I write reviews for musical albums. My main genre is metal, but I will probably do some hard rock as well. Any reviews other than the two most recent are shown on the right hand side under the "Blog Archive" tab. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Iron Maiden- Powerslave

Album: Powerslave

Artist: Iron Maiden

Year:  1984

Score: 100/100

“Iron Maiden’s Signature Album”

When I think of consistent bands, Iron Maiden is the first that always comes to mind.  For the number of albums they’ve made, they’re probably the most consistently good band I’ve ever listened to.  Three of their albums I would give a perfect score and this album is certainly one of them.  “Powerslave” isn’t even my favorite release from Iron Maiden, and yet it sits amongst my all time favorite albums by any band.  It’s a flawless album; each song is perfectly crafted.  “Powerslave” definitely needs to be heard by every metalhead.

Of all the Iron Maiden albums, “Powerslave” most represents their signature sound.  In terms of sound it continues the trend of the two previous albums, “The Number of the Beast” and “Piece of Mind”, by utilizing the galloping guitar riffs and prominent bass that made those previous albums so incredible.  The difference is that everything is much more memorable, and maybe a bit more complex.  Additionally, there are more melodic guitar portions sprinkled throughout “Powerslave”.  There’s also no filler, which I felt was something that plagued those other two albums. 

The bass might be a bit more audible than usual, which is always a huge plus for me.  In fact, one of the first things that drew me to this album was the sound of the bass.  Upon hearing “Powerslave” for the first time I was so surprised at the consistent nature of the bass work; how it was a big part of the sound but it wasn’t flashy and it didn’t interrupt the flow of the songs.  I’ve always been a huge Bruce Dickinson fan, and he doesn’t disappoint on this album.  The vocals are outstanding throughout the whole album, and it is my second favorite vocal album from Iron Maiden (behind “Somewhere in Time”).  The drums are also great; they do their job perfectly.  They’re never too flashy or too dull, which makes them perfect for this kind of straightforward heavy metal album.  The guitars are brilliant as well.  They retain the sound found on previous albums, but do seem to be a tad more melodic.  This is particularly noticeable during songs like “Flash of the Blade” and “The Duellists”.  I’ve always loved dueling guitars, and this is one of the greatest albums to use the technique.  Dave Murray and Adrian Smith are one of the greatest guitar duos in the history of music.

I’m going to state this flat out; there is not a bad song on the whole entire album.  It opens strong and finishes strong, as well.  “Aces High” is one of the greatest songs the band ever made.  Of their hit songs, it’s probably the one I favor the most.  “Two Minutes to Midnight” is a little overrated, but it’s still good.  I believe this was the most popular song from the album, and it kind of makes sense.  It’s probably the most accessible off this release.  “Powerslave” might just be in my top three Iron Maiden songs; it’s a perfect song with one of the best choruses the band has ever done.  It’s the hidden gem of the release; I have no idea why more people don’t love this song.  I’m always one for Egyptian sounding metal tunes, and “Powerslave” is the definition of this particular sound.  Even more underrated is “Back in the Village”.  The verses are absolutely great on this song, and I love the guitar riff during the chorus.  “Flash of the Blade” is yet another highlight, with a powerful chorus and some great guitar work.  The vocals are outstanding in “Flash of the Blade”, with Bruce giving one of his finest performances.  “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is Iron Maiden’s signature epic piece.  It was the first song over ten minutes that I ever listened to, and therefore it is always going to be one of my favorite songs.  It may even be the epic that I judge other epics by.  It’s almost pointless to mention the rest of the songs, because they’re all incredible.  Bands like this just don’t exist anymore.

“Powerslave” is, perhaps, the best example of what Iron Maiden is good at.  The songs are perfectly heavy and catchy at the same time.  If a person asked me what heavy metal is, I would hand them this album.  “Powerslave” is recommended for anyone who likes anything about music, and it is a mandatory listen for anyone into rock or metal.  The album defined what traditional heavy metal was during the 80s.  It’s actually shocking how old it is, because it’s still very fresh sounding to this day.  “Powerslave” is simply essential listening.  It is absolutely great, and one of the best albums that I’ve ever heard.

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