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The Assassin

Discussion in 'No Prayer For The Dying' started by Anonymous, Apr 11, 2004.

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How good is The Assassin on a scale of 1-10?

  1. 10

    6.5%
  2. 9

    3.2%
  3. 8

    6.5%
  4. 7

    16.1%
  5. 6

    16.1%
  6. 5

    19.4%
  7. 4

    9.7%
  8. 3

    16.1%
  9. 2

    3.2%
  10. 1

    3.2%
  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Here, you can read other visitors' comments on 'The Assassin' as well as post your own. Any contribution to the commentary will be much appreciated, may it be cultural references relevant to the song (links to related websites, interpretations that may have been overlooked in the Commentary, and the like) or personal essays related to the topic of the song. Just be aware that messages that are either off-topic or too wacky may be deleted.
     
  2. Wrathchild666

    Wrathchild666 Trooper

    'the Assassin'

    This song is great and totally underated. Bruce's rough voice really match the mood of the song. It gives us the atmosphere of how a brutal killer thinks. Musically its not bad but they could improve on the chorus. If you listen properlly, you could hear synths at the back which prove claims that Maiden did not use synths on this album
     
  3. MigDaimon

    MigDaimon Trooper

    'the Assassin'

    This is one of my favourites. An interesting point is the theme is similar to the KILLERS song but unlike killers, this song never reaches a climax, we never see the victim killed but we all know that his/her time had came...

    The riffage is very good and the "James bond guitar" in the background is something that really impressed me the first time I heard the song. The solos are also good.

    The only "problem" that I would point is, as for the rest of this album, that the song is just too short. Not in the sense of time, but in the sense of developing the theme of the song as a whole. For me this is the main problem with NPFTD, the songs are not developed enough. They have GREAT THEMES, but they are not used with their full powers. I do not concern about Bruce and I do not concern about Janick or anything that people usually cocern about this album. I do concern of its themes wich are not well used.
     
  4. Wrathchild666

    Wrathchild666 Trooper

    'the Assassin'

    [!--QuoteBegin-MigDaimon+Apr 30 2004, 06:26 PM--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(MigDaimon @ Apr 30 2004, 06:26 PM)[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--] This is one of my favourites. An interesting point is the theme is similar to the KILLERS song but unlike killers, this song never reaches a climax, we never see the victim killed but we all know that his/her time had came...

    The riffage is very good and the "James bond guitar" in the background is something that really impressed me the first time I heard the song. The solos are also good.

    The only "problem" that I would point is, as for the rest of this album, that the song is just too short. Not in the sense of time, but in the sense of developing the theme of the song as a whole. For me this is the main problem with NPFTD, the songs are not developed enough. They have GREAT THEMES, but they are not used with their full powers. I do not concern about Bruce and I do not concern about Janick or anything that people usually cocern about this album. I do concern of its themes wich are not well used. [/quote]
    hmmm..........yeah i think THAT is the problem with this album.
     
  5. gor

    gor Ancient Mariner

    'the Assassin'

    if i absolutely had to pick the worst song out of Maiden's catalogue for me, I mean if someone was holding a gun in my face, I'd choose this one...
     
  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    'the Assassin'

    Another great one! A very haunting song. I like the way they try to get into a killers mind. The music fits the subject so well. Amazing.
     
  7. Uwe

    Uwe Trooper

    'the Assassin'

    A good song with cool lyrics, but somewhat ruined by the chorus and Bruce's voice.
     
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    'the Assassin'

    For me it's one of the weakest songs on No Prayer for the Dying. It's lack of a climax kills the song.
    There are some nice instrumental pieces within the song, but overall..weak
    2 stars because of the solo's.
     
  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    'the Assassin'

    Whoever rated this as "best" must have been having a laugh. It is the weakest chorus Maiden have ever done and just lacks that bit of magic. 0.5 stars
     
  10. Kynisk Sokol

    Kynisk Sokol Ancient Mariner

    'the Assassin'

    The part when Steve says "better watch out, better watch out" is simply [!--emo&:puke:--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/pukeface.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'pukeface.gif\' /][!--endemo--]
    It would be funny if you said to someone that Maiden has intelligent lyrics and all of a sudden this song comes on. There wouldn't be a great reaction would there?
     
