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Powerslave - Iron Maiden

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: Iron Maiden / Enhanced / Audio CD released 1998-09-14 at EMI

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      21.04.2012 18:10
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      An excellent Iron Maiden album.

      "Powerslave" is the 5th studio album by British heavy metal band, Iron Maiden. It was released in 1984 on EMI Records and produced by Martin Birch. The line-up for the album was Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar), Steve Harris (bass) and Nicko McBrain (drums).

      The 5th Iron Maiden album saw the band keep the same line-up in a follow-up to 1983's "Piece of Mind". Once again Martin Birch was at the helm, and Maiden dabbled in songs of longer length. The album spawned two singles, "2 Minutes to Midnight" reached No.11 in the UK singles charts, and "Aces High" peaked at No.20. The album itself reached No.2 in the charts, kept off the top spot by "Now That's What I Call Music 3".

      "Aces High" is a song about the Battle of Britain during World War II in 1940. It begins with a tidy intro that leads into a really strong guitar riff that keeps its grip until the song finishes. Nicko's drumming is very good here, too, as is Harris' customary chugging on the bass. Contrary to belief, the song was written by Steve Harris and not qualified commercial pilot, and Iron Maiden vocalist, Bruce Dickinson. When the song was played live on the World Slavery Tour of that time, a Winston Churchill speech was played before the band came on-stage to the song. The artwork for the single shows Maiden's mascot Eddie in a Spitfire.

      "2 Minutes to Midnight" dabbles into the realm of the Cold War, and the title is a reference to the Doomsday Clock, which once reached 11:58pm, the closest to global nuclear war it's ever reached. The main riff on this song is one of the best off the album, and the lyrics are obviously quite dark and heavy. Dickinson's vocal range is tested to the limit in the chorus, but it's once again the sound of that bass which steals the show.

      "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" is an instrumental song which gives Bruce Dickinson a rest. It was written by Maiden stalwart Steve Harris, and does a decent job of switching time between a fast tempo and a not so fast tempo. I'm not sure who decided on the track positions, but I'm pretty sure this song should have been in the middle. It doesn't seem to fit just three songs in.

      "Flash of the Blade" begins with an intense riff, which leads into some of the best music you'll hear from the band. The song is about medieval times and sword fighting. It was written by Bruce Dickinson, who is a keen fencer. McBrain keeps time really well here, and is almost orchestrating the rest of the band throughout the track. This is one of my favourites, not just on the album, but of Maiden's entire back catalogue.

      "The Duellists" carries on the tradition of medieval times, and is evidently about one man throwing down his glove in challenge, another accepting it, and the fight to the deal for honour. A lot of Maiden fans love this song, but I'm of the opinion that it's too much of the same, coming too fast after the previous track of a similar theme. For me, this is the weakest song on the album, and the chorus just doesn't match up to what Iron Maiden is capable of.

      "Back in the Village" is a follow-up to "The Prisoner" which appeared on 1982's "The Number of the Beast". Once again, it's a song about Number Six, who always ends up 'back in the village' at the end of "The Prisoner" TV show. The song comes in with some intricate guitar work, before Nicko takes over with wondrous drumming. This is one of my favourite songs on the album.

      Enter "Powerslave", one of the best songs you'll hear by Iron Maiden. It's a song about an Egyptian Pharaoh who is treat like a God here on earth, but fails to understand why he eventually has to die. There's some really good guitar work on this song, and the instrumental part halfway through the song is magical, leading up to some top quality solo trading by Smith and Murray. When the band played this live over the years, Eddie would usually appear on-stage.

      "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is an epic song at just under 14 minutes long, and quite literally steals the show, even from the excellent "Powerslave". It's a song based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem of the same name, a poem about a mariner at sea who experiences strange goings on. Musically, it's a truly genius piece of work. There are heavy parts, and slower parts, and everything in between, and all cleverly put together to match the poem. This is the best song on the album.

      In summary, this is a very good Iron Maiden album, although it is somehow often overlooked by the critics. That's largely due to Maiden outdoing themselves with each passing album, probably up until "Fear of the Dark", but most people wouldn't put this in their top 5 Iron Maiden albums. I would, that's for sure. Of course, it's not as good as "The Number of the Beast", but most heavy metal albums aren't. If it wasn't for possibly two songs on here that don't quite fit, it would be the best Iron Maiden album.

      1. Aces High
      2. 2 Minutes to Midnight
      3. Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)
      4. Flash of the Blade
      5. The Duellists
      6. Back in the Village
      7. Powerslave
      8. Rime of the Ancient Mariner

      My rating: 9/10

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        04.09.2009 16:26
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        One of the all time Maiden greats

        *For a little more band background please refer to my earlier 'Dance of Death' review. One doesn't want to risk the wrath of Dooyoo Gods by repeating oneself*

        POWERSLAVE is Iron Maiden's 5th studio album and was released in September 1984.

