Powerslave: Album Discussion

The_7th_one

Ancient Mariner
I didn't know where to put this.
Its one of the satellite 664 episode dedicated to Powerslave and Powerslave t-shirts merchandise designs. It's interesting IMO
Enjoy.
Happy 36th Powerslave!

 
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Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Powerslave (1984)
  • This album is flawless.
  • Legitimately one of the most energetic albums ever. There was just no stopping Iron Maiden at this point in the game. If TNOTB and POM proved that they were one of the greats in metal, Powerslave proved that they were the greatest. It's got everything to love about classic Iron Maiden within the eight songs on its two sides. Blistering dual guitars, powerful bass, furious drums, and soaring vocals. Godly.
  • Bruce is just on fire here. The best performance of his career?? It's either this or The Chemical Wedding, definitely. On "Aces High" it's like he's daring you to try and out-sing him. You mere mortal. On "Powerslave" he's summoning up all the darkness within him to help him act out the character he's written, with so much GRIT it's insane. And the iconic scream in "Rime" is better than the one in "The Number of the Beast". The way he sounds so clean in one breath and aggressive in the next just blows my mind. Dio and Halford, eat your hearts out.
  • This is one of the greatest guitar albums ever released. The way that Dave and Adrian play on here, it's like watching to friends who happen to be opponents in a drag race. Done with a friendly air, but also really competitive showings-off to dare the other to try to one up them. And they do! Every. fucking. time! "Aces High", "Powerslave", "The Duellists", "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" - all four of these songs are up there for having some of my all-time favorite solos and instrumental sections. And the rest aren't far behind, although there it's the riffs that take centerstage, from the sledgehammer staccato of "2 Minutes to Midnight" to the absolutely blazing "Flash of the Blade" and "Back in the Village". And how can you not mention "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)", the best of Maiden's instrumentals? It throws you into the Powerslave "world" and lets the music rock you until you drop.
  • Steve's bass is just a pummeling, driving force throughout the whole 52 minutes. He's just clanking away the whole time and god is he awesome.
    • A note on drumming. I think that the bass drum is the most overrated part of the drumkit. There are times where it's really great (like on Painkiller), but I find it to be overused in metal, especially when there's double bass involved. It just sounds kinda soulless to me unless you're a great drummer who knows how to incorporate its machine gun thrusts with the wider sounds of the kit. One of the reasons I don't really like Dave Lombardo as much as other people. A lot of thrash and modern metal drummers seem to just use hi-hat, snare, and bass. It starts to sound really samey and lifeless.
  • Which brings me to Nicko. Nicko only uses one bass pedal and lets the rest of the kit make up for him lacking a second. There's just so much more happening when he plays, it's insane. More scope of scenery, more interesting sounds, and it feels like there's more speed too. And he's the god of the drumfill. Just as often as he can throw one in there, you bet he's gonna do it. It's amazing.
  • And Nicko loves using the ride cymbal just because he can. To me it's the most underrated part of the kit. The metallic sound is amazing at transforming the mood of passages (like when it backs the dual guitar 'motif' in the "Bat Out of Hell" intro) and I love whenever normal drummers switch from the hi-hat to the ride - but Nicko uses it CONSTANTLY. And it works so well. "Aces High" sounds so much more metallic because of its presence. And Nicko also showcases a great use of how you can change the mood instantly in "Rime", where the hi-hat keeps the verses chugging in a story-telling kind of fashion, and the ride comes in for the 'mini-choruses'. He's just such a brilliant drummer. This is the best performance of his career.
  • It's really easy to just look at Powerslave as four of metal's greatest compositions sandwiching four solid songs in between. And sure, "Aces High", "2 Minutes to Midnight", "Powerslave", and "Rime" are definitely four of the best metal songs ever... but so are the four in between. This album just never lets up. The four in the middle may not be quite as adventurous lyrically, but sonically? Passionately? They're on the exact same tier. This whole record is just so fucking good. It's the pinnacle of Iron Maiden's career.
It's been some years now since I bought Powerslave on CD and let it grow on me to the point that I became my favorite Maiden album, and it's still holding up just as well as it ever did. This album is flawless.

  1. Aces High - 10/10
  2. 2 Minutes to Midnight - 10/10
  3. Losfer Words (Big 'Orra) - 10/10
  4. Flash of the Blade - 10/10
  5. The Duellists - 10/10
  6. Back in the Village - 10/10
  7. Powerslave - 10/10
  8. Rime of the Ancient Mariner - 10/10
Total: 100%
 

frus

Barbed Wire Hen
Legitimately one of the most energetic albums ever.
I've always felt that on Powerslave they managed to re-capture the same level of energy as early albums (after the drop of TNOTB and POM), and never again.
Of course, with much higher level of sophistication and versatility
 

Shmoolikipod

Stranger to the Light
I've always felt that on Powerslave they managed to re-capture the same level of energy as early albums (after the drop of TNOTB and POM), and never again.
I think Somewhere in Time tops it with energy, but I agree PoM and TNotB are more "tired", I guess.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
after the drop of TNOTB and POM
but I agree PoM and TNotB are more "tired", I guess.
Wow, I really don’t hear that at all. I think Maiden just got more energetic as they went along. Maybe POM is but they switched it out for a little more sophistication. To me, Killers probably feels the most tired.

Also you probably won’t like my review for SiT then.
 

Shmoolikipod

Stranger to the Light
Wow, I really don’t hear that at all. I think Maiden just got more energetic as they went along. Maybe POM is but they switched it out for a little more sophistication. To me, Killers probably feels the most tired.

