No Prayer For The Dying
IRON MAIDEN

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IRON MAIDEN - No Prayer For The Dying cover
2.80 | 97 ratings | 9 reviews
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Album · 1990

Tracklist

1. Tailgunner (4:15)
2. Holy Smoke (3:49)
3. No Prayer For The Dying (4:23)
4. Public Enema Number One (4:13)
5. Fates Warning (4:12)
6. The Assassin (4:35)
7. Run Silent Run Deep (4:35)
8. Hooks In You (4:08)
9. Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter (4:45)
10. Mother Russia (5:32)

Total Time 44:31

Line-up/Musicians

- Bruce Dickinson / vocals
- Dave Murray / guitar
- Janick Gers / guitar
- Steve Harris / bass guitar, vocals
- Nicko McBrain / drums

- Michael Kenney / keyboards

About this release

1 October 1990
EMI

Reissued in 1995 with a bonus disc with the following tracklist:

1. All In Your Mind (4:31)
2. Kill Me Ce Soir (6:17)
3. I'm A Mover (3:29)
4. Communication Breakdown (2:40)

Total Time 16:59

Remastered and reissued in 1998 with the following videos:

1. Holy Smoke
2. Bring Your Daughter... ...To The Slaughter

Thanks to Stooge, Pekka, Lynx33, adg211288 for the updates

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IRON MAIDEN NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Modrigue
The King of NWOBHM is (almost) naked

Or how IRON MAIDEN will never be the same again... For sure, the beginning of nineties were a turn difficult to negotiate for most traditional heavy metal bands, but here, internal musical divergences led to this half-failure. Adrian Smith, the second guitarist since the great "Killers", wanted to pursue the progressive approach started at the end of the 80's, whereas Steve Harris' intention was to go back to the rawer and raging tonality of the early years. Consequence? Smith left the quintet, replaced by Jannick Gers, guitarist on Bruce Dickinson's solo studio album "Tattooed Millionaire". As a result, "No Prayer For The Dying" logically abandons the fantasy melodic atmospheres developed in the two last records.

The problem is that, despite simplified and shorter compositions and more political lyrics, musically speaking, this 1990 record doesn't possess the ferocity and the explosiveness of the first opuses either. Those who expect a quality and originality matching the Di'Anno era's will be greatly disappointed. So, what happens when the band leaves both its primal ardour, its epicness, and its progressive composing? Not much really...

To be honest, there are 3 tracks worth to rescue. The title song is the best one, slow and melancholic. IRON MAIDEN hasn't lost his science of powerful bridges and breaks yet, although a loss of inspiration can be perceived. The dark "Run Silent Run Deep" is quite haunting and epic. If you like it, I recommend checking "The X Factor" out. Finally, the ending track, "Mother Russia", remains in the pure tradition of MAIDEN's long suites concluding their albums. In relation to the country just leaving Communism, its tragic ambiance and borrowing from the Aranjuez Concerto resembles very much "To Tame A Land". A powerful song which can remind the band's (already) past glory with its Russian choruses, but tends to become slightly repetitive.

The other songs are mediocre and flat heavy metal fillers. For the first time on a MAIDEN album, the opener is not very catchy. "Tailgunner" is rather average and fails at really lifting off. Composed by Bruce Dickinson, the hit single "Bring Your Daughter ... To The Slaughter" is simply irritating...

"No Prayer For The Dying" will neither please progressive / epic heavy metal lovers, nor old-school fans expecting a return of the Di'Anno years. This is not a transition record either, as it does not open new perspectives. Not much inspired and definitely not on the same level as the 80's opuses, the disc only offers a few good songs, and not the most remarkable the band will compose in the new decade.

In conclusion, basic and lacking genuine hymns, "NPFTD" cannot be considered as an essential album. Steve Harris and co.'s least interesting studio release in the 90's...
siLLy puPPy
NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING, the much loathed 8th album by the legendary IRON MAIDEN was truly the band’s first great fumble after a decade of ruling the world and becoming the equivalent of The Beatles in metal with one masterpiece best-selling album after another. There are many things that make this album much different than any other from their canon but the most obvious is the departure of Adrian Smith, the main songwriter and second half of the classic twin guitar attack that gave the band that satisfying melodic edge. Smith was unsatisfied with the band’s sudden 180 from the progressively themed and executed albums they were cranking out and went on to form his own projects such as ASAP and Psycho Motel. Meanwhile crisis management attempted to repair the damage by asking Janick Gers to join the party. He was recruited by Bruce Dickinson after playing on his debut solo album “Tattooed Millionaire.”