        Coming off the back of highly acclaimed offerings 'Number of the Beast' (1982) and 'Piece of Mind' (1983), 'Powerslave' surpassed its own huge expectancy to complete what I like to describe as the 'Holy Trinity' of Maiden albums. These are the albums which gave Maiden their true identity and propelled them into the upper echelons of metal supremacy. To produce 3 albums of impeccably high calibre in such a short space of time was a justifiable tribute to their dedication, musicianship and song writing creativity.

        Having tweaked the punchy tones from their first two albums to a more refined but no less combative sound, Maiden were now setting new standards of heavy metal and if 'Number of the Beast' and 'Piece of Mind' had dug the foundations then 'Powerslave' was the towering statue of greatness planted within. It is a monument that is still clearly visible today, showing no signs of erosion or decay, standing defiant against new winds offered up by fresh subdivisions of the genre, its zenith out of sight above the clouds.

        The band was at an undoubted peak, an unyielding vibrancy was running right through them, their craft was honed to perfection. Huge tours behind them and even larger ones ahead. A stable, established line-up that fed off each other, the components fit perfectly together, well oiled and hungry. The heart of the beast was alive and beating, autonomously ruled, they did things their way or not at all -a trait that many of today's bands pretend to adhere to but are so obviously hen pecked, styled and governed by some other quarter that it's embarrassing.

        'Powerslave' encompasses virtually all the classic Maiden characteristics. The twin guitar melodies and the 'give and take' solo exchanges of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith are in full working order. Their contrasting soloing styles compliment each other and give the songs a new angle and redirected impetus when one takes the baton from the other. Murray's smooth, polished, silk-like bluesy tones juxtaposed with the raw, abraded but equally as effective street prowling grace of Smith is a fascinating mix. It's never a guitar war between the two, more of a nod of appreciation and all geared for the good of the song.
        This is a tactic Maiden have often used and one which has always served them so well.
        The galloping bass of Steve Harris is there too, a marauding presence dispersing regular runs off the fretboard taking the rapier edged precision drumming of Nicko McBrain with him as together they drive the songs on.
        As with Murray and Smith, these two work in tandem and when they stray from the path with another run and fill, they always return back home to the beat with unerring accuracy.

        The sound of 'Powerslave' is crisp and airtight, white knuckle in delivery and scattered with triggered booby traps. An intrinsic aspect of Iron Maiden's music is that it keeps you on your toes, no section is wasted, regular 'all in' flourishes lift you out of bars and drop you safely back into the next one. The Maiden dynamic is abundant throughout.

        The way in which 'Powerslave' differs slightly from the previous albums is that there are no slow intros. The familiar chorus/flanger infused chord plucking techniques before the inevitable explosion are absent but not missed, although I have always longed for more slower numbers from Maiden just out of pure curiosity as the few more subtle tracks they have done have blown me away.

        The tempo does drop for instrumental sections of '2 Minutes to Midnight', 'Powerslave' and most notably the ship creaking lull in the truly staggering 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' but these aside it is a high octane album.

        The all round tempo of 'Powerslave'suits vocalist Bruce Dickinson perfectly. Here we hear him at his imperious best, pulled taut and stretched by the energy around him, he wrestles the verses with a nefarious edge in his voice before breaking free to conquer the choruses with his unmistakable virtuosity. Best example of this is displayed on album opener 'Aces High'.

        If the album does have a slight chink in its armour it comes in the form of 'The Duelists', not a stinker by any stretch and deserves more of a cuff round the earhole rather than an absolute lambasting, but it is not up to the same high standard of the other 7 songs. There is also a welcomed instrumental track 'Losfer Words' which showcases the more melodic side of Maiden's nature.

        The pinnacle of the album is the final track and definitely worth a special mention. It is the aforementioned 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' which retells the late 18th century poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 'metal' format. Written and composed by Steve Harris it sees Maiden in story telling mode and is their longest ever recorded song at 13 minutes 38 seconds.
        It borrows a few poignant lines from the poem throughout, some to great effect during the eerie lull mentioned earlier. Lyrically and musically outstanding, it takes you on an epic journey and you forget the length as you become engrossed in the tale. The 13+ minutes are certainly no albatross around the song's neck (pun fully intended) and the track is one of Iron Maiden's finest ever moments.

        For those who surround the genre of heavy metal with torches ablaze and pitchforks at the ready, poised to attack a certain stereotype that probably in fairness hasn't helped itself at times over the years, I ask you to take a step back, let the flames burn out and appreciate the craftsmanship involved with a lot of Maiden's work. If the genre is still not your bag then fair play but I don't think anybody could seriously deny that they are leaders in their chosen field.