  11. ______no5

    ______no5 The Angel Of The Odd

    Re: 'the Assassin'

                                  THE ASSASSINS

    The word “assassin” comes from the word “hashish” (for another etymologies less popular see the “etymology” paragraph  below) 
    The time is the era of crusades, and the object the first terrorist organization -ever « the assassins »

    Assassin, is not just someone that kills people….Is someone like the song says, who very carefully studies his victim before the attack. In the case of original Assassins the study of the victim was could be held held during many years
    The community of Assassins was found by Hasan I Sabbah (circa 1034 - 1124), or The Old Man of the Mountain. A famous quote of unknown origin is attributed (mostly by William Burroughs) to Hassan, and described as his last words: "Nothing is true. Everything is permissible."
    Hasan, was contemporaneous  to Omar-al Khayyam (see my related post on poesy topic),  Richard Lionheart, and many other legendary people of that era.

    He found his “paradise” in Alamout, where he was training his assassins. Someone to become assassin, he was passing a training of many years, for two basic reasons : Firstly, because all the assassinations had to be hold in public places (also, almost only the day Friday, holy day for Muslims), so the killer, had no other option than succeed. This leads directly to the second reason for the long training of Assassins : The Assassin was killed in place from the public, so every assassin was prepared to do one and only (suicide)mission for his life. After that mission, he had to let the crowd kill him. So, every Assassin had to be prepared to die, and not fear of death.

    The fact that an Assassin rarely was failing and that he was sacrificing his life for his Master, terrified then Arabic World, who search an explanation for this sacrifice : The most popular explanation is that they were under influence of hashish - so hashashin (hashish eater), became the assassin that we all know.

    When Hassan  was seeing  someone to be intelligent and with remarkable abilities, he never was making him an assassin, but he was training him for spying missions or propaganda missions inside the sect.

    Spying missions : Hassan had people of his everywhere, or better, he had create this impression to then Arabic world. A spy, was working silently many years in order to win the confidence of a powerful man and become his right hand

    Below, I post some extracts that I found on internet, for further information

    Capture of Alamut

    His search for a base from where to guide his mission ended when he found the castle of Alamut, in the Rudbar area, in 1088. It was a fort that stood guard to a valley that was about fifty kilometres long and five kilometres wide. The fort had been built about the year 865; legend has it that it was built by a king who saw his eagle fly up to and perch upon a rock, of which the king, Wah Sudan ibn Marzuban, understood the importance. Likening the perching of the eagle to a lesson given by it, he called the fort Aluh Amut: the "Eagles Teaching".

    Hassan’s takeover of the fort was one of silent surrender in the face of defeated odds. To effect this takeover Hassan employed an ingenious strategy: it took the better part of two years to effect. First Hassan sent his Daiyyin and Rafīks to win the villages in the valley over. Next, key people were converted and in 1090 Hassan took over the fort. It is said that Hassan offered 3000 gold dinars to the fort owner for the amount of land that would fit a buffalo’s hide. The term having been agreed upon, Hassan cut the hide in to strips and joined them all over along the perimeter of the fort. The owner was defeated. (This story bears striking resemblance to Virgil's account of Dido's founding of Carthage.) Hassan gave him a draft on the name of a wealthy landlord and told him to take the money from him. Legend further has it that when the landlord saw the draft with Hassan’s signature, he immediately paid the amount to the fort owner, astonishing him.

    With Alamut as his, Hassan devoted himself so faithfully to study, that it is said that in all the years that he was there – almost 35, he never left his quarters, except the two times when he went up to the roof. He was studying, translating, praying, fasting, and directing the activities of the Dawa: the propagation of the Nizari doctrine was headquartered at Alamut. He knew the Qur'an by heart, could quote extensively from the texts of most Muslim sects, and apart from philosophy, he was well versed in mathematics, astronomy and alchemy. Hassan was one who found solace in austerity and frugality. A pious life was one of prayer and devotion. Hassan was a charismatic revolutionary; it was said that by the sheer gravity of his conviction he could pierce the hardest and most orthodox of hearts and win them over to his side.

