With a crash, "Aces High" dies away and we are thrust into Powerslave's second track by one of the great Maiden riffs of all time. Yes, it's a riff style that many have used throughout metal's history, but Maiden really perfected it here.
"2 Minutes To Midnight" is a popular song, but it's popular for a reason. 10/10. Great stuff.
A catchy, iconic riff with percussive accents kicks into a great uptempo verse. Bruce's tremolo is a little out of control here, but not to the point of distraction. This switches gears into an excellent, slower feel pre-chorus with cool bass fills before breaking into a faster, soaring chorus.
Another round of verse through chorus and we get a great uptempo solo with some harmonized bits followed by an excellent, slightly bluesier solo. This leads into an extended subdued interlude with a plaintive, bluesy lead. This kicks back into a final round of verse through chorus that morphs into a variant chorus and a brief outro punctuated by a final shouted lyric.
This is a superb rocker that hops deftly back and forth between harder and softer feels, and it has great lyrics, too. The minor weaknesses aren't enough to deny this song a 10/10.
Staccato riffs were all the rage back in the day, but Maiden's is arguably the pinnacle. "2 Minutes To Midnight" opens with some fiery riffing and cool drumbeats, before exploding into a mid-paced song to keep the energy from "Aces High" going, even if it's not as fast. It's a really strong number and one of the best of their singles - an awesome track all-told. 10
Judging from various YouTube comments that converge, it is apparently the official alternate version was that broadcast, at least, in Brazil and Australia instead of the "feature" one, in the days of the promotion of the album.
Besides, while looking it up, I've found a curiousity:
I wouldn't mind a Russian speaker telling us what the lyrics are about.
And another one which resets the scale as to who "invented" the riff: