (guitar oriented, would you believe). This will only be a short breathe of a smoother moment but the listener is quickly reverted into the fury. A highlight as well.

And finally, "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" as the closing number. Their first true epic. From heavy metal to some spacey and ambient parts for about two minutes (the very first ones in their career so far). But I can't really consider this as the archetype of a prog song. It is a creative metal one, that's for sure.

I guess that it has been a deep inspiration for some long "Dream Theater" pieces. Very strong bass and a bombastic wall of sound even if it starts as a "Sabbath" song. The best song of this very good album.

Seven out of ten? Not yet possible, man! Gosh!

Four stars.

Report this review (#152806)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I was way too late knowing the music of Iron Maiden until one day in 2000 (can you imagine, I knew the band decades after their glory days in 80s?!) when a local classic rock radio station M97 was airing an excellent tune I knew nothing to play - when I drove my car in Jakarta's congested main road. I called the radio station asking who played that excellent tune. The broadcaster told me "It's Iron Maiden . 'Flight of Icarus' from 'Piece of Mind' album". Oh man, the day after I chased the CD and I got it! Since then I was hooked to IrMa. Well, I think they are one of the best heavy metal bands in the world.

Well, heavy metal is heavy metal .. but . Iron Maiden is unique in sound especially the groove, the guitar solo and most importantly .. the bass playing style by Steve Harris which I think contributes a lot `to the total sound of the band, especially in creating differentiated groove. Bruce Dickinson voice is also nice but is not something peculiar from the music of IrMa as there are other lead singers better than him in heavy metal scene like Ronnie James Dio, David Byron (Uriah Heep) or Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin).

'Powerslave' is significantly different from 'Piece Of Mind', in terms of production even though both are equally heavy in rhythm and riffs. This album was critical milestone to the band's carer in metal world with such legendary tracks like 'Aces High', 'Two Minutes To Midnight', 'Rime of The Ancient Mariner', and the title track. As I have grown up with mainly progressive music augmented with some classic rock and heavy metal, I tend to put my attention more on the epic 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" which consumes the longest duration. There parts with repetition that sometimes make me a bit boring but I really love the drive and energy this track delivers. I can relate those of you who like the 70s music might want to compare this with Led Zeppelin's "In My Time of Dying" where the two have similar style and consume more than 10 minutes in track duration. Of course, I prefer "In My Time of Dying" but I can see that "Rime of The Ancient Mariner" is an excellent track that IrMa must have been so proud about it.

Nothing is truly prog with this album and this is a very good album for those of you like heavy metal music. The artwork of this album had been very popular in mid 80s, used by the young. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#158117)
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The road to SOMEWHERE IN TIME started first with THE NUMBER..., was somewhat refined with a PIECE OF MIND, and reached its first peak with POWERSLAVE. A record with such an impressive artwork simply couldn't be a loser. And there are a quite a lot of fantastic tracks on it: ACES HIGH; TWO MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT; THE DUELLISTS; POWERSLAVE; THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER. The other songs are not to be neglected and that's another reason why this album is better than PIECE OF MIND. This is the album where Maiden was becoming larger than life (again, take a look at the artwork!). this is a 5 star album - and yet there was an even better album yet to come...
Report this review (#163734)
Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I bought this album somewhat randomly while I was looking for King Crimson albums. I have liked Iron Maiden for a while and figured what the hell It has Rime of the Ancient Mariner so I bought it. This is a turning point in Maidens career this is the album before the more ambitious 7th Son, its truly their last classic album. But despite singles like 2 minutes to Midnight and Aces High, which are metal classics, this album delves quite deeply into progressive territory. I heard somewhere that Maiden was Influenced by Jethro Tull. The lyrics seem to portray similar subjects: Anti-war and the mortality of men for example. The Album starts off with a bang with Aces High and follows with the classic maiden tune 2 minutes to Midnight. Next up is Losfer Words, for me this instrumental is the first sign of prog influence, this is one of those few Maiden instrumentals and for me the best. Flash of the blade is an underrated Maiden gem with its catchy intro and Medival themed lyrics. Back in the Village and the Duellist are the weak points of the album, although they aren't at all bad songs, Back in the Village being the sequel to The Prisoner from the Peice of Mind album. Next up are the progressive compositions, both of which are fantastic songs. The title track is a fantastic song clocking in at 7 minutes it seems longer, but in a good way. Bruce Dickinson wails about how each an every man is subject to death, while the galloping base line and heavy dark riff lead this song on a rampage, until the guitar solo kicks in; then it slows down wothout comprimising intensity, just to finish off better then it started. Rime of the Ancient Mariner is undoubtedly my favourite Maiden song its epic without losing the power which is their signature. Steve Harris can play Bass that is all i have to say. This song has to speak for itself, i cant adequately describe it. This album is commercial, but at the same time innovative. Its Musicianship is perhaps Maidens best, Guitars blazing and bass Rumbling full tilt and Bruce Dickinson never sounded better especially on Aces High. With all that said it still has some weaker songs, and it doesnt have me entranced the whole way through. But if you like metal alot and you like progressive influence this is the album for you.
Report this review (#163744)
Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Whistler
4 stars Well, looky HERE. This is, so far, the second best Maiden album from the studio, and Dickinson's finest hour with the band. He even wrote the title track! Go figure. But, most importantly, his vocals finally sound perfectly at home with the material. Huh? Oh yeah, and the riffs are brutal and the melodies are memorable and all that stuff no one cares about again.

The album is apparently a concept album devoted to really awesome slaves; "power slaves," if you will. I guess.

Point is, "Aces High" rocks my socks from here to Nebraska. Oh, wait, hmm, does opening the album with a song about fighter pilots sound familiar, Piece of Mind's "Where Eagles Dare?" Why yes it does. However, "Aces" has awesome riffage, and the energy is through the roof. Don't need no stale airplane sound effects to make this number great.

"2 Minutes to Midnight" is also, amazingly enough, pretty sweet. The lyrics are pure trash, but they're still FUN in a goofy sing-along sorta way. Love the chorus; love the solo parts in the middle even more. Speaking of instrumentals, "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" is the last great ole Maiden instrumental. Is it just another excuse for high octane eighties metal riffage? Yes. But is it sweet? As hell; this is eighties metal at its finest. I love the metalized jig part (why does that sound familiar?).

We slow down a bit for the next couple of songs, although they're still quite good. "Flash of the Blade" has a sick as hell opening with a lightning fast Dungeons and Dragons riff. It's pretty solid within and throughout, and the baroque-metal break in the middle is genius. And "The Duelists?" Well, "Duelists" is just...just a really solid heavy metal number. All about fighting. For pleasure. Yep. It's not fireworks or anything, but it's not gonna have you hang your head in shame.

"Back in the Village" is the only number that leaves me cold. I mean, it's toe-tappin' and all, but it's not a very worthy sequel to "The Prisoner." And all that "Backinthevillage I'm just backinthevillage" stuff gets irritating.

However, the best has just about been saved for last. The "Kashmir"/"Stargazer"/"Gates of Babylon" rip-off of a title track, arguably the best song on the record, is a mini-epic in the vein of "Phantom of the Opera;" a goofy intro followed by a couple of savage riffs played in sequence. Dickinson's operatic poetry probably could be better, but just pay attention to the soloing, particularly the fast mid-section (symbolizing the "passage of time," for you Maiden analysis freaks). Ain't that riff God-like? And when Harris' bass takes over? Awesome.

