The MAIDEN Years: 2018/19/20/21/22/ad infinitum (Rock in Rio and Nights of the Dead)

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
Beast Over Hammersmith
. . . Hallowed Be Thy Name being played to an audience that clearly doesn’t really know the material
It is also the only live recording of Hallowed that is played at the correct tempo(s). By Live After Death, the slow beginning had already become slower and the fast part had already become faster. Nowadays it has gotten totally ridiculous, resulting in almost a different song altogether. For this reason, the '82 version is my favorite live version of Hallowed.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Agreed, these songs sound fresh and well rehearsed. They’ve been on autopilot with Hallowed and others since the mid-80s. Honestly the only ones that still sound cool live are The Trooper and NOTB. Even Fear of the Dark is losing its luster.

I am usually fine with the band having staples, I get it, but they tend to be low moments in the set just because of the weak performances.
 

flat iron

Prowler
Is there any information about whether guitars were subsequently overdubbed on 'Hammersmith'? For example, during Prisoner, I can see Dave has switched on his bridge pickup during parts of his solo while the creamy neck pickup sound can be heard at the same time.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Piece of Mind

I’ve long held this as my favorite Maiden album, for sentimental and preferential reasons. The sentimental reason is that it was the album that I listened to the most as a young kid, not much more complicated than that. On the more preferential side of things, there’s a lot to it. It has my favorite production on a Maiden album, everything sounds super crisp and clean, but it feels like now that Birch has been with the band for awhile he is able to bring out their strengths a bit more. Killers and Number of the Beast sound awesome, but Piece of Mind has a bit more personality to it.

The album has great performances from each member. Bruce never sounded better in the 80s. Better use of his range here, more nuance to his performance, less vocal acrobatics and more delivery. Nicko adds a whole new dimension to the rhythm section, a much better complement to Steve Harris and just a thunderous sound that Clive wasn’t really capable of. I love Burr’s playing on the first three albums, but for the direction they were headed in they definitely needed something more. The twin guitar attack is now like a well oiled machine and the solos take a huge step up. Adrian’s tone is thick and awesome.

As far as the songs go, this album is probably the most well balanced. You’ve got the epics, war songs, ballads, catchy pop singles, without really pulling too far in any one direction. And when the album gets epic, it remains grounded, when it goes more on the pop side it’s topped with really sophisticated instrumentation and great vocals. Basically, it has everything there is to love about Maiden, and it sets a template that I believe the band still follows to this day.

My favorite thing about Piece of Mind is the opening 1-2 punch. I don’t think there has been a better start to a Maiden album since (although it’s closely followed by the first two songs on Brave New World). Where Eagles Dare and Revelations immediately raise the bar from where Maiden was at previously. Way more interesting instrumental work, captivating lyrics, complex song forms, and yet it’s all super accessible. Fantastic stuff and a bold way to start an album that is essentially the band’s first major play to an international audience.

Live At Dortmund

Unfortunately, there’s not much out there in the way of officially released live recordings. There’s a treasure trove of bootlegs, including a Hammersmith soundboard and a couple of unreasonably good audience recordings (Leicester and Ipswich spring to mind). I’m going to skip those just because I don’t have a lot of time today and most of this material is represented on other official live albums. The songs we don’t have good officially released recordings of are To Tame a Land and Where Eagles Dare. I can live without To Tame a Land and Ullevi 2005 has a really good version of WED, so I think it’s fine.

I do hope that someday Maiden decides to dig into the vault and release a full length concert from the World Piece Tour. It had a great stage, a great lighting setup, and the band sounded great. Also a really solid Setlist. To that end, one of the great disappointments on the Early Days DVD is that the band wasn’t able to salvage anything from the Dortmund show other than what originally aired. For one thing, they played another concert the night before. Also, there are three songs (Wrathchild, Hallowed Be Thy Name, and Iron Maiden) that are missing. The official story is that this footage is lost, but I’m not sure if I buy it. The performance of Iron Maiden appears on 12 Wasted Years, so they must have had some tape that contained unaired material. A full length video of this concert would be quite the grail.

Plus, it’s an awesome concert. The band was on fire, clearly in a celebratory mood given that this was the end of the tour. Lots of energy, great performances, similar to Beast Over Hammersmith you get a lot of future classics that sound really fresh and not overplayed here. Sanctuary never sounded better than it did on this video IMO. Even Run To the Hills sounds really top notch.
 

SixesAlltheway

Ancient Mariner
The songs we don’t have good officially released recordings of are To Tame a Land and Where Eagles Dare. I can live without To Tame a Land and Ullevi 2005 has a really good version of WED, so I think it’s fine.

Whatever the problem is Clint Eastwood is gonna fix' it! The live version of WED from a Real DEAD One is not too shabby if you ask me :edmetal:
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Whatever the problem is Clint Eastwood is gonna fix' it! The live version of WED from a Real DEAD One is not too shabby if you ask me :edmetal:
Way too fast imo and they suck the life out of the instrumental.
 
