The Talisman

How good is The Talisman on a scale of 1-10?

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I give this a 10/10. Didn't even need to wait for it to grow on me, it happened instantly the first time I heard it. I really don't have a problem with the length - I enjoy the long intro, even after many listens, for me it's such a brilliant scene-setting intro with great vocals, and builds up anticipation for the rest of the song. My attention is then held for the rest of the song, it keeps a good pace throughout and is catchy in a good way. I like the live version on "En Vivo" a lot too. "En Vivo" isn't a great album overall, but "The Talisman" is a good reason to listen to Disc 1 at least.
I give it an 8. Definitely not my favorite song on TFF, but it is close. I think it meanders at times, but otherwise The Talisman is perfect. As far as Janick songs go, it's at the top of my list.
The first of the five epics that clicked with me. I enjoyed this from the very first time I heard it, and I still do.
The energy is immense, and from the point where the main riff kicks in, the song never lets up, just keeps on going.
Like some of you have said already, the lyrics is a nice break from the more complicated stuff on Starblind and Isle Of Avalon.


Too much lyrics, little music. The acoustic part is the same of The Legacy, and it is not attached from the rest of the song. Mediocre solos, and the melody is doesn't catch me at all. I've listenet to it a thousand times an for remembering it I have to really struggle my mind.
Behind WTWWB, this is one of the better songs of TFF. I give it 8/10. Sometimes I feel the first part to be a bit long and boring. Depends on what mood your on though, if you in a "no hurry" mood, the intro and other slower parts arent really bothersome. Got some great riffing, and I like the chorus even if it's repetive it got a lot of feel to it. God job Geers!
10/10. A beautiful Janick Janickness. The only song on TFF where Bruce's strained vocals actually work to the benefit of the song (since the protagonist is dying from fever and is hysterical and whatever).
I imagine the singer struggling to be heard over the crashing of the waves and the storm, but striving against all odds to achieve his dream. One of the most visual of all of Maiden's songs, I feel. The relentless speed of water as the ship ploughs on ever westwards, spray flying, battling the elements.
This one took me a long time to get into and I still have a love/hate relationship with it. My enjoyment of it varies based on my mood.

As the fourth acoustic guitar centric epic penned by Janick and Steve, this one retreads quite a few ideas, mainly from The Legacy. The intro is the most obvious, although I think The Legacy's intro resembles a Genesis-esque English nursery rhyme, while this is more of a haunted sea shanty. It also has a completely different type of buildup. Once we get to the rocking part of the song, it turns into something else entirely. I can totally picture a ship fighting a storm with the riffs and rhythms here. There are brief moments of calm intertwined with long moments of chaos. It also has a unique structure to it that I haven't even really wrapped my head around. It really keeps me guessing, even 6 years later. I love Janick's solo here and the way it manically pans to the left and right speakers. Perfectly fits the song. The riff immediately following his solo is one of my favorites too.

Bruce gives an uneven performance on this album as a whole, but he really nails this song. Westward the tides!


The acoustic intro is far too long. You can grow a beard waiting for the song to kick in. The main part of the song is fantastic though. It's got great energy, with a brilliant solo section and powerful chorus. During the guitar solo I can picture a ship in a storm. Love how Maiden's music can evoke images.
Well, when I play The Isle of Avalon, and Starblind and then this ... , such decrease in awesomeness (more than any other Maiden album) is hard to comprehend. Avalon and Starblind are so f**king good, really.

I agree with this. Avalon and Starblind are epic prog masterpieces. I wish one of them had been played live instead of The Talisman. It's not a bad song and does evoke being in a storm pretty well, but its constant urgency does annoy. There should be some lulls in even in the wildest storms.
I find this to be a step back for Mr. Gers. The intro takes too long to get anywhere, in my opinion, and the payoff isn't as good as we might like. Sure sounds like being in a storm, and it's pretty cool live, but...8/10.
Really like the chorus but I don't think it does enough for a song of this length. The story kind of drags on a bit too.


The first truly perfect song arrives thanks to Janick Gers and The Talisman. It is a moody masterpiece that opens like a demented sea shanty before kicking into full gear as the narrator boards a ship sailing westward in search of some mysterious talisman. The musical changes are fantastic, perfectly representing the mood of a ship lost at sea in a violent storm. It sounds like a combination of Janick’s experimentation on The Legacy and the sheer glory of Ghost of the Navigator. Strong, razor-sharp melodies guide the second half, especially before the chorus. Janick's solo literally sounds like a ship crashing between deadly waves. Atonal and terrifying at times, sweeping and grand at others. The slinky post-solo riff is random and awesome. Bruce stretches himself to the very end of his range and it fits wonderfully. I love that the song ends on a high rather than returning to the quiet intro section (as Steve so loves to do).
If I was to choose a Maiden song which defines what I love about the band, it would be this. It's a song which plays on the strengths of the band and one in which their quirks (like the tendency to push the tempo which provides an unmatched sense of urgency) works to their advantage. It's progressive, but not 'muscian's music' - there's no 5 minute solo section with weird time signatures just for the sake of it - all of it serves the song, and through it the story being told. Though the specifics are vague, it's about the narrator and his people 'fleeing their nation across the sea to the land of their dreams'. The narrator puts immense trust in a talisman, a sort of good luck charm, which he holds in his hand as the storm rages on. As they finally approach their goal the narrator is dying. Was the faith he put into the talisman misguided?

Harmonically it's a mix between some really well chosen chromatic chords in the verses together with perfectly timed resolutions in what serves as choruses (even though they really aren't). Bruce sounds like he is giving the performance of his career. A little rough, but the song is even better for it. Also, Janick Gers is the only guitarplayer I know of who could have made a solo like the one presented here work - completely crazy (but brilliant). For a Maiden composition of this length and style, it is indeed most noteworthy for the fact that it doesn't go back to a quiet intro.

About the En Vivo version:

Haunting beginning, explosive ending. Just look at the dysphoria and hysteria of Bruce's cry for help vocals. 10/10, easily the best song on the album (The Final Frontier) and one of their most important epics.
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