And when "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" starts up, you just know it's gonna be good. That maritime riff is superfantastic. And it doesn't disappoint. Sort of. Okay, so any Maiden track that's thirteen minutes long can't be one-hundred percent gold (it's just more riffs!), and admittedly, the slow part in the center is probably a bit much. But hey, then again, maybe it needs it as a breakup section (besides, the fast section after it is great). Maybe without it, I honestly WOULD get sick of all this endless riffage, like my mom always told me I would. Maybe not. But still, considering the track, and considering the band, it's more than tolerable. The first riff is great, the second is decent, the slow part is...a little too long, the stiff "jam" is cool, and when we return to the first riff? Well, you know I liked that one.

Although, oddly enough, I'm sort of disappointed that the translation of the epic poem into epic Maiden song is so straightforward; I liked how earlier songs used their original stories as metaphors for crazed love ("Phantom") or the falsely accused ("Rue Morgue"). But, oh well, can't have it all, as Bruce "Scream For Me Long Beach" Dickinson tells us.

I honestly don't know why I like this album so much. Dickinson is pretty much free to do what he wants. The subject matter ranges from pharaohs to fencing to fighter pilots. The sound is pretty much right where it's always been (although, is a little of the first album's crunch back again?). The cover is the farthest from the original covers that we've been (I mean, dude, is there ANY black on that thing? Eddie's eyes are friggin' BROWN!).

And yet, there's something about this album. Beyond just the riffs being back, it's more than that. Maybe it's the fact that the Steve's remembered what made the first Maiden album so good; that it was just some dudes playing their metal. There ain't no sound effects or spoken intros, backwards or otherwise. Well...okay, so there're those two "epics" tacked onto the end. They're in the grand old style, damn it! They're actually LESS over-the-top and lumbering than anything "epic" on the last couple of albums.

There's also on here or something, especially when compared to the last album. It's like the band found a sudden burst of "not suck," and used it to their advantage.

Or maybe I just really, really like mummies. I dunno. I mean, it's not like the thing is perfect; despite there being an instrumental, this is just about as varietous as any Maiden album, and other than rockin' out, it's hard to, you know, really honestly relate to these guys. But still, no pretentious headbanger should be without this one.

Anyways, I gotta get back to building this pyramid for the almighty Dickinsonian one. See ya in a thousand ages or so.

Report this review (#176256)
Posted Monday, July 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Powerslave is Iron Maiden´s fifth album and the third with Bruce Dickenson behind the microphone. Iron Maiden were at this time already one of the biggest heavy metal bands in the world but with Powerslave they cemented that position. Powerslave is one of their most classic albums and it contains many live favorites. Powerslave is probably my second favorite Iron Maiden album and it´s only superseeded by Somewhere in Time. Powerslave was also a significant album for Iron Maiden as it marked the first time the band had a steady lineup over two albums. The success and praise which Powerslave received at the time of it´s release in 1984 led Iron Maiden towards one of the biggest and longest tours of their career. You can hear evidence of that tour on the fantastic Life After Death album.

Powerslave begins with one of the most classic Iron Maiden tracks Aces High. Bruce starts the song with his signature air siren scream which fits the lyrics about air fighting well. It´s a very fast paced song ( of couse not blast beats tempo but still fast) with some really challenging guitar riffs. A favorite Iron Maiden track for me if there ever was one. Two Minutes To Midnight continues the album in great style. It´s a mid paced song with some beautiful vocal lines and guitar chord progressions. I´ve always been touched emotionally by this song. I don´t know why but it works really well for me.

Losfer Words (Big 'Orra) is an instrumental song which has never been my favorite. Of course it´s Iron Maiden we´re talking about so it´s still great. Flash Of The Blade is also a good song but again not a favorite for me. The main guitar riff is a bit generic seen with today´s eyes, but probably worked wonders back then. There are some great classical guitar notes being played here too which are really great. The Duellists, which like Flash of the Blade is a song about one of Bruce Dickenson´s big hobbies sword fighting ( I´m sorry but my limited English doesn´t allow me to give a more sophisticated explanation), is also pretty good but again nothing special. Back In The Village is a fast paced song which reminds me a bit about the two previous songs. It´s good but not an Iron Maiden classic. It´s funny but the four previous songs have never been favorites of mine in Iron Maiden´s discography even though they are good songs. They remind me of some of the least exciting songs from Piece of Mind.

Powerslave brings us back on the right course again. This is a classic Iron Maiden song. It´s got a really cool main riff with an egyptian mood. It´s such a great heavy song with great lyrics. One of the highlights of the album. Another highlight is definitely the last song on the album which is the epic Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. This is another classic Iron Maiden song and a fan favorite. The lyrics are inspired by Samual Taylor Coleridge famous poem written in 1797 - 1799. The song is 13:36 minutes long and it´s one of the longest songs written by Iron Maiden if not the longest.

The musicianship is excellent as always with Iron Maiden. It´s impossible not to be impressed with the tight interplay between the musicians and of course Steve Harris dominant and busy basslines. Bruce Dickenson is such a unique singer and proves once again why he is so highly regarded by the fans of Iron Maiden.

The production from Martin Birch is one of the best productions that Iron Maiden has ever had and it´s even more impressive that Powerslave had this sound in 1984. I don´t recall hearing any other metal band from 1984 having this good a production. The bass is very high in the mix which of course is an aquired taste but personally I think it sounds great.

The cover is one of the most beautiful and detailed covers ever. This one´s a favorite of mine. Derek Riggs has really outdone himself with this one ( and would again on Somewhere in Time)

Powerslave is one of the most classic heavy metal album of the eighties and one of the most important albums in Iron Maiden´s discography. After my favorite Somewhere in Time I would chose this one as their best. There is only one true masterpiece in Iron Maiden´s discography though and as Powerslave does have some weak parts I´ll rate this excellent album 4 stars. It might be the best place to start if you´re curious about Iron Maiden as it represents them so well. This is highly recommendable.

Report this review (#176511)
Posted Friday, July 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Every Maiden album has too many fillers that ruin the listening experience. One month ago I thought like that. The Number of the Beast has Gangland and Invaders, Seventh Son has The Prophecy and Only the Good Die Young, Piece of Mind has Quest for Fire and Sun and Steel, Powerslave has Flash of the Blade and The Duellists... Two weeks ago, I gave another chance to Powerslave and, oh my God, I was terribly wrong about this album: it has no fillers at all! From the beginning to the end, this record is (almost) flawless. This is the peak of Iron Maiden's career, undoubtely.

The guitar work is the most brilliant aspect of Powerslave: Adrian Smith and Dave Murray form a fantastic team and they deliver an amazing performance. All the guitar solos are absolutely stunning, from the fast one on Aces High to the calm one on the title track. The riffs are also amazing and very memorable. The main riffs of Flash of the Blade and Two Minutes to Midnight are among the best of the record. However, they show their real virtuosity on the middle part of The Duellists: just listen to it, all the riffs on it are amazing and so are the solos.

Nicko McBrain, the drummer, delivers a very consistent performance too. As all the songs are relatively fast, he plays in a very dynamic and efficient way. In fact, he doesn't play ultra-technic patterns, he prefers to stay behind the guitars and play relatively simple but very memorable beats (listen to the first one on Flash of the Blade, believe me, it's very catchy).