This album seems to mark the point where like many a successful band, bad decisions emerge from simply being out of touch with the world which inspired them in the first place. After a decade of unfathomable success the band just seemed to start making all the wrong decisions. The most hilarious of these ideas is the fact that this album was recorded in Steve Harris’ barn. Apparently the band was fearing the continuation of their ever growing progressive tendencies and got cold feet and made an attempt to regain their “street creds” of their early years. What a backfire. This caused Smith to leave and the fans to peg this as the biggest faux pas that a successful band could possibly make. Well, there are always worse things (Blaze Bailey anyone?). Despite all the negative press about NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING, it still debuted on the charts quite successfully and actually produced a number one hit in their native UK with “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” despite being banned by the BBC.

While the lyrics stray away from the literary and fantastical and delve into the contemporary social issues such as religious zealotry and other social ills, the music isn’t too far off the cuff from early MAIDEN releases, in fact the hooks and melodies are quite enjoyable and the salvation of this album which i personally don’t find to be as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Certainly a step down from previous efforts especially coming after the string of brilliance that peaked with “7th” but certainly not a flop that deserves to walk the plank. There is no doubt that this album despite several strong tracks evokes a sort of disappointment. It almost seems like a tribute to the good old days that ended with “7th Son.” Even the title infers a decline. I dunno. Certainly not as good as every other release before, yet this album still blows away a good portion of other melodic metal albums that came out in 1990. I still find myself listening to this one despite the mountain of masterpieces that eclipse its very existence.

While my favorite tracks are “Tailgunner,” “Holy Smoke,” “Mother Russia” and the title track, there are really no horrible tracks here but as we all know, when a favorite band reaches great heights and falls down a few notches we take it out on them with cutting critique and infra digs. Agreed that this effort is not their day in the sun, but neither is it the worst thing ever to grace the metal kingdom. Personally i find this to contain rather well written MAIDEN tracks that would have fit well in their earlier years but if you listen to this after “7th Son” then you will surely be for a let down. While the dying may have no prayer left, at least there’s still a pulse on this release.
666sharon666
1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son marked the end of Iron Maiden's classic era. Adrian Smith was out and Janick Gers was in. 1990's No Prayer for the Dying was the first of two albums this particular incarnation of the band released along with Fear of the Dark and well, neither of them is exactly their finest hour.

For me No Prayer for the Dying was their weakest effort up until that point, making it a massive drop in quality from Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, which is my favourite of the lot. This isn't a bad album by any means in fact I actually really like several songs including Holy Smoke which is quite the upbeat rocker, along with The Assassin and Mother Russia. I think the main problem is that this is a more straight-forward Iron Maiden than the progressively minded band that made the two previous albums, with some of the music being more like hard rock than heavy metal. The 90's weren't the best time for Iron Maiden in general, but there's still enough to like about No Prayer for the Dying to make it worthwhile. Truth is, for me, this is the best thing Iron Maiden released in the 90's.

Attribution: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/iron-maiden-no-prayer-for-the-dying-t3631.html
adg211288
No Prayer for the Dying is the eight album by UK heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It is the first to feature guitarist Janick Gers, who replaces Adrian Smith. After the heavily progressive Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, No Prayer for the Dying comes across as something of basics to basics album, featuring shorter songs (only one is over five minutes), and a generally more hard rocking feel to all the material rather than the varied approach to the band’s other releases. Possibly because of that No Prayer for the Dying is one of the lesser appreciated albums within the Iron Maiden discography. Unjustly so, in my opinion.

Although the lengthy penned by Steve Harris epic track that most prior Iron Maiden albums have (besides Killers) is absent on No Prayer for the Dying, I don’t actually see an awful lot wrong with this album. I like the fact that it sits as almost a reactionary release to the progressively inclined material of Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. This is an Iron Maiden focusing on being metal, and they do that pretty well on this release as far as I’m concerned. I miss the epic as many of anyone possibly could, and overall this isn’t my favourite Iron Maiden release by many miles, quite the contrary it sits for me as the start of a dip in quality of the band’s material that lasted throughout their 90’s output, though it is one of the better 90’s Maiden releases, only topped for me by 1995’s The X Factor.

I think a lot of the tracks here are great and underrated rockers, especially the likes of Holy Smoke, No Prayer for the Dying, The Assassin, Run Silent Run Deep and Mother Russia. The title track, which is one of the more laid back pieces on the album, is complete brilliance while Holy Smoke always manages to bring a smile to my face. Funnily enough the one song everyone seems to know from this album, namely Bring Your Daughter...To the Slaughter, is actually one of the album’s weaker songs as far as I’m concerned.

