Maiden were on top of the world when they released this platter, and remained there for at least 3 more albums before the slide began (curse Seattle.............just kidding!).
It's all been said really - from the opening dual guitar intro to Aces High (one of the best Maiden choruses ever?)through the fantastic riff to 2 Minutes, via the twin guitarwork on The Duelists, the wonderfully complex riff to Back In The Village (or the return of The Prisoner), the mysterious theme and awesome instrumental section of Powerslave, all dwarfed by the huge Rime of the Ancient Mariner, this album is a wild ride.
Very good production, although I would have liked a bit more bottom end (my taste only), the boys are the best at what they do, and this was one of their finest moments.
on 25 January 2010
This album for me pretty much defines heavy metal. It's full of fantastic guitar work - not just solos (although the combination of Dave Murray's wild, fluid leads and Adrian Smith's more musical, thought-out leads over fantastic rhythm patterns is just perfect), but wonderful rhythm guitar (with Adrian's complementary 2nd guitar part fleshing it out rather than just doubling like many a 2nd guitarist), and Iron Maiden's trademark harmony guitar bits. Bruce's dynamic vocals are still one of the highest points in metal singing, and the band's interesting lyrics (about fighter pilots, duels, Egyptian Pharaohs, etc.) are at the top of rock and metal lyric-writing (unless one prefers introspective whining . . . ). Top this off with some fine rhythm work and one of the best bassists in metal, and you can't lose! Also, Iron Maiden avoids one of the great pitfalls of metal and managed to avoid doing power ballads or other cliche pop-leanings; so, while there's plenty of dynamics (like the slow, moody, mid-section of "Ancient Marriner") the music is 100% metal, 0% poser, and just stands up as great music.
Some of the other reviewers mentioned that the some of the songs were too long or "self-indulgent", but I completely disagree. "Ancient Marriner" is over 13-minutes, yet compelling and exciting throughout; while many a pop song or metal-sellout song can be too long at 3 minutes, I can hardly criticize a song for having more music in it. Iron Maiden differ from many a 70s band (at least at this point in Maiden's career) by making songs longer with pre-written music (particularly those fantastic harmony guitar bits) and interesting musical ideas. It's fantastic because, although there's great vocals and interesting lyrics, Maiden (in the 80s) had a very strong instrumental basis. To me, self-indulgent is when you have long (boring) guitar solos over repetitive rhythm section bits, but Maiden changed it up and kept it musically interesting. Some of Maiden's later period works (e.g. "Angel & The Gambler" are a little more guilty of overlong songs or self-indulgence, but the 80s period of this band is exciting from beginning to end.
The combination of high-adrenaline speed-metal with lots of melodies is kind of a template for the best of what became Power Metal in the 90s (e.g. Blind Guardian).
on 18 February 2011
After Nicko McBrain joined the band for 1983's 'Piece of Mind', Iron Maiden finally had a secure line up, and that confidence in playing with each comes across completely in this album - this is Maiden at its most swaggering and confident - and is all the better for it. This is Maiden at the top of its game, featuring some of their most well known and loved tracks, such as 'Aces High', '2 Minutes to Midnight' and 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner'. The tour that followed, the gruelling 18-month 'World Slavery Tour', has since gone down in heavy metal myth, and musicians continue to cite this album as a source of inspiration. For an album that it this entrenched in metalhead's minds and hearts, do the songs still hold up today? What a silly question...
The record begins in full force with 'Aces High' and '2 Minutes to Midnight', which, as mentioned, are both concert staples. While we've heard these two songs many times live, it's easy to forget just how good the original tracks are. Bruce's operatic singing is in full force, Dave and Adrian churn out stunning riffs and solos, Steve chugs along like a powerhouse, and the same for Nicko's stunning drumming. Armed with pitch perfect choruses, and kick-ass guitar solos, this is how you open an album - with an absolute bang.
While many praise the opening and closing songs of the record, many seem to neglect the excellent middle section. The songs aren't as popular as others on the record, however they are full of surprises. 'Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)' is an instrumental, and a very good one at that - probably Maiden's best. While most instrumentals turn into unlistenable jams, Maiden knows how to structure them perfectly (see 'Transylvania' on the début record') and it's shown here in full swing. 'Flash of the Blade' is a piercing song, with a great riff, chorus and St. George-esque lyrics make it a perfect example of Maiden's larger than life epic lyrics from this period. 'The Duellists' and 'Back in the Village', while the weakest songs from the album, continue in the vein of larger than life lyrics, and could be seen as standard Maiden songs - this many by true, but that doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing. While not as memorable as other songs on the album, these two songs provide just what you want from a Maiden song.