        'Powerslave' came with an Egyptian themed sleeve depicting mascot Eddie as some sort of Sphinx/Pharaoh figure. I do believe the Sphinx holds certain secrets within its many tunnels and chambers. I'm also convinced that in one dark room, in an indestructible treasure chest there is a sacred copy of this album. Should a form of Armageddon arrive and the world should start a fresh, whoever inherits the planet will find this copy and they will be blessed with the knowledge of what Grade A heavy metal should sound like.

        'Powerslave' I salute thee. Thanks for reading.

        1 Aces High
        2 2 Minutes to Midnight
        3 Losfer Words (Big Orra)
        4 Flash of the Blade
        5 The Duellists
        6 Back in the Village
        7 Powerslave
        8 Rime of the Ancient Mariner

        Bruce Dickinson - vocals
        Steve Harris - Bass
        Adrian Smith - Lead and Rhythm Guitars
        Dave Murray - Lead and Rhythm Guitars
        Nicko McBrain - Drums

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          01.02.2009 20:09
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          ...blasts from the speakers, like a dozen screams of darkened angels...

          Timeless classics are few and far between. Those of you who have a copy of "please insert favourite song of yesteryear that sounded so hype and cool back then" put it on your music-making machine now, be it a n ipod, a CD slot or even a gramophone. Sounds dated... right? So I am pleased to announce to everyone that this album by the masters of heavy metal themselves has dated very little in deed. Of course, I might well be 'stuck' in an eighties quagmire too blind to see, but there you go...

          Personal thoughts and feeling about this album... or "Borg reminisces..." Eeh, I remember buying his album on vinyl when it first came out in 1984. It was the time of Terminator and Maggie Thatcher (however, I could never decide who was most frightening). I had counted days until its release and then on that unforgettable day paid my money with clammy hands and took my gem back home. Did I like it? I loved it!

          Then, recollecting all my vinyls on CD, I decided to buy it again.....


          We kick off with the head jerking 'Aces High,' a song that blasts from the speakers, like a dozen screams of darkened angels. A Metal Classic (with capital M and C). Bruce 'Air Raid Siren' Dickinson's voice pounds at us like a wave of pure genius and the guitars of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray are evident. We are reintroduced to other members, too: don't forget Steve Harris (one of Metal's greatest bassists) and the enigmatic Nicko McBrain and his thundering drums.

          'Two Minutes to Midnight' is next. A bit of a daft song but with a catchy and stomping chorus. The lyrics are a bit gross: 'Two minutes to midnight, to kill the unborn in the womb.' Hmm. Gets the knee jerking and out will come your air guitar (but it might need tuning first)

          We have the instrumental 'Losfer Words' next. This is a great song, full of differing chord changes here and there. It twists and turns in a metal extravaganza, featuring great solos from the maestros of axe-fiddling Smith and Murray.

          As soon as 'Losfer Words' comes to it climax, 'Flash of the Blade' hits our ears. This is quite possibly one of the lesser known classic Iron Maiden songs. Written by Bruce Dickinson, it is a song with a great beat. A mixture of guitars and drums which form well. 'You'll die as you lived in a Flash of the Blade.' It is a song about Bruce's hobby of sword fencing.

          The fifth song is 'The Duellist' which is liked by a lot of people, but not by be. I find it a bit boring, as I do the next song. 'Back in the Village' is the sequel to 'The Prisoner' (a song from the Number of the Beast album). The chorus is repetitive and not too interesting.

          'Powerslave,' the album's title track is a really good song, one of my all time Iron Maiden favourites. Great music and great lyrics, this is one of the albums highlights and will always be one I look for.

          The album concludes with the epic 'Rime of the Ancient Manager.' Based on the poem by Samuel Taylor Colleridge, this song bursts into life with rocking drums and guitars, and then races through various styles as we are told the tale of the Mariner in over thirteen minutes of music.
          Full track Listing:

          Aces High (Harris) 4:29
          2 Minutes to Midnight (Dickinson/Smith) 6:00
          Losfer Words (Harris) 4:13
          Flash of the Blade (Dickinson) 4:02
          The Duellist (Harris) 6:07
          Back in the Village (Dickinson/Smith) 5:20
          Powerslave (Dickinson) 6:48
          Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Harris) 13:36

          The Band:

          Bruce Dickinson - Vocals
          Steve Harris - Bass
          Adrian Smith - Guitar and Vocals
          Dave Murray - Guitar
          Nicko McBrain - Drums

          Over all: I do like this album a lot, it is one of the classics of Heavy Metal. It features the classic line up who went on to do 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' and 'Somewhere In Time.'


          ...and... I am glad I bought this again...
          Thanks for reading... Also published by me on Ciao as 'Borg.'