No Prayer for the Dying is admittedly a step down from the gems that Maiden had given to the world previously, but it is in no way a bad album – it’s just different. Not so much in the way that it’s completely new territory for them, because it really isn’t, but because it goes completely against the direction that the band seemed to have been moving it even as early as Powerslave. One of the few Iron Maiden albums that needs a bit more time to get into than others, but I don’t see any good reason for the negativity surrounding it. Not a masterpiece for certain but in a discography that is as strong as the Iron Maiden discography, surely the odd ‘just solid’ album doesn't warrant ‘raving jackal mode’?

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scored at 7.6/10)
Time Signature
Holy smoke...

Genre: heavy metal

This album has received a lot of flak for its stripped down approach to rock music compared to Maiden's previous releases. I can understand why. I mean, there were a lot of changes on this album - perhaps more than the average fanboy could bear:

- the band had lost an integral member when Adrian Smith left

- the music is stripped down and simplified compared to their previous progressive releases

- Bruce Dickinson had attained a raspier singing style than his quasi-operatic screaming

- the album was recorded in a barn and the production is not as fat and polished as usual

- the Eddie continuity had been broken and the cover artwork simplified; all the visual goodies that you could find in a Maiden album were gone here

For some reason, although I am a Maiden fanboy, I was never disappointed with this album, and the changes in Maiden's style did not bother me (that disappointment came with "Fear of the Dark", though), and I think there is plenty of good stuff on this album. Also, the guitar harmonies are still there and so are the quirks. There are just not as many of them as usual.

Stand-out tracks are "Tailgunner" with its engaging buildup and groovy bridge, the melancholic ballady title track whose guitar theme I absolutely love and the epic-sounding "Mother Russia".

There are many of obscure tracks on this album that do not get the attention they deserve such as the two Murray tracks "Public Enema Number One" and the more straightforward yet captivating "Fates Warning", both of which are among my favorite tracks of this album. "Run Silent Run Deep" is a galloping song about u-boat warfare and it contains everything a Maiden fan ought to love such as a prominent galloping bass and guitars, guitar melodies, war lyrics, complex twin lead guitars and a bridge of several different parts. Yet somehow, it never achieved the status of a Maiden classic. "Hooks In You" is a more straightforward rocker with contributions by Adrian Smith; it's okay, and I like the guitar in the chorus, but it's not my favorite Maiden track.

Then there are the two hits "Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter" and "Holy Smoke", both of which are simple rock songs and both of which are a bit silly. I can appreciate the humor in them, but I think that they were promoted too much in comparison with some of the other and more substantial tracks on this underrated album.

My appreciation of this much bashed album goes counter to mainstream opinion (admittedly, "mainstream" opinion is a bad choice of expression when it comes to heavy metal), but I think that this album would be a good entry point into heavy metal for those who are used to hard rock but not yet ready for the affinities of the more prog side of Maiden and metal in general.
Pekka
In a way Seventh Son of a Seventh Son was Iron Maiden's ...And Justice for All and No Prayer For the Dying was their Black Album. We'll of course have to exclude the fact that the latter sold millions of units and launched Metallica to international mainstream superstardom, which No Prayer wasn't very close to achieving. But Seventh Son was the album that took the prog Maiden approach to as far as it could go, so the only thing to do next was scale down and return to the rock roots.

But it doesn't always work. Adrian Smith had lost interest in Maiden during the Seventh Tour of the Seventh Tour and quit afterwards to be replaced by Janick Gers, with whom Bruce Dickinson had recorded his first solo album Tattooed Millionaire. Before he went, though, Smith had penned a track that would end up on the new Maiden record, finished by Dickinson. This raunchy rocker called Hooks in You is notable only for containing a mention of a certain apartment "number 22", we all know who lives there, and is among my very least favourite Maiden tracks ever, so perhaps it was good time for Smith to step out. It's just too bad that the band lost Smith's melodic solo style for Gers' sometimes very messy one, but it actually suits the material here quite well.

No Prayer is an odd Maiden album in that it contains no killer tracks. All their other albums, however weak as a whole, always had at least one total masterpiece, but everything here ranges from forgettable to decent to just very very good. Maiden had indeed changed big time, gone were the synths, intricate istrumental passages and epicness and in place was a considerably more rocking feel and very raw vocals by Bruce. The melodies were mostly still there, thankfully. The opener Tail Gunner is a sort of a follow up to Aces High and with its riffs manages to convey a good feel of aerial battle, and Holy Smoke is a very good aggressive-but-light rocker with a good delivery from Bruce against evil televangelists. The more ballady title track has a great melody, but they would take a very similar melody to much higher heights on their next album. The only track that resembles their recent output is the closer Mother Russia. For this song they bring back the keys, and the intstrumental section resembles a sort of a Seventh Son-lite. Some really good guitar harmonies in the beginning and an unusually slow stomping rhythm help make this an album highlight, but on any preceding album it would have been among the weakest.

