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Piece of Mind

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(154 Reviews)

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  • Given how musical tastes change over the years, it’s not uncommon for people to find that the music of their youth isn’t quite so appealing anymore. Yet for me, even as I become absorbed by avant-garde, Rock-in-Opposition, 20th/21st century classical, modern jazz, and other wild n’ crazy stuff, Iron Maiden remains very endearing. And it’s not just nostalgia (distorting the past to fit the sensibilities of the present). Iron Maiden is just a great, great band, and _Piece of Mind_ remains my favorite album in their considerable catalogue (followed by _Seventh Son…_).Although it will probably pain a lot of hardcore Maiden lovers to hear me say it, but I think Iron Maiden’s music has always had a certain metal-pop quality to it. I do NOT mean that Iron Maiden should in any way be associated with pathetic pantywaists like Poison or Warrant (such bands justify the repeal of the First Amendment). But in addition to insatiable metal energy and carnivorous, immortal metal riffs & solos, Maiden has always placed an immense emphasis on vocals, hooks, melodies, and tight songs. Yeah, they’re cheesy, but Maiden is comfortable with their intrinsic metal cheesiness, so it works for them rather than against them. (A worse crime than cheesiness is to be completely oblivious to your cheesiness — for an empirical illustration of this theory, I refer you to the legions of horrible European power metal bands like Stratovarius and Helloween.)_Piece of Mind_ is an amazing album with not a single weak track. Of course, some songs are still better than others, and those are veritably deserving metal classics. There’s “Where Eagles Dare”, with its choppy, spitfire riffing; “The Trooper” with its unforgettable, evocative metal gallop and lyrics; and “Flight of Icarus”, with its classic chorus and anthemic reach. “Revelations” is an epic that surrounds lyrical moments of beautiful imagery with memorable metal riffing. There is also “Still Life”, one of the most tragically underrated Iron Maiden songs, with a mysterious opening that kicks into one of the most infectious and catchy songs in their catalogue. Apparently a lot of people think “Sun and Steel” and “Quest for Fire” are crap or at best inconvenient filler, I really like those songs (“Sun and Steel” especially!). The final epic, “To Tame a Land”, suggests the direction the band would take with _Seventh Son_, carefully building until its monumental, epic guitar harmony at the end — it remains one of the highpoints of their formidable songwriting genius.It’s a classic, and it doesn’t really need me saying so. But another positive review never hurt anyone.

    Posted on February 18, 2010