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            30.12.2008 12:52
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            One of Iron Maiden's classic albums

            Powerslave is Iron Maiden's 5th studio album released originally back in 1984, it features an Egyptian theme in it's artwork with a few sneaky bits of hyrogliphics including "wot no guiness", "indiana jones was here 1941", "wot a load of crap", "bollocks", as well as cartoons of mickey mouse and the Iron Maiden mascot Eddie.

            I must be one of the few metal fans who thinks that just about every Iron Maiden song sounds the same, then again so do Motorhead's to be fair but I'm rarely seen criticising them - I do have a bit of an allergy to Bruce Dickinson's voice, it is too high pitch for me even though I acknowledge his range is very good.

            Iron Maiden know how to write very catchy songs, the guitar playing and bass are spot on on this album and whilst the songs aren't quite as sing-a-longy as those of The Number of The Beast album, there are plenty of rock anthems here in Aces High, 2 Minutes to Midnight and my personal favourite - the title track Powerslave.

            Overall, this is one of the best Iron Maiden albums there is, it really rocks but not being an enormous fan of the band - I have to give it a 4 out of 5 stars for the balls in a vice shrilling vocals my ears had to endure.

            1. "Aces High" (Steve Harris) - 4:29
            2. "2 Minutes to Midnight" (Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith) - 5:59
            3. "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" (Instrumental) (Harris) - 4:12
            4. "Flash of the Blade" (Dickinson) - 4:02
            5. "The Duellists" (Harris) - 6:06
            6. "Back in the Village" (Dickinson, Smith) - 5:02 (5:20 on the 1998 re-release)
            7. "Powerslave" (Dickinson) - 7:10 (6:46 on the 1998 re-release due to the deletion of the intro)
            8. "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (Harris) - 13:34

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              01.04.2004 18:46
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              Iron Maiden's fifth studio album (1984)

              Unlike some of Maiden's later albums, Powerslave is not a concept album although this could be thought from the heavily Egyptian themed booklet and covers. The themes of the songs range from a celebration of the brave English flying aces to an extensive and long-winded musical version of Samuel Coleridge's poem, 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner.' The guitar riffs and solos by Dave Murray and Adrian Smith are at their very best in this album, as is the basswork from Steve Harris, which is more onticeable on this than many of the other albums, and drumming from McBrain. Bruce's vocals haven't lost any of their range, and this album shows him reaching notes possibly higher than it's safe to listen to.

              Powerslave was the first Iron Maiden album I heard in full, and is still my favourite today. 1982's "The Number of the Beast" introduced frontman Bruce Dickinson and started the classic Iron Maiden 'sound', 1983's "Piece of Mind" introduced drummer Nikko McBrain and Steve Harris' history-influeced lyrics, and 1984's "Powerslave" is a great album that combines everything that's great about the hairy British rockers.


              THE MUSIC


              1. ACES HIGH

              Starting the album on a high note, pardon the rubbish and unintentional pun, is one of my favourite Maiden songs. The main riff is fast, uplifting and very fun while Bruce's contrasting high and medium vocals in the chorus and verses respectively make this an instant classic. It was the first track released as a single off this album, and features on 1991's compilation "the Best of the Beast." It was recently covered by European dea
              th metal band Arch Enemy making for a much scarier song. Unlike some of Maiden's songs there is actually a lot of progression and interesting 'asides' by guitars and while the image of flying heroes may not be conjured up it's a great metal song which should be more accessible than Metallica or anything heavier, especially Arch Enemy.

              2. 2 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

              Another excellent song, another of my favourites and another to be released as a single, "2 Minutes" was another song included on the Best of the Beast. A longer song at just under six minutes - not two as you might have hoped; this would have been fiendishly ironic however the song would be much worse - the song is quite a criticism of human folly, especially regarding world leaders who decide upon devastating wars that affect the future populations. As well as one of my favourite guitar riffs, some of my favourite Iron Maiden lyrics are included here: "We oil the jaws of the war machine and feed it with our babies" is expertly delivered by Bruce in a medium-note voice that for once can be heard by life forms other than just dogs and bats, making this one of the more meaningful Iron Maiden songs to come out of the 80s.

              "As the madmen play on words and make us all
              dance to their song,
              to the tune of starving millions
              to make a better kind of gun."

              3. LOSFER WORDS (BIG 'ORRA)

              After a lyrical appraisal comes this slang-fest, but this doesn't extend to the song as all that can be heard is some guy shouting numbers at the start. It's an instrumental you see, and not one that will go down in the history books as the Beethoven or Wagner of metal, but an enjoyable o
              ne nonetheless. While Metallica's instrumentals arevery long, complex and emotive, Maiden's instrument players tend to jump at the chance to make themselves get noticed above Bruce Dickinson and come up with some nice riffs and solos to fill up the 4 minutes 12 seconds that it takes him to go about his ablusions during recording. Losfer words isn't a Maiden classic but it's nice and fun, and the high guitars near the end of the song are really good.

