Powerslave: individual album judgement by yours truly


My sins are many
  • Losfer Words is easily the weakest Maiden instrumental and entirely pointless. There's nothing wrong with it and the music is perfectly fine (if too chordal for an instrumental), it's just not good enough to justify it's track placement or being an instrumental at all. The ending is very cool, though.
  • Gods, that neoclassical section in the middle of Flash of the Blade is great. Why haven't they brought this song back now that they have three guitarists? There's clearly three distinct guitar parts on the record. Same goes for the bridge of Duellists. All of these instrumental sections are just plain ear candy.
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

“Flash Of The Blade” is, dare I say it, a hidden gem!


clap hands
Guitar playing peaked at the Powerslave solo.

Adrian Smith begs to differ.

Overrated solo

In terms of technicality, absolutely! In terms of Murray's choice of note placement and emotion? Not at all. Being the guy in the band who most often just improvises his leads and bases them around the same technique, Powerslave feels almost composed and the phrasing is exceptional.

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Powerslave is Maiden’s best work IMO because it’s fun, it’s theatrical, it’s got a great sound, the guitar playing is out of this world, Bruce has finally hit his stride as a singer, the drums are engaging, and every song is awesome. Even ones that you’d expect to have been weaker are executed phenomenally well. It’s just the perfect classic ‘80s Iron Maiden record.


What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
is Maiden’s best work IMO because it’s fun, it’s theatrical, it’s got a great sound, the guitar playing is out of this world, Bruce has finally hit his stride as a singer, the drums are engaging, and every song is awesome. Even ones that you’d expect to have been weaker are executed phenomenally well. It’s just the perfect classic ‘80s Iron Maiden record.
Sounds like Somewhere in Time to me.

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
You know what’s amazing? As amazing as the “Powerslave” instrumental is, almost every other instrumental on the album rivals it. The “Aces High” solo is just an absolutely riffing solo that comes at you blazing at full speed twisting and turning like a Spitfire, “Flash” and “Duellists” have some intricate dual guitar pieces and guitar duels for that matter, and “Rime’s” might be the best moment in Maiden’s entire discography.


Ancient Mariner
2019 re-listening thoughts on Powerslave:
  • I think Powerslave is probably Maiden's funnest album of all time (while also retaining a high level of quality). Even the weaker songs on this album are just a blast. It flows perfectly from start to finish and really feels accomplished from a performance level. The whole record just has a ton of get-up-and-go.
  • Easily Maiden's best dual guitar album. Yes, they've had better and harder dual (and triple) guitar riffs and solos, but this whole album feels like H and Davey are just battling the whole time in the most complimentary way.

Interesting thoughts and I probably agree about those, even if my overall view comes from slightly different angle.

So... I've already tackled Killers, TNOTB and POM, so on towards the sea we go... with the mighty Powerslave. I think that the quote above describes the best aspects of the album very well; regardless how high one ranks Powerslave overall, it's definitely one of their strongest outputs when it comes to performance. Piece of Mind was a slightly more sophisticated than it's predecessor and rather outstanding performance by the whole group; Powerslave manages to refine that quality, showcasing the band in top form, delivering a seamless and perhaps a bit more aggressive yet very controlled performance thorough.

Aces High is one of the most outrageous performances ever by the band, and I've always loved it's live versions too; it's actually pretty clever to have such a different, slower yet more dramatic approach to it in a concert setting (that goes mainly for the more modern versions though). 2 Minutes to Midnight is a dynamic classic, that I admit has become a bit of a "meh" song for me over the years, but every now and then the love is re-kindled. And as a song, it's a damn good one. Losfer Words is tough one to score, since it's... good, but nothing I ever crave to listen anyway. As @MrKnickerbocker above said, Powerslave is a fun album and Losfer Words definitely adds up to that, throwing some cool instrumental work in between more centric songs. It definitely works best on the opening side, since later on the album it would probably feel much more unnecessary and dragging. While it works and paces things out rather well, I also think that Aces-2 Minutes-Flash of the Blade would make a stunning, probably even better, opening trio too, but the album has such a brilliant groove that Losfer Words fits in well enough. Flash of the Blade is sort of a refined and more distinctive "sunandsteel" of this album; on some later record, it might have received a little bit more general attention, but it's actually pretty acknowledged song nonetheless. Cool guitars, catchy chorus, just lots of stuff to love.

