Iron Maiden: No Prayer For The Dying (1990)

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.



47 thoughts on “Iron Maiden: No Prayer For The Dying (1990)”

  1. The 8th classic! I unashamedly love this album. Bruce’s vocal style really sets the album apart from the rest of the discography, and my favourite thing about the Maiden discography is the sheer variety of styles. Sure, “Tailgunner” is the worst Maiden song ever, but “Mother Russia” is far and away my favourite Maiden deep cut of all time. I love “Bring Your Daughter…” too, and the guitar fills in the bridge before the final chorus are EPIC!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Lyrically, it isn’t their best work. I’m not a fan of the political and religious approach Maiden took with this album. I think the mythical and storytelling vibe fits them better. Vocally, I thought Bruce was ok, but I miss his usual operatic range and I felt at times his voice was suffering trying to sing that deep. With Adrian’s departure, it lacked creativity in the guitar solos (that could just be me though). I do think “Public Enema Number One” is a good song though!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. There are a few good tracks on that album I agree. I like that one track I mentioned, “Fates Warning,” and “Hooks in You” (the track Adrian co-wrote). I think if it wasn’t Maiden, I would’ve liked the album more because it’s not bad, that is when not comparing it to their previous albums. I enjoyed your write-up, despite not being a fan of NPFTD. Everyone is different though, which is cool!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. At least they didn’t go prog. That’s the highest compliment I can pay this regressive piece of doggy doo doo. “Mother Russia” is a messy abomination.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this album, it has four of my favourite Maiden tunes.

    Title Track, Public Enema, Fates Warning & Mother Russia.

    I would agree 7th Son is better, but I still think of this as part of the classic run of the best Maiden Albums.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Interesting one Deke, I’ve only ever heard the singles from this one. I’d lost interest in maiden and only picked up again after I heard A Matter Of Life & Death. If I saw this at the right price I’d nab it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah I was pretty psyched to get this one John as I had no idea. When my daughter Kylee came into town she asked Lexie what records I would like so Lex snapped pics of all the Maiden albums I had and this was the only copy at the Record Shop!
      Great call and sneaky move by the girls but in a good way!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wasn’t Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter controversial when it came out? I could be misremembering. I haven’t really sat with this one yet. I’m still absorbing all of the ’80s output. But I’ll get to it someday.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. In England, their singles did quite well. But they would include non-album songs and cover tunes on the flipside of the 45’s


  7. I remember Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter went to number one in the UK pop charts despite the outcries from the BBC. I wonder how the PMRC reacted to it. For me, “Holy Smoke” is the hidden gem as it takes a poke at US TV evangelists. I haven’t listened to this in a while though.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I loved it still. The whole album promo and everything was exciting. I loved Holy Smoke and it’s big sound and massive poster in the 12” single. Loved Tailgunner and the picture disc version of the album that had the TG artwork. Loved the proper album art with the bald guy getting strangled. All the formats of Bring Your Daughter (terrible song though). Hooks In You is a bit naff but Mother Russia, Public Enema, Run Silent Run Deep all great rock songs. Saw them play Wembley with Anthrax too. Amazing show

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nice, I missed them as they hit NA in January of 91 and I wish I had caught that tour.
      That’s cool you got all the formats. I have this on CD and now vinyl and that is my format!
      By the way thanks for commenting along. Totally appreciate you sharing all the stories and such about how these albums impacted you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had to let my entire Maiden collection go when I was in college to pay the rent one time (I bleat on about it a lot) I’ve thought about collecting them all again but it would be Sooooo expensive

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually I have this one I just reviewed and 2000’s Brave New World on vinyl. I have not gotten the rest but when I do at some point on vinyl I will get to them.
      Thanks for reading along.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I od on this album a few months back. For me each song has a little riff or lick that is memorable and makes me want to pick up the guitar to learn it.

    And what is with Maiden not playing these title tracks live anymore. Somewhere In Time, 7th Son and NPFTD. Those leads in NPFTD are those sing a long leads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually Maiden did bring back 7th Son about 8 years ago on the Maiden England Tour but I think before that it was only played on the original 2012 tour.
      SIT should be a staple in the set. Why I have no idea. One of the best openers on any Maiden record.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. i never got in to the sound after Adrian left, so i never got this when it came out, and haven’t pulled it out in a long time [gotten in recent years]. 7th Son was kinda the last Maiden for me until the reunion w/ Bruce.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Count me in as another appreciator of this album. It closes weakly, and the Assassin has an ugly chorus, but I rate this album highly. Higher than the few that followed anyway. To me it’s on the same level as Killers and POM. Not top shelf Maiden but good if you need the fix of what they supply.

    Liked by 1 person

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