In the annals of metal history there can be few bands that had the impetus of Iron Maiden during 1983.
Written by: Dangerzone
ARTIST: Iron Maiden
ALBUM: Piece Of Mind
SERIAL: EMA 800
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Bruce Dickinson – vocals * Adrian Smith – guitar * Dave Murray – guitar * Steve Harris – bass * Nicko McBrain – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Where Eagles Dare * 02 Revelations * 03 Flight Of Icarus * 04 Die With Your Boots On * 05 The Trooper * 06 Still Life * 07 Quest For Fire * 08 Sun And Steel * 09 To Tame A Land
WEBLINKS: Site Link
In the annals of metal history there can be few bands that had the impetus of Iron Maiden during 1983. Relentless recording and touring was the order of the day and the success of ‘The Number Of The Beast’ had made the Irons a headlining act in their own right. Critics and fans alike wondered if the follow up would match Dickinson’s first effort with the band, when in fact it would better it.
Nicko McBrain had also been recruited to replace Clive Burr, establishing a lineup that lasted until 1989 and without question became the biggest metal band of the decade. This arguably is Iron Maiden’s finest hour, an album where everything blended seamlessly together, a perfect combination of melody and heaviness rivaled by few. In my opinion this is far heavier than ‘Beast’ and truly defines the art of traditional, galloping heavy metal. People don’t remember Iron Maiden for ‘A Matter Of Life And Death’ or ‘Dance Of Death’. They remember them for this, when they truly were a heavy metal band.
Harris’ knack for making songs out of film themes was at its peak here and is established by the war heroics of ‘Where Eagles Dare’, in which Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood take to Nazi thugs in the Bavarian Alps. This is the type of track Iron Maiden forgot how to compose over time. Six minutes, no slow passages, just a nonstop barrage of riffs and pummeling drums, with Dickinson in full throttle mode. Could it get any more metal? I highly doubt it.
Classic follows classic, with the surging ‘Revelations’ alternating between quieter acoustic passages before tearing off into more frantic excursions. Harris’ bass rumblings are at the forefront of ‘Flight of Icarus’, surely one of the greatest tracks Iron Maiden ever recorded, Dickinson screaming beyond human limits with a hook of timeless proportions. One can only wonder what inspired such greatness.
The war tandem of ‘Die With Your Boots On’ and ‘The Trooper’ offer another pair of galloping favourites, particularly the latter which is easily one of the most well known tracks of Iron Maiden’s legacy. ‘Still Life’ offers a slower pace initially, sounding like Dianno era, but soon kicks in with one of the most melodic hooks this lineup conjured and followed by a brutal series of solos from Murray and Smith.
There isn’t a weak track to be found, the basic metal of ‘Quest For Fire’ a fond reminder of a Iron Maiden’s youthful exuberance, can’t they just pretend they are 25 years old one more time? Meanwhile if someone asks what track sums up heavy metal in three minutes then ‘Sun and Steel’ could be offered as ultimate proof, with surely the best use of galloping bass and riffs ever captured. It stuns me just how advanced Maiden were in 1983. Even Priest could not compete here.
The seven minute ‘Dune’ inspired ‘To Tame A Land’ is a worthy closer, far removed from ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, much darker in tone and with some intriguing passages in the guitar dept.
Iron Maiden to my mind would never top this. Everything clicked faultlessly and the dual guitar work of Murray and Smith is the most innovative they ever devised. Maiden were branching out into longer tracks, but here they sounded more savage, with no real allusions to anything slow or labored.
‘Powerslave’ fell short because of several weaker tracks and a lesser production, with the sound of ‘Piece Of Mind’ really capturing the bands basic sound to maximum capacity. Today Iron Maiden sound nothing like this, bumbling around with 79 minute epics, a far cry from this, one of the greatest metal albums of all time.
Flight Of Icarus