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MindCrime Reviews #5: Piece Of Mind - Iron MaidenIn case you’re wondering, yes the rant series is still a thing. I’m just not thinking of anything to rant about at the moment, I will get one out very soon, though.
Anyway, it’s about time I reviewed an album from what is tied for my favorite band of all time. I’ve reviewed two Judas Priest albums in honor of Firepower’s release (one of which WAS Firepower), So now it’s time to review some classic Maiden and some modern Maiden.
1. Where Eagles Dare
This song is basically legendary from start to finish. It’s Nicko’s first real performance, and he starts right off with an inconic drum fill at the beginning of the song, which launches into a riff that’s synchronized with the drum fill (that sounded weird but eh). One thing I like is how you can hear every instrument (looking at you, ...And Justice For All). It has a great instrumental break that showcases every band member’s skill except for Bruce, who brings an awesome scream to the table shortly after the instrumental break. The scream itself reminds me of Learning To Live by Dream Theater, which is funny because this came out nine years before that did. Lyrically, it’s a bit stale but nothing terrible by any means. One of my favorite songs from the album, and one of my favorites from the band as well. Steve does a very good job towards the end, with that...I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s very strange, but at the same time it’s awesome. 10/10
Slightly longer than Where Eagles Dare, but that’s not a problem. This song has some awesome riffs, and at the same time it’s just absolutely beautiful in parts. It goes back and forth between being calm and beautiful to being heavy. Basically the precursor to every Opeth epic ever. Bruce makes me feel how almost no other singer can. His voice just carries so much emotion, but at the same time can be aggressive. This song showcases all of his vocal abilities, which are complemented by the rest of the band’s amazing instrumentation. It never gets repetitive at any point, and the solo has some sick bends. How any of Maiden’s guitarists get that perfect balance between a clean and distorted tone I’ll never understand. This song is basically a masterpiece. I feel like it should have been later in rhe album, though. This song does in 6:48 most songs can’t do in three. Absolute masterpiece.
This is my second favorite from the album, overall (we’ll get to my number one favorite later on). 10/10
3. Flight Of Icarus
This song is very reminiscent of Ronnie James Dio, both in the instrumentation, and Bruce’s perfect clean vocals at some points. The song itself is relatively generic, but still a fun, adventurous song with some great dual guitar soloing between Adrian and Dave.
Okay, what the hell is Steve doing on that bass at the end? He does that at the end of a lot of their songs where he seems to just flick the strings a lot. It’s awesome and weird. The second solo at the end is absolutely amazing. Better than the first solo in my opinion. After that, Bruce unleashed an absolute beast of a scream, which is easily my favorite part of the entire song. Overall a very well made yet generic song. 10/10
4. Die With Your Boots On
Has the typical maiden intro which is filled with a short instrumental, which is then ended by Bruce’s vocals. This song I honestly find very unintentionally funny with that “We’re gonna die?” Part. Otherwise, has some amazing bass playing in particular. Steve never disappoints, no matter what. For Nicko’s first contribution via an album with the band, he does a very good job on that drumkit. He shows that you don’t need doublebass to be good. The lyrics are simply aggressive. The solo has some great tapping, and some amazing melodies as well. The tone of the guitars is perfect yet again. It’s both clean and distorted, and it stays in your head. Up the irons. Just felt like saying that. 10/10.
5. The Trooper
And then we get to everybody’s favorite. It’s not my number one favorite. *Laughs*. Let’s just get that out of the way quickly. I do love it and while I don’t necessarily believe it to be an overrated song, it’s overhyped. It’s not my favorite Maiden song by any means, and they’ve done better for sure, although it’s one of their best. I kind of contradicted myself there, but whatever. Otherwise, the riffing is amazing and it has one of my favorite Iron Maiden solos. It’s just a solo this time instead of an instrumental break, but it’s definitely a great solo. The vocal effect on Bruce during the “oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh” part is strange, but it fits the song well. I used to think of this song’s solo as long, before I grew an attention span. It definitely makes you feel like you’re in that war Bruce is describing, with Iron Maiden’s typical perfect imagery and storytelling. I wish Steve Harris was my history teacher.
6. Still Life
This song has a reversed intro of one of Nicko’s English comedy accents. It then gets very calm, kind of ballad-y, and goes to heavy, like it’s bipolar or something. This song actually has the title of the album in the lyrics, this song should have been the title track. I don’t know why, but albums without title tracks kind of bother me for no reason other than just that. This song has probably my second favorite solo on the entire album, and has some excellent drumming as well. It’s a very strange song, but I still love it. 10/10
7. Quest For Fire
I really like the riff in this song in particular. Bruce’s voice gets really at several points, almost like a voice crack but not quite. Lyrics wise, it’s a very adventurous song, with some more historical imagery from what I can tell. It’s got some outstanding bass playing more than anything. Oh, wait, that changes to a tie when we get to the solo. My god, do Adrian and Dave make a great duo. This song isn’t easy to describe at all *laughs*. I’m just going to go to the next song now for that very reason. 10/10
8. Sun And Steel
This song is very difficult to describe as well. Bruce’s vocals start off earlier than they usually do, but that’s not a problem in this case. Another thing that bothers me: when the vocals in songs start too early. It just feels rushed/forced to me in a lot of places in songs, but not to that extent in this song because it doesn’t start until a few seconds later than enough to kind of get on my nerves. This song has some amazing layered vocals, and another very, very good solo. It’s almost psychadelic sounding, and that’s not a bad thing at all. It’s a brief solo but still awesome. Lyrically is even more difficult to describe, so I’m going to skip that part. Overall, a great song to transition into the final song on the album. 10/10
9. To Tame A Land
Remember when I talked about Revelations and how I’d get to my absolute number one favorite later? Well, we’ve reached that point now. This song is one of the many masterpieces Iron Maiden has made over the years, and there’s a lot of them. It starts off calm, and then gets heavier. I feel like a douche talking about lyrics. Lyrics don’t matter to have a good song. I’ll criticize lyrics, but that doesn’t make the song any better or any worse. I’ll rant about that pretty soon.
Anyway, this song has an amazing vocal performance and some very catchy guitar melodies, as well as a great riff that stays in your head. Wait a minute! At the 2:50 mark. That’s the bassline from Rime Of The Ancient Mariner! It really does follow the same template that song does at this part, which is strange because this song came one year before that one did. Still very well executed, however.
In my opinion it’s better than Hallowed Be Thy Name, and is one of my favorite Maiden epics. 10/10
Overall rating: 100/100
A very well made album, and for their fifth album a very good effort. I definitely like it more than The Number Of The Beast, which is good but on its own level of overrated in comparison to most of their albums.