The vocals are another highlight of the record. Bruce Dickinson shows his great talent on every song, especially on Aces High, where he delivers an amazing vocal performance. However, I miss his whispers - he does that a lot on A Matter of Life and Death. Nevertheless, this is one of his best performances ever. He also proves to be an excellent songwriter: he penned two of the best songs of the record: Aces High (with Adrian Smith) and the title track. The bass work is audible (kudos to the great production!) and excellent. Steve Harris is an amazing player and songwriter: he composed many of the tracks of this record, including the fantastic epic Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

As I've already said, all the songs are pretty fast and energic, so don't expect ballads on this record. At the same time, you should neither expect a typical heavy metal album full of straight-forward songs, that follow the same structure. Almost every track is relatively complex, with lenghty instrumental sections and some breakdowns here and there.

It's very hard for me to name stand-outs: all the songs are very good. The first one, Aces High, is one of my favourite Iron Maiden songs and it is very fast. 2 Minutes to Midnight needs no presentation, as it is one of the greatest Maiden classics. An amazing anthem with a very cool breakdown.

And now, I'll review the middle section of the record, which seem to annoy many people. It's full of fillers! they say. Meh, such a lie. Losfer Words is a decent and solid instrumental song, but definitely not a filler. Flash of the Blade is an underrated track. It opens with one of the best guitar riffs I've ever heard; then, the drums and the bass join the guitars and Bruce begins to sing. The chorus is extremely catchy and after it comes an extremely good instrumental section. The guitar riff that begins is very good and the solo is pretty decent. After a while, Dickinson sings - again - the fantastic chorus, the first riff is played and the song ends. Very good track.

Then, you have no time to breathe. McBrain hits the snare and The Duellists kicks off. This is the third best song of the record and that is saying something. The chorus is also catchy and the instrumental section is even better than the one on the previous track. The song is pretty fast and the lyrics fit well the music, as they talk about a fight between two, err, duellists. Back in the Village is the worst track of the record, but it isn't that bad actually, there are some very good riffs here and there.

So, how can you people call those tracks fillers? Okay, Back in the Village is a bit weak, but isn't horrible; Losfer Words is a nice song, Flash of the Blade and The Duellists are some of the most underrated Maiden tunes ever!

Then, we reach the last two songs. Well, those two are real masterpieces. The title track is the heavier song of the record, thanks to its main riff. Bruce Dickinson delivers a very good and passionate performance and the lyrics are among the best of the album. They talk about Egypt and some riffs are very reminiscent of the music of that country, so the atmosphere of the song is amazing. After 3 minutes, there is a fantastic breakdown, with superb bass lines, soft drumming and an outstanding guitar solo. Then, the song becomes heavier and the solo gets faster. When the solos end, McBrain plays a fast fill, the main riff returns and the chorus is repeated, bringing back the egyptian atmosphere. The song ends greatly this way.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner begins immediately after the end of the title track. Every Maiden album has an epic track. The Number of the Beast has Hallowed Be Thy Name, Somewhere in Time has Alexander, the Great, the debut has Phantom of the Opera and so on. But Rime of the Ancient Mariner has to be the best epic Iron Maiden ever wrote (The Legacy is a very close second). The song was entirely composed by Harris and it is based on the homonym poem of Samuel Coleridge. The song has lots of different sections. It begins with a drum fill and some simple guitar riffs. Bruce begins to sing about the mariner and how he killed a bird. The shipmates blame him because of that as they apparently think that the death of birds brings bad omens. Then, they hang the bird around the neck of the mariner, as a punishment.

After 6 minutes, the song becomes calm and a narrator talks more about the story. Then, a wonderful bass line is played, which is related to the rising of the unlucky mariner. The song becomes heavy again and wonderful solos are played. The song ends with the first guitar riff played and, also, with Bruce Dickinson concluding the story. This song is an authentic journey, indeed.

So, we reach the end of the record, which is full of catchy yet complex songs, with fantastic instrumental sections, catchy choruses, solid drumming, good bass lines and outstanding vocals. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the best track of this record, undoubtely, closely followed by the title track and The Duellists. But every song is really good - even the worst track, Back in the Village, is good. Concluding, this is a masterpiece. A fantastic album. The peak of Maiden's creativity. A CLASSIC, my favourite album ever. I just don't give away 5 stars easily, so, if I gave 99 to this record, you HAVE to get it. This possibly is the best metal album ever, consistent, solid, complex yet catchy, heavy yet progressive, basically everything about this record ROCKS.

Even the artwork is one of my favourites. I would also recommend you to get the remastered version of Powerslave, the quality of the sound is much much better, it also contains the music videos of Aces High and Two Minutes to Midnight and the booklet has lots of cool pictures and that kind of things.

Best Moments of the CD: EVERY moment. Yes, I never thought I would say this, but every moment of this album is priceless.

Outstanding record; my personal favourite and that's saying something. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#176656)
Posted Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars First off all; I question the reason why Iron Maiden is included in Prog Archives. But I am just a purist..... But when that is said, Powerslave is without any doubt a Prog-Related album. It's mix of progressive rock and heavy metal is pretty stunning. Iron Maiden's fifth studio album Powerslave was a milestone in the history of heavy metal. It is therefore very strange that it has not got the recognition it deserve.

Iron Maiden burst onto the then stagnant Heavy Metal scene in 1980 with their self titled debut album and hell broke loose. Or to be more precise: The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) was born. But with Powerslave, they broke out of that scene again and into a new sphere. From there on, Iron Maiden was a rather strange brew of Sex Pistols, Deep Purple, Wishbone Ash and Thin Lizzy. Or to put it simple; they were just Iron Maiden.

Listening to the album in year 2008, it really hits me how progressive and innovative this album is. It is still heavy as hell, but tracks like the title track, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, The Duellists and 2 Minutes To Midnight is most of all very progressive. In particular the mighty title track is very much a perfect marriage between heavy metal and progressive rock. It is this Wagneresque sound and grandeur which makes this album such a good album. Everything is great here. The sound, the lyrics and the music. It is Richard Wagner reincarnated. Although a bit dated, it is still a great album. I am still a fan, but I can only give the album four stars because it is not the masterpiece it once was. It has some flaws, I am afraid. Half a point worth of flaws, in my view (Aces High). But feel free to call it full score.

4.5 points

Report this review (#186668)
Posted Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 stars (again)

I remember watching Life After Death video in early 90's. It was something amazing and that whole background scenery with pyraminds seemed to be more fetching than motorcycle stage riding by Rob Halford on Priest's concerts. But Iron Maiden were more than just a heavy metal band. They could hit the stage and play rock and roll show without pathos. Powerslave is the album that was promoted on Slavery Tour and that tour was the base for Life After Death release. Everyone knows Aces High because it's one of the most popular Maiden tracks. It's fast and talking about Battle Of Britain. I know Steve Harris loves this song. But I prefer next hit single Two Minutes To Midnight. There are rock and roll riffs in that tune very similar to what Manowar did in Fast Taker (of their 1982's Battle Hymns album). This is killer track and ya know that. I really like power metal Flash Of The Blade. It's a bit underrated track from this LP. But it crashes bones. The best part of the album is side B. Back In The Village is very fast and vital song also underrated because in my opinion it's one of the finest Maiden's tracks. Powerslave is more complex with amazing guitar solos that bring me chills everytime I listen to this mysterious metal tune. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner is closest to what we can call prog. In fact it is progressive song. If you call 2112 by Rush progressive why this can't be? It's 14 minutes long piece when I can even hear one riff from Jethro Tull's Passion Play (one of Steve Harris favorite albums) and it's that kind of song we wait for culmination point that comes with great solos by both guitarists. That spoken part somewhere in the middle is also amazing. Powerslave always brings good emotions to me. Unforgettable release I'm telling ya.

