Iron Maiden
Powerslave


5.0
classic

Review

by Kevin Williams USER (14 Reviews)
October 23rd, 2012 | 26 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A highly influential album that cemented the band's legacy as masters of metal.

Iron Maiden’s fifth album, Powerslave, is a truly exceptional album. It takes all the elements that made early Maiden great [dueling guitar leads, galloping bass, Bruce’s soaring vocals, etc.] and throws them into the melting pot. The result is a classic melodic metal album that truly does live up to its ultra-popular status (and its amazing cover art). Powerslave is truly the pharaoh of heavy metal.

The key element that propelled Powerslave to its throne is, of course, the excellent musicmanship. This is definitely a guitar player’s record. Throughout the fifty-minute album, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith serenade the listener with catchy riffs and melodic solos; their interplay is fascinating. There are no riffs that don’t mesh with the previous riff, and every solo interacts perfectly with it’s song. This results in some of the best solos of the band’s discography; particularly on “Aces High” and “Powerslave”, my two favorite songs on the album. Powerslave possesses a special “togetherness”, where everything feels like it’s in the right place and balanced, even on the multi-sectional, thirteen-and-a-half minute finale “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. There are no moments that pass by when the guitar-work becomes tedious or boring to listen to.

Powerslave is home to some classic songs, and some songs that didn’t quite get the attention they deserve. The opener “Aces High” soars just as high as the fighter planes it details in its lyrics, and the mid-tempo second track “2 Minutes to Midnight” has found itself as a favorite in the live setlists thanks to its memorable intro riff and great sing-a-long chorus. The dark, heavy title track shows the extent of Maiden’s remarkable songwriting abilities, and of course, you can’t forget the multi-sectioned epic “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, which is the longest song in the band’s discography to date. But in between these classic songs, there are some songs that are not as well-known. “Flash of the Blade” plays like an updated version of “Running Free”; it’s just a ton of fun to listen to. “The Duelists” is a warrior’s anthem containing a lengthy instrumental section showcasing the band’s dueling guitar skills. Fitting, huh? “Back in the Village” is widely considered among critics to be filler, so I was apprehensive about listening to it, but when I did, the fiery opening guitar riff washed all my fears away. The track then progresses to be one of the most energetic songs on the whole album. Admittedly, I could live without the instrumental “Losfer Words”, but it is still a solid track with a great riff.

Bruce’s voice is, as usual, exemplary. He delivers his unique voice with enough power to keep the tracks alive. He can hit the soaring highs (“Aces High”), as well as the menacing lows (“Powerslave”) with ease. The lyrics are well-written too, if cheesy. (Hey, that was cool back in the day, admit it.) Powerslave doesn’t go out of its way to be heavy, instead opting for a lighter, poppier, approach, with emphasis on catchy choruses. And this isn’t a bad thing at all; not all metal has to be heavy. Powerslave’s relative lightness helps the album’s replayability factor, which is Powerslave’s greatest asset.

Powerslave almost never slows the pace down. It keeps the listener energized and headbanging throughout the entirety of the album, save for slower solos in “2 Minutes to Midnight” and “Powerslave”, and a minute worth of bassline in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. The lack of ballads keeps the listener on their toes the whole time. This is a two-sided coin though. Powerslave does lack the variety that Somewhere in Time had, and it’s hard to distinguish some songs, particularly in the middle of the album. My other minor complaint about the album is the lack of drumming presence. Nicko McBrain takes a backseat here and doesn’t do anything interesting. In fact, when I showed my 12-year-old sister the album, she said she loved it, but she found the drumming boring. The album would have been improved if he had more of a showing, but the guitar-work makes up for it.

Overall, Powerslave is a fantastic album that makes all the right moves and showcases what 80’s melodic metal was all about. The songs are extremely well written and well played. Songs follow the same pattern, but when that pattern is as good as this one, it is fine with me. If I had made the album, I would have replaced “Losfer Words” with a slower song in the name of “Children of the Damned” or “Revelations”. But in the end, Powerslave is an essential listen for any metal fan, or music fan in general. This is a great starting point for entering the wonderful world of metal.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
kwill15
October 23rd 2012


134 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Iron Maiden Discography 6/15 - Powerslave

Please leave constructive criticism and tell me how I did.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2012


16133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

needs paragraphs dude

mindleviticus
October 23rd 2012


8331 Comments


really lumpy

kwill15
October 23rd 2012


134 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh sorry, this had paragraphs in my word document. I didn't notice. Thanks

DONT NEG YET, IM FIXING IT!!!

ViperAces
October 23rd 2012


12504 Comments


neg'd

kwill15
October 23rd 2012


134 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

fixed

mindleviticus
October 23rd 2012


8331 Comments


review's great

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2012


16133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice review now that wall of text is gone, pos
damn the soloing on title track is so fking good

ViperAces
October 23rd 2012


12504 Comments


I was jokin ;)

kwill15
October 23rd 2012


134 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^ i figured

i know i can trust you, viper :P you'd never neg me

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2012


16133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

best dickenson era one

Chortles
October 23rd 2012


18102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah and the riffing, it's all perfect, my favorite maiden song for sure

Digging: Cocteau Twins - Treasure

kwill15
October 23rd 2012


134 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I should have mentioned that Powerslave is my favorite chorus on the record, and that's saying a lot, because these choruses are amazing, even for Maiden standards

ViperAces
October 23rd 2012


12504 Comments


Yea I think Powerslave is my second favorite Maiden after HBTN.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2012


21610 Comments


Awesome album.

Digging: Foxes in Fiction - Ontario Gothic

Chortles
October 23rd 2012


18102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well looks like i gotta jam this now

TheNotrap
October 23rd 2012


8133 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Great album, great tour, great band.


Digging: Funebrarum - The Sleep of Morbid Dreams

FrozenVain
October 23rd 2012


2483 Comments


yes...yes it is.


Chortles
October 23rd 2012


18102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

title track is so fuckin good m/

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2012


16133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

tell me why chortles has to be a powerslave



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