Sunday, May 12, 2013

Iron Maiden - Powerslave (1984)

Just by looking at the cover of Iron Maiden's fifth album "Powerslave", you could already sense greatness in the making. It is something with seeing Eddie as an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh that is both appealing and neck hair rising. This is truly one of my all time favourite album covers. But let us stop talking about the artwork masterpiece and focus instead on the musical masterpiece. And you guessed it, most of the songs on "Powerslave" is about ancient Egypt. It is truly a shame that not all songs follow the same track since it is a really interesting concept to sing about the Egyptians.

The song that definitely does not follow on the Egyptian trail is the starter "Aces High". Prove me wrong, or is not "Aces High" about fighter pilots? It is still a great song with a highly memorable chorus, but it does not fit perfectly in this particular album. The rest of the songs on "Powerslave" follows the concept more or less.

There are two notable things with "Powerslave" that probably made it the great classic that it is today. The first thing is that "Powerslave" is the first Iron Maiden album with the same line up as its predecessor, "Piece of Mind", which have led to a improved group connection. The second thing is that "Powerslave" includes Iron Maiden's first real epic. The 13 minutes and 35 seconds long "Rime of The Ancient Mariner", a song that may not be fast, but thanks to its simple, but awesome, riffing, tempo shifting, incredible singing and theatrical lyrics, "Rime of The Ancient Mariner" is not only highly memorable, but also exciting. That song was the definite proof that Maiden have had that progressive vein straight from the start of their career. And even today, this song is considered as one of the best epics made by the band.

Another notable thing with "Powerslave" is that it contains Maiden's latest made instrumental track. The song entitled "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" is a highly enjoyable instrumental that has a memorable riff and also sound slightly Egyptian. But it is understandable why the band has not done any more instrumental since then because it is the weakest track on this album. If the band is going to do a new instrumental for the future, I would love to see Murray, Smith and Gers battle each other and really push themselves to the limit, like they do (minus Gers) in "The Duellists".

I would love to talk more about the more lesser known songs in "Powerslave" (like "Back In The Village" and "Flash of The Blade"), but I just cannot left such classics as "2 Minutes To Midnight" and the title track without something to say about them. "2 Minutes To Midnight" was, oddly enough, the first Maiden song I discovered and still to this day, I highly enjoy its memorable verse riff and powerful chorus. But it is the solo that is the star in this song and I still think that it is one of Maiden's best solos in their entire career. I just love the shredding in the start that slowly turns into a more atmospheric sound and then, thanks to the hard hitting drums, bursts out into the verse riff. Simply awesome. But the best song on this album is the title track. The simple galloping riff, the epic bridge, Dickinson's extra ordinary voice, the doom quire in the background, the long and beautiful solo and that huge, ultra epic ending that just makes your bones shiver. "Powerslave" has it all and it shows it in HD quality.

The concept itself deserves a perfect score, but with the help of some great tunes and impressive instrumental management, "Powerslave" shows the band's full potential. The riffs, the beats, the singing, the lyrics, yes everything makes "Powerslave" a true masterpiece and I would have given it a perfect score if they would have gone all the way through with the concept (you can blame "Aces High" for that error). None the less, this is a must own and listen for every metal fan around the world, no matter of age, gender, sexuality or species.

Songs worthy of recognition: Powerslave, Rime of The Ancient Mariner, 2 Minutes To Midnight, The Duellists

Rating: 9,5/10 Big 'Orras

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