    Given the pillars of devoted adherence to the path of the faith, it is unlikely that the usually accepted "Assassin" postulate is unflawed. Hassan had his son executed for drinking wine and another person was banished form Alamut for playing the flute. The theories of Hassan being associated with Hashish are, at best, debatable. Furthermore there have emerged traces that there was a name given to Alamut by the people with Nizari leanings: al-Assas "the Base". It was the base for all operations that Hassan wished to effect. Members of al-Assas were known as al-Assassin.

    From this point on his community and its branches spread throughout Iran and Syria and came to be called Hashshashin or Assassins, an Islamic mystery cult.
    Hassan was extremely strict and disciplined. The abrogation of Islamic law (Sharia) occurred under a later Grand Master, Hassan II, in 1174. If hashish was used by the community (and this is uncertain) it probably also occurred later. There is dispute as to whether the term 'Assassin' means 'user of hashish' or 'follower of Hassan'.

    Not much is known about Hassan, but legends abound as to the tactics used to induct members into his quasi-religious political organization. A future assassin was subjected to rites very similar to those of other mystery cults in which the subject was made to believe that he was in imminent danger of death. But the twist of the assassins was that they drugged the person to simulate a "dying" to later have them awaken in a garden flowing with wine and served a sumptuous feast by virgins. The supplicant was then convinced he was in Heaven and that Sabbah was a representative of the divinity and that all of his orders should be followed, even to death. This legend derives from Marco Polo, who visited Alamut just after it fell to the Mongols in the thirteenth century.

    Other accounts of the indoctrination attest that the future assassins were brought to Alamut at a young age and, while they matured, inhabited the aforementioned paradisial gardens and were kept drugged with hashish; as in the previous version, Hassan occupied this garden as a divine emissary. At a certain point (when their initiation could be said to have begun) the drug was withdrawn from them, and they were removed from the gardens and flung into a dungeon. There they were informed that, if they wished to return to the paradise they had so recently enjoyed it would be at Sabbah's discretion, and that they must therefore follow his directions exactly, up to and including murder and self-sacrifice.

    The Assassins

    From a high mountain fortress, Hasan I Sabbah directed a ruthless campaign against the overlords of other sects in Persia, Iraq and Syria. Northwest of Qazvin, atop the Alborz Mountains, on a lonely ridge 6000 feet above the sea, stood the castle of Alamut (eagle’s nest). Commanding a royal view of the valley below, accessible only by a single, almost vertical pathway, the remote fortress was an ideal hideout and headquarters. In 1090, Hasan seized the fortress of Alamut, and the castle henceforth received the name of the Abode of Fortune. The position of Alamut caused its prince to receive the title Shaykh al Jabal "Prince of the Mountain", and the double sense of the word Shaykh, which means both prince and old man, has occasioned the historians of the Crusades and the celebrated Marco Polo, to call him the “Old Man of the Mountain.”

    His feared organization’s sinister name came from its member’s ritual use of the drug hashish, the popular Arabic name for hashish smokers. For the immediate attainment of their objects, the order was less in need of heads than arms; and did not employ pens, but daggers, whose points were everywhere, while their hilts were in the hand of the grandmaster. With poison and dagger as their means of dealing death to carefully selected victims, the fedaviyan (Modern Persian, from Arabic Fida'iyin "Who are Ready to Sacrifice their Lives for the Cause") struck terror wherever they appeared. From 1090-1256 CE, the Assassins unsettled everyone who opposed them. Amirs, governors of cities, commanders of fortresses, and even religious dignitaries all took to wearing a coat of chain mail at all times.

