I know my Maiden 1980-1988 album series just ended. (by the way thanks for reading and commenting.)
“Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” I thought would be the last Maiden review but a few weeks back my daughter Kylee came into town and for my Bday and gifted me with “No Prayer For The Dying” on VINYL!
So I thought “What the Hell, what’s one more Maiden review after posting eight in a row!”
Bring This Blogger to the Slaughter!
As Maiden headed into the 90s some changes were going on…
1- Guitarist Adrian Smith decided to leave Maiden after 9 years.
2- After the synth-driven sounds of 1986’s “Somewhere In Time” and 88’s “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”, Steve Harris and crew ditch that style and begin the 90s as a stripped-down Metal Act.
3- Once Maiden began the No Prayer Tour the stage show was stripped back as well. No extravagant staging as Maiden was going back to the basics.
4- No Prayer For The Dying was the first album since 1983’s “Piece of Mind” that I did not purchase on its release date which was October 1st, 1990. The reason being as Tbone and myself were headed to Winnipeg a few days later (Oct 5th) I knew there would be a CD shopping spree so I needed to purchase something so I figured I would buy NPFTD in a big city. Hell, even Tbone bought it!
“No Prayer For The Dying” came out at a time when the musical landscape was about to change the following year.
Upon my first listen to “No Prayer For The Dying” back then I liked it but with Steve Harris and company coming off of the magnificent “Seventh Son” album NPFTD was a step behind.
Course, when Smith went so did a big part of the songwriting. Having said that though Adrian did have a co-write with Bruce titled “Hooks In You” which you can hear Smith’s style of writing melodic rock riffs taken over by his replacement Janick Gers on guitar.
With Smith gone Bassist Steve Harris and Vocalist Bruce Dickinson composed three great tracks together. The opening tune “Tailgunner,” followed by “Holy Smoke”, and “Run Silent Run Deep”.
Bruce also co-wrote the magnificent “Public Enema Number One” with Guitarist Dave Murray which at certain times just may be my favorite track from this album.
Bruce brought over his solo tune “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” from his solo band and had the song Maidenized!
Actually, Murray also cowrote “Fates Warning” with Steve so even Dave was picking up some slack in regards to the songwriting void left by Adrian when he split.
Boss Man Harris handles the albums title track on his own as well as the album closer “Mother Russia”.
“The Assasin” which leads off Side Two is another Harris solo composition and to be fair the song could have used Bruce’s input in the songwriting part of this tune. By that I mean Bruce has a good knack for delivering some catchy choruses and “The Assasin” kind of falls flat and could have used some Air Raid Siren input.
Overall a decent spin of NPFTD which to be honest I have not listened to this album in full in a very long time.
Side One for me has the better tracks whereas Side Two lags a little.
No-fault to Maiden though as up until this point it was the album/tour/album tour cycle for 10 years and so it is to be expected that the creative wheels may come off a little at some point.
“No Prayer For The Dying” came out in 1990 the music scene would shortly be shifting(we all know what I mean by that) and Maiden though would keep trucking so I guess in a way Harris and company decided to go back to a bare-bones approach in recording and touring for the NPFTD album.