Report this review (#217579)
Posted Saturday, May 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Half of it is straight forward metal, the other half is...mostly straight forward metal.

Now, to be fair, this is some of the finest metal you'll hear in the main vein of it all, but I somewhat doubt the complex tendencies this album has. Aces High is an intense fireball, with that fast and furious riff, followed by a tight and soaring solo section. Still, it is a fairly simplistic song.

Two Minutes To Midnight takes things back. This sounds a lot softer than their opener, but the writing is more expertly crafted. They truly rock it damn hard, here. The lyrics are kind of thoughtful, and the playing is expert. Bruce definitely has the vocal chops. The choruses are catchy, and the lead lines astound when they want to. Then you get... a one, two, three, four count off? Yes, the beginning to Losfer Words (Big 'Orra), the instrumental. I think it is great, but feel it is lacking something. It seems Iron Maiden have begun sacrificing their ferocious edge to make things more manageable. So, this track always left me unimpressed.

Flash Of The Blade brings the quality back up, with its exotic opening riff, and tight rhythm section. This is certainly not filler, but the lyrics aren't so great. Vocally, Bruce keeps improving, and he showcases his abilities, here. Still, I always get the feeling he is holding back. The Duelists is in the same vein as their previous offering, but with a less memorable riff. I could easily call this filler, as the riff goes nowhere, and it really doesn't do anything for me. the vocals are operatic and finely tuned, but the song has no main catch, and its simplistic nature makes it a basic metal tune.

Back In The Village has more wailing guitar pyrotechnics. It still sounds a lot like the rest of the album, but that epic feel it has saves it from repetitive mediocrity. I can't shake this feeling that Iron Maiden's guitarists are out of ideas. We've heard all these riffs a hundred times, by the very same band. None of the main ideas here are new, and I could say stagnation has set in. Still, some of the tunes are real good. Mainly the title track, Powerslave. It winds and turns majestically, and Bruce's singing is purely captivating. Dark and entrenching. The Egyptian overtones and aesthetics lure in so well, and makes this the album's main saving grace.

But we aren't finished. Riding the curtails of a hurricane would be the album's closer. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner is definitely the high water mark. Those biting guitar attacks, and the trotting gallop they are so well known for. At 13 minutes, it is more complex than most of Iron Maiden's repertoire, and features many a shift in sound. It is also the main sign of what Iron Maiden would attempt with their next few releases. A fantastic end to a fine album. Filler pops its ugly head near the middle, and the writing just doesn't seem as inspired as before in most parts. The disc maintains a standard metal feel throughout, and relays very little in complexities. Those last couple of tracks are just damn good, though.

Best Moment - last 20 minutes

Worst Moment - The Duelists

*** Egyptian stars.

Report this review (#218996)
Posted Saturday, May 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars On Powerslave, Iron Maiden dished out a huge heap of excellent classic metal. To many people, this album is one of the greatest albums of all time. Of course this is because of the top-notch metal found on the album, but it could also be because of a few progressive elements thrown in. Of course Maiden has always been about intricate melodic lines, interesting chords for their epic style, and throwing in technical musical flashes. However, the last two songs on this show Maiden't ability to have an interesting progressive side to their music.

Metalheads and classic rock fans are of course already far too familiar with the two opening tracks and singles, "Aces High" and "Two Minutes to Midnight". The former has an interesting non-standard song structure and a soaring chorus, starting of the album with an excellent show of Maiden's strong songwriting. The second track is also very strong, in a standard Maiden style and structure. Both are tracks that make an awesome case for excellent singles by an already great band.

The middle of the album may be more unfamiliar though. That being said, they are still good tracks and make the album still a worthwhile listen. The instrumental song "Losfer Words" is exciting, and "Back in the Village" is quick and possibly the most 'rocking' song on the whole album. "Flash of the Blade" and "The Duelists" are also good tracks and worth a listen, both written in standard Iron Maiden style.

The next song "Powerslave" is also interesting. Although it may seem rather straightforward in the first couple of verses, and it is. However, it leads into an instrumental break filled with haunting atmospherics and several interesting time changes, fully showing Maiden's progressive influence. The epic closer "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" follows in the same vein, but even more embellished. Once the energy and speed dies off after the first couple of high power metal, the listener is presented with an eerie atmosphere, accented by Steve Harris' intelligent use of the whole tone scale. A somber narration flows across the sea of ominous sounds, until everything builds up again. Bruce Dickinson's mile high voice bursts in, and an epic flowing climax shows up. Within the final two songs of Powerslave, any fan of progressive metal will hear where most of the ideas of the more melodic genres of power and prog metal came from. The compositions are simply that good.

In summation, Powerslave is of course an excellent album. As a metal album, it contains everything great classic metal should have. As a progressive album, though it contains lots of straightforward albeit exciting tracks, contains plenty of progressive ideas that influenced an entire genre that bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X picked up on. That is what separates Powerslave from many other standard metal of the same era.

Report this review (#227699)
Posted Monday, July 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Powerslave was my introduction to Iron Maiden and it is a highly recommended album for both metal fans and prog heads. It is the crowning achievement of their evolution from punk-metal to ambitious prog metal epics, it has some of their best songs and I've never heard them play tighter or more passionately.

The opener is spot on, Aces High is an excellent 80's take on Rainbow's Kill The King, injecting with more aggressive playing and speed. 2 Minutes to Midnight is another Maiden anthem, slightly commercial but too catchy to resist. Losfer Words is the first track on the album that extends their usual epic hard rock formula. It's an instrumental with gorgeous bass work from Harris and a structure that goes a bit further then usual metal formats. It's no YYZ but sure enjoyable. Flash of The Blade has some pleasing instrumental sections but suffers from a cheesy bridge and chorus. Also The Duellists has never appealed much to me, but the remainder of the album more then makes up for this mid-album dip.

With Back In The Village, the album gets the momentum back from the first three tracks. A highly Blackmore influenced guitar riff kicks of this catchy speed metal gem. The title track Powerslave is my favourite Maiden song and I'm quite sure I'm not the only one. Their best galloping riff ever, vicious verses, an ominous Eastern music inspired bridge, great vocal harmonies in the chorus and an excellent guitar solo. Also the rhythm is a clear nod to Middle-Eastern dance rhythms and the main reason for the Egyptian flavour. The 13.30 minutes of Rime of the Ancient Mariner can't be missed neither. It's Maiden's most bold and proggy moment and they pull it off with great flair.

Slightly uneven but still superb, Powerslave isn't an album you are allowed to miss if you are interested in heavy prog, prog metal or power metal. If you think Iron Maiden isn't more then a daft commercial 80's metal band, then this album could make you change your mind. An obvious Iron Maiden favourite. 4.5 prog-related stars.