    Hasan I Sabbah conditioned and organized a band of fearless political killers such as had never been seen before. His method of indoctrination was unique. He constructed a secret garden and furnished it with all the delights promised in the Qur'an to the faithful when they reached paradise. The chosen were drugged, one or two at a time, and taken to this garden by night. When they woke up in the morning they were surrounded by beautiful and scantily clad women who would minister to their every need and desire. After being allowed to savor this false — but pleasant and sensual — paradise for a day or so, they were again drugged before being taken back to awaken in their own squalid hovel or cave dwelling. To them, it was as if it had been a vivid dream. Hasan I Sabbah then sent for them, told them God had given them a preview of Paradise, and surprised them by telling them exactly what each had been up to while in the secret garden. So successful was he in this method of conditioning and indoctrination that it was said he once astounded a visiting amir whom he wanted to impress with his power by sending for one of his men and ordering him to kill himself — which he immediately did.

    When an Assassin was sent out by Hasan I Sabbah to carry out some violent death, the Assassin was just as dedicated. So convinced were the Assassins that they would be rewarded in paradise that they never hesitated to fulfill their missions of murder, even though this often meant their victims’ bodyguards would kill them immediately afterward.
    Hasan I Sabbah and the grandmasters who ruled the order after him wielded great political power until the coming of the Mongols. The Mongols, led by Hülegü Xaqan, destroyed the Nizari base in Alamut in 1256, but the Nizari sect has survived to this day. Scattered in many countries of Asia, Africa and the West, the Ismailiyya currently acknowledge His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV as their 49th Imam.

    Etymology of the word "assassin"

    The name "assassin" is commonly believed to be a mutation of the Arabic Hashashin "hashish-eaters") (for example in The Botany of Desire). However, there are those who dispute this etymology, arguing that it originates from Marco Polo's account of his visit to Alamut in 1273, in which he describes a drug whose effects are more like those of alcohol than of hashish. It is suggested by some writers that assassin simply means 'followers of Al-Hassan' (or Hassan-i-Sabah, the Sheikh of Alamut (see below)). Others suggest that since hashish-eaters were generally ostracized in the middle ages the word "Hashshashin" had become a common synonym for "outlaws". So the attribution of Hassan's Ismaili sect with this term is not necessarily a clue for drug usage. Some common accounts of their connection with hashish are that these "assassins" would take hashish before missions in order to calm themselves; others say that it helped to boost their strength, and turned them into madmen in battle. Yet other accounts state it was used in their initiation rites in order to show the neophyte the sensual pleasures awaiting him in the afterlife. The connection between their mysticism and that drug is not something subject to reliable or consistent historical accounts; this is not surprising given their secrecy and infamy.

    In South Asia and Turkey, the word Hashhash (of probable Arabic origin) refers to the opium poppy and in modern times is applied to its derivative heroin. Opium is known to induce semi-conscious hallucinogenic states, and is both pleasantly deadening and highly addictive. Might this, then, be the true drug of the Assassins as described by Marco Polo? It should also be noted that opium has a history of such use in warfare; the Chinese soldiers in the Korean War were given opium to facilitate their mad rushes into battle, oblivious to physical pain. Alcohol is not likely to have been the drug described, totally prohibited by the Muslim faith as it is.

    Many scholars have argued, and demonstrated convincingly, that the attribution of the epithet 'hashish eaters' or 'hashish takers' is a misnomer derived from enemies of the Isma'ilis and was never used by Muslim chroniclers or sources. It was therefore used in a pejorative sense of 'enemies' or 'disreputable people'. This sense of the term survived into modern times with the common Egyptian usage of the term Hashasheen in the 1930s to mean simply 'noisy or riotous'. It is unlikely that the austere Hasan-i Sabbah indulged personally in drug taking. ...There is no mention of that drug [hashish] in connection with the Persian Assassins - especially in the library of Alamut ("the secret archives").
    —Edward Burman, The Assassins - Holy Killers of Islam