              4. FLASH OF THE BLADE

              Bruce Dickinson is back with a vengeance in this vocal-led song about someone who has to grow up quickly to take vengeance upon tjose who have slain his family. Far from being depressing and dark, this is one of the most uplifting Maiden songs I've ever heard, although all instruments clearly take a back seat to Bruce in this fantastic performance. The verses are sung in a raspy tone before the build-up and wailing of the very catchy chorus. Not a Maiden classic, but I definitely don't consider it to be a filler track: there are certain times when this is the best thing I can listen to.

              5. THE DUELLISTS

              Another great vocal performance, the guitars, drums and especially bass are more present in this anthem about, well, guys having a duel and the reasons behind it, as well as the inevitable deadly consequences. Bruce's vocals are very fast in some of the verses, which is certainly impressive, and his choruses are only about a note lower than in "Flash." Probably knackered or something. There's a great guitar and bass interlude in the middle of the song before the verses start again, and this is another great song that won't be very recognised but certainly has its moments. I love it.

              6. BACK
              IN THE VILLAGE

              The only song on the album that I would consider quite 'filler,' this is the only song I'm indifferent to. I occasionally skip it, and it's never as present in my mind as any of the others, although there are some great guitar sections and one of the funniest Iron Maiden lyrics: "Shellshock, in the kitchen." When read, the lyrics regarding a return home and some sort of a catastrophe are very interesting and well-written, however it doesn't translate too well into song form.

              7. POWERSLAVE

              The penultimate track on the album, the title track "Powerslave" deals with Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs and is also a heavy and progressive metal song: can't go wrong really. Starting with one of the song's main riffs and Bruce's angry verses, it soon becomes clear that this is a well developed and epic song when the Egyptian-esque choruses kick in. The choruses, verses and especially the guitar riffs and accompanying drumming are among the most memorable Maiden songs and this is definitely a must-hear for any metal fans. I'm not sure whether it was on Best of the Beast but sod that, they put "Can I Play With Madness" on that so it's not that prestigious. The song has a break in the middle with guitars that almost sound acoustic and some interesting distortion before the best and longest guitar solo of the album. The impending doom aspect is always a great feature of Maiden songs, even when that doom is personified by album cover star Eddie dressed in unconvincing rags, and the last verse promises:

              "A shell of a man preserved-
              a thousand ages,
              But open the gates of my Hell-
              I will strike from my grave."

              &#
              79;ne of my very favourite Maiden songs, I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of rocking, everyone's at their best here and the backing "ahhhh"s by other band members don't even sound annoying like they do a little on other tracks.

              8. RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER

              An Iron Maiden song that can divide the fans, the 13:36 epic is a winner with me mostly due to the very first notes which will thrust themselves into my mind at the most inopportune moments, but which I can then enjoy in memory form in any case. Even if you hate Maiden, take a listen to the first three seconds and you may get what I mean. I think most peoples' problem with this song is patience, as it's definitely very long, but if you're just wasting your school and college years going to school in the day, then watching Stargate and eating Pot Noodles the rest of the time you might as well immerse yourself. There won't be time later. The song is a direct reference to Samuel Coleridge's famous poem in which a seafaring man was cursed to tell his tale of blasphemy regarding the murder of an albatross, and it's very easy to tell the sections which are either original Maiden or lifted directly from the poem. See if you can tell the difference:

              "As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean
              Water, water everywhere
              And all the boards did shrink.
              Water water everywhere nor any drop to drink."

              "And the curse goes on and on and on at sea
              And the thirst goes on and on for them and me."
              Diddly-diddly-diddly ba ba bababababa (instrument sounds)

              Halfway through, a bass section features a number of string and wind instruments which create a deep atmosphere and is very different
              from everything else on the album, and a narrative starts. Following this rather dull and quiet section comes another guitar section I could only describe as 'cheerful' which leads up to the end of the song. A masterpiece, but not for everyone.


              I would personally recommend this album over any others Maiden have done, as this is Maiden at their prime. "Number of the Beast" is the album everyone knows, but the songs aren't anywhere near as enjoyable or metal as this; the band's chemistry also seems to be at an all-time high before all the splitting up of the 90s. "Beast" is also beaten by the fact that its booklet didn't include a nonsensical slang-fest swearathon at the end of its booklet's "Thank You" section: this does, and it's all the funnier for it. Unfortunately I can't repeat any of the phonetical swear words in case of offence. This album and the others can all be found for very low prices in CD retailers and on websites, which makes collecting them all the more simple. Up the Irons!

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                08.12.2003 02:43
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                Powerslave was the first Iron Maiden album I heard in full, and is still my favourite today. 1982's "The Number of the Beast" introduced frontman Bruce Dickinson and started the classic Iron Maiden 'sound', 1983's "Piece of Mind" introduced drummer Nikko McBrain and Steve Harris' history-influeced lyrics, and 1984's "Powerslave" is a great album that combines everything that's great about the hairy British rockers.

