Review

IRON MAIDEN No Prayer For The Dying

Album · 1990 · Traditional heavy metal
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2/5 ·
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...
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UMUR wrote:
8 months ago
I enjoy it quite a bit too actually, although I agree with Mike that it´s not as great as the albums which came before it. Some of the magic of the early releases was lost here.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
8 months ago
I've actually grown to like this one a lot. Granted it comes off weak following seven classic albums but i can actually pick this up and listen all the way through and like it!

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