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.