I've always find it a bit hard to fully get into The Duellist. I appreciate and love all that brilliant instrumental work and clever, yet very Steve-y vocal lines and all... It's just never quite done the trick for me, but as part of the ride the album is, The Duellist really holds up very well and as said, I like all those neat elements in it, but there's still some certain unfamiliarity around it... As much as I like all the songs on this record, I usually listen to the live versions, since songs like the title track and Rime gain that awesome increase to their theatrical and dramatic nature through the live performance. Still, the album is brilliantly structured and while there is some small truth in the term "fillerslave", given that songs like The Duellist, Losfer Words and arguably Back in the Village - despite having some absolutely brilliant stuff in them, don't really bring that much new to the table, the album doesn't really have a weak song in it - even though Losfer Words is indeed kind of unnecessary. I've always liked Back in the Village and the awesomeness of Powerslave, not to even mention the closing track, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, deserve all the praise they can get.

Piece of Mind is a brilliant album that refines the direction it's predecessor started and Powerslave is the culmination of that, retaining the aggressive and unrelenting edge of the first albums and the more sophisticated and very dynamic side that Piece of Mind brought started to really showcase. As slightly more tight package, Powerslave is more "fierce" record than Piece of Mind, but it's not thoroughly better or worse, just a brilliant continuation of that direction.

The very defining factor and special value of Powerslave is, for me, adventure. The cover art is amazing and the journey the album goes through in relatively short runtime (by modern standards) is pretty amazing. Just look at first two songs, last two songs and the variety of stuff in between - it's truly an epic ride. Still, I don't find myself listening to the whole thing that often, but as far as the songwriting goes, it's tightly packed masterpiece that manages to dodge few quality drops here and there with it's good structure, performance and highs that are among their highest ever.

Killers: around 7.5
The Number of the Beast:
around 8
Piece of Mind:
around 9 or even above?
Powerslave: Another 9? I just hate 1-10 and how hard it is to properly score these masterpieces.. :D


Aces High -- 9
Two Minutes to Midnight -- 8
Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra) -- 7
Flash of the Blade -- 8
The Duellists -- 9
Back in the Village -- 5
Powerslave -- 10
Rime of the Ancient Mariner – 10

One of my favorites.


Ancient Marinade
I saw a comment on this forum from someone, recently, that Powerslave wasn't one of their faves because it's balls to the wall speed the entire album. I'm paraphrasing. But weirdly, and though I've been listening to this album for about 30 years...this point never occurred to me. I never listen to single Maiden albums in a vacuum, usually listening to multiple, or going through the whole discography as the mood takes me. And I can't believe I never noticed that Powerslave is, in fact, the most intense and exhausting Maiden album. It is just constantly pedal to the medal, with maybe two small interludes in the last two tracks. I love that about this album. I've heard many a metal head who talk about Maiden being not as fast, aggressive, or as heavy as most other metal bands. And I see their point. But I see Powerslave as such an intense, intricate, and speedy album that it stands up to the fastest of modern metal and exceeds it. The intro to Back in the Village alone should be enough to establish this. Every song is just bouncing, galloping, and flowing like a waterfall. This isn't my favorite album by Maiden, but it's in my top five and absolutely blows away their own previous four albums. Not a single second is wasted, there are NO filler songs on this album, and it's enjoyable from start to finish. Losfer Words is also my favorite instrumental by a long shot.

I give Powerslave 12 out 10 Janick Leg Stretches. That's high marks!


Ancient Mariner
While Somewhere in Time is my favorite album, Powerslave I feel is the most metal album they've done.... Not a single weak track here... All fast, powerful tracks with depth... Brilliant

Aces High - 9
2 Minutes to Midnight - 8
Losfer Words - 9
Flash of the Blade - 8
The Duelists - 7
Back in The Village - 9
Powerslave - 10
Rime of the Ancient Mariner - 10

8.75 overall....

Murder of Rue Morgue

Educated Fool
Aces High 8.5 - great opener
2 Minutes to Midnight 8 - good metal riff, great instrumental section
Losfer Words 6 - self satisfaction
Flash of the Blade 5 - pointless
The Duellists 8 - great instrumental
Back in the Village 6 - great opening riff
Powerslave 9 - solid track
Rime of the Ancient Mariner 7 - works better live


The very model of a modern Major-General

1. Aces High 8
2. 2 Minutes to midnight 8
3. Losfer Words (Big 'Orra) 7
4. Flash of the Blade 7
5. The Duellist 8
6. Back in the village 6
7. Powerslave 10
8. Rime of the ancient mariner 10

Overall: 8