The final section of the album has become legend for its grandiose and scope. Kicking off with the title track, Maiden slow down a little, while also imbuing an Ancient Egyptian-esque riff. Singing about a man's desire to live forever, Bruce adds such a majestic quality to the song, it quite simply soars. The song is so good, this could have easily been a very satisfying end to the album. But Maiden aren't finished yet. Based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epic poem of a man lost at sea with supernatural forces buying for his soul, 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' is one of the best regarded songs by both the band and fans. At over 13 minutes it's still the longest song Maiden have put to disc, however the perfect structure makes it seem like its a lot less. Shifting for quiet and subtle (!) to loud and bombastic, this is the perfect song to end this epic album. Thrilling, exciting and epic , 'Ancient Mariner' is an excellent send off for the record.
So does the album still hold up? Well, yeah, the middle does lag a little bit, however the songs overall are of such a high quality, it becomes a case of worth the sum of its spare parts. That said, the middle songs are still great, and probably better then anything being passed off as metal these days. Verdict: buy now. Love it. Savour it. Listen to it again. And again. And again. If you own the record, listen to it again! Now!
1. Aces High 10/10
2. 2 Minutes to Midnight 10/10
3. Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)9/10
4. Flash of the Blade 10/10
5. The Duellists 8/10
6. Back in the Village 9/10
7. Powerslave 10/10
8. Rime of the Ancient Mariner 10/10
on 15 April 2002
Four of Maiden's first five albums are truly essential purchases. It's quite amazing how Steve Harris was so focussed he was able to write such classic material in the space of five and a half years (1979-1984). This marks the end of an era, and undoubtedly, Maiden's best, none of the subsequent eight studio albums that have followed "Powerslave" have come close to the watershed of the early years. This isn't the best of the five, but lyrically Messrs Harris, Smith, Murray, McBrain and Dickinson have really pushed the envelope. The title track absolutely kills, with a trippy slowed down break in it. Aces High is another standout track, which improves with each listen. The gruesome subject matter of Two Minutes To Midnight belies the brilliance of this song.
This, however, isn't the best of the Maiden albums, despite being the second one to come to mind after the seminal "Number Of The Beast". "Piece Of Mind", originally released in May of 1983, is my personal favourite, and is often hugely overlooked cos it didn't have the staple songs that Beast had (ie Run To The Hills, Hallowed Be Thy Name, NOTB etc.). But it does have the best songs in my opinion. So start with that. The debut album (Iron Maiden) is probably the next best one to buy, an amazing debut. Killers isn't great and is the weakest of the five.
So, in this order: buy NOTB, Piece of Mind, Iron Maiden, Powerslave and Killers. Buy them now!
on 24 September 2003
Ah yes Powerslave, it has a great reputation as the album that
consolidated what was good about Bruce' singing and the
boys grooves. However, it also contains the most underrated 80's
track that Maiden have done - "Back in the Village". If you
look round the web, you will find that most reviewers name
it as the weakest track on the record. But personally speaking,
I think this is the best song they have ever managed. For me,
Powerslave and Rhyme... are good,. but basically cod rock.
"Back in the village" by contrast, has great riffs, it's fast
and furious and has a great chorus. Even the much maligned
lyrics aren't any more embarrassing than warbling on about
Egyptian mummy's and stuff. It's also a bit more raw and edgy than other tracks they have done.
It was my favourite song when i was 13, and
at 29, i still love it now.. it is a pity no-one else
seems to agree!!
on 18 January 2013
For many Maiden fans of a certain age this is The One.
Having just got back into vinyl after 20 years of digital listening I was keen to replace my original worn and abused 80s LPs with these deluxe heavyweight vinyl copies. The artwork looks better than ever and the bass and drums are much punchier than the CD remasters from the late 90s.
The choice of the picture disc format (something Maiden have done with all vinyl releases since the return to the classic line-up + Janick Gers in 2000) compromises the very thing Harris and Dickinson have gone on about for the last 30 years - The Music. The surface noise on these picture discs is dreadful and although you tend to lose it on the louder sections, any quiet bits are ruined by a terrible racket.
Maiden could have done this so much better. If they'd ditched the picture discs and pressed them up in coloured vinyl (perhaps marbled in lovely Riggsian blue and gold?)They would have been just as 'collectable' and sounded superb. As it is they've got a premium priced product spoiled by a crappy marketing gimmick.
Of course, they'll sell millions of them. I've bought them all, but I'd flog them in the blink of an Eye Of Horus if they'd bring out some that actually sound proper.
on 24 January 2004
This album, along with Best Of The Beast, was what initiated my liking for Iron Maiden. Since those two, I've got 10 more albums, but if pushed to rate a single one as my favourite (which isn't easy) it would have to be Powerslave. This is classic Iron Maiden, from the powerful, charged beginning of 'Aces High' to the final note of the leviathan 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner.' All the songs are excellent, with 'Back In The Village' a particular favourite of mine, with amazing guitar, great lyrics, and breakneck speed combining to make a song which I always want to go on longer.