Report this review (#260430)
Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Steve Harris rocks

One of the site's more dubious additions were Iron Maiden even though you must remember they occupy prog-related, not prog-metal. For some even that placement is going too far. I remember the day after this tour hit our city the Powerslave shirts took over the high school halls. I can't remember why I didn't go but I would have enjoyed it. The album, and actually the band, are a mixed bag for me personally. I hate Bruce Dickinson's frequent upper register warbles with a passion, and my friends and I always found the Maiden guitar sound to be a bit thin. Yet what does work here works in a big way. Listening to Steve Harris is just mesmerizing to me, he's a monster. And has anyone noticed how the Maiden rhythm section can sound just a bit like Trewavas and Pointer but with a harder, faster edge? The tracks are too repetitious for me to listen to often, yet they excel in their own way and remain fun to revisit on occasion. Aces, 2 Minutes, and Back in the Village are loads of fun with then hooks and punkish energy. Rime is a bit oversold as the highlight when the title track should be the one getting the attention. It encapsulates all of the strengths of Maiden (and Powerslave) in a more succinct package. From the guitar harmonies to the acoustic interlude to the memorable riffs, it has a great ferocity and bite to it. On the down side the album lags a bit in the middle section from Losfer Words through The Duellists. The lyrics of Powerslave also deserve some acclaim, being more ambitious and intelligent than those proposed by many of their peers at that time. A good album for the 80s metal fan.

Report this review (#281020)
Posted Saturday, May 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Iron Maiden - Powerslave (1984)

On the fifth studio album of Iron Maiden the band slightly recovers from the small loss of energy that Piece of Mind (1983) had suffered from. Powerslave is one of the heaviest albums of the band with a continues high pace and intensive instrumental parts in all songs. The album is a favorite for a lot of fans of the band.

The opener Aces High is an up-tempo track with spectacular high pitched vocals of Bruce Dickinson and a great instrumental guitar part. This song is very powerful and I used to like it very much, but the songs doesn't grow over time. Two Minutes to Midnight is stronger with some very inspiring melodic songwriting. The opening riff is quite conventional, but the bridge has a great dark feel and the couplet has a nice twist that keeps in interesting. The melodic soloing in the lower paced middle section is good. Losfer Words is an instrumental metal track. It's good, be I prefer the instrumentals of the first two albums. Somehow the melodies aren't as catchy as on other instrumental parts of Maiden.

Flash of the Blade is another up-tempo song with pull-off guitar themes all over the place that give it a sophisticated feel. A nice experiment. The Duellists is one of the stronger tracks of the album. It has many instrumental parts and I really like the vocal parts. It is a song with it's own atmosphere that is kind of relaxing. Back in the Village is like Flash of the Blade a song full of guitar frenzies and little good songwriting. I liked it very much at first, but I think it's a bit too much of to little.

Powerslave, the title-track, is strong Maiden epic with all elements the band has to offer. The song has an Egyptic feel as can be expected with an album cover like this. The many strong instrumental parts make this an important Maiden song. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the absolute highlight of the album. With it's 13 minutes it still is the longest Maiden track ever recorded. It has an amazing story, a great atmospheric middle section, more great instrumental parts and solo's and a good ending. Perhaps this is the proggiest of Maiden's epics.

Conclusion. Another good Iron Maiden album with some weak spots. I might not have always been very positive in my Maiden reviews, but it's important to know I prefer mediocre Maiden tracks to most other metal tracks of other bands. The standard of Iron Maiden was quite high and my expectations have risen over the time when I got into progressive music. This album is yet another good metal album with lot's of progressive moments and enough good songwriting to get four stars. After this Iron Maiden would again change directing with the synth-guitar driven Somewhere in Time.

Report this review (#284342)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars "Hear the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Stay here and listen to the nightmare of the sea!"

"Powerslave" is the first great progressive metal Iron Maiden album, after they had released a few albums leading to this new direction in their music. IM were always threatening to release an album like this once they broke away from the confining short songs and 4/4 traditional rock signatures. There was always experimentation with time sigs but this was all taken to the extreme level with the brilliant 13 and a half minute onslaught of 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner'; my all time favourite IM track.

I could spend this entire review talking about this track alone, and when I heard this on the metal radio show, when this was first released, the announcer stated that this track alone was worth getting "Powerslave"; I concur with this. It is simply brilliant metal and I have played this so many times I have somehow managed to memorise every lyric and even the lead breaks. There are some incredible lead breaks here by the duel guitars of Murray and Smith. The complexity of the music cannot be taken for granted, there are time sig shifts throughout and mood swings at every verse. The song begins with a galloping riff with small diversions and then it launches into a fast tempo speed lick. "The ship sails on through the fog and ice.... Water water everywhere and all the boards did shrink..." The lyrics are based on Coleridge's poem of the same name and it this song is a very faithful interpretation; the university lecturer played this track when I was studying poetry would you believe. I had given the lyrics and song to the lecturer on her request. It eventually cleared the room of all the ladies but I sat there and enjoyed it.

The song basically goes into each aspect of the poem, where the Mariner sees an albatross, kills it and thus the curse of death plagues the ship killing his crew. "The Mariner kills the bird of good omen..." and the siren like banshees of "Death and She Life in death they throw their dice for the crew", and they want the Mariner to succumb to their deathly charms. Eventually the pace slows and it grinds to a halt with a bassy passage with atmospheric effects, such as a witch's cackle and the creaking of the doomed ship. A narrative voice speaks Coleridge's epic poem that Dickinson had previously been screaming out with utter conviction. It reminds me now of Van der Graaf Generator's lyrics by Hammill on 'Plague of Lighthouse Keepers' that is also about a doomed ship and drowning. "They dropped down one by one," the narrator speaks and then the pace quickens again. The theme of dying and being stalked by death itself is powerful. When the bass begins and a new chugging riff enters, Dickinson's vocals penetrate with power, "The curse it lives on in their eyes, the Mariner he wished he died along with the sea creatures but they lived on so did he, then by the light of the moon he prays for their beauty not doom, with heart he blesses them God's creatures all of them too, then the spell starts to break, the albatross falls from his neck..." After the curse is lifted, a lengthy brilliant lead break with fret melting dexterity pummels the senses. It returns back to the intro riff with variations, I love the lyrics, "that we should love all things that God made" as it shows the Mariner has learnt his lesson from killing the albatross and now has converted to admiring creation rather than destroying it. The poem is also my favourite poem due to this song, and I wrote a very solid essay about it; thank you Iron Maiden for that High Distinction! Overall this track is quintessential to Maiden and is always the highlight for me when it appears on live concert DVDS.

OK, for the rest of the album there is enough here to make this a worthy purchase. 'Aces High' has a catchy chorus and very good guitar work, a classic track. 'Two Minutes To Midnight' was played on metal radio show just before the witching hour so I have heard it many times. It's great in concert and still a popular favourite with Iron fans. 'Powerslave' is a terrific song with killer riffs and a memorable chorus. The Egyptian themes here are of course due to IM's interest in the Egyptian Book of the Dread (shock horror) but the themes lead to the mighty stage set with the Sphinx and Pyramids, and Tutenkhamen mummified objects; it is all very "Raiders of the Lost Ark" for me, but a cool image in it's day, no doubt.

So overall here is an album with strong progressive elements, one killer epic to die for, and a lot of catchy shorter songs. It is definitely worth getting hold of, trust me on this. Along with "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" and "Brave New World" this is an excellent metal feast of Iron Maiden.

