Friday, April 19, 2013
Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind (1983)
This album is, just as the title hints, a more progressive approach from the Englishmen. Besides from "The Trooper", you will not find a new "Run To The Hills" nor "Phantom of The Opera" among the 9 tracks. The band is trying to focus more on the melodies and the musical craftsmanship instead of relying on a catchy chorus and Bruce Dickinson's incredible voice. A good choice for the band? Well, I always say that a band is not complete when they do nothing to challenge themselves, so "Piece of Mind" could be a good way to show a new side of the band.
Unfortunately, I think that the band overdid it with the progressive part. Songs like "Where Eagles Dare" and "Revelations" are clear proofs that the music takes over more than it maybe should have. Don't get me wrong, I love the progressive Maiden, but the songs in "Piece of Mind" was a sign that the band was not fully ready yet to go that far into the progressive world. But there are good sides with this change. We get to see a new side of Maiden that increases the level of curiosity inside of us and it makes the band unpredictable, a very fine ability that few bands possess.
There is, however, songs in "Piece of Mind" that has that magical progressive touch that only Maiden can produce. One of these songs are the epic "Flight of Icarus" and with the excellent story about Icarus flight that was too close to the sun, this song is truly Maiden magic at its best. Another good track is "Die With Your Boots On" that shows almost every register that Maiden has to offer (except for the song writing). Last, but certainly not least, we have the power charger called "The Trooper". This song may have no chorus, but the thrilling riff, powerful singing and amazing guitar solo makes this song one of the most memorable songs in the entire Maiden discography. Every time this song plays it gives me the chills and the chills gets even bigger once Bruce runs through the stage with his outfit and his Union Jack waving all around.
The rest of the songs on "Piece of Mind" are nothing special nor worthy a big notice. They may have some parts that are interesting and memorable (like the chorus in "Sun And Steel" and the fine musicality in "To Tame A Land"), but they do not contribute on making this album special. There are no bad songs overall on "Piece of Mind", just mostly less good songs.
Overall, I still think that "Piece of Mind" is overrated. It is surely a good album, but it is far from a masterpiece. Maiden did a complete U-turn on the music direction which means that this sudden change killed some of the magic in this album. It is still the typical Maiden sound, but the band took a longer leap towards the future than they should have done. It is still an enjoyable album that every Maiden fan should hear at least one time.
Songs worthy of recognition: The Trooper, Flight of Icarus, Sun And Steel
Rating: 7/10 Revelations