Piece of Mind: individual album judgement by yours truly

2019 relisten thoughts on Piece of Mind...
  • Regardless of where you stand on the "Clive vs. Nicko" debate or the "why did Steve fire Clive?!" controversy, it is impossible not to notice a difference in Iron Maiden's musicality the second Nicko hits the first drum in Where Eagles Dare. Those little jazzy fills on the ride cymbal that he throws into the bridge, the sheer bounciness of it all...it just elevates the band to a new level. You can even hear the difference in Bruce's exceptional singing on the opening track. Nicko just fits. The Number of the Beast is a great metal album with a lot of classic tracks, but IMO, this is the first great Iron Maiden album. This sounds like the band finally realizing their potential.
  • Ditto the songwriting: it's so much more varied and interesting. The previous three albums felt like Steve Harris + guests writing the tracks, this album feels like a full band collaboration. Revelations demolishes every previous "semi-ballad" the band ever recorded and it's thanks to Dickinson's composition. Also, again, Bruce sounds incredible on this album. The vocal production is perfect.
  • The only downfall on the entire first side of this album is the "if you're gonna die" backing vocals.
  • The first six tracks on Piece of Mind are the most consistent quality that the band will have until SSOASS.
  • Still Life is an underrated tune and that guitar section before the solos might be the most neoclassical thing the band has ever done.
  • When this album takes a dive, it dives hard. Those last three songs are just not very good. If it weren't for the instrumental parts of To Tame a Land, the back third of this album would be quite terrible. The contrast is even starker because of the strength of the first two-thirds.
New rating: 8.3/10
For the most part I agree 100% with your review, and I chuckled at the remark regarding the backing vocals on Boots. It’s definitely a bit “off”. I like Clive Burr a lot, but as a non-drummer, I can follow his beats. I can’t usually follow Nicko’s. I can follow his groove but he seems to be hitting more drums than four limbs should allow.
Good little writeup. Sun and Steel especially sucks pretty hard.


I agree with you about the drop in overall quality towards the end, but I still think Sun and Steel is a neat little song that would pass to pretty much any Maiden record, even though it wouldn't quite stand out anywhere. :)

But yeah, opinions, opinions. Great summary & review anyway @MrKnickerbocker! Aside from personal views on those one or two songs, I pretty much agree with you and overall, it's always interesting to read (even if just partly) different views that are written well. :)
Where Eagles Dare – 8
Revelations – 8
Flight of Icarus – 8
Die with Your Boots on – 8
The Trooper – 10
Still Life – 9
Quest for Fire – 7
Sun and Steel – 7
To Tame a Land – 8
Better overall album than NOTB but that album has a few stronger songs...

Where Eagles Dare - 9
Revelations - 9
Flight of Icarus - 6
Die with your boots on - 7
The Trooper - 9
Still Life - 10
Quest For Fire - 7
Sun and Steel - 7
To Tame a Land - 9

8.11 average

Where Eagles Dare: 8/10
Revelations: 9/10
Flight Of Icarus: 7/10
Die With Your Boots On: 8/10
The Trooper: 7/10
Still Life: 8/10
Quest For Fire: 5/10
Sun And Steel: 6/10
To Tame a Land: 9/10

Overall: 7,4
My 4th favorite Maiden album

Where Eagles Dare 9/10
Revelations: 10/10
Flight Of Icarus: 7/10
Die With Your Boots On: 9/10
The Trooper: 7/10
Still Life: 9/10
Quest For Fire: 7,5/10
Sun And Steel:7,5/10
To Tame a Land: 10/10

Overall : 8,4
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IRON MAIDEN - PIECE OF MIND (2020 re-listening):

1- Where Eagles Dare:
The first drum pattern from Maiden's 4th studio album's opening track shows what newly recruited member Mr. McBrain was able to bring to the table and wow! Is it impressive. Intricate and rumbling this intense action packed semi epic tune also features one of Bruce's most stunning vocal lines ever while delivering it's fair amount of vicious solos and bass lines. Great way to start the record! 8.75/10

2- Revelations:
I really struggle to find words that can describe how much I like this track. Everything in this Aleister Crowley inspired classic is top notch while covering various sides of Maiden's new found sound as well as their all time blueprint. The English Hymnal's passage adaption is simply state of the art, once again Bruce's voice again is absolutely stunning and... I'll spare on the vocabulary and sum it up: one of Maiden's best tracks... absolute perfection. 10/10