                Unlike some of Maiden's later albums, Powerslave is not a concept album although this could be thought from the heavily Egyptian themed booklet and covers. The themes of the songs range from a celebration of the brave English flying aces to an extensive and long-winded musical version of Samuel Coleridge's poem, 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner.' The guitar riffs and solos by Dave Murray and Adrian Smith are at their very best in this album, as is the basswork from Steve Harris, which is more onticeable on this than many of the other albums, and drumming from McBrain. Bruce's vocals haven't lost any of their range, and this album shows him reaching notes possibly higher than it's safe to listen to.


                THE MUSIC


                1. ACES HIGH

                Starting the album on a high note, pardon the rubbish and unintentional pun, is one of my favourite Maiden songs. The main riff is fast, uplifting and very fun while Bruce's contrasting high and medium vocals in the chorus and verses respectively make this an instant classic. It was the first track released as a single off this album, and features on 1991's compilation "the Best of the Beast." It was recently covered by European death metal band Arch Enemy making for a much scarier song. Unlike some of Maiden's songs there is actually a lot of progression and interesting 'asides' by guitars and while the image of flying heroes may not be conjured up it's a great metal song which
                should be more accessible than Metallica or anything heavier, especially Arch Enemy.

                2. 2 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

                Another excellent song, another of my favourites and another to be released as a single, "2 Minutes" was another song included on the Best of the Beast. A longer song at just under six minutes - not two as you might have hoped; this would have been fiendishly ironic however the song would be much worse - the song is quite a criticism of human folly, especially regarding world leaders who decide upon devastating wars that affect the future populations. As well as one of my favourite guitar riffs, some of my favourite Iron Maiden lyrics are included here: "We oil the jaws of the war machine and feed it with our babies" is expertly delivered by Bruce in a medium-note voice that for once can be heard by life forms other than just dogs and bats, making this one of the more meaningful Iron Maiden songs to come out of the 80s.

                "As the madmen play on words and make us all
                dance to their song,
                to the tune of starving millions
                to make a better kind of gun."

                3. LOSFER WORDS (BIG 'ORRA)

                After a lyrical appraisal comes this slang-fest, but this doesn't extend to the song as all that can be heard is some guy shouting numbers at the start. It's an instrumental you see, and not one that will go down in the history books as the Beethoven or Wagner of metal, but an enjoyable one nonetheless. While Metallica's instrumentals arevery long, complex and emotive, Maiden's instrument players tend to jump at the chance to make themselves get noticed above Bruce Dickinson and come up with some nice riffs and solos to fill up the 4 minutes 12 seconds that it takes him to go about his ablusions during recording. Losfer words isn't a Maiden classic but it's nice and fun, and the high guitars near the end of the song are really good.

                4. FLASH OF THE BLADE
                Bruce Dickinson is back with a vengeance in this vocal-led song about someone who has to grow up quickly to take vengeance upon tjose who have slain his family. Far from being depressing and dark, this is one of the most uplifting Maiden songs I've ever heard, although all instruments clearly take a back seat to Bruce in this fantastic performance. The verses are sung in a raspy tone before the build-up and wailing of the very catchy chorus. Not a Maiden classic, but I definitely don't consider it to be a filler track: there are certain times when this is the best thing I can listen to.

                5. THE DUELLISTS

                Another great vocal performance, the guitars, drums and especially bass are more present in this anthem about, well, guys having a duel and the reasons behind it, as well as the inevitable deadly consequences. Bruce's vocals are very fast in some of the verses, which is certainly impressive, and his choruses are only about a note lower than in "Flash." Probably knackered or something. There's a great guitar and bass interlude in the middle of the song before the verses start again, and this is another great song that won't be very recognised but certainly has its moments. I love it.

                6. BACK IN THE VILLAGE

                The only song on the album that I would consider quite 'filler,' this is the only song I'm indifferent to. I occasionally skip it, and it's never as present in my mind as any of the others, although there are some great guitar sections and one of the funniest Iron Maiden lyrics: "Shellshock, in the kitchen." When read, the lyrics regarding a return home and some sort of a catastrophe are very interesting and well-written, however it doesn't translate too well into song form.

                7. POWERSLAVE

                The penultimate track on the album, the title track "Powerslave" deals with Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs and is also a heavy and progressive metal song: can
                9;t go wrong really. Starting with one of the song's main riffs and Bruce's angry verses, it soon becomes clear that this is a well developed and epic song when the Egyptian-esque choruses kick in. The choruses, verses and especially the guitar riffs and accompanying drumming are among the most memorable Maiden songs and this is definitely a must-hear for any metal fans. I'm not sure whether it was on Best of the Beast but sod that, they put "Can I Play With Madness" on that so it's not that prestigious. The song has a break in the middle with guitars that almost sound acoustic and some interesting distortion before the best and longest guitar solo of the album. The impending doom aspect is always a great feature of Maiden songs, even when that doom is personified by album cover star Eddie dressed in unconvincing rags, and the last verse promises:

                "A shell of a man preserved-
                a thousand ages,
                But open the gates of my Hell-
                I will strike from my grave."