Report this review (#289805)
Posted Friday, July 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ahh, yet another classic Maiden album to review, where to begin on this one?..well i suppose the start...anywhoo this is without a doubt my second favourite Iron Maiden release (personal opinion), and why not? from the opening ACES HIGH, to the closing EPIC 13 minute RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER this is classic gold. Not only does this album feature the bands longest song to date but one of their most popular songs to date (thanks to a Playstation game that shall not be named) TWO MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT, the instrumental LOSFER WORDS (BIG ORRA) probably being my favourite instrumental of the bands to date so far as well,and the song POWERSLAVE having a really cool Egyptian feel to it, its probably their most experimental worldly based songs. Again nothing really more to say, its a classic Maiden album everything was done perfectly. A highly rated release, recommended :)

Aces High - 10/10 Two Minutes To Midnight - 10/10 Losfer Words (Big 'Orra) - 10/10 Flash Of The Blade - 9/10 The Duellists - 9/10 Back In The Village - 9/10 Powerslave - 10/10 Rime Of The Ancient Mariner - 10/10

CONCLUSION: Simply a great album, 5 stars first time every time, yup highly recommended

Report this review (#300611)
Posted Sunday, September 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the great things about PA is that I can review albums that are not strictly prog, but would be of interest to proggers(Proto, Related). Of course on a metal site(like Metal Archives which I have yet to check out) I would give this album 5 stars. Powerslave is my favourite Maiden album. But this is not their proggiest effort. "Back In The Village" is almost filler here. "2 Minutes To Midnight" is a popular song but I never liked it very much. Up to this point in their career Maiden seemed equally influenced by punk and prog, yet remained 100% metal. But "The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" is IMO, one of the first prog-metal songs.

Almost 14 minutes of some of the greatest music you will hear from the 1980s. "Mariner" has great playing, great lyrics, great singing...well it's just great, really. I've always loved the part in the middle with the minimalistic bass and atmospheric guitar with Dickinson narrating. Some of the best guitar solos from this band can be found here. "Losfer Words"(get it? Lost For Words) is a great instrumental. I admit I'm not really familiar with anything the band did after Fear Of The Dark, but going by memory, I think this is the only instrumental Maiden did between 1980-92. "Aces High" is a classic metal song but not very proggy. "Flash Of The Blade" and "The Duellists" have great choruses but the rest of the two songs aren't quite as good.

The title track is the next proggiest thing to "Mariner". It's a great song. The album cover is my favourite of all Maiden albums. Anything to do with ancient Egypt is just super cool in my opinion. I like the fact that you can hear Steve Harris' bass clearly; on most '80s metal albums the bass usually gets buried under overdubbed guitars. I think he writes most of Maiden's lyrics, I'm not sure. But Powerslave has some of the best lyrics Maiden has to offer. This is nothing essential to a progger but every metalhead should have this album in their collection. 3 stars.

Report this review (#305554)
Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album has been my favourite Iron Maiden album for a pretty long while. I have changed my mind throughout the years and I prefer "The X-Factor" and "Somewhere In Time" today, but "Powerslave" is without the glimpse of a doubt in my definitive top 3 albums of the band. Almost every song of this album is great but most of the songs have also some negative points.

"Aces high" is an amazing opener, probably the heaviest, fastest and straightest that they have ever done to date. Especially Bruce Dickinson delivers an amazing job on the vocals. The only negative point of this song is that the brilliant introduction of Churchill's Speech that has been used on the concerts, hasn't found its way on the studio album.

"2 Minutes To Midnight" is darker than the opener but it has a brilliant introduction and main riff, a very catchy chorus and an atmospheric bridge and is as brilliant as "Aces high". This heavy metal high quality double pack fits perfectly together even though they sound very different from each other and convince each one in their own way. The lyrics are very interesting and the music video is maybe the eeriest and weirdest stuff that the band has ever done. The only negative point of this song is that it has a little bit lost its magic because of its yearlong presence on greatest hits album, live concerts and other stuff.

"Losfer Words" is a very tight and interesting instrumental song without any doubt and maybe the most diversified as well as the heaviest and most amazing instrumental song the band has ever done. It fits to the epic style and conception of the album and is quite underrated in my humble opinion. But the song has still somehow the touch of a filler for many fans and has some little lengths and this is its only negative point about this very good song.

"Flash Of A Blade" is a heavily underrated song. The intro riff sounds really melodic, straight and innovative. The song itself has a very fast and intense main riff. Bruce Dickinson is in absolute top form and performs his vocals in a very stunning way by almost aggressively rapping the verses while singing the chorus with his high pitched and powerful voice. The contrast created by this phenomenon creates a very particular and special style and sounds overall new and fresh. The twin guitar parts sound amazing and this is surprisingly the very first track on the record where there is not a single negative point that I could mention.

"The Duellists" starts with a very tight main riff and has some very melancholic and melodic vocal lines. Bruce Dickinson does an amazing job in the verses. The instrumental parts in the song only have an average quality and are a little bit too long in some parts. The most negative point of this song is without any doubt the chorus. It is epic, but way too happy and doesn't fit with the atmosphere created in the rest of the song at all. It is one of the weaker songs of the album.

"Back In The Village" begins with a very melodic and still heavy introduction and the verses are once more very straight and great. The closing moments of the song are very straight and fast and I like this surprising effect. The hypnotic chorus is though the negative point of this song and neither very catchy nor very well developed. The instrumental parts of the songs are of an average quality and comparable to "The Duellists". This song is probably the weakest one on the album just behind "The Duellists".

I didn't like the song "Powerslave" when I listened to it for the first time, but this song has really grown on me within the last few years. It all begins with a very interesting intro, has some heavy, but still mystical and innovating verses and a very epic and catchy chorus. The middle part of the title track is amazingly melodic and sounds more elaborated than some of the other instrumental parts on the album. The song gets you in a magic atmosphere and creates a very special tension. All instruments do a brilliant job here, especially the bass guitar who has been too much dominated by the guitars in some of the previous songs. Today, I must admit that there is no negative point to find within this great title song.

"Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" is one of the greatest, if not the best song Iron Maiden has ever written. This song has everything that a metal fan needs. It is catchy and attractive the first time you listen to it, but you will still discover new passages years after your first experience with this song. The song is heavy and straight, but it also has its slower parts which create a dark and mysterious atmosphere. The guitar solos are intense and simply amazing. Bruce Dickinson does a very diversified and energetic job on the vocals. The drumming is tight and stunning. The bass guitar is as strong and particular as in the title song and even surpasses the previous opus magnum. The song has many changes in style, but all parts fit perfectly together. The song is never boring or seems to be long even though it is the longest one the band has ever written until today. Sure thing, there is no negative point about this masterpiece. I don't like to give too general comment or prejudices, but if you don't like this song, you do simply not like heavy metal and Iron Maiden. For me, this song is the opus magnum of heavy metal in the eighties.

As you can see, I would say that there is one masterpiece ("Rime Of The Ancient Mariner"), two extremely brilliant ("Powerslave" and the underrated "Flash Of A Blade"), two brilliant ("Aces High" and "Two Minutes To Midnight"), one very good song ("Losfer Words") and two average or rather good songs ("The Duellists" and "Back In The Village"). The album cover is more than brilliant and probably the best one that Derek Riggs has ever done. Even after years, you still discover something new on it. The production of Martin Birch is simply brilliant and better than some of the modern Iron Maiden records. Iron Maiden combines their style and heritage (on more traditional songs like "2 Minutes To Midnight" or "Flash Of A Blade") with some new and innovative elements (like the atmospheric parts on the title song "Powerslave" that can only be compared to "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and "To Tame A Land" but it definitely reaches a climax on this record). That's why, even if there are some little negative points to mention related to some of the songs, this is album in all its imperfect perfection is one of my favourite albums of all time and has been my favourite Iron Maiden record for a long while!

Originally published on on September 29th of the year 2011.

