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Iron Maiden - 1983 Piece Of Mind
» Posted by No Avatar

dangerzone
on June 22 2009, In 1983 Articles , 5 Comments , 3160 Reads , Print



ARTIST: Iron Maiden
ALBUM: Piece Of Mind
LABEL: EMI
SERIAL: EMA 800
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1995, EMI, 7243 8 35871 2 4 * 2002, Sanctuary (USA), CK 86045

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

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: www.ironmaiden.com


Background
In the annals of metal history there can be few bands that had the impetus of Iron Maiden in 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 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 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.


The Songs
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 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 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 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 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.


In Summary
The band to my mind would never top this. Everything clicked faultlessly and the dual guitar work of Murray and Smith is 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 they sound nothing like this, bumbling around with 79 minute epics, a far cry from this, one of the greatest metal albums of all time.


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#1 | Eric on June 24 2009 03:58:59
Agree- this is Maiden at their peak. Saw them on tour in '83 in support of the record with Fastway and Coney Hatch. An awesome night!
#2 | rkbluez on November 29 2009 08:52:32
Maiden's finest hour...I like this even better song for song than then Powerslave but both are incredible works.
#3 | fenton on May 18 2017 19:08:54
In my younger days I used to blame nirvana for the steady decline of music since the 90s - a few years ago Alun posited an interesting theory about the influence of Metallica's 'Black' album having more to do with it than cobain's dirge. Nowadays I feel some of the blame needs to be leveled at this album - this is the first meaningful step towards what Iron Maiden is today - the worst band on earth with the most sickening, toxic group of fans this side of a WWE event. Maiden went from being razor-sharp with Dianno to being the inspiration for everything from trivium to hammerfall - think about how much garbage harris and the boys are personally responsible for - in terms of who inspired more crap, I think maiden has more to answer for than nirvana and metallica combined. Never could buy bruce bruce as a charismatic frontman, this is music for wimps.
#4 | dangerzone on May 19 2017 04:38:23
I can see where you're coming from in many ways. I still love this album, mainly because it's the first Maiden album I ever heard. But modern Maiden, especially from 2000 onward, disgust me so much I can barely listen to them at all now. I think they blew it in 95 with The X Factor with Blaze. They had a chance to reinvent themselves after the stale end to the Bruce years and compete with the younger, heavier bands of the day. So of course they recorded a ponderous 78 minute metal epic which was total bollocks. If they'd made a Dianno type album they'd have been credible once again, but instead we got slop like '2 AM' and 'The Aftermath.'
#5 | george_the_jack on May 19 2017 11:30:23
I don't quite get the claim about Maiden being responsible for the post-90's crap music that emerged.

Just today, Chris Cornell passed away and, believe it or not, I haven't heard a single song he released apart from (unavoidably) the over-played ''Black hole sun'' - well, at least not that as far as I'm aware. It is such my disdain for this kind of stuff that I have never bothered to consciously digest anything of this kind and era, despite being unavoidably exposed to these sounds myself, growing up in the 90's.

The grunge era was all about a supposed ''return to roots thing'' by beating the perfectionism and elitism of 70's-80's classic rock and AOR and make rock music again ''alternative'' and humane, where dark clothes, 2 simple chords, ''sophisticated'' poetic words and guitar-sololess 3minute-mark songs would take the place of the 80's musical and optical extravaganza and hyperbole.

That said, I have always thought the first 2 Maiden albums with a punky Di'Anno on vocals and their simplistic rawness and musical style were musically a lot more relevant to the grunge explosion than mid-to-late- 80's Maiden, as I also think grunge in general is a lot more relevant to punk anyway. That's just me. In my humble opinion, there's more solid ground in the claim that ''Black Album'' might have impacted the world of music in such a way.

I do agree, however, that the Iron Maiden fanbase has turned into a mindless cult that worships any crap the band puts out.
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