Monday, June 29, 2009

Powerslave: Iron Maiden's 80's Masterpiece

Post #64 Poll Winner: Favorite Iron Maiden album from the 80's.
As the 1980's began, Iron Maiden embodied the (New) Wave of British Heavy Metal. The movement had begun a few years earlier with bands like Judas Priest & Diamond Head, but Iron Maiden seemed to symbolize the perfection of this metal style. Dave Murray & Adrian Smith, quickly became one of the tightest guitar tandems in heavy metal in the 1980's.

Maiden's '84 release, Powerslave, may be the apex of their golden years. After years of alternating guitar solos in one of the world's most popular heavy metal band, Murray & Smith are again at the top of their game on this album. This is, coincidentally, the last album Iron Maiden recorded without any accompaniment by keyboards or synthesised guitars. The World Slavery Tour that supported this album was the most extensive tour the band had done by this point. It resulted in their first live album, Live After Death.

This great album contains many songs that are both fan-favorites and concert staples. Here are my top picks from Powerslave:
-Aces High
-2 Minutes to Midnight
-Flash of the Blade (This one is a bit more obscure than the first 3, but it's a personal favorite of mine, driven by a fast, lead guitar riff. This song was also recently covered by Avenged Sevenfold on their "Diamonds in the Rough" CD)
-Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Perhaps the greatest epic, progressive metal song Iron Maiden have ever written; this song parallels the story told in the classic epic poem of the same name. The riff that Steve Harris gives this story-turned-song masterpiece is one of the best on the whole album!)

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