IRON MAIDEN — Piece Of Mind (review)

IRON MAIDEN — Piece Of Mind album cover Album · 1983 · NWoBHM Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Piece of Mind is the first of a string of albums which features what is widely considered to be the classic Iron Maiden lineup, that of Steve Harris, Bruce Dickinson, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Nikco McBrain, something that would last up until Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, but would later get back together with the addition of Janick Gers for Brave New World.

Piece of Mind isn’t such a fast album in general as its predecessor, The Number of the Beast, neither is it as good, but it’s still a pretty solid addition to anyone’s Iron Maiden collection. It actually contains what I feel to be a mix of Iron Maiden classics and some of their most devilishly underrated songs. And then there’s a couple that are sort of in between.

Where Eagles Dare is the opening track and by Maiden standards it’s an unusual choice. Most Maiden albums start with a shorter song, often single material, but at over six minutes it’s a more drawn out mid-paced affair. A decent song but middle of the road when put against the albums true gems.

Let’s turn our attention to those songs widely considered Maiden classics by many fans. These are, in order of appearance, Revelations, Flight of Icarus and The Trooper, the latter two of which were the albums singles. Personally I’ve always felt that Revelations was a bit overrated. It’s a bit like Where Eagles Dare in that it’s pretty mid-paced, six minutes job. Personally I would have put these two later in the album and put one of the faster tracks like The Trooper or Die With Your Boots On first. The two singles though are top notch classic Maiden, especially The Trooper with its instantly recognisable main riff and dual lead melody.

But personally I think this albums true gems are songs which don’t tend to get so much attention. Songs of particular note being the last three, Quest for Fire, Sun and Steel and especially the album closer, To Tame a Land. There’s just something special about these songs for me, whether it’s Bruce sounding particular great and what I consider to be a great chorus in Quest for Fire or again with that classic Maiden gallop in Sun and Steel. They save the best for last though. To Tame a Land is Piece of Mind’s epic. Based on Dune by Frank Herbert the song is pretty much split into two parts, a vocal section which constitutes the song part of it and an instrumental section which lasts until the track’s end seven and a half minutes later.

A solid album overall, but feels at times like a power loss when put up against the albums that come either side of it, namely The Number of the Beast and Powerslave. If it wasn’t for the presence of To Tame a Land I’d rate this one as a 3.5 stars. But I’m going to bring that up to 4 just for that little gem alone.
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