Review Summary: “Piece of Mind” is an excellent effort by the best metal band to ever swim out of England.
In 1983, Iron Maiden released “Piece of Mind”. Lets keep this intro short and to the point: With this album, it was evident that Maiden wasn’t far from a perfect record.
“Piece of Mind” is a favorite by many fans of the band, and it’s clear as to why. Though it has its share of bad ideas and weak songs, it contains some true gems in the discography of the Iron Maiden. Before any negatives are addressed, the biggest positive deserves a mention. “To Tame a Land”, the closing track, was, up to that point in Iron Maiden’s career, the best song by the band, only being rivaled by “Phantom of the Opera” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. This is an oddly overlooked song by fans. The song begins with a brilliantly composed mellow intro, accompanied by a bone chilling and bluesy lead, and this effortlessly segues into the heavier part of the song, which is pretty bad ass itself. From 4:18 to the end of the song is without a doubt the best part of the album; it features a carefully organized collection of fantastic riffs and harmonies that transition beautifully from one idea to the next, without any impediment whatsoever. “To Tame a Land” is a truly remarkable piece of music.
Yes, I may be drooling over “To Tame a Land” but worry not, this album has a few other incredible tunes as well. “Revelations” is one of these tracks and is clearly Top 10 Maiden material. Following a flawlessly mixed intro of a punk-like electric progression and a repeated, thoroughly picked acoustic riff, the song carries on and displays, yet again, some of Maiden’s most orgasmic harmonies, like the ones from 1:50-2:12. Another notable triumph in this track is the breathtaking blend of acoustic verses and heavy choruses. Another stand out track, the enormously famous “The Trooper”, is one of Maiden’s most recognizable songs, and one of their top cuts. “The Trooper” features some superior bass work from Steve Harris, and splendid solos by the lead guitarists. The overall rhythm of the song is analogous to that of horses galloping, which directly correlates to the theme in the lyrics, a highly intelligent song writing move by Steve Harris. Other highlights include “Die with Your Boots On”, which is arguably one of Maiden’s most catchy tunes, and the slightly overlong “Where Eagles Dare”, which is still an excellent song. Obviously, there are some unbelievably marvelous songs on this album, and if you are looking for some of Maiden’s prime moments, than look no further than the ones contained in the highlights that I mentioned.
While “Piece of Mind” has some totally killer cuts, it has some awful ones as well. Something happens to the album at the conclusion of “The Trooper”. What happens is, the album literally sucks for about two or three songs until being redeemed by the phenomenal closing track. “Still Life”, the song that follows “The Trooper” is a boring waste of time, which, regardless of the great vocal performance by Bruce, gives off nothing. There is a similar issue with “Quest for Fire”, the song that follows “Still Life”. It’s just a pointless track that offers nothing but a few great riffs. But unfortunately, even those slick riffs do not make up for the brutally annoying lyrics or the sluggish flow of the song. After “Quest for Fire”, we encounter “Sun and Steel” which is only solid at best but at least it’s not as awful as the two musical failures that preceded it. Despite being worthless when compared to the rest of the album, it has an extremely catchy chorus.
All in all, “Piece of Mind” is an excellent addition to the Iron Maiden discography, and possibly their most accessible, as it has the most ‘basic’ Maiden sound. If it was void of the three poor tracks, this could have been their best album up to that point, but unfortunately, because of this, it is surpassed by “Iron Maiden” and slightly bested by “Number of the Beast”. However, if comparing the highlights of every Maiden album up to “Number of the Beast” with this, this would clearly be the winner. “Piece of Mind” is an excellent effort by the best metal band to ever swim out of England.
“To Tame a Land”
“Die With Your Boots On”