3- Flight Of Icarus:
Maiden are one of the few bands that can convey that absolute epic feeling of great epic long songs to 3 to 4 minute long radio friendly tracks. And perhaps Flight Of Icarus' galloping pomp is the best example of this skill. Simple and yet effective composition, thundering bass, excellent chorus and one hell of an intense closing section culminating in a punching coda, this track is an all time classic and rightfully so. 8.25/10

4- Die With Your Boots On:
Things take a break on this one when it comes to epic flavor but keeps both feet well planted on excellent compositions' fields. While featuring a more rock feel to it this track keeps the excellent quality standard of the album so far. The guitar harmonies sound huge, verses are absolutely catchy, pre-chorus also kicks serious behind and the refrain, bridges and soloing on this thing are absolutely flawless. Great track. 8.25/10

5- The Trooper:
What else can I say about one of the most iconic songs by the band that hasn't already been said? Composition wise this damned thing is a class on how to make a perfect song: the way the bass gives the tonal tonic to the repeating guitar harmonies, the sing along chorus, the bursting entrance by the vocals... Everything here is on a echelon many aim for but really few can reach. Classic. 9.5/10

6- Still Life:
From the engaging and mysterious intro to the point this whole supernatural psychosis based drama really starts to roll you know you're in for something really special. Once again Nicko and Bruce absolutely steal the spotlights but still the song itself is near perfect. And that chorus is simply among the band's best ever. A masterpiece that surrounds the listener with the story and ambiance it aims to in a 100% efficient fashion while the composition itself is nothing short of genius. 10/10

7- Quest For Fire:
Only recently I came to terms with what was so "wrong" with this tune. And if Bruce has been a strong contender for MVP on Piece Of Mind this far, Quest For Fire's vocal line is a stain on his otherwise immaculate performance. The cheap lullaby like melody, the ridiculously bad placed falsettos... ugh! Everything here is so out of place it makes me cringe. And Steve's lyrics are equally ridiculous. If the band decided to go for an instrumental and filled the whole thing with harmonies and solos this song would've sounded so muuuuuuuuch better (depending on the guitar work it had potential to see my voting increased by 2 or more points). As it is it's mediocre at best and the lowest point on this amazing album. 5.75/10

8- Sun And Steel:
Great riffage and wild vocals this restless galloping fast track puts the record back on its axis with a strong pace and tight delivery. But then comes the chorus and man does it sound off! Too much la la la stuff here on a wild by its nature track. Soloing and harmonies are cool though. A really great song downgraded by a mediocre chorus. 7/10

9- To Tame A Land (Dune):
You know what makes a song REALLY great? Being able to absolutely drag you to the scenario and ambiance it is supposed to. This Frank Herbert's sci-fi inspired composition achieves that goal in a pristine fashion and while doing so presents us some of Maiden's best passages, a band so well tuned while doing long, dramatic and epic tracks by now it sounds absolutely overwhelming (in a good way). The arabesque melodies, Nicko's drumming, Steve's ever present monster bass, man! No matter what passage you skip to everything here is so amazingly well crafted it seems unreal. But the star on this state of the art closer is without shadow of doubt Bruce. What this man achieves here with his voice is ridiculous. Easily one of his best performances ever in a masterpiece for the ages, a suitable final track for one of Maiden's best albums. 9.5/10

PS: 8.55/10 points song average

Overall Piece Of Mind is another absolutely classic and insanely great Maiden album, easily ranking among the best ones on their catalogue. The cover artwork with the bald lobotomized Eddie in a straight jacket is one of their best ones. Only minor low points are Quest For Fire vocals and lyrics as well as the following track's let down of a chorus. The crystal clear 80's production also makes it sound a bit soft at times. Nevertheless these minor details are both easily overlooked when they stand among so many excellent songs and classic anthems. 8.75/10
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8,6 Night Prowler

Where Eagles Dare - 10
Revelations - 9
Flight Of Icarus - 10
Die With Your Boots On - 8
The Trooper - 10
Still Life - 8
Quest For Fire - 4
Sun & Steel - 7
To Tame A Land - 10

Average: 8.44