Iron Maiden
Powerslave


4.5
superb

Review

by matthew36 USER (23 Reviews)
January 20th, 2020 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A work of art

I will never, ever get tired of this album. Specifically I will never get tired of the closing triumvirate of Back In the Village, the title track and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Yes, I included Back In The Village amongst that bunch. In what must have resulted in the most disappointing schoolyard roulette games of "which Iron Maiden member will be replaced next," across the world, Powerslave finds the Piece of Mind lineup not only intact, but having gelled together after a year better than most lineups do after five years. Every member of the band reaches the peak of their instrumental game here. Dave Murray and Adrian Smith become the best riffing and soloing twin guitar act in the business, executing rhythm tracks that, sure, you could make like James Hetfield and down-pick them, but why would you want to give yourself carpal-tunnel syndrome in your twenties? Nicko McBrain becomes the greatest one kick-pedal drummer alive, Bruce, while shedding most of the Samson gang viciousness, has fully blossomed into the greatest mid-range vocalist in metal, possibly even music, and Steve Harris has finally managed to erect that larger than the real Stonehenge sized middle finger to all the people whom "liked Maiden when they were more punk." This was never, EVER supposed to be a punk band, the self-titled and Killers albums were just larvae stages that were slowly budding to this overdue inductee to the Library of Congress. As a bass player especially, he has brilliant moments all over the album but where he seems to shine the most are on the songs he didn't even write, practically stealing the show right back under from Adrian and Bruce.

Some critics would say that sometimes 80's Maiden epics go on for too long, and where I come from thems are fightin' words. But that said, there is one teensy, tiny nitpick I have with this album that prevents me from awarding the full 5.0. The soloing section of the Duelists just goes on for too long. There's even an awkward moment at 4:38 where everyone, including the listener is wondering "weren't we talking about a sword fight?" I also concede that maybe, just maybe, this same argument could be made for 2 Minutes To Midnight. Say what you will about Gangland, but it is not too long.

But let's talk about the positives, like the fact that the harmony riff to Aces High is so perfectly realized in the studio, it seems practically impossible to play live without eliminating that atonal harmonic (or at least the one that sounds like it's being played by an amateur). Let's talk about Losfer Words, a very strong contender for the greatest instrumental of Maiden's career. The only other piece keeping it from taking the top spot in metal is Orion (and La Villa Strangiato, if your definition of metal stretches to that. Mine does, but others don't). Let's talk about how Bruce Dickinson (with a little arranging help from Steve) came up with arguably the 7th wonder of Maiden's catalogue, the title track. Those Phrygian scale riffs in the verse AND in the pre-chorus! That Master of Puppets breakdown two years before Master of Puppets with a lead solo from Dave Murray that so ***ing good and integral to the song you feel he deserves songwriting credits for it. By the way, in case anyone thinks that absolutely sublime third guitar solo at 4:41 is Adrian, it is in fact Dave. Adrian's solo at 3:55 is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but this is one of two times where it's not even close, and he is hopelessly outclassed by Dave Murray.

Then there are the two songs which for many people, are the be all, end all of Iron Maiden. The first is 2 Minutes To Midnight, and you won't hear any arguments for me. Apologies to Swords & Tequila, Stand Up & Shout and a plethora of others, but for my money Adrian Smith created the definitive version of this riff. Even if you disagree, fear not, for there are two more absolutely lethal riffs in the song that steal the show, and they are in the pre-chorus and chorus! It's slightly unfortunate that we don't get to hear these riffs on their own without vocals, but part of what makes classic heavy metal so ***ing great is breaking the songs down by their components and not just discovering some chords, but fascinating pieces that could have been made songs on their own. Bruce of course, delivers an absolutely harrowing analysis of war so compelling they needed to make its own Eddie single cover for it (ok, Maiden do that with all the singles, but there's something about this song's message that just can't be communicated with ancient Egypt). Not to mention the brilliant bass licks Steve throws in before each successive verse of the song. Then of course, there is the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Now, cards on the table, this song is not my favorite Iron Maiden epic. I can honestly say I'd rather hear maybe 7 or 8 other Maiden epics before this one. That said, I do not dare deny a millisecond of this song's accomplishments. Bringing a Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem to life in music, and making the track just as epic as the original is not just something your average musician can do after his morning piss yet before he's had his coffee. Nicko McBrain in particular shines on this track, and Steve is more than happy to percussively sync up him as part of bass duties.

