Powerslave
IRON MAIDEN

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IRON MAIDEN - Powerslave cover
4.42 | 151 ratings | 15 reviews
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Album · 1984

Filed under NWoBHM

Tracklist

1. Aces High (4:31)
2. 2 Minutes To Midnight (6:01)
3. Losfer Words (Big 'Orra) (4:17)
4. Flash Of The Blade (4:07)
5. The Duellists (6:09)
6. Back In The Village (5:05)
7. Powerslave (7:13)
8. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (13:41)

Total Time 51:08

Line-up/Musicians

- Bruce Dickinson / vocals
- Dave Murray / guitar
- Adrian Smith / guitar, vocals
- Steve Harris / bass, vocals
- Nicko McBrain / drums

About this release

EMI Records. Re-released in 1995 with bonus disc.

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

1. Rainbow's Gold (4:56)
2. Mission From 'Arry (6:42)
3. King Of Twilight (4:53)
4. The Number Of The Beast (live) (4:57)

Total Time 21:29

Remastered and reissued in 1998 with the following videos:

1. Aces High
2. 2 Minutes To Midnight

Thanks to metalbaswee, Stooge, Lynx33 for the updates

IRON MAIDEN MP3, Free Download/Stream

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PowerslavePowerslave
Remastered
Sanctuary Records 2002
Audio CD$9.70
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UMe 2013
Vinyl$28.91
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Audio CD$207.98
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Audio CD$7.30
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PowerslavePowerslave
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Audio Cassette$12.50 (used)
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Audio CD$28.04
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Sony 2002
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Audio CD$66.37
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Wea Japan 2014
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IRON MAIDEN POWERSLAVE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
Although this was the 5th album by IRON MAIDEN it was the only the 2nd to have the exact same lineup as the previous. Apparently this stability meant they could focus on the music and refine it until it was of near perfection. All members are on full display here at the peak of their careers. All stars align in this metal masterpiece just like the shadows on the calendar days of ancient Egypt at a time when the pyramids served as an aid to the mysteries of the universe. Eddie seems to be stuck in the insane asylum still on the last album since he is not on here and only a sarcophagus representation of his ancient ancestors seems to be on display.

POWERSLAVE was an important development in IRON MAIDEN's career as it took all which came to be on the previous albums and refined them into amazing creations that had the catchiness, the aggressiveness and the beauty and added more complex progressive elements as clearly shown in the band's most compex song ever “The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” which is based on the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge that was written way back in 1798.

This is simply one of those beyond belief albums in music history much less metal that demands to be heard and more than holds up the test of time. The band set off on their longest and most successful live tour based on this album which spawned the live album LIVE AFTER DEATH. At this point the band reached the level of superstardom and would forever be an influence on the musical world.