If you're just starting to get to know Maiden, save this one for last. If you end up buying all their stuff you'll probably find this one quite enjoyable as well. It is, but infinitely inferior to anything they released after Killers. Deserves the occasional spin.
Windhawk
"No Prayer for the Dying" is the eighth studio release from classic British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, and their first release with guitarist Janick Gers. Upon it's release the album was given a lukewarm reception by many, mostly because new guitarist Gers replacing long-time guitarist Adrian Smith led to a distinct change in Iron Maidens sound. Their trademark melodic and harmonic solo guitar-playing was sorely missed by many.

Musically the album shows a band seemingly in an identity crisis. There are quite a few examples of the band trying to continue with the musical direction they had on their previous release, "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son". Songs where the guitars are slick, toned down in the mix and generally coming across as a lighter form of heavy metal. In some songs they use synths as on their previous two albums, but in others they choose not to so. But there are harder, grittier tracks on this album as well. Songs with darker textures, meaner vocals, with vocalist Dickinson snarling more than singing. One major change from their last studio release; and what is a major change in the sound Iron Maiden developed throughout the 80's, is that few tracks here contain any structural progressive leanings. One of the main characteristics of Iron Maidens classic albums had been their development towards being a progressive metal band. This is mostly history on this release. Another major change in the sound is a more subtle change; on many songs there's less riffing than what Iron Maiden usually has had; and in the songs where they use their traditional mix of fast riffing and drawn out guitar chords the pace of the riffing most times is noticeable slower. Adding those elements to the fact that the harmony soloing now is mostly history; and a greater influx of traditional metal soloing in the songs; and you have an album with a dramatic change in overall sound.

Many feel that this album shows a band going back to their roots; that this album is closer to the punk-influenced roots of Iron Maiden. Indeed, when recalling this album from memory only that was what I remembered about this release as well. After listening through this album I'll have to admit a faulty memory in that respect. Although many of the songs are more primitive than on previous releases, they are not any closer to Iron Maiden's musical roots. The songs are less complex and more straight-forward only. Indeed, the addition of Gers has led to some songs getting a slight bluesy flavouring rather than punk-influenced; and the overall musical style here is closer to traditional heavy metal than NWoBHM.

As for the songs on this release; my main impression is that the band struggled hard to put an album together. Opening track "Tail Gunner" and "The Assassin" are the best songs here in my opinion; the first being a classic opening track in true Iron Maiden style, and the second one showing a band experimenting successfully with their sound. "Run Silent, Run Deep" and "Mother Russia" gives me the impression of being scrapped ideas for the typical long, epic Iron Maiden tracks they used to have on previous albums, where the band has tried to put together the best pieces of songs previously abandoned. The rest of the tracks are for the most part not convincing; and my overall impression is that the creative well of the songwriters now has run dry; and that the songs selected for this album is a selection of out-takes and previously abandoned ideas. There's nothing truly awful on this album; just too much that isn't good enough.

Members reviews

kluseba
"No Prayer For The Dying" is considered as one of the weakest albums of Iron Maiden and I must agree that it is in my bottom top three as I exceptionally agree with the majority. There are multiple reasons why fans criticized this album. For the first time the band didn't develop further and created something new but focussed on their initial sound of the early years. There is no brilliant epic track on the record that crowned the previous albums. There is no clear guiding line within the record. The vocals are darker, harsher and less technical then before. There are no truly outstanding and emotional instrumental passages on the record. Many associate this with the departure of Adrian Smith that got replaced by the technically less impressive Janick Gers. The sound and production of the recording aren't as majestic and authentic as on the last and very atmospheric albums.

But the main reasons why one tends to dislike this record is that it has the style of a compilation album where old ideas are rehashed. "Tailgunner" sounds like a weaker version of "Aces High". "Holy Smoke" and "Hooks In You" could be b-sides from the first solo album of Bruce Dickinson just like the very successful but overrated "Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter" with a little touch of the first two Iron Maiden records when Paul Di'Anno was still in it. The title track "No Prayer For The Dying", "Public Enema Number One", "Run Silent Run Deep" and "Mother Russia" copy the style of the two previous records. My favourite tracks from those ones are the really beautifully sung and underrated title track "No Prayer For The Dying" that easily happens to be the best song on this album and that would have merited a place on the last two records as well as the atmospheric "Run Silent Run Deep" that would be my hidden gem on this record and a song worth to get discovered over and over again by anyone that hasn't listened to this record for a while.