Even those who think Number of the Beast is overrated think Powerslave is amazing. It is practically its own tier in the world of music. One could argue that they were never this on point again. I disagree, but I at least understand.



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user ratings (4001)
4.5
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
January 20th 2020


16082 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The score’s too low

Digging: Tame Impala - The Slow Rush

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2020


11430 Comments


Your score is too low Simon. I took the ceiling off mine, can't even see it anymore.

Digging: Sutrah (CAN) - Aletheia

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2020


17914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not fully convinced.

Digging: Post Animal - Forward Motion Godyssey

MindsOfMen
January 21st 2020


73 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Some critics would say that sometimes 80's Maiden epics go on for too long, and where I come from thems are fightin' words."



Honestly I haven't heard that about their 80s songs that much. I've only really heard that about their post-BNW stuff.



"I also concede that maybe, just maybe, this same argument could be made for 2 Minutes To Midnight. Say what you will about Gangland, but it is not too long."



What do either of these two sentences have to do with each other?



Casavir
January 21st 2020


3976 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"I've only really heard that about their post-BNW stuff."



This and it's absolutely correct.

matthew36
January 21st 2020


62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Simon?

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2020


11430 Comments


It's a name... according to google it's the most common name for Palastine Jews... or means "listen" or "hearing" which is pretty apt on a review site.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2020


17914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's also the name of the person that commented above him.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2020


11430 Comments


nah, that couldn't be it at all haha

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2020


11430 Comments


Back on topic of the review. I know we've talked at length about your context but it seems you're still not picking up what I'm putting down.
I'll expand:

Yes, I included Back In The Village amongst that bunch. In what must have resulted in the most disappointing schoolyard roulette games of "which Iron Maiden member will be replaced next," across the world, Powerslave finds the Piece of Mind lineup not only intact, but having gelled together after a year better than most lineups do after five years.


Wut?

Nicko McBrain becomes the greatest one kick-pedal drummer alive, Bruce, while shedding most of the Samson gang viciousness, has fully blossomed into the greatest mid-range vocalist in metal, possibly even music, and Steve Harris has finally managed to erect that larger than the real Stonehenge sized middle finger to all the people whom "liked Maiden when they were more punk."


Holy sweeping sentences Batman! Look, I get it. Iron Maiden is one of the world's premiere acts...period. But if you can't back up your statements it really doesn't mean shit. Terms like "Stonehenge sized middle finger" are quite ugh and doesn't help your readers one iota.


Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2020


11430 Comments


Consider this your last critique of this nature. You're not listening or taking feedback on board - or if you think you are, it's a woeful effort. I'll either be not contributing in this fashion on your reviews again or (like Dev, Sow, Crysis before me) I'll begin laying out your reviews top to bottom.

I'm not saying it to be a dick. We've got to come from somewhere - here's what I copped: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/44213/Falls-of-Rauros-Into-the-Archaic-Demo/#comments

wham49
January 21st 2020


5082 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

best maiden



review was informative and fun, people need to chill

matthew36
January 21st 2020


62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Did not say you were being a dick.

SymbolicInTime
January 21st 2020


5319 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Maybe I need to stop fucking around and 5 this, making Maiden my first band with more than one 5. Am I the only that thinks Rime of the Ancient Mariner is faaaaaarrr from their best longer "epic" track? Fantastic track still.



Edit: nvm I see reviewer shares my view of Rime

Digging: Saxon - Wheels of Steel

wham49
January 21st 2020


5082 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

maybe sym,



what are you putting above this as far as epics go

SymbolicInTime
January 21st 2020


5319 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Depends on what you use as a length cutoff. If we're talking around the 10 min mark or longer, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, For the Greater Good of God, The Legacy, and The Book of Souls. If we were to say 8 minutes or longer, that list would expand by a handful

TheNotrap
January 21st 2020


13095 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I still remember the day I bought it on vinyl. It doesn't get any better than this.

Digging: Blaze of Perdition - The Harrowing of Hearts

SymbolicInTime
January 21st 2020


5319 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I gave this 4 more spins while at work to see if I can finally bump this up but nah, sticking with a 4.5



The 5-worthy tracks to me are Aces High, 2 Minutes to Midnight, Losfer Words, Back in the Village, and t/t

SymbolicInTime
January 21st 2020


5319 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"'I've only really heard that about their post-BNW stuff.'





This and it's absolutely correct."



AMOLAD >> BNW





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