They only curiosity i've ever felt toward this album is that the cover art which is one of my favorite in all of music history suggests a concept album based around the medieval past in Egypt yet begins with a song that is about flying jets. I guess my expectations of a full on concept albums are too demanding and I will not impose it on this album because they did not fulfil them. Taken for what it is it is still a masterpiece of metal music that does not seem in the least bit dated all these decades later.
Sinkadotentree
It's not surprising that this is the highest rated MAIDEN album on here or on the RYM site. And while "Piece Of Mind" is my sentimental choice as my favourite i must admit this kicks ass from beginning to end unlike any album i have heard. In other words if i owned this back when i owned "Piece Of Mind" i have no doubt this would be my favourite. "Aces High" is about WWII fighter pilots and it plays out with a furious pace. This was released as a single along with the next track "Two Minutes To Midnight" which i like even better. This one is about the threat of nucleur war. "Losfer Words" is a creative way of saying this is an instrumental and the only one on the album. Man this is one intense track. Harris is digging deep on this one and i love the guitar work on the second half. "Flash Of The Blade" is freaking amazing. Check out the guitar melodies. It turns heavier and the vocals join in. "The Duellist" has such a killer rhythm section and check out the guitar 3 minutes in. "Back In The Village" is an uptempo barn burner that sounds even better 3 minutes in. "Powerslave" is heavier with theatrical vocals of Dickinson to start. I like the calm after 2 1/2 minutes. So good ! Then it gets even better when it builds with ripping guitar. "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" is the 13 1/2 minute epic. Love that galloping rhythm as the vocals join in. This song is such a trip especially when we get that calm 5 minutes in with spoken words. Such a proggy track and you can hear the creaking of the ship. It kicks back in around 7 1/2 minutes and builds. It's SABBATH-like 9 minutes in. Simply amazing ! Easily 5 stars and one of the best Metal albums out there.
Warthur
Iron Maiden further refined the style of Number of the Beast and Piece of Mind with Powerslave, which included both breakout hits such as Aces High or 2 Minutes to Midnight and progressive metal epics such as the title track and, in particular, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. One of the band's most high-energy albums, the band maintain a furious pace from the opening bars of Aces High and don't let up for the full running time of the set, sustaining their momentum where most other bands would have slacked off here and there. Simply put, not a single song on this album is filler; each one is a classic part of the Iron Maiden repertoire.
adg211288
Powerslave is the fifth studio album from UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. It is the second of the four album run that is considered to be by the band’s classic line-up of Dickinson, Harris, Murray, Smith and McBrain that began with Piece of Mind (1983) and came to an end with Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988), though it arguably started up again as ‘classic line-up +1’ with Brave New World (2000). The album was released in 1984 and now many years later it is widely regarded to be among the group’s finest releases.

And it is very rightly so in my opinion. Given that Iron Maiden is one of those bands that has, for the most part, been very consistent with their releases (Virtual XI being the only major blip) it stands to reason that there will be a few albums that are done to absolute perfection among their number, and Powerslave is the first of three of those. Following on from the slightly disappointing Piece of Mind, Powerslave is the sound of an Iron Maiden with a renewed vigour. The music is noticeably heavier than on the previous album and the band had never sounded quite this powerful up until this point, even on the exceptional The Number of the Beast. The release is classic Iron Maiden in every sense of the term, and done at its very best on all fronts whether it be the writing, musicianship or production. Everything is just perfect.

That’s because Powerslave is an album that literally has everything that an Iron Maiden release should have. You have your metal anthems that make up the ‘single material’ of the album with the opening Aces High and 2 Minutes to Midnight, both of which number among the best known tracks by the band, with 2 Minutes to Midnight being a live staple, being played on almost every tour following the release of the album. Then you also have the closing epic, Rime of the Ancient Mariner. To date this still stands as the band’s longest song and is a re-telling of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem. It’s really at the opposite end of the spectrum to the first two songs, and this is what makes the album so great. Maiden has a sound typical to them, but they can turn that sound into songs with their own identity, and because of that it doesn’t get stale in any way.

Then you also get all the stuff that falls in between those two extremes, which includes several Maiden tracks that I’m surprised to say just don’t seem to get mentioned as much as others despite Powerslave’s overall high regard. Flash of the Blade, Back in the Village and The Duellists are all of a quality with the rest of the album, but none are names you see mentioned as often as Aces High or 2 Minutes to Midnight. The title track is one of the album’s best though, and fortunately it sees almost as much regard as the singles and Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The album also includes a rare Maiden instrumental in Losfer Words (Big 'Orra).

Powerslave is one of Maiden’s three perfect records as far as I’m concerned, but if any if that three is the best of the best then it has really got to be this one. A textbook example of a band at the top of their game, this is definitely one Iron Maiden album that everyone needs to own. Absolutely essential. Full marks without hesitation.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scored at 10.0/10)
Stooge
Call it blasphemy, but I’m not nearly as passionate about the music of Iron Maiden as I was when I was a teenager. However, tracking the Maiden career for at least a decade by now, it has given me some time to put their legacy (as I view it) into perspective. I still tend to rank and re-rank their discography in my head many times, so coming up with a favorite Maiden album is a difficult task for me. I will say that Powerslave is one of those favorites, and gives a very accurate and strong showing of what the Bruce Dickinson era of the band is all about.