"Fates Warning" and "The Assassin" try to be a little bit darker and experimental and are the only tracks that present us something new. The first one is quite atmospheric and indicates the way that the band would take on the next two records and after a while I happened to like this song. The only thing that misses is a truly catchy chorus or addicting instrumental part. The second song has another interesting and atmospheric introduction and remind of the sound of the great "Powerslave" album. The verses are interesting, mysterious and atmospheric but the chorus turns out to be amongst the most horrible ones the band has ever written. The vocals are really annoying and weird and the whole thing is repeated too much. The guitar solo is just shitty shredding. But at least the band tries out something new.

This record has the style of a compilation album and that's why it is difficult to get compared to the seven previous albums that all had a certain style and clear direction. The band seems to have wanted to satisfy all their fans by getting inspired by anything they have done before including songs in the key of the earliest works with Bruce Dickinson on the vocals this time. The problem is that the band wanted to spread in too many directions and styles and focussed on quantity instead of the quality and most people simply get lost on this record. Another problem is that the songs that try to connect to the previous styles simply aren't as hooky, fresh and passionate. There are three great songs on the record with "No Prayer For The Dying", "Fates Warning" and "Run Silent Run Deep" and I also happen to like rock party tracks like the funny and energizing "Holy Smoke" but half of the album is rather weak and simply doesn't touch me.

I still think this is album is more than just ordinary, it's actually rather good but by considering the high quality of the band's records a pretty good album isn't just great enough. I would like to add that the recent "The Final Frontier" is even weaker than this record and gets completely lost while this album is at least short and sweat and leaded to a new style that the band developed further and better on the upcoming two records. That's why this record was still an important step in the band's career.
friso
Iron Maiden - No Prayer fot he Dying (1990)

I never understood the No Payer boycot of both fans and on the community here. This is the Iron Maiden album with some of their most interesting material. No Prayer For The Dying, Public Enema Number One, Fates Warning,The Assassin and Mother Russia are really great songs with lots of progressive influences. Somehow the album is overshadowed by it's great predecessor Seventh Son. On this album tried to get back to it's early sound, something I never understood. In the middle of the eigthies when prog was curseword Iron Maiden goes prog, in the beginning of the nineties when prog became accepted again Maiden leaves prog. This is a puzzling strategy.

The problem of this album is ofcourse the relative big amount of weaker tracks. Though I myself find Tailgunner to be a great song, Holy Smoke, Run Silent Run Deep, Hooks In You and Bring your Daugther to the Slaughter are weak Iron Maiden tracks, though all of them have their moments. Holy Smoke is a commercial rock track, somewhat unsuitable for this band, Runs Silent Run Deep is to simple, Hooks in You is quite acceptable but just not that interesting except for the nice chorus and Bring you Daughter is a commercial disaster. The song was originally written for the Bruce Dicksinson Solo career, but Steve Harrist insisted that the songwriting efforts of Bruce would be used on the new Iron Maiden album. From a point of commerce a good idea, the song became a major hit in England. Still most of it's parts are under the Iron Maiden level of quality, the track has a sort of relaxing vibe.

The good tracks on the album make it still an essential listening for Iron Maiden fans. the title track has a great low volume couplet with great vocals of Bruce, while the refrein is nice and heavy, the solo themes are great. Public Enema Number One was a song that took some time for me to get into. Now I think it might be the best track of the album. The couplet theme is very intelligent, maybe to intelligent, like Iron Maiden tried something completely new. Somehow this song used to make me shiver when I was young. The Assassin shows Iron Maiden going black metal with dark melodies and angry/scared vocals. The refrein theme is a bit strange harmonicly, but I find it to be a good experiment. Mother Russia is the last track of the album and could be seen as an epic. A gothic opening, a traditional balkan sounding couplet and refrein and lot's of solo's and melodies in the end of the track. Still this is not one of the most important Iron Maiden epics, but just good.

Conclusion. An album that had to come for Iron Maiden, they had to make a weaker album sooner or later an this album was bashed as being not as good as other albums. Still I think the critics might have been to hasty with their oppinions. This is an enjoyable metal album that would have made any other metal band famous instantly, but it's just not as great as other Maiden records. Three stars. Maiden fans should never skip on it and metal fans should try.

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