                One of my very favourite Maiden songs, I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of rocking, everyone's at their best here and the backing "ahhhh"s by other band members don't even sound annoying like they do a little on other tracks.

                8. RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER

                An Iron Maiden song that can divide the fans, the 13:36 epic is a winner with me mostly due to the very first notes which will thrust themselves into my mind at the most inopportune moments, but which I can then enjoy in memory form in any case. Even if you hate Maiden, take a listen to the first three seconds and you may get what I mean. I think most peoples' problem with this song is patience, as it's definitely very long, but if you're just wasting your school and college years going to school in the day, then watching Stargate and eating Pot Noodles the rest of the time you might as well immerse yourself. There won't be time la
                ter. The song is a direct reference to Samuel Coleridge's famous poem in which a seafaring man was cursed to tell his tale of blasphemy regarding the murder of an albatross, and it's very easy to tell the sections which are either original Maiden or lifted directly from the poem. See if you can tell the difference:

                "As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean
                Water, water everywhere
                And all the boards did shrink.
                Water water everywhere nor any drop to drink."

                "And the curse goes on and on and on at sea
                And the thirst goes on and on for them and me."
                Diddly-diddly-diddly ba ba bababababa (instrument sounds)

                Halfway through, a bass section features a number of string and wind instruments which create a deep atmosphere and is very different from everything else on the album, and a narrative starts. Following this rather dull and quiet section comes another guitar section I could only describe as 'cheerful' which leads up to the end of the song. A masterpiece, but not for everyone.


                I would personally recommend this album over any others Maiden have done, as this is Maiden at their prime. "Number of the Beast" is the album everyone knows, but the songs aren't anywhere near as enjoyable or metal as this; the band's chemistry also seems to be at an all-time high before all the splitting up of the 90s. "Beast" is also beaten by the fact that its booklet didn't include a nonsensical slang-fest swearathon at the end of its booklet's "Thank You" section: this does, and it's all the funnier for it. Unfortunately I can't repeat any of the phonetical swear words in case of offence. This album and the others can all be found for very low prices in CD retailers and on websites, which makes collecting them all the more simple. Up the Irons!