I was at the Hammersmith show -see pic <-
I'd just bought Killers in the preceding November and went without knowledge of the debut as well. I knew Run but wasn't a fan as it was very commercial. The show had an electric atmosphere and I swore to keep seeing them, which I did throughout the '80's.

I'm still not a big fan of Beast due to its more 'popular' leanings, although I accept its rightful status. Brilliant cover. Children is a clear winner, with Prisoner and Beast just behind.
 
Back at Hammersmith in '83, this was the best Maiden gig I saw of 8. Good mix of songs, professional but still raw.
I have the Heavy Birthday vinyl - Stockholm 5th June '83.

Piece a favorite along with Killers and Powerslave.
 

Poto

Ancient Mariner
Beast Over Hammersmith
Starting here because this performance was before the release of the album. I love hearing future classics such as Run To the Hills and Hallowed Be Thy Name being played to an audience that clearly doesn’t really know the material (though to be fair Run To the Hills had been out as a single already). Hearing the intro to The Number Of the Beast without the audience shouting along is pretty abnormal sounding.

This to me is the best document of early (1975 - 1983) Maiden and possibly my favorite Maiden live album. This is the sound of a band that is ready to go from underground Metal darlings to a worldwide powerhouse. They already sounded really tight live, but there’s a greater air of professionalism on this particular recording. The guitars sound a little cleaner, the tempos are steadier, the Setlist has more of a theatrical flow (more dynamic shifts, more of an arc). Bruce Dickinson brings in a new layer of finesse, although he’s clearly still learning how to interact with a large audience (in a few short years he would become the master of this). Also, unfortunately, this is the only officially released live album from the 80s where Bruce’s voice isn’t shot.

The Setlist is a total greatest hits package. You’ve got all the essentials from The Number of the Beast while they still sound fresh (I don’t think there are superior versions of any of these songs on other live albums, but I’ll be on the lookout). You’ve got songs from the first two albums that, after this tour, are rapidly replaced by newer material. We can probably debate endlessly over whether Bruce does the earlier material better (in most cases, he doesn’t), but these songs are really well performed and fit nicely in the Setlist. Murders In the Rue Morgue is an awesome opener, songs like Killers and Remember Tomorrow perfectly fit the vibe of the show. With that being said, you can hear a pretty clear difference between the new material and a lot of the old songs, the band took a massive leap musically on TNOTB. It’s not surprising that Another Life didn’t remain on the Setlist after this tour.

A final essential element here is the inclusion of Total Eclipse. Not only is this version superior to the studio recording, but it’s also the only tour where they played it live and the only officially released recording. Awesome song, much stronger than the two songs they didn’t play live, and at least on par with The Prisoner and 22 Acacia Avenue. By the way, considering some talk and speculation about Senjutsu, this is a great example of Maiden doing environmental disaster songs. I wouldn’t mind more of those.
Beast Over Hammersmith is on Spotify by the way!
 

Neil2320

Prowler
I was always wondering if here we have some early Maiden fans on forum, like guys who started following band during Di'Anno era.

How they react to Bruce and big transition on 3rd album? Because I think that transition from Killers to TNOTB is the same as from 7th to NPFD, and yet nobody is talking on any sellout or something like that.
I was into Maiden during the Dianno era. At the time I was only 9 years old, so the simple rock type songs were my favourite, such as, Running Free, Sanctuary and Invasion. It makes me laugh when I read quotes on YouTube or Facebook from newer Maiden fans claiming that songs like Invasion were influenced by punk!
What a load of rubbish. I remember punk vividly, and songs like Invasion, Prowler etc sound nothing like anything punk bands were playing.
If anything the early tracks were more like the aggressiveness of Thin Lizzy with the heaviness of Sabbath and the time changes of early Rainbow.
But, as for when Bruce joined the band, you have to remember that Run To The Hills was nothing like what had been before. And of course the single cover was amazing, which was only bettered by the NOTB album.
I still liked Dianno, big time. But, Bruce, Run To The Hills and NOTB took Maiden to another level
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Powerslave
Maiden’s first foray into an ancient civilization, the only album to feature a title track without Harris’ involvement, and featuring the 30 year championship title holder for longest Maiden song: Rime of the Ancient Mariner. This album represents Maiden at the peak of their powers, although it is probably legendary now mostly because of the tour.

To me, this is the first album where there isn’t a notable step up from the previous one. Killers upped the band’s production game, Number of the Beast marked a big improvement in musical maturity and the involvement of Bruce Dickinson, Piece of Mind had Nicko and just a huge leap up in the songs department. Powerslave definitely continues the band’s musical evolution, but it very much feels like a continuation of what they were doing on Piece of Mind. It makes sense, given that this is the first time the band was able to make 2 albums in a row featuring the same lineup. Also recording once again in the Bahamas, the album has a very similar vibe.