Powerslave is filled with rich guitar harmonies as fine as any Maiden release, and is balanced well with their more hard rock riffing style. The mix on the re-mastered version that I own really gives the album a full sound.

Two of the band’s strongest singles appear on Powerslave. I remember “Aces High” being one of those songs I wanted to hear over and over again when I first bought the album. “Two Minutes To Midnight” contains one of my favorite solo sections in any Maiden song period, and the song’s overall structure is quite appealing.

Hints of their admiration for 70’s progressive rock shine through, from the album cover and imagery adopted by the band, through to the song structure that is most evident on the lengthy “Rime of The Ancient Mariner”. I occasionally think this song might run on too long a bit, but am hard pressed to find an appropriate edit. The occultist-themed title track also blends a bit of prog rock with some slighty unconventional (for Maiden) sounds in the guitar and backing vocal department. It’s probably the song off Powerslave that features little (if any) of their clichés.

“Back In The Village” may be one of less-talked of songs here, and its energy and riffing make this one stand out. The instrumental “Losfer Words (The Big Orra)” is fairly straightforward and easy to swallow, highly melodic and memorable with enough instrumental prowess to keep the listener attentive.

There are also a few other songs in the middle of the album that don’t grab my interest as much as the rest (“Flash of the Blade” and “The Duellists”). That may be, but they really don’t hinder my enjoyment of the album. Perhaps a ballad-type track in place of one of these (probably “The Duellists”) would have eliminated this slight lag in the middle.

This is definitely one of Maiden’s finer releases in their lengthy career, and would easily point someone this way if they were looking for a place to start in their catalog.
Stephen
With big praises everywhere, "Powerslave" seemed so untouchable, sitting comfortably on the top mind of almost every Maiden fans all over the earth, but to me, most of the time, this album is judged solely based on the first two tracks and the epic closer. "Aces High" needs no introduction, the air raid siren, soaring vocal, and the thunderous harmonic guitars are just mind-boggling, one of their perfect offering, simply flawless. "2 Minutes 2 Midnight" is catchy as hell, you hear this track once, and it will haunt you for years, to re-sing that melody every morning you awake is very easy.

And let's jump to the closing track, "Rime of The Ancient Mariner", an attempt to revive Samuel Taylor Coleridge's classic poem, is the first over-10 minutes Maiden track ever made, a progressive side of the band with big riffs and wonderful uptempo part, despite of the cheesy spoken section, is totally lovable.

But to be honest, looking at the rest five tracks, I can only sense the slight appeal at the title track and "Back In The Village". "Losfer Words" is a very decent instrumental track which largely forgettable. "Flash of The Blade" and "The Duellists" has some cracking moment but I found it hard to appreciate and mesmerize the songs, and both of them came down to another very decent heavy metal tracks. With only 8 tracks presented and almost half of them are fillers, I don't see a reason to join the 5-stars wagon, but "Powerslave" remains an important catalogue to have, especially for those three tracks alone. Dickinson's voice is at his peak, even though still no sign of slowing down after 20 years, it's a thrilling experience to see how easy he reach those high notes back and forth. A good release!
Time Signature
Aces high...

Genre: heavy metal

This is yet another metal mammoth released by Iron Maiden in their golden streak of the 1980s, and one, which I think, maintains a high level of solidness all the way through.

I really do not think that there are any weak moments on this album, and even the more obscure tracks like the instrumental "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" and "Back in the Village" and the very underestimated "The Duellists" and "Flash of the Blade" are just as engaging and headbanging-inducing is the power opener "Aces High", the steady rocker "2 Minutes to Midnight", the dark and gallopping "Powerslave", and the epic "Rime of the Ancient Mariner".

This album simply contains everything that Maiden do so well: guitar harmonies, melody, aggression, gallopping, catchy vocals, air raid siren singing etc.

This is a heavy metal classic that everyone should own.
Pekka
This could have been a huge, a massive, a humongous, a monstrous metal triumph, but somewhere during the sessions the creative juices started to thin a bit. Powerslave is perhaps the most uneven Iron Maiden album ever, with four of the eight tracks being unbeatable, brilliant classics of heavy metal and the four middle tracks being less stunning to different degrees.

