Monday, September 3rd, 1984, started off like any other day. Grade 11 just began for Tbone and me. It was back to the books so to speak except by the end of that day I was totally absorbed with the new Iron Maiden release ‘Powerslave’ that I picked up after school. Let’s just say that the first week of Grade 11 was a complete write-off!
IRON MAIDEN is Gonna Get Ya!
Indeed Iron Maiden! Hell, Tbone scored a copy of Powerslave on cassette tape none the less, so we were both off to the races!
When I got ahold of my vinyl copy of Powerslave I was blown away! The cover drawn by Derek Riggs is brilliant. What a fantastic total color scheme instead of using the natural colors( Black) of Metal album covers back in 1984!
Such intricate detail in the artwork on the cover! It was crazy good as I almost went crosseyed looking at all the hidden little messages that Riggs incorporated in the cover! I posted a small gallery below so you can see why I went studying the artwork of Riggs as opposed to studying Darwin! Click the pics below and see if you can find the sense of humor that Maiden could incorporate on there covers!
Now onto the music at hand! 51 minutes plus of Maiden wizardry spread over 8 tracks! Hows that for getting your money’s worth?
The one-two opening punch of Ace’s High and Two Minutes To Midnight just blew my mind (and still do) as Maiden just soars into all things Metal with Steve Harris and his galloping bass locked in with Nicko McBrain on the drums.
The guitars of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith dip n dive into all kinds of zany metal notes that are brilliant riffs of rock! (how about that opening riff of Two Minutes to Midnight?)
Bruce Dickinson like he did on the previous two Maiden albums sings for his supper and delivers in spades as he always does and still does for that matter whether it is Bruce’s solo or Maiden tracks.
Losfers Words (Big ‘Orra) is Maiden flexing their musical muscle as Bruce gets the day off for writing lyrics and singing as the rest of the boys romp n roll all over on this track. Pretty cool groove put forth by McBrain which the others follow!
The next two tracks Flash of the Blade and The Duellists are excellent tracks that have never been played live before which is a shame as they are stellar tracks.
Flash of the Blade solely written by Bruce tells the tale of his passion for fencing and this song drives forward at a crazy clip. Harris not to be outdone chips in with The Duellists which clocks in at close to 7 minutes that features some dynamite soloing along with Bruce taking the reigns vocally!
Back in the Village, a tune that was written by Smith and Dickinson deals with you guessed it War! The song drives at a super rate of speed, and both Adrian and Bruce hit this one out of the park come chorus time. Such a fireball of a track!
Powerslave another Bruce only written track is simply put, Brilliant! Everything about Powerslave is classic. Creepy Creeky opening followed by Nicko launching a full out metal assault of the tune. Powerslave deals with the Eye of Horus, which mean protection. Wisdom, health, and prosperity! The song builds up and then breaks down at the solo section only to ramp up again. Nicko, like he does, plays some awesome fills as Dave and Adrian lift off some fantastic soloing. Bruce must have known he had an ace up his sleeve when he presented Powerslave to the rest of the band considering the whole album and tour was based around this song!
Powerslave ends with Rime of the Ancient Mariner which is a 13 in a half minute musical tour de force written by Harris which is based around the poem written by Samuel Taylor Coolridge back in the 1700’s! Harris had a real knack for taking stories or movies and turning them into epic metal tracks. Rime is one of them. Considering its length the song moves at a decent clip as Bruce tells the tale of the Mariner while the boys deliver some severe playing and chops throughout.
When I was just about to turn 17 about a month after Powerslaves release tracks like Powerslave and Rime blew my mind as here are the Maiden guys in there mid 20’s writing about serious life stuff, not your ‘Hey Baby’ deal that was very prominent in 1984. Rime, especially as this, was a significant number when Maiden hit the road supporting it. Maiden liked to party I’m sure of it, but man Bruce had to remember the lyrics while the fella’s had to know their music as shit could south quickly! Amazing is the word that pops into my noggin!
Not only did Bruce have to memorize all the lyrics night after night on the 13 month World Slavery Tour as Steve/Adrian/Davey and Nicko had to know there parts as well but Rime was also played night after night on 1986-87’s Somewhere On Tour!
What a huge game-changer of a metal album in my world in September 1984! Maiden with Powerslave grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let me go and basically derailed me for a good week in getting any serious schoolwork done!