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                  21.01.2001 01:48
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                  If my memory serves me well - and it DOES - this was the first Iron Maiden album that came into my posession, and was indeed one of the first heavy metal records that I owned. It's full of a lot of nostalgia because of that. The copy I had was a bad recording from a bad recording I think, and all the songs were in the wrong order (not sure why - they fitted just as well on the tape if they'd been in the right sequence.) It has been acclaimed as one of the finest speed metal albums of the eighties, and I'm inclined to agree, although it certainly isn't formulaeic, which is something albums like 'Piece of Mind' could be accused of if you're feeling slightly uncharitable. But I'm not. So I won't. Much. 'Powerslave' is as much a theme album as 'Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son' and actually has a not disimlar theme to it. Again, Bruce Dickinson's rather predictable fascination with mythology and desert culture has cropped up throughout the album, but it has created a very workable theme this time. That of Egyptian myths. Which ones he was reading at the time remains a mystery to me: I'm not an expert on Egyptology sadly, although my knowledge is good enough to get by on at parties. Read into that what you choose. The songs: Aces High: OK, I know I said it was an album about Egyptian Mythology. Generally. This song is about as far from that as it is possible to be without obscure references to watercress or Vidal Sassoon, or other such non-Egyptian paraphanalia. It's a song about dogfighting with your spitfire and stuff. Sort of like 'Tailgunner' but a lot better. Good wailing guitar work here. 2 Minutes To Midnight: Another one of the Iron Maiden catchy tunes, again penned by Adrian Smith and Bruce Dickinson. War is once again the subject of discussion and a pretty gruesome set of imagery is presented to us. Jellied brains? Eating babies? Please, d
                  ears, do try to get some more fresh air. All the same, the song has THAT riff in it. You know the one when you hear it. Possibly the best darn riff iron Maiden ever recorded. Yeah! Losfer Words (Big 'Orra): Oooh, now here's a treat! In the early days, the band weren't averse to an instrumental piece, but by this stage they'd not done one for a while, so it was definitely time for one... Here you go! It is pretty run of the mill stuff actually, and nothing to get TOO excited about when you compare it to the ealier instrumentals, but you can get along with it if you let Iron Maiden do what they do best - fantastic rockin' guitar work. Flash Of THe Blade: What a lot of people don't realise is that Bruce Dickinson is, in fact, one of the UK's most accomplished fencers. No, I don't mean he sells dodgy watches down 'The Intrepid Fox' on a Friday night. That's FENCES. Fencer - swordsman. It might explain his good physique perhaps, but it certainly explains his obsession with songs about swordfighting ('Sun and Steel?' anyone) which he indluges in here. It's not brilliant, although it's catchy enough. Not quite filler, not quite a single. The Duellist: Hello, Steve Harris again, this time following Bruce's lead with a MUCH better song about fencing. The warbling wave of the guitar sound mixed with some of Bruce's most complex vocal meanderings make this a VERY hard song to mosh to. A hard song to listen to. An absolute pain in the neck to play on a guitar. But a truly masterful piece of metal composition. Excellent work. Back In The Village: This was the first song I ever heard by Iron Maiden. Not the best place to start, but if you can get on with this, you can get on with anything. War again, with Bruce and Adrian still not having gone out for a brisk stroll in the sunlight. Pretty eclectic guitar work, and less catchy than '2 Minutes To Midnight&
                  #39; it certainly isn't accessible, but it does have the advantage of some excellent soloing. Powerslave: As title tracks go, Iron Maiden have done their usual trick. Strange as it sounds, but this is one band who name their albums after an idea then get a song for it, or so it seems, rather than naming an album after a good song they've had. This means that often the titles tracks of their albums aren't their best work. 'Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son' isn't the strongest on that album. 'Iron Maiden' was a little silly, and we won't even go NEAR 'No Prayer For The Dying' right now. 'Powerslave' is the weakest link on this album. Which isn't bad criticism. It has to be content with merely being very, very good. It does chug along a little, until it gets going, but Bruce has actually managed to do some decent justice to his mythological readings this time. Lyrically, it's good. And when the solo kicks in halfway through, you'll know why this song deserves to be named as a good one and not a cliche. The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner: Steve Harris didn't go to my school. If he had done, he'd have had this poem shoved down his throat constantly in English lessons and been so sick of it he'd never have written this song. But he went somewhere else, and wrote it anyway. It's possibly one of the greatest epic heavy metal songs written: the 1980s version of 'Stairway To Heaven' but about the Ancient Mariner and his lesson about how he should respect life. Lifting from the Richard Burton reading of the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, it goes through several different musical phases, as one might expect from an Iron Maiden epic. Sadly, it has one fatal flaw: it chooses to end as limply as Coleridge's poem. Coleridge was notorious for not finishing his poems ('Kubla Khan' 'Dejection' and 'Christabel' are amongst the finest works of his
                  time, but the lazy tyke never actually bothered to finish any of them) and he had major problems finishing the Rime. He did actually get round to it eventualy, and the ending was such a pathetic 'love everything' stanza that it stands out like a sore thumb. The end of this song is equally sudden and sore-thumbed. A Shame. Other than that, a fine song. Overall opinion: don't come to this album first. It's just a LITTLE eclectic for a newcomer and is probably a good album to move on to as a bridge between 'Piece of Mind' and the more experimental 'Somewhere in Time' which is only right of course, chronologically speaking.

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                  05.11.2000 05:20

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                  Many people believe this to be IM's finest hour. It was released with a load of hype and a tour that lasted almost 2 years. In fact it is an amazing album, and I think that it ranks as 1st equal with Somewhere in Time. Best song for me was Flash of the Blade, which was never played live as far as I can remember and is rarely talked about, but for me shows Bruces vocals at their very best. Powerslave (the title track) is also excellent with a wicked base line. Aces High and 2 Minutes to Midnight were the singles and were pretty damned good too. If you like IM this is a must.

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                  21.09.2000 06:09

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                  Yes, I will start this review as I mean to finish, this album is excellent. The time of the album's release was the high point of Maidens carrer, and with an album of this quality lets face it, its hardly suprising. The album stars with the combination of grove riffs and blistering speed in the form of "Aces High", and peaks with the amazing title track "Powerslave". The album has a highly listenable feel and never fails to have you head rocking by the time you reach track two "Two Minutes to Midnight". This is without a doubt a classic Maiden album and rightly so having not a single bad track. Of all Maidens albums "Powerslave" is the only one, to have captured the Maiden live feel. A feat so far still eluding the Live albums. Why ? Just because of the shear power of the album it apitimises Maiden. Any one who has seen Maiden live will be familiar with this Aura of power, and this album captures this perfectly. Powerslave is an album which just screams "Yes, were just this damn good" It's Maiden with a touch of arrogance..... perfect!!!

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              • Product Details

                Disc #1 Tracklisting
                1 Aces High
                2 Minutes To Midnight
                3 Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)
                4 Flash Of The Blade
                5 Duellists
                6 Back In The Village
                7 Powerslave
                8 Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
                9 2 Minutes To Midnight
                10 Aces High