    Amin Maalouf, in his novel Samarkand, writes of the assassins that 'their contemporaries in the Muslim world would call them hash-ishiyun, "hashish-smokers"; some Orientalists thought that this was the origin of the word "assassin," which in many European languages was more terrifying yet....The Truth is different. According to texts that have come down to us from Alamut, Hassan liked to call his disciples Assassiyun, meaning people who are faithful to the Assass, the "foundation" of the faith. This is the word, misunderstood by foreign travelers, that seemed similar to "hashish."'
    Although apparently known as early as the 8th century, the foundation of the Assassins is usually marked as 1090 when Hasan-i Sabbah established his stronghold in the Daylam mountains south of the Caspian Sea at Alamut. A Yemeni emigrant and an Ismaili Shiite, Hasan set the aim of the Assassins to destroy the power of the Abbasid Caliphate by murdering its most powerful members. Hasan ibn Sabbah was also known as "The Old Man of the Mountain", however, this is likely to have been a mistake in translation, since "Old Man" is the literal translation of "Sheikh". His Arabic name was Sheikh-ul-Jibaal. Much of the current western lore surrounding the Assassins stems from Marco Polo's supposed visit to Alamut in 1273, which is widely considered mythical (especially as the stronghold had reportedly been destroyed by the Mongols in 1256).

    Benjamin of Tudela who traveled one hundred years before Marco Polo mentions the Al-Hashshashin and their leader as "the Old Man." He notes their principal city to be Kadmus.

    The group inspired terror out of all proportion to their scant numbers and territory. The members were organized into rigid classes, based upon their initiation into the secrets of the order. The devotees constituted a class that sought martyrdom and followed orders with unquestioned devotion, orders which included assassination. Because of the secretive nature of the order, it has often been invoked in conspiracy theories.

    Notable victims

    Nizam al-Mulk (1092), the Fatimad vizier al-Afdal (1122), ibn al-Khashshab of Aleppo (1124), il-Bursuqi of Mosul (1126), Raymond II of Tripoli (1152), Conrad of Montferrat (1192), and Genghis Khan's second son Jagatai (1242). Prince Edward, later Edward I of England was wounded by a poisoned assassin dagger in 1271. It is believed that Saladin, incensed by several almost successful attempts on his life, besieged their chief Syrian stronghold of Masyaf during his reconquest of Outremer in 1176 but quickly lifted the siege after parley, and thereafter attempted to maintain good relations with the sect. The sect's own extant (and doubtless embellished) accounts tell of Rashid ad-Din Sinan, stealing into Saladin's tent in the heart of his camp, and leaving a poisoned cake and a note saying "You are in our power" on Saladin's chest as he slept. Another account tells of a letter sent to Saladin's maternal uncle, vowing death to the entire royal line, perhaps no idle threat; whatever the truth of these accounts (and likely it will remain a mystery) he clearly heeded their warning, and desisted. Alone amongst the Islamic heretics Saladin so despised, the batinis would be granted leeway.

    The Hashshashin were often motivated by outsiders. The murder of Patriach of Jerusalem, for example, was instigated by the Hospitallers. It is rumoured the assassins of Conrad of Montferrat may have even been hired by Richard the Lionheart. In most cases they were aimed at retaining the balance of the Hashshashin's enemies
    The power of the Hashshashin was destroyed by the Mongol warlord Hulagu Khan, but several Ismaili sects share something of a common lineage, such as the sect led by the Aga Khan. During the Mongol assault of Alamut on 1256 December 15, the library of the sect was destroyed, along with much of their powerbase, and thus much of the sect's own records were lost; most accounts of them stem from the highly reputable Arab historians of the period. The Syrian branch of the Hashshashin was destroyed in 1273 by Mamluk Saltan Baibars. The Hashshashin, in 1275, captured and held Alamut for a few months but their political power was lost and they were eventually absorbed into other Isma'ilite groups. They continued being used under the Mamluks, Ibn Battuta recording in the 14th century their fixed rate of pay per murder.
     
  12. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    Daily Song: The Assassin

    Welcome to the Daily Vote Thread! Rules are here.

    Remember, only a decent review will count towards the contest.

    Today's song: The Assassin

    Yesterday's song remains open for voting! You can find it here.
    [hr][/hr]

    The music here isn't bad, but it isn't great. The lyrics are fairly base, and Bruce sings horribly on the chorus. It sounds like *me* trying to sing. The solo's not bad, but I really don't get this song. 5/10, and I consider that generous.
     