However, for me 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner' is the epic. Having read the poem, I was unsure how well it would translate into heavy rock/metal! My fears were unfounded - the whole atmosphere of this truly remarkable poem (a word which seems rather an understatement for such a work) is completely encapsulated, largely in Steve Harris' own words. There a two quotes from the original Rime by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but these do not sound at all out of place - they have been perfectly incorporated into the rest of the lyrics and the song, and with the very careful and clever music are not at all spoilt, almost as if they were written to go into this song. Bruce's vocal performance is, as usual, outstanding, with a quality and range which, from my listening, is unrivalled.
I am loath to put further emphasis on this song as it sounds as if I ignore the rest of the album, which would be positively sacreligious! 'Two Minutes To Midnight' is another true classic, one which many people I've spoken to (Maiden fans or otherwise) have heard and think highly of.
The instrumental 'Losfer Words' provides a slight variation, and is well worth listening to (again, I wish it was longer!) 'Flash Of The Blade' is a short, fast, hard - hitting work while 'The Duellists', although having lyrics of similar theme, is hard in a slower, heavier fashion. Finally, the title track - a 7 minute opus in which the guitar riffs add true authenticity to the Egyptian theme, and, again, Bruce's vocals are faultless - another Maiden favourite of mine.
My advice is simple - BUY IT!
A must for Maiden fans!
on 28 January 2002
Ranking way up there with the likes of Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, Maiden rock with the best of them, in fact they are my personal favourite. But, as well as being a classical example of a heavy metal group, Iron Maiden are also story tellers. They have the most narrative lyrics EVER in rock music.
The album "Powerslave" is far from an exception.
From the opening track "Aces High", about a WW2 air-raid, to the almighty grinding sounds of the title track, Bruce Dickinson's bunch have done it again- produced a unique and awe-inspiring work of art.
Also, the last track, the 9+ minute "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is Steve Harris's finest epic to date. Fans who have heard and enjoyed "Hallowed Be Thy Name" (The Number of the Beast), and "Alexander The Great" (Somewhere in Time) both by Harris, will bearly be able to keep their jaws off the floor! "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is an enthralling journey through the Mariner's eyes, with two quotes from Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Also, track 3, entitled "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" is one of the finest instrumentals you are ever likely to listen to, again, written by Steve Harris. It is good to both chill out to or jump around to!
The bottom line is this: if you're a Maiden fan, you album collection isn't in anyway shape or form complete without this little gem! BUY IT!!
on 19 May 2015
If this review were for the disk alone it would score 5 stars - Powerslave is one of Maiden's greatest. The strength of Aces High, 2 Minutes to Midnight, Powerslave and the epic Rime of Ancient Mariner allow the band to get away with not one, but two songs about sword fighting (a lesser band would never get away with this!). For me the weakest track is Back in the Village - it's simply outclassed by the rest of the album.
Now for the downside - like the other re-issues Powerslave features slightly more vivid artwork which looks really good the sky is vividly blue and the pyramid looks great; however the gold lettering looks more yellow than gold and it has lost the textured sleeve of the original. These are just small points.
The inner sleeve lets this release down badly - the artwork seems to have been sourced from a low resolution source - the photograph is a little blurry and a little orange. The text and lyrics are blurred and difficult to read. This is very apparent when view side by side wit the original. it all appears a bit too orange and dark. For a premium release this should not have happened.
Despite the negatives - the heavy vinyl sounds great and feels great - I can live with the problems with the sleeve and you should not let this annoyance put you off an otherwise great record.
on 15 February 2011
Powerslave is, NWOBHM masters, Iron Maiden's 5th album, released in 1984 and was accompanied with the legendary World Slavery Tour. This album, musically, continues in the same vein as Number of the Beast and Piece of Mind - no synth, straight out metal music.
The album art is typical Maiden, with Eddie taking centre stage - and looking as ominous and metal as ever. My favourite piece of Maiden album art, great work by Derek Riggs. Nice little touches include the graffiti on the side of the pyramid, stuff like 'Wot a load of crap' and 'Bollokz'. Hidden messages like this would resurface in later album art, including the wonderful Somewhere in Time.
This is Iron Maiden's finest hour, it contains some masterful songs full of prime cut riffs, solo's, and not to mention top notch lyrics - mostly provided by Harris and Smith. My songs of choice off the album would be 2 Midnights to Midnight, Flash of the Blade and the epic, Samuel Taylor Coleridge inspired, Rime of the ancient Mariner.
So if you like Iron Maidens classic output, then I'd definitely recommend it. If you are new to Maiden, I'd say this album or Number of the Beast are the best places to start.