Iron Maiden
No Prayer for the Dying


2.0
poor

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
August 18th, 2008 | 173 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Iron Maiden sells out.

After dabbling with synths and proggy metal, No Prayer for the Dying was supposed to be a return to Iron Maiden's grittier, punk influenced NWOBHM roots. But somewhere along the way the band seems to have lost focus, and rather than the straightforward metal ala Iron Maiden or Killers that was promised, we get an agglomeration of 80s hard rock, and tepid Number of the Beast-isms.

The disappointing jaunt towards a dying breed of rock more suited to the AC/DCs and Def Leppards of the world is hardly No Prayer for the Dying's greatest flaw, however. After all, Scorpions did have a decent enough record in Love at First Sting, did they not? The record features a drop in the song writing quality, which itself seems inevitable given that it's the band's eighth album in ten years, but when the fall is at Avenged Sevenfold level proportions, there's hardly an excuse. "Tailgunner" is as average as Iron Maiden gets, recycling worn-out melodies and riffs. The song's central harmony is nauseatingly happy sounding and just isn't very much fun to listen to; a trait I don't often associate with an Iron Maiden song. Hit singles "Holy Smoke" and "Bring Your Daughter…To the Slaughter" are even worse offerings, the former emulating the goofy "Tailgunner" riff, while the latter suffers from the sterile hard rock grooves that dominate its build. Both songs are among Iron Maiden's weakest, only surpassed by the downright awful "From Here to Eternity", "Chains of Misery", and "Angel and the Gambler", later heard on Fear of the Dark and Virtual XI. Though perhaps not as outwardly exasperating, "Hooks in You" and "Public Enema Number One" are also plagued by lethargic chord progressions and generic soundscapes, which renders them rather unimaginative and uninteresting.

If the half-assed song writing wasn't bad enough, Bruce Dickinson takes a leaf out of Brian Johnson's vocal technique. Gone, for the most part, is the operatic singing style which soared through the likes of "Aces High" and "The Trooper". Instead his voice sounds scratchy and raspy, void of the qualities which made him one such a force to begin with. That isn't to say that Dickinson has abandoned his former style completely; in the chorus of "The Assassin" he lets loose a few wails, and in "Mother Russia" and the title track he actually sings. That those three songs are No Prayer for the Dying's highlights is hardly coincidental; Dickinson's voice is grating enough to singlehandedly ruin halfway decent compositions, which he happens to do in Dave Murray's "Fates Warning" and Steve Harris' "Run Silent Run Deep".

Ultimately, though, it's a joint failure on Iron Maiden's part. Like the zombie Eddie that adorns the album's cover - stripped of the additions that came on previous covers – No Prayer for the Dying is a plain, listless record that never really gets itself going. Though the album's worst tracks aren't as bad as the stinkers on Fear of the Dark, at the same time, its best songs don't hold a candle to the likes of "Judas Be My Guide", "Wasting Love", or "Fear of the Dark" either. As such, No Prayer for the Dying is Iron Maiden's most forgettable release overall; unless you're a completist with money to spend, it's best just to avoid this.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Mikesn
Emeritus
August 18th 2008


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

old review was wrong so i re-wrote it

Ironpriest
August 18th 2008


403 Comments


I haven't actually heard all this album, but you really should not say Iron Maiden are 'sell outs' for one, the term 'sell out' is one of the stupidest and immature words to exist in music (sorry im not bashing your review, its pretty good but you've done better...) plus Iron Maiden are one of the bands still around today that are completely true to their fans.

Assasin rules tho! :D

bustyagunz
August 18th 2008


911 Comments


but you really should not say Iron Maiden are 'sell outs'

He said they sell out on this record, not that they are sell outs, because they obviously werent before this, and its up to opinion i guess afterwards. i dunno much about Maiden, but saying sell out isnt stupid, at all really, many bands sell out...

rasputin
August 18th 2008


14555 Comments


Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter is a pretty funny song, but I didn't really like the rest I've heard from this. Good review.

quaazi
August 18th 2008


200 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I think this album, compared to other Maiden albums, deserves a 1.5, but standing alone, it's 2.5. Sure, it sucks for Maiden but it's a decent recording overall...

Plus Fates Warning isn't as bad as you said. But Mother Russia and The Assassin are definetly highlights.

Altmer
August 18th 2008


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I can never be bothered to listen to this even though I have it.

ChaosTheory
August 18th 2008


102 Comments


Maiden did just what i was hoping they wouldn't do.

Looks like i won't be picking this up.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2008


17939 Comments


are you saying dickinson sounds even worse than usual how is this possible

Altmer
August 18th 2008


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Because he isn't actually singing anymore.

Now he's just rasping.

Ironpriest
August 18th 2008


403 Comments


"are you saying dickinson sounds even worse than usual how is this possible" - Quote from above

Dickinson is one of the greatest singers in metal. Along with Rob Halford, Sebastian Bach and Dio!

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2008


17939 Comments


lol okay this is 2008 stop living in 1986

bustyagunz
August 18th 2008


911 Comments


Rody Walker is the best singer in metal, nuff said.

Altmer
August 18th 2008


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Dickinson is a good singer, so is Halford and Dio (don't like Skid Row.)

But there are so many that proclaiming Dickinson is the best has become a bit of a moot point.

Ironpriest
August 18th 2008


403 Comments


lol, i dont like modern metal. Too me, metal is fun stuff like the 80's. I know a lot don't agree but this is just my opinion. Plus is prefer Maiden style "Singing" than modern Screaming like Trivium and lots of other modern excuses for metal. Btw what on earth is with cavalara conspiracy awfull, awfull band.

ChaosTheory
August 18th 2008


102 Comments


^ There is a major 123 on what you just said.

OllieS
August 18th 2008


2036 Comments


lol okay this is 2008 stop living in 1986

Ha, Bruce's voice is miles better today than it was in 1986. Listen to their latest album.



IAmInsect
August 18th 2008


3799 Comments


are you saying dickinson sounds even worse than usual how is this possible
ahahaha

Altmer
August 18th 2008


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lol, i dont like modern metal. Too me, metal is fun stuff like the 80's. I know a lot don't agree but this is just my opinion. Plus is prefer Maiden style "Singing" than modern Screaming like Trivium and lots of other modern excuses for metal. Btw what on earth is with cavalara conspiracy awfull, awfull band.


see, this is why metalheads are always called douchebags by non-metalheads. It's because you haven't bothered to listen to good metal from the 2000s, and just put on what was hip; you're right, Trivium sucks, but have you bothered to check out any good metal from the 2000s? There's loads of bands that don't scream, you know. Ever heard of this little thing called power metal? Progressive metal? Ugh. This sort of close-mindedness makes me want to throw up.

Mikesn
Emeritus
August 18th 2008


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

are you saying dickinson sounds even worse than usual how is this possible
believe it or not!
Plus Fates Warning isn't as bad as you said.
see it's alright, but it would have turned out better if dickinson wasn't doing it wrong

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2008


17939 Comments


Ha, Bruce's voice is miles better today than it was in 1986. Listen to their latest album.

I have.



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