  13. Dr. Eddies Wingman

    Dr. Eddies Wingman Brighter than thousand_suns

    Re: Daily Song: The Assassin

    Least favourite from the album, and one of Maiden's weakest songs. The buildup is nice, but the verses are forgettable and the chorus is just plain awful. The solos are nothing special. 4/10.
     
  14. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Re: Daily Song: The Assassin

    The build-up is nice indeed. The song consists out of at least 10 different parts. Relatively seen, the chorus doesn't take that much of the song (around 23%) , and I know far worse choruses (still to come on future albums).

    The solos are more special and better than on the title track of this record. In fact, that whole instrumental part is better than the whole NPFTD midsection (incl. the vocals). Also the music underneath the solos contributes in a better way. I like that eastern flavour in the accompanying rhythm guitar (while Dave does his solo) and the drum rhythm swings butt as well. Also, during the couplets the two different guitars are cool, and pretty unique. Especially Janick's ta-ta-ta-ta-taaa ... is a serious attempt to make the song more exciting, and it works.

    And the lyrics? Well, I have already seen that people are way less critical when it comes to Di'Anno era lyrics.
    "Somehow" the early nineties albums are easy targets but I am not going to be a sheep and follow that line.
    Actually, this stuff is at least as good or bad (choose!) as the lyrics from Drifter, Prowler, Sanctuary, Innocent Exile, and several other songs. So, no prob at all with this: A 7,5 thus 8.
     
  15. mckindog

    mckindog Living for Sanctuary from the law Staff Member

    Re: Daily Song: The Assassin

    This is one of the more conventional Iron Maiden songs on the album, in that it is, by most other standards, unconventional (if that makes any sense at all.) I would liken it most to Gangland, in that it’s musically adventurous, but not very musically appealing. Points for effort, but not for results. Five
     
  16. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    Re: Daily Song: The Assassin

    Guilty as charged. But in my opinion that is because the lyrics on the Di'Anno era don't try to be more than they are, while many of the lyrics on No Prayer try hard to be something they fail at. Maiden had evolved beyond the quality of the No Prayer lyrics by that point.

    But well, that's my opinion.

    Anyway. This song is pretty dull by Maiden standards. It promises an atmosphere of dark tension, but fails to deliver it. The chorus could be good if it was sung better. Not much more to add. 4/10.
     
  17. Donner

    Donner Ancient Mariner

    Re: Daily Song: The Assassin

    7/10 for me.  Silly or not, I've always enjoyed this song. 
     
  18. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Re: Daily Song: The Assassin

    The Assassin lyrics, done by Steve Harris, if it were released on Killers or Iron Maiden:

    (Harris)

    Now that you are out
    They've put the word about
    It feels so good, baby

    I'm gonna get my song
    Till I can't go on,
    I want to understand the way you think

    I am gonna get you tonight
    I feel my hands go tight
    Excitement running through my veins, yeah!

    I feel adrenalin rush
    It's just the final touch
    You can kiss your arse goodbye

    Chorus
    I want you to kill you, kill you, kill you, kill you as hell
    I want you to kill you, kill you, kill you, kill you as hell
    (repeat)

    Now that you are out
    They've put the word about
    It feels so good, oh oh

    I'm gonna get my song
    Till I can't go on,
    I want to understand the way you think

    I am gonna get you tonight
    I feel my hands go tight
    Excitement running through my veins, yeah!

    I feel adrenalin rush
    It's just the final touch
    You can kiss your arse goodbye

    Chorus
    I want you to kill you, kill you, kill you, kill you as hell
    I want you to kill you, kill you, kill you, kill you as hell
    (repeat)

    ;)
     
  19. Black Thunder

    Black Thunder Ancient Mariner

    Re: Daily Song: The Assassin

    The chorus is kinda catchy... Decent song.

    6/10.
     
  20. Albie

    Albie Keeping an open eye on the Weeping Angels.

    Re: Daily Song: The Assassin

    When I first heard this track I actually hated it. Mainly down to the chorus - "Better watch out, 'coz I'm the Assassin". Not brilliant, is it?

    However, I have grown to really like this track. Enough to give it 7/10. But as LC said, I too could do the chorus as good as that. :D
     

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