Iron Maiden is one of the bands that managed to open up people to the masses. Back in the 80s, when this genre was relatively new, Iron Maiden pulled out the big crowds and made them bang their heads to their infectious tunes, complimented with splendid solo work, great bass lines, cool riffing, and Bruce's insane vocal wails. The tour that followed this album is one of the most succesful tours any metal band has ever done. Iron Maiden came into the mainstream, and this band has released album after album, some with more quality than others. But still, Powerslave is hailed as a masterpiece all over the world, next to The Number Of The Beast. But why?
And that still baffles me about this album. I have never, for the life of me, been able to see what would make this a classic and not Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind, or Brave New World. Sure, there are some great infectious tunes on here. Aces High is obviously a classic song. Good guitar solos, galloping bass, well-executed drums, Bruce's attempt at hitting notes higher than any woman can sing them, sure, great song. And a perfect sing-along chorus. It doesn't get better than this for Maiden, does it? And then you have 2 Minutes To Midnight, which is just as good, if not even better! All the classic maiden elements! First two tracks already! This has got to be the best album of all time!
Except not. The four middle tracks are absolute Maiden garbage. There is almost nothing interesting about these four tracks. Sure, the musicianship is decent. Sure, it's not terrible. But it's four times the same style of song (apart from the boring instrumental), and overall it's just plain dull. It's no wonder power metal sounds all the same, if you take influence from this stuff you're never going to be subjected to any variety. I mean, Maiden have a formula. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Maiden have stuck by that and I appreciate that these guys do what they do, they're certainly very good at their stuff, and I'm not sure there's many bands that could pull off an "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" without sounding utterly cheesy. Steve and co. know what they're doing, that's not the problem. It just all sounds the same, and I don't want to hear the same song all over again.
And that again exemplifies what you may call "Maiden syndrome." Bands are very good at what they do, and stick to their niche, and please the fans, tour for their old songs, you know, play the classics, relive the 80s, very cool and all that, but there isn't any sense of progression. They've released three good albums, but they're all in the same vein. It's all terribly similar. Of course, there's always standout songs, and good musicianship, but it's a case of "not having a single best album, just good/great songs scattered among all the trash." This Maiden album is just an example of that. You have Aces High, and 2 Minutes To Midnight, and Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which are all excellent songs, and the title track, which is a good track overall, and then there's the rest. Good songs scattered among nonsense. It's inconsistent, and it makes an album terrible to listen to.
Of course, musicianship and skill is never something we've had to be bothered about with this band. Smith and Murray can definitely take out their axes and grind out some pretty cool stuff, whether it be lead breaks, solos, riffs, whatever. The guitar axemen simply know what the hell they're doing. Dickinson can hit these high notes like almost no one else in the genre can. All these power metal singers must quote Dickinson as their influence, because he was one of the best metal wailers (for lack of a better term) there is. Harris' bass playing was a revelation, his signature gallop is all over the place. Nicko McBrain is a more than competent drummer. These guys are all so good at what they do. But if you do the same everytime, it turns a potentially great band into mediocrity. It's a good thing Maiden experimented more with their sound on the next album, and have taken totally different lines in the last couple of years, and it proves these guys can do it. They have the material, the means, the money, the label cooperation, everything.
Overall, it means that if you have Number of the Beast or Piece of Mind, you don't need this album unless you're a collector, and you could get the important tracks off a live album, through alternate means, or listen to them at a friend's. If you want to get into the Maiden typical sound, this isn't bad, as it definitely is a trademark Maiden album, but don't say I didn't warn you as the songs sound very alike and may just become boring at times. If I were to buy a Maiden album, I'd still go for Number of the Beast.
^^ that depends. This album will probably cost me 15$ is that worth it? Review was good. I'm thining bout getting this not sure though, this is supose to be a godly album (and given the 284votes-4.5/5 rating, i think its reason enough to belive it).
Edit: AND 4 of 6 reviews of this album gave it a 5, plus the fact I loved the Best of the Beast, yep I'm getting this. To the comment after this one: I understand that, lots of my opinions on albums are diferent from other users in the site. So i'm not going to go around flaming people for their opinionsThis Message Edited On 03.13.07
hey Altmer yer review rating is different than yer user rating. Good review. I love this album! I am sure i will get negged for this but....Rime Of TheAncient Mariner is one of my lesser favourite tracks on here. ;)
I have to disagree with you there... I like the album a lot. Man I even feel that number of the beast has more filler tracks than this (c'mon no one really listens to gangland and honestly likes it) but good to see OPINIONS.
Ugh, my stomach did a somersault when I saw the rating for this review. Very good review though, however I hardly consider the 4 songs in the middle garbage. Listening all the way through this can get a little similar, but these are all extremely fun Maiden songs to listen to! Id say these are great songs mixed among other "good" songs rather than "garbage"
but hey, i voted
wake, a lot of people review how they know the album should be critiqued, and then their personal ratings differ. I gave Fall Out Boy's new album a 2/5, but really I think it's a 3.5. It's bad and all but, uh, I like it. :X
That being said, this is an excellent review. I still want to check this out, as I'm going through Sputnik and getting what everyone is raving about.
I very clearly disagree with the review, but it was pretty good none the less. You do compare Maiden to power metal a lot though, which is just dumb as this isn't power metal. Although I disagreed, you backed your points up fairly well.
Maiden is basically one of the forerunners to power metal, and many bands have drawn influence from this in the power metal genre. I mean, all those bands that made that genre great, it all harks back to this band at some stage in their career.