Report this review (#379079)
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Powerslave is the perfect example of what the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was all about. You can also hear the foundation for thrash metal to follow. Powerslave has the same exhausting pace as Megadeth's Rust in Peace of a few years later. Even with the epic that is the Rime of the Ancient Mariner lasting a good thirteen and a half minutes at the end of the album, it is still all over too quickly for me. Steve Harris', Bruce Dickinson's and Adrian Smith's song-writing skills are superbly demonstrated here. Their musicianship is completed perfectly by Dave Murray and Nicko McBrain.
Report this review (#540562)
Posted Sunday, October 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Part three of the Iron Maiden greatest hits trilogy begins with the beloved concert classic Aces High and continues in a similar fashion with Two Minutes To Midnight. But does it mean that the band has finally managed to win me over with their music? The short answer (and judging from my rating) is yes, but please allow me to explain.

It's really not the lack of hits that made The Number Of The Beast and Piece Of Mind such underwhelming releases, instead it's the regular album tracks and the general lack of creative soul searching that made it seem as though Iron Maiden was stamping the same ground and would most likely never get any better than that. Luckily this wasn't so and Powerslave is a perfect example that will hopefully prove all naysayers wrong. If anything, this is probably the band's most consistent release of their entire career with all of these eight tracks featuring the stereotypical Iron Maiden cliches of the past but this time it works because of the longer instrumental passages, better material and a revived interest for progression. The latter might not be too obvious at first but the last two tracks make it a bit more obvious.

The Ancient Egyptian themed title track and 13+ retelling of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem Rime Of The Ancient Mariner are pretty much as good as this band will ever get for us, casual fans. While the rest of the material might not shine as bright, it still has just enough energy to make it an enjoyable ride leading to the two great compositions towards the end.

If you've still not heard a single Iron Maiden album then this is definitely a great place to start. The band would get even better with their next release, but I'll skip the details for the time being.

***** star songs: Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (13:36)

**** star songs: Aces High (4:29) Two Minutes To Midnight (6:00) Losfer Words (Big 'Orra) (4:13) Flash Of The Blade (4:02) The Duellists (6:07) Back In The Village (5:20) Powerslave (6:48)

Report this review (#549303)
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me this is easily the most solid album in the entire discography of Iron Maiden. This is the one Maiden album I can listen to over and over again and not grow tired or bored for weeks of repeated play. Aces High and Two Minutes to Midnight are the best one two punch of pure energy on almost any album I have ever heard and are two of Maiden's best tracks ever released. Losfer Words is a nice instrumental followed by Flash of the Blade which for me is really the only weak track on this album. The Duelists gets this album back on track and Back in the Village is another awesome pure energy track that I is up their with Aces High and Two Minutes to Midnight as my favorite tracks on this album. Powerslave is another one of Maiden's greatest tracks, followed by Rime of the Ancient Mariner which caps off this album with a 13 plus minute masterpiece. This album is truely the best of the best of what Iron Maiden has to offer and is one of the best metal albums ever produced.
Report this review (#571196)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Iron Maiden further refined the style of Number of the Beast and Piece of Mind with Powerslave, which included both breakout hits such as Aces High or 2 Minutes to Midnight and progressive metal epics such as the title track and, in particular, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. One of the band's most high-energy albums, the band maintain a furious pace from the opening bars of Aces High and don't let up for the full running time of the set, sustaining their momentum where most other bands would have slacked off here and there. Simply put, not a single song on this album is filler; each one is a classic part of the Iron Maiden repertoire.
Report this review (#580121)
Posted Friday, December 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars The album powerslave was bought as enhanced with footage and video. The album cover is done with an obvious replacement-- servant lineage has to give to Iron Maiden. This group is as racist as they come and does whatever they can to complete the perversion towards the servant.

With this focus in mind the album dissolves quickly with rapid changes in what has become a progression yet there are not any synthesizers nor pedals, effects in use as a medium to the listener. The tracks are repetitive and lack any real surprises in comparison to their previous albums.

The too big for your britches is a downfall to this recording. Their performance could be well received, as an album recorded they should have avoided the obvious pitfalls many groups fall into, doing too much to distract the listener. The track titles don't make any sense while the background music is the Iron Maiden run as fast as you can style or go with more than is possible to escape any punishment and lest the rest dissolve.

The album recoded vague on my enhanced compact disc and should be told to customers. The artwork is more of a stand out and draw inwards than their sound--the recordings are not professional.

Report this review (#613359)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars There was a time when I spent my summers picking fruit under the harsh glare of the Australian sun. These consisted of very early mornings, heat, humidity, sunburn, and tiny paychecks. I'd arrive home in the dark of the night, tend to my wounds, and then grab a few hours sleep and prepare to do it all again.

Being a kid, it was the only job I could get, and the only way to earn some spending money.

Iron Maiden holds an unfavourable memory from those times. In those days I was not a Maiden fan, and the friend who gave me a lift to and from the farm took particular delight in blasting Dicko and co at an ear-splitting volume as we sped away of an afternoon. His car stereo was utterly terrible, and suffice to say the only thing it really output at that volume was something akin to white noise. After toiling out in the sun all day, and with a raging headache coursing through my eyeballs more often than not, this was the last thing I wanted to experience.

And so, for me, Iron Maiden became firmly categorized in the 'do not ever listen to this band again' genre.

Fast forward to a number of years later, and I heard Maiden under far more salubrious conditions. I very quickly dispensed with my former predisposition and eventually embraced most of their catalogue.

My favourite of all their albums is Powerslave. It really is an album that has everything. There's classic metal numbers such as "Aces High" and "Two Minutes to Midnight", an epic in the form of "Powerslave" and a prog masterpiece in "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". The musicianship is phenomenal. There are so many classic riffs that it's hard to believe they all fit on one album.

Bruce Dickinson is in fine form with some great ideas on every track. When many contemporaries were singing about sex, drugs or the devil, Dicko gives us fighter pilots, ancient Egypt and a song based around a seafaring poem. It's a refreshing change.

Steve Harris gallops along with the precision we've come to expect, and the duo of Murray and Smith, a major factor in the golden years of the band, give us amazing lead breaks and a plethora of classic metal riffs. The lead on the title track "Powerslave" in particular includes some of my favourite lead moments from any band.

Iron Maiden did all this in a period where they were cranking out an album and accompanying world tour just about every year. One wonders how they generated such energy and creativity on such a schedule.

Report this review (#958573)
Posted Sunday, May 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Although this was the 5th album by IRON MAIDEN it was the only the 2nd to have the exact same lineup as the previous. Apparently this stability meant they could focus on the music and refine it until it was of near perfection. All members are on full display here at the peak of their careers. All stars align in this metal masterpiece just like the shadows on the calendar days of ancient Egypt at a time when the pyramids served as an aid to the mysteries of the universe. Eddie seems to be stuck in the insane asylum still on the last album since he is not on here and only a sarcophagus representation of his ancient ancestors seems to be on display.

POWERSLAVE was an important development in IRON MAIDEN's career as it took all which came to be on the previous albums and refined them into amazing creations that had the catchiness, the aggressiveness and the beauty and added more complex progressive elements as clearly shown in the band's most compex song ever "The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" which is based on the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge that was written way back in 1798.

This is simply one of those beyond belief albums in music history much less metal that demands to be heard and more than holds up the test of time. The band set off on their longest and most successful live tour based on this album which spawned the live album LIVE AFTER DEATH. At this point the band reached the level of superstardom and would forever be an influence on the musical world.

