The year is 1984, and Iron Maiden are boarding a train. Bruce, Adrian, Dave, Steve, Nicko…all aboard? Now it’s time to push the pedal to the metal, and don’t let up until the album’s over. The next stop? A classic, timeless metal album known as “Powerslave.”
This English metal band is about as important to heavy metal as Black Sabbath and Metallica. They debuted in 1980, when bands like Ramones and Clash were popular. So, Iron Maiden (and other New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands, like Motorhead and Judas Priest) killed off the uprising of punk, and helped to keep heavy metal alive in the `80’s.
“Powerslave” flies by at about the same pace as a Judas Priest record, but there’s more to this album than just speed. Like stellar musicianship and super catchy rhythms. Plus, frontman Bruce Dickinson’s vocals may be considered by some to be annoying, but I think they help to give Iron Maiden a sound of their own. His famous British-accented upper register usually shines in every song, and he also makes some good vocal hooks.
“Aces High” begins with a chugging riff and stop-start bursts of drums. It then becomes a continuous, running beat, with some of the aforementioned high pitched singing (which sounds similar to Maiden’s earlier hit, “Run to the Hills.”)
“2 Minutes to Midnight” has another fast, catchy riff and two melodic solos. This song is really a highlight, though, because the chorus is a shout-along (well, almost).
“Losfer Words (Big `Orra)” is a personal favorite, because it’s an instrumental. A lot of heavy metal’s best albums (i.e. Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” etc.) have instrumentals, and not only does “Powerslave” have one, it has a GREAT one. This song features some great guitar work (including a classical sounding solo), and a couple of tempo changes.
“Duellists” is also mostly an instrumental (the middle and most of the end is free of vocals). It also has a fast, chugging riff, two more tasty solos, and a couple more speed changes.
“Powerslave” has mostly galloping riffs. It slows down for the middle, when there are two wailing solos, but it turns back to the galloping beat near the end.
Even though they may not be as relevant now as they were in the 1980’s, they have influenced many popular bands (like Metallica), so the spirt of Iron Maiden lives on through them. Plus, even if you don’t give them credit for being one of metal’s most important and influential bands, “Powerslave” is still a classic, timeless masterpiece which should always have a place in every metalhead’s C.D. collection.