After falling in love with Brave New World in 2000, Powerslave was my first touch with classic Maiden, but as I was in such a hurry to get all the Maiden out there as fast as possible, my first memories are very hazy. What I do remember is that from the beginning I've frowned upon the slump the album drives into midway through. Or so it seems. After the stunning opening pair of Aces High and 2 Minutes to Midnight we get four tracks that have been erased from the books of metal, but along the years I've come to the conclusion, that most of them would be great tracks on any other Maiden album, but preceded by the two mentioned and followed by the perhaps even more stunning closing pair of Powerslave and Rime of the Ancient Mariner, they are very badly overshadowed.

Losfer Words (Big 'Orra) is perhaps Maiden's finest instrumental track (with which our local Finnish speed metal legends Stone used to start off their rehearsals) and Flash of the Blade is actually quite a killer tune in its own right with some extremely high pitched Bruce Dickinson vocal harmonies, but still after all these years The Duellists remains quite unmemorable, despite its long instrumental section, as is the case with Back in the Village, except for its rather annoying chorus.

Half an album of larger-than-life masterpieces and another half very much varying in quality - the line-up was there, the playing was brilliant but Maiden missed their first true bulls eye by a hair. Better luck next time.
AtomicCrimsonRush
"Hear the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Stay here and listen to the nightmare of the sea!"

"Powerslave" is the first great progressive metal Iron Maiden album, after they had released a few albums leading to this new direction in their music. IM were always threatening to release an album like this once they broke away from the confining short songs and 4/4 traditional rock signatures. There was always experimentation with time sigs but this was all taken to the extreme level with the brilliant 13 and a half minute onslaught of 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner'; my all time favourite IM track.

I could spend this entire review talking about this track alone, and when I heard this on the metal radio show, when this was first released, the announcer stated that this track alone was worth getting "Powerslave"; I concur with this. It is simply brilliant metal and I have played this so many times I have somehow managed to memorise every lyric and even the lead breaks. There are some incredible lead breaks here by the duel guitars of Murray and Smith. The complexity of the music cannot be taken for granted, there are time sig shifts throughout and mood swings at every verse. The song begins with a galloping riff with small diversions and then it launches into a fast tempo speed lick. "The ship sails on through the fog and ice.... Water water everywhere and all the boards did shrink..." The lyrics are based on Coleridge's poem of the same name and it this song is a very faithful interpretation; the university lecturer played this track when I was studying poetry would you believe. I had given the lyrics and song to the lecturer on her request. It eventually cleared the room of all the ladies but I sat there and enjoyed it.

The song basically goes into each aspect of the poem, where the Mariner sees an albatross, kills it and thus the curse of death plagues the ship killing his crew. "The Mariner kills the bird of good omen..." and the siren like banshees of "Death and She Life in death they throw their dice for the crew", and they want the Mariner to succumb to their deathly charms. Eventually the pace slows and it grinds to a halt with a bassy passage with atmospheric effects, such as a witch's cackle and the creaking of the doomed ship. A narrative voice speaks Coleridge's epic poem that Dickinson had previously been screaming out with utter conviction. It reminds me now of Van der Graaf Generator's lyrics by Hammill on 'Plague of Lighthouse Keepers' that is also about a doomed ship and drowning. "They dropped down one by one," the narrator speaks and then the pace quickens again. The theme of dying and being stalked by death itself is powerful. When the bass begins and a new chugging riff enters, Dickinson's vocals penetrate with power, "The curse it lives on in their eyes, the Mariner he wished he died along with the sea creatures but they lived on so did he, then by the light of the moon he prays for their beauty not doom, with heart he blesses them God's creatures all of them too, then the spell starts to break, the albatross falls from his neck..." After the curse is lifted, a lengthy brilliant lead break with fret melting dexterity pummels the senses. It returns back to the intro riff with variations, I love the lyrics, "that we should love all things that God made" as it shows the Mariner has learnt his lesson from killing the albatross and now has converted to admiring creation rather than destroying it. The poem is also my favourite poem due to this song, and I wrote a very solid essay about it; thank you Iron Maiden for that High Distinction! Overall this track is quintessential to Maiden and is always the highlight for me when it appears on live concert DVDS.