The only curiosity i've ever felt toward this album is that the cover art which is one of my favorites in all of music history suggests a concept album based around the medieval past in Egypt yet begins with a song that is about flying jets. I guess my expectations of a full on concept albums are too demanding and I will not impose it on this album because they did not fulfil them. Taken for what it is it is still a masterpiece of metal music that does not seem in the least bit dated all these decades later.

Report this review (#1128722)
Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Iron Maiden-Powerslave

After the increased progressive leanings on 'Piece of Mind', Maiden released a new height with 'Powerslave' which could very well be called the first progressive metal album.

I'm always amazed when I listen to Iron Maiden, the fact that they can release masterpiece after masterpiece is simply amazing. Even though 'A Matter of Life and Death' is my personal favorite Maiden album, it's hard to pick a favorite when nearly all of their albums are flawless. If I had to pick a favorite out of the classics though, it would probably be 'Powerslave'.

The album begins with single 'Aces High'. Nicko McBrain's drumming on this track is very powerful and the guitar compliments it well. Of course you can't forget the other single '2 Minutes to Midnight', being just as powerful as the previous track. One song on this album that I feel gets forgotten is the instrumental 'Losfer Words (Big Orra)'. The song begins with cymbals before some really powerful driving guitar riffs come in. My favorite song from the album though has to go to the amazing title track. Bruce Dickinson gives one of his strongest vocal performances on this song, real power coming out of great lyrics like 'Tell me why I have to be a powerslave'. The instruments all compliment each other well, and the riffing can sound menacing on this song. Even though my favorite song on this album is the title track, my favorite classic Maiden epic 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' can't be forgotten. This nearly 14-minute behemoth is a musical interpretation of a poem, but that doesn't need to be known to enjoy this masterpiece. The guitars really drive, Dickinson's vocals are powerful, the drums are powerful, the song changes and is definitely one of my favorite epics of all time. The bridge is conducted perfectly, reminding me a lot of Rush's 'Cygnus X-1' with the way the guitar sounds and the spoken word. Once the song builds back up, Dickinson gives yet another powerful vocal performance. A true masterpiece.

Overall, I think everyone can agree that this is an essential album to any metal collection. This album boosted Iron Maiden's popularity, and helped make them one of the most influential bands in heavy metal.

Report this review (#1352301)
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars Half powerful

Wow, what a stunning artwork! This must be top-notch middle-eastern heavy metal! Well, unfortunately not exactly....

"Powerslave" marks, for me, the transition from a pure, epic to a more prog-oriented metal. Thus, as for most transitional albums, it has both good and bad parts.

Good parts are tracks 1, 3, 7 and 8. "Aces High" is a powerful, typical MAIDEN opening, which shares some similarities with "Where Eagles Dare". "Losfer Words" is an aggressive instrumental track with interesting variations. However, the record highlight - and the main interest for proggers - are the Egyptian-like title track and the 13 minutes suite "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". These songs alone justifies the listen. Unfortunately, the rest of the album does not present the same quality and originality.

The other half of the album contains mostly what I consider as filler songs. "2 Minutes to Midnight" sounds rather flat, contrasting with the enthusiasm of the opening track. "Flash of the Blade" and "The Duellists" have strong intros, but afterwards becomes annoying and repetitive, missing at keeping interest. The worst moment of the album is undoubtedly "Back In The Village". This song may be one of their less inspired from the 80's. Compared to the epic tracks on the previous album "Piece of Mind", this is quite a contrast.

My least favorite 80's IRON MAIDEN album. Prog fans can give it a listen, but for them I'll rather recommend "Somewhere in Time", "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son", or even "The X-Factor".

Report this review (#1537151)
Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Despite a number of albums prior to this that have gained legendary status, 'Powerslave', Iron Maiden's fifth studio recording, is where I feel the band really hit their stride as one of metals most iconic bands.

With a previous four releases over which to bond and mature as a band, 'Powerslave' is a complete bombardment of Iron Maiden having perfected their sound. The dual-guitar harmonies are spot-on and utilized to their fullest, and vocalist Bruce Dickinson's singing hits its peak here, with every line complimenting the music perfectly.

While I didn't dislike any of the bands previous releases, I never held them in such high regard as the rest of the metal community does, feeling that each album was just a steady improvement upon the one that came before it. However, here is where the songwriting really takes a solid step up, as every song is well executed and well played. The riffs and harmonies are very catchy and easy-to-listen to, and the guitar solos all seem to suit their respective songs much better.

Tracks like 'Aces High', '2 Minutes to Midnight', 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and even instrumental 'Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)' are more than just Iron Maiden staples, they're essential listening for all metal fans. On top of all that, the artwork is pretty damn awesome as well!

A key album in any rock or metal collection, THIS is Iron Maiden.

Report this review (#1783344)
Posted Sunday, September 17, 2017 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Iron Maiden's fifth album is generally considered to be one of their best, and while I disagree with this, finding some of their reunion efforts to surpass this, along with some classic ones, this is still a great album. The energy on this album matches that of Number of the Beast, with great musicianship all around. Bruce Dickinson is an incredible singer, being able to combine power with good range and have a dramatic flair to it as well.

This album has quite a definitive duality to it, with half the songs being fairly straightforward such as 'Aces High' and more involved, complex songs, particularly 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner'. Both types of songs are of high quality, with the traditional metal tracks being fun and up tempo, full of great riffs and the amazing basswork of Steve Harris. 'Aces High' is especially great in this regard, being one of the fastest and most energetic songs the band has ever written, with an extremely memorable hook to go along with it. On the other side of things, the more involved works manage to keep many of the traditional heavy metal elements to it, while also having some fairly interesting ideas thrown in as well. The title track, while the lyrics are very theatrical, are still interesting and tell a great story within the short song length. Along with the lyrical content being interesting, the mild Egyptian touches to the main riff, along with the incredible guitar solo, make this a very worthy song. 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' is where the album really picks up, being one of the best songs Maiden has ever written, with a great sense of progression to it, becoming more intense as the song goes on before completely dropping out, leaving nothing but eerie bass and Bruce reading poetry, all before picking up once again, not wasting a single moment within the 13 minutes of the song.

The album does have an issue with consistency however, as the middle four tracks are considerably weaker than the rest, especially 'Back In The Village' which while fast and energetic, is fairly uninteresting, with Bruce's vocals sounding unimpressive during the chorus, and the song being overall very weak. 'Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)' is the other major weak point, simply because while the riffs are immediately catchy and enjoyable to listen to, the structure of the song leaves a lot to be desired, with it building up quite well. before just... ending, leading to disappointment. Other than these two songs, the album is of high quality, even if 'Flash of the Blade' and 'The Duellists'' aren't anything amazing.

Overall, this is a great album full of great riffs, great energy, and great songwriting. I believe that despite the weaker moments on the album, notably 'Back In The Village', the album is still more than worth listening to.

Best Songs: Aces High. Powerslave, Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Weakest Songs: Losfer Words (Big 'Orra), Back In The Village

Verdict: A great album full of equal parts traditional, straightforward heavy metal, and more unique, experimental moments, all culminating in the 13 minute epic. One of the finest moments for Maiden (In which there are a lot) despite the occasional missteps.

Report this review (#2112068)
Posted Saturday, December 29, 2018 | Review Permalink

IRON MAIDEN Powerslave ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of IRON MAIDEN Powerslave

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives