Tag Archives: Iron Maiden Powerslave

Iron Maiden: Powerslave (1984)

 

Powerslave” was released on September 3rd, 1984, and in coinciding with my first week back to school entering Grade 12 Iron Maiden put out a new album which totally had me NOT doing my homework.

Studying the fascinating “Powerslave” front and back cover artwork done amazingly yet again by Derek Riggs totally blew my mind. I spent hours looking at all the intricacies of minor detail on the cover. 

Just the cover alone sidetracked me!

Circus Magazine had in one of their summer issues(a few months before) an ad for the upcoming “Powerslave” album and the release date. 

Come release day it was off to the record store and Tbone was in tow as well and we both purchased our own copies of the new Maiden release. I bought it on vinyl, Tbone on cassette tape.

Upon getting home it was a quick drop of the needle onto the vinyl and opening track “Ace’s High”. Nicko McBrain leads the charge with his drumming and from there were off. 

“Ace’s High” is a great album opener and of course, over the years it became at times the set opener at shows. 

Bassist Steve Harris wrote 4 songs on “Powerslave