OK, for the rest of the album there is enough here to make this a worthy purchase. 'Aces High' has a catchy chorus and very good guitar work, a classic track. 'Two Minutes To Midnight' was played on metal radio show just before the witching hour so I have heard it many times. It's great in concert and still a popular favourite with Iron fans. 'Powerslave' is a terrific song with killer riffs and a memorable chorus. The Egyptian themes here are of course due to IM's interest in the Egyptian Book of the Dread (shock horror) but the themes lead to the mighty stage set with the Sphinx and Pyramids, and Tutenkhamen mummified objects; it is all very "Raiders of the Lost Ark" for me, but a cool image in it's day, no doubt.

So overall here is an album with strong progressive elements, one killer epic to die for, and a lot of catchy shorter songs. It is definitely worth getting hold of, trust me on this. Along with "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" and "Brave New World" this is an excellent metal feast of Iron Maiden.
topofsm
On Powerslave, Iron Maiden dished out a huge heap of excellent classic metal. To many people, this album is one of the greatest albums of all time. Of course this is because of the top-notch metal found on the album, but it could also be because of a few progressive elements thrown in. Of course Maiden has always been about intricate melodic lines, interesting chords for their epic style, and throwing in technical musical flashes. However, the last two songs on this show Maiden't ability to have an interesting progressive side to their music.

Metalheads and classic rock fans are of course already far too familiar with the two opening tracks and singles, "Aces High" and "Two Minutes to Midnight". The former has an interesting non-standard song structure and a soaring chorus, starting of the album with an excellent show of Maiden's strong songwriting. The second track is also very strong, in a standard Maiden style and structure. Both are tracks that make an awesome case for excellent singles by an already great band.

The middle of the album may be more unfamiliar though. That being said, they are still good tracks and make the album still a worthwhile listen. The instrumental song "Losfer Words" is exciting, and "Back in the Village" is quick and possibly the most 'rocking' song on the whole album. "Flash of the Blade" and "The Duelists" are also good tracks and worth a listen, both written in standard Iron Maiden style.

The next song "Powerslave" is also interesting. Although it may seem rather straightforward in the first couple of verses, and it is. However, it leads into an instrumental break filled with haunting atmospherics and several interesting time changes, fully showing Maiden's progressive influence. The epic closer "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" follows in the same vein, but even more embellished. Once the energy and speed dies off after the first couple of high power metal, the listener is presented with an eerie atmosphere, accented by Steve Harris' intelligent use of the whole tone scale. A somber narration flows across the sea of ominous sounds, until everything builds up again. Bruce Dickinson's mile high voice bursts in, and an epic flowing climax shows up. Within the final two songs of Powerslave, any fan of progressive metal will hear where most of the ideas of the more melodic genres of power and prog metal came from. The compositions are simply that good.

In summation, Powerslave is of course an excellent album. As a metal album, it contains everything great classic metal should have, and more. While all of Maiden's early releases influenced metal, this is where they started branching out. You can see where prog metal took its cues, and where modern bands have been looking at in metal. All in all, this is a classic that should not be ignored.

Members reviews

kluseba
This album has been my favourite Iron Maiden album for a pretty long while. I have changed my mind throughout the years and I prefer "The X-Factor" and "Somewhere In Time" today, but "Powerslave" is without the glimpse of a doubt in my definitive top 3 albums of the band. Almost every song of this album is great but most of the songs have also some negative points.

"Aces high" is an amazing opener, probably the heaviest, fastest and straightest that they have ever done to date. Especially Bruce Dickinson delivers an amazing job on the vocals. The only negative point of this song is that the brilliant introduction of Churchill's Speech that has been used on the concerts, hasn't found its way on the studio album.

