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4.7 out of 5 stars
Powerslave
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on January 18, 2004
Iron Maiden, along with Judas Priest and Motorhead, were among the founders of the "New Wave Of British Metal" (NWOBM) movement, an offshoot of heavy metal that took the blues-based hard rock of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple and the minimalist uptempo rock of the punk movement and combined them into a new form, from which the thrash, power metal, and death/black metal genres were derived.
1984's Powerslave was third in a brilliant series of albums featuring the one and only "Air Raid Siren"--Bruce Dickinson. His soaring, powerful vocal is perhaps the most distinctive and best in metal. Dickinson's voice varies from near-operatic high ranges to a pleasingly aggressive growl. Dave Murray and Adrian Smith are wonderful guitarists, managing fluid and fast dual guitar harmonies (always a Maiden trademark) with ease, and Steve Harris is a fine bassist whose prominence in the mix is always welcome.
Iron Maiden was never a master of subtlety, from the silly cover art usually featuring the band's skeletonized mascot Eddie to the lyrics, which are full of big epic subject matter (usually historical events and mythology), and the music is made to suit. While occassionally Powerslave suffers from a small amount of Iron Maiden Cheese (TM), if melodic, driving metal is your thing Iron Maiden always delivers with power and consistency.
The album opens up on a strong note with Aces High, the breakneck ode to WWII air combat. Other highlights include the apocalyptic imagery of 2 Minutes To Midnight, two songs dedicated to swordfighting (Flash Of The Blade, The Dualists) which are chock full of cool instrumental passages, and the killer Egyptian-themed title track which is perhaps my all-time favorite Maiden song. The album concludes with the famous epic Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, a 14-minute masterpiece dedicated to the Coleridge poem of the same name.
Powerslave is absolutely essential to the metal conoisseur. Also reccommended are Number Of The Beast, Piece Of Mind...hell, pretty much everything up to and including Seventh Son Of Seventh Son. In addition, check out Bruce Dickinson's solo material as well, which is vastly underrated.
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on October 27, 2003
For Iron Maiden, following up the metal classic "Piece of Mind" would be no easy task, but the band proved themselves up to the challenge. With the release of Powerslave, and the subsequent World Slavery tour, the group arguably climbed to the top of the heavy metal heap, emerging as the most popular metal band of the mid 80's.
At or near their creative peak, the band delivers powerful, energetic metal, dominated by the guitar work of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. The music shows growth and maturity, while still featuring driving riffs, blistering solos, harmony lines, and signature time changes. As always, Maiden's sound is propelled by the aggressive bass of Steve Harris. Nico McBrain is a solid, and often flashy drummer. And Bruce Dickinson continues to carve out a special place as one of metal's finest vocalists.
Steve Harris often draws on novels or historical events as source material for his songs. "Aces High", his song about the Battle of Britain, is an extremely tight number that is one of Maiden's finest compositions ever. It features the customary alternating solo break, with Murray going first, followed by Smith, showing again their contrasting styles.
"The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner", is Harris's 13 minute epic based on the famous poem. It starts energetically, drags a bit in the slow middle section, but then finishes strong.
Powerslave, drawing inspiration from ancient Egypt, is another tight, and powerful musical journey. Creating a rich atmosphere, it transports you there to feel the pain and despair of that time period. The Egyptian motif was both the album's theme, and that of the World Slavery tour.
Blazing out of the gate, and humming like a motor, the guitars on "Back in the Village", never slow down. Murray and Smith continue to take their guitar playing in new directions, with their individual sounds meshing almost perfectly on this powerful number.
Swordplay is the theme of two songs. Penned by Dickinson, "Flash of the Blade" is a dark tune with some interesting lyrics. Not particularly "heavy", it features some tasteful guitar work, and an unusual opening riff. "The Duelists", written by Harris, is a heavier, more traditional Maiden tune, with classic elements like time changes, arpeggios, duel solos, and harmony guitar. This under appreciated musical gem, finds Murray and Smith at their complementary best.
The electrically charged "Two Minutes to Midnight", is Maiden's commentary on the politics of war in the Reagan era, and has gone on to become a concert favorite. Rounding out the album is the instrumental "Losfer Words", which is more upbeat and light, than previous instrumentals like, "Genghis Khan".
Produced my metal specialist Martin Birch, the music is very tight, and precise. The guitar work is magnificent. The band continues to refine what it does best, and explore new musical realms as well. The writing credits reflect more balance. Bruce Dickinson's vocals are right on the mark, and never seem excessive. Powerslave is one of Maiden's finest recordings, and a classic for the period, and the genre.
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Powerslave Spotlights Maiden at their technical, creative, and commercial Peak. To me it is definetly one of three Maiden Metal Masterpieces along with The Debut Album and Piece of Mind. Only a handfull of bands can claim 3 or more masterpeices in any genre. Maidens techincal expertise, playing, writing, and Bruce Dickinsons powerfull vocals are evident on every note of the album. The Produciton, even years later, is crisp, clear, and modern with the instruments all equally spotlighted and clear without being as overproduced as there next few records. Here is a song by song breakdown:
Aces high - A masterpiece. One of greatest Metal songs ever.
2 Minutes to Midnight - Another Classic which continues to be played on tour through 2002.
Losfer Words - An odd placed instrumental. While the groove and the playing are tight it seems odd to follow up 2 hard hitting tracks with what amounts to a repitive jam session. This sounds like filler and with only 8 songs on the disk could have been left off for a B side if the band had another tune ready to go.
Flash of The Blade - A decent, but unmemorable track about some midevil swordsman who fights to avenge his family
The Duellists - essentailly part 2 of the above track, but with a much stronger melodic chorus and awesome Bass, mellow guitar, heavy Guitar Solo section in the middle.
Back In The Village - I love this track. Great Riff. Great Melody. Sounds like its about a war Vet who can't get over the War. Powerfull underrated track.
Powerslave - A standout song with an Awesome Riff, Great Vocal/Melody, and a cool slow midddle section that provides the dynamics missing on some of the albums earlier tracks.
Rime of the Ancient Mariner - Maiden nailed their "Stairway" on this track. They have several other attempts at "Epic" tracks on several other albums but none come close to this.
So how can a Materpiece only garner 4 stars. The instrumental and follow up Flash of the Blade Track sound fairly repititive and break up the momentum of the record. The disk recovers nicely and finishes strong, but in a single listen I can sometimes lose my "Music Buzz" and want to skip these tracks or even hit the stop button when this happens. Also, the album lacks as much dynamics on whole as some other records. Howevre, with that exception noted this is undoubtedly a top 10 Metal Masterpiece and a Must own for any Maiden or Metal Head. If your a casual Metal listener (How many of those are there?) this is a standout record for your collection.
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on September 26, 2002
This is classic Iron Maiden entering their peak years of popularity. Many feel this is their very best album. It is undeniably their most energetic and fastest paced album to date. Raw Energy. It is simlar in style to "Number of the beast", capturing a brighter and faster mood than the previous "Piece of Mind". A fantastic collection of songs. "Aces High" is a great opener to the album and captures the feel of the album right away. A great chorus and two fast fingered solo's from Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. The next song was the big hit from the album, "Two minutes to Midnight". One of their more famous songs, and well known chorus'. A great rhythm riff, and solo, the whole package. The next song is a long instrumental, and I personally loose a little interest here, and usually skip to the next, "Flash of the blade", which is indeed faster than the title suggests. A very fast opening riff, and another catchy chorus. The next song is one of my favorite Maiden songs ever, and is indeed the highlight of the album in my opinion, "The Duellists". Raw energy and Power. A great Chorus that Pumps me up everytime I hear it. A long progression of lead breaks and solo's, great harmonies between the two guitars. Fantastic, classic, and quintessential Iron Maiden. The next track "Back in the village", unfortunately is not as good as the rest of the album. Good guitar work however. The title track is a fantastic song, great lyrics and mean riff. Great solo's in the middle and everything you would expect from these monsters of Metal. The finale "Rime of the ancient mariner" in my opinion, is way too long. Not that I'm against long, epic, thematic songs. I'm NOT, but for half of this 13 minute plus song, is nothing more than a boring bass line and nothing. Almost like their taking a break in the middle of a song, but in the studio? Once it kicks back in, however, you'll be glad you waited. Classic Iron Maiden. Not my favorite album, but among their best, their most powerful and energetic. I highly recommend.
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Iron Maiden's fifth album is like the third and the fourth. Full of metal power by Bruce Dickinson and co.
1. Aces High - a fast song about war. Great vocals! Especailly the echoes are very good! A good single track too! 5/5
2. 2 Minutes to Midnight - a good single track, probably the best track in this album, Bruce Dickinson sings better than ever! 5/5
3. Losfer Words (Big 'Orra) [Instrumental] - a good instrumental song! Good guitars! 4.25/5
4. Flash of the Blade - great vocals and a great song. Good lyrics! 4/5
5. The Duellists - vocals are great!!! Good lyrics! 4.5/5
6. Back in the Village - the worst track in this album. The lyrics are boring and so is the melody! 1.5/5
7. Powerslave - a great song musically about Jesus Christ. The instrumental part in the middle of the song is too long but this is quite a good still. 4.75/5
8. Rime of the Ancient Mariner - a long but good song. Great lyrics! 4.75/5
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on February 28, 2004
As a loyal listener of lighter artists such as the Beatles and U2, I had never dreamed of listening to heavy metal. Then one day when I was browsing the music titles at my local Wal-Mart, something strange came over me. I picked up the Iron Maiden CD "Powerslave" and decided to give it a try. After listening to it in its entirety on my car stereo, I was shocked. The music was unsurprisingly wild, but the lyrics were intelligent, the lead guitar solos intricate, and the bass playing galloped strongly and steadily. The downside to "Powerslave" is most of the songs are similar in style. But songs like "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," "Minutes to Midnight," and "Losfer Words" make "Powerslave" a worthy buy and Iron Maiden and I an odd couple.
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on May 9, 2003
The first 2 tracks "Aces High" and "2 Minutes 2 Midnight" just blow you away. If the CD had only those 2 tracks... I would still buy it. I wouldn't complain about the length of #8 ("Rime of the Ancient Mariner") beacuase many of Maiden's songs are just as long. "Dream of Mirrors", "Fear of the Dark", "The Clansman", and "Hallowed be thy Name" all range from 7-12 minutes!! I think longer songs are better 80% of the time because they have more variety of riffs and more time to expirement and make some nasty solos and rolls. If you dont have this album Get It!!!
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on May 17, 2004
IMO Iron Maiden had a period of 4 consecutive albums from 1982-1986 where they were in their prime: Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind, Powerslave, Somewhere in Time. I'd recommend you start with these and if u like 'em maybe get some more.
The only bona-fide hit single type song is "2 Minutes to Midnight". The only clunker is "The Duellists" - a decent song ruined by an extra-cheesy chorus. The rest is pretty good too.
The videos are pretty funny actually, ahhh.. 80s metal... :-)
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on January 23, 2004
Iron maiden is a great band with highly acessibly songs that any open minded person could enjoy, and if yur looking in to iron maiden i would definatly recomend starting with this album for an introduction into metal & and the Band it self, aces flying high, 2 minutes to midnight, and Flash of the blade are all here, if you want to dig deeper definatly check out the number of the beast.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
If you are a true Maiden fan, you'll love this cd. It contains possibly the best instrumental piece ever (Losfer Words). If you're a true Maiden fan you should already have this cd or get it right away. "Rimes of the Ancient Mariner" is the best 13 minute song based on a poem (Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge). Powerslave is an essential cd for your collection. Every song is true Maiden from "Aces High" to "Rimes of the Ancient Mariner". Possibly the best cd you could invest in.
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