IRON MAIDEN — Powerslave (review)

IRON MAIDEN — Powerslave album cover Album · 1984 · NWoBHM Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
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.
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