"2 Minutes To Midnight" is darker than the opener but it has a brilliant introduction and main riff, a very catchy chorus and an atmospheric bridge and is as brilliant as "Aces high". This heavy metal high quality double pack fits perfectly together even though they sound very different from each other and convince each one in their own way. The lyrics are very interesting and the music video is maybe the eeriest and weirdest stuff that the band has ever done. The only negative point of this song is that it has a little bit lost its magic because of its yearlong presence on greatest hits album, live concerts and other stuff.

"Losfer Words" is a very tight and interesting instrumental song without any doubt and maybe the most diversified as well as the heaviest and most amazing instrumental song the band has ever done. It fits to the epic style and conception of the album and is quite underrated in my humble opinion. But the song has still somehow the touch of a filler for many fans and has some little lengths and this is its only negative point about this very good song.

"Flash Of A Blade" is a heavily underrated song. The intro riff sounds really melodic, straight and innovative. The song itself has a very fast and intense main riff. Bruce Dickinson is in absolute top form and performs his vocals in a very stunning way by almost aggressively rapping the verses while singing the chorus with his high pitched and powerful voice. The contrast created by this phenomenon creates a very particular and special style and sounds overall new and fresh. The twin guitar parts sound amazing and this is surprisingly the very first track on the record where there is not a single negative point that I could mention.

"The Duellists" starts with a very tight main riff and has some very melancholic and melodic vocal lines. Bruce Dickinson does an amazing job in the verses. The instrumental parts in the song only have an average quality and are a little bit too long in some parts. The most negative point of this song is without any doubt the chorus. It is epic, but way too happy and doesn't fit with the atmosphere created in the rest of the song at all. It is one of the weaker songs of the album.

"Back In The Village" begins with a very melodic and still heavy introduction and the verses are once more very straight and great. The closing moments of the song are very straight and fast and I like this surprising effect. The hypnotic chorus is though the negative point of this song and neither very catchy nor very well developed. The instrumental parts of the songs are of an average quality and comparable to "The Duellists". This song is probably the weakest one on the album just behind "The Duellists".

I didn't like the song "Powerslave" when I listened to it for the first time, but this song has really grown on me within the last few years. It all begins with a very interesting intro, has some heavy, but still mystical and innovating verses and a very epic and catchy chorus. The middle part of the title track is amazingly melodic and sounds more elaborated than some of the other instrumental parts on the album. The song gets you in a magic atmosphere and creates a very special tension. All instruments do a brilliant job here, especially the bass guitar who has been too much dominated by the guitars in some of the previous songs. Today, I must admit that there is no negative point to find within this great title song.

"Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" is one of the greatest, if not the best song Iron Maiden has ever written. This song has everything that a metal fan needs. It is catchy and attractive the first time you listen to it, but you will still discover new passages years after your first experience with this song. The song is heavy and straight, but it also has its slower parts which create a dark and mysterious atmosphere. The guitar solos are intense and simply amazing. Bruce Dickinson does a very diversified and energetic job on the vocals. The drumming is tight and stunning. The bass guitar is as strong and particular as in the title song and even surpasses the previous opus magnum. The song has many changes in style, but all parts fit perfectly together. The song is never boring or seems to be long even though it is the longest one the band has ever written until today. Sure thing, there is no negative point about this masterpiece. I don't like to give too general comment or prejudices, but if you don't like this song, you do simply not like heavy metal and Iron Maiden. For me, this song is the opus magnum of heavy metal in the eighties.