Also you probably won’t like my review for SiT then.
PoM just doesn't have a lot of high octane tracks, really only The Trooper and Die With Your Boots On. Compared to Powerslave and SiT, where mostly all songs pack a punch.
Also kinda agree about Killers.
 

frus

Barbed Wire Hen
Funny, I don't hear tiredness in Killers at all :oops:
SIT has that smooth and reverb-y guitar sound that has much less punch than previous ones, that's probably the reason the album sounds more tame to me. Although Nicko is totally ferocious in some tracks
Also you probably won’t like my review for SiT then
No, I love your reviews, what does it matter that I disagree :)
 

Spambot

Ancient Mariner
I see D11 put it some groundwork for the GMAC finals.
Nice review, I wouldn't give every song 10/10, but then again I never really do that so what do I know.
I'd just like to add that this album feels most... energetic? IDK, I've listened to isolated tracks from some songs and what surprised me is good and melodic they sound, even isolated.
Just yesterday I was listening to some classical composer reviewing heavy metal songs and among them - ROTAM. He watched live version from Flight 666 which I haven't seen in ages and damn! - do they have fun on stage!
Just a phenomenal track and I can be thankful I've seen it live 2-3 times.
 
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Black Bart

Ancient Mariner
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Now playing : the ones that did not qualify for live rendition (apart from "Losfer Words" and "The LOTLDR" that oddly seem to belong there)...
And it is a great album, with the songs from Powerslave occupying the center spot. :)
 

Ascendingthethrone

Educated Fool
I've made no secret of the fact that it is my least favourite of the 'classic lineup albums'. I got into collecting Maiden CD's in my teens and I think it was the last of the 80's albums that I managed to get hold of. The album is held on such a pedestal and I think I was a little underwhelmed. Of course I loved the top and tail of the album but the middle just sounded like a band playing too fast and the songs are just so busy. It is a bit too much. It wasn't my cup of tea. I much prefer the light and shade throughout NOTB and POM and the songwriting on SIT and SSOASS

Over time I have warmed to it more but I don't reach for it that much.
 

Dr. Eddies Wingman

Brighter than thousand_suns
View attachment 14679
Now playing : the ones that did not qualify for live rendition (apart from "Losfer Words" and "The LOTLDR" that oddly seem to belong there)...
And it is a great album, with the songs from Powerslave occupying the center spot. :)
Especially for the songs from SIT and SSOASS it's a shame that they have never been played live. I also think The Duellists would've been well received live.
 

srfc

Ancient Mariner
Aces High - 10, brilliant opener, perhaps the eternal Maiden opener, classic hooks and solo section evoking an aerial dogfight

2 Minutes to Midnight - 10, another of Maiden's very best, the best track without a Harris writing credit, rhythm section is the best in metal and probably Maiden's best lyrics too with my favourite line "we oil the jaws of the war machine and feed it with our babies"

Losfer Words (Big 'Orra) - 8, pretty decent instrumental but not as good as the other two previous instrumentals. The section that resembles a chorus feels out of place

Flash of the Blade - 9, great intro and verses, mid section brilliant, chorus a bit OTT vocally though which stops it from getting the maximum score

The Duellists - 9, mid section might be best part of the album but the tongue twister vocal melody holds the song back

Back in the Village - 10, great intro and uptempo classic Maiden head nodding groove for the whole track, people seem to have an issue with the chorus, not sure why?

Powerslave - 10, music perfectly matches the theme of the vocals, classic heavy riff, and simply put, the best guitar solo of all time, ok it's 3 solos and a melody section but it's just such a strong section it has to be taken as a whole

Rime - 10, Steve ups the ante on his previous epics with this ambitious track, and he pulls it off. Loads going on in the various sections that shift with the narrative of the lyrics. And the build up to "then down in falls comes the rain" is another best ever.

Not quite as strong as a whole as the previous two albums for me, but arguably the highs on here are higher. Look at how many parts I've declared as Maiden's best ever.
 
After the slight disappointment of Piece of Mind compared to TNOTB, Powerslave was another giant leap forward. On this album, we had far more variety, with more of the band contributing songs. Those songs were of an incredibly high standard and were now regularly introducing changes of pace and key changes. Unlike Piece of Mind and even TNOTB, there really isn't a weak track on this entire album. I might choose Losfer Words if I was really pushed, but that's quite a strong 'weak' track!!!

What we were seeing with this album was a band that was rapidly evolving. The raw edge of the original album was now a distant memory and what we had was a highly polished act operating at the very height of their powers. How many albums can boast songs of the calibre of Aces High and 2 Minutes to Midnight to kick off the album? The second side was nothing short of stunning. Three epic tracks and it says a hell of a lot about the quality on display here that a song as good as Back in the Village is overshadowed by the other two. For many, this is the greatest album Maiden have ever made, and it's hard to argue against that view. This is a stunningly good album, with probably the best album cover and a live show that certainly didn't disappoint. Everything about this album felt epic. I had followed Iron Maiden from the very beginning and I had always thought they were special. Powerslave removed all doubt. Iron Maiden at this time was at the very top of the tree and nobody else could touch them or even get close.

This album stood out for another reason for me. Prowler had inspired me to start playing guitar and up to this point, there was no doubt in my mind that Dave Murray was the best guitarist in Maiden. Powerslave changed this for me. Dave had always been fast and fluid, with a distinctive and beautiful lead tone, but he's a guitarist who did what he did and he did it very well. The downside of this is that as a guitarist, he hadn't really evolved that much from the early days. Don't get me wrong, Dave is superb and I love what he does, but he has a style he has mastered and that's what he does. For the first time with Powerslave, I started to realise that the same wasn't true of Adrian Smith. Since he first appeared on Killers, he had added more techniques to his playing, his solos were more ambitious, and his use of melody made his solos far more memorable. This is the album where I first started to really sit up and take notice of Adrian and he started to influence how I approached guitar. His influence and importance was set to grow.
 
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