That being said, the Fillerslave thing is also a bit silly because this is still a fantastic album. Two Minutes to Midnight is one of the best Smith/Dickinson collaborations. Great lyrics and an amazing instrumental section. Both solos are among my favorites from the respective guitar players. Aces High isn’t my favorite, but it does what it needs to do and is mostly enjoyable for Bruce’s delivery (which he could never recreate live) and the guitar solos. The guitar playing on this album is definitely a lot flashier, you can tell Smith and Murray were checking out the shredders of the 80s.

It’s great to see Bruce Dickinson using Maiden as more of a creative outlet. Revelations is a highlight on Piece of Mind, and on this album we get two great Dickinson contributions. Flash Of the Blade, once again the instrumental work is astounding, but it also has a great chorus and a captivating (if underrated) lyric. Powerslave, the title track, is probably my favorite track on the album. Great stuff and always a treat when they play it live.

Of course the elephant in the room here is Rime. For a long time, Rime and Hallowed seemed to be neck and neck for most popular song on this forum (I’m not sure if that’s still the case, but I wouldn’t be surprised). I was always on the Rime side of things. I just love the relentless riffing on this track, the guitar duels, and the atmospheric middle section and following buildup. Really well put together, great musical illustration of the story, and the 13 minutes fly by.

In writing this review, I am starting to realize that this album thrives off of the instrumental work primarily. The guitar playing is fantastic and these songs all feature really intricate and interesting instrumental work. Bruce sounds really good, but I don’t think the vocal parts play to his strengths the way those on the previous two albums do. I think they may have gotten a little caught up in the air raid siren thing, to the point of making songs that he struggled to sing live. This album also suffers from the oft-criticized Harris word salads. Aces High, The Duelists, and even parts of Rime aren’t so much vocal melodies as fast rapping over high speed Metal drums. I think that’s where Powerslave misses me in comparison to some of the other work from the 80s. But at the same time, the instrumental work is so fantastically done that I can’t help but have a great time with the album.
 
At the time I felt there was a large step up from POM, PS having serious crossover potential, and all this a year before LAD was conceived. 2 mins is a perfect song.
I saw them at Hammersmith again, this time taking 3 non -metal people, one of which was female!
Saw Nicko in the pub prior to the gig.

Interesting observation on the instrumental overshadowing the vocal. I think you've got a point.
 

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
Powerslave is the perfect Iron Maiden album. I disagree with Mosh that this isn't a step up from Piece of Mind, which absolutely had filler on the back end, whereas I will fight anyone who says Powerslave contains "filler" (it doesn't). I do agree that the guitar work here is the highlight. "The Duellists" is one of my favorite tracks, and solos on the title track are my favorite Maiden solos/duet ever. The closing epic ("RIme") is also far, far better than "To Tame a Land," which suffers from one of the worst Harris "word salads" in the entire catalogue:
For example:
"He is the Kwitzatz Haderach
He is born of Caladan
And will take the Gom Jabbar..."
:puke:

I enjoyed Dune as a kid, but those lyrics are embarrassingly bad.
 

Gk1

Here I sit in a serenade of glory!
IMO Powerslave is the best Maiden album. However my fav is SSOSS. The same way as Master of puppets is the best Metallica album but my fav is AJFA
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Powerslave is the perfect Iron Maiden album. I disagree with Mosh that this isn't a step up from Piece of Mind, which absolutely had filler on the back end, whereas I will fight anyone who says Powerslave contains "filler" (it doesn't). I do agree that the guitar work here is the highlight. "The Duellists" is one of my favorite tracks, and solos on the title track are my favorite Maiden solos/duet ever. The closing epic ("RIme") is also far, far better than "To Tame a Land," which suffers from one of the worst Harris "word salads" in the entire catalogue:
For example:
"He is the Kwitzatz Haderach
He is born of Caladan
And will take the Gom Jabbar..."
:puke:

I enjoyed Dune as a kid, but those lyrics are embarrassingly bad.
I would grant that Rime is the better epic by far. I find Sun and Steel to be more enjoyable than Back in the Village while The Duelists’ instrumental section puts it above Quest For Fire. Two Minutes is also better than Flight of Icarus, as far as Smith/Dickinson singles go. So it’s close.

Here’s what puts Piece over the edge: far superior opener with Where Eagles Dare, better Dickinson epic with Revelations, and there isn’t anything on Powerslave that matches the catchiness and raw intensity of The Trooper. I also miss a dark ballad in the vein of Still Life.

The biggest thing going against Piece of Mind is that all of its weakest material is at the end, so it feels like a much more dramatic dip in quality. Powerslave starts and ends with a bang, so it leaves the listener more satisfied.
 
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