As you can see, I would say that there is one masterpiece ("Rime Of The Ancient Mariner"), two extremely brilliant ("Powerslave" and the underrated "Flash Of A Blade"), two brilliant ("Aces High" and "Two Minutes To Midnight"), one very good song ("Losfer Words") and two average or rather good songs ("The Duellists" and "Back In The Village"). The album cover is more than brilliant and probably the best one that Derek Riggs has ever done. Even after years, you still discover something new on it. The production of Martin Birch is simply brilliant and better than some of the modern Iron Maiden records. Iron Maiden combines their style and heritage (on more traditional songs like "2 Minutes To Midnight" or "Flash Of A Blade") with some new and innovative elements (like the atmospheric parts on the title song "Powerslave" that can only be compared to "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and "To Tame A Land" but it definitely reaches a climax on this record). That's why, even if there are some little negative points to mention related to some of the songs, this is album in all its imperfect perfection is one of my favourite albums of all time and has been my favourite Iron Maiden record for a long while!
bassgeezer
Powerslave is the perfect example of what the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was all about. You can also hear the foundation for thrash metal to follow. Powerslave has the same exhausting pace as Megadeth’s Rust in Peace of a few years later. Even with the epic that is the Rime of the Ancient Mariner lasting a good thirteen and a half minutes at the end of the album, it is still all over too quickly for me. Steve Harris’, Bruce Dickinson’s and Adrian Smith’s song-writing skills are superbly demonstrated here. Their musicianship is completed perfectly by Dave Murray and Nicko McBrain.
friso
Iron Maiden - Powerslave (1984)

On the fifth studio album of Iron Maiden the band slightly recovers from the small loss of energy that Piece of Mind (1983) had suffered from. Powerslave is one of the heaviest albums of the band with a continues high pace and intensive instrumental parts in all songs. The album is a favorite for a lot of fans of the band.

The opener Aces High is an up-tempo track with spectacular high pitched vocals of Bruce Dickinson and a great instrumental guitar part. This song is very powerful and I used to like it very much, but the songs doesn't grow over time. Two Minutes to Midnight is stronger with some very inspiring melodic songwriting. The opening riff is quite conventional, but the bridge has a great dark feel and the couplet has a nice twist that keeps in interesting. The melodic soloing in the lower paced middle section is good. Losfer Words is an instrumental metal track. It's good, be I prefer the instrumentals of the first two albums. Somehow the melodies aren't as catchy as on other instrumental parts of Maiden.

Flash of the Blade is another up-tempo song with pull-off guitar themes all over the place that give it a sophisticated feel. A nice experiment. The Duellists is one of the stronger tracks of the album. It has many instrumental parts and I really like the vocal parts. It is a song with it's own atmosphere that is kind of relaxing. Back in the Village is like Flash of the Blade a song full of guitar frenzies and little good songwriting. I liked it very much at first, but I think it's a bit too much of to little.

Powerslave, the title-track, is strong Maiden epic with all elements the band has to offer. The song has an Egyptic feel as can be expected with an album cover like this. The many strong instrumental parts make this an important Maiden song. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the absolute highlight of the album. With it's 13 minutes it still is the longest Maiden track ever recorded. It has an amazing story, a great atmospheric middle section, more great instrumental parts and solo's and a good ending. Perhaps this is the proggiest of Maiden's epics.

Conclusion. Another good Iron Maiden album with some weak spots. I might not have always been very positive in my Maiden reviews, but it's important to know I prefer mediocre Maiden tracks to most other metal tracks of other bands. The standard of Iron Maiden was quite high and my expectations have risen over the time when I got into progressive music. This album is yet another good metal album with lot's of progressive moments and enough good songwriting to get four stars. After this Iron Maiden would again change directing with the synth-guitar driven Somewhere in Time.
Valarius
It is said that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. However, this cover pretty much sums up the album... HUGE!

For most Maiden fans, their late 80's material is their best. And albums like ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’ and ‘Somewhere in Time’ are highly regarded as top quality heavy metal. However the album that does it for me is this one... ‘Powerslave’.

Track by track we're bombarded by a band that has had time to bond and mature, and this is them playing at their best. Vocalist Bruce Dickinson has come into his own here, and the rest of the band are as tight as ever.

The album kicks off with a huge blast of energy from the anthem ‘Aces High’, and this energy maintains momentum throughout every track. With songs like ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’, ‘Back in the Village’, ‘Powerslave’ and the epic ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, this is Iron Maiden at their best.

Guitar harmonies never sounded better. The solos are spot on and Dickinson’s vocals really compliment the music well. I'm not the biggest fan of their first two albums, and ‘Number of the Beast’ always seemed a bit overrated for me, but this album is truly Maiden hitting their stride and really taking their title as one of Heavy Metal’s most beloved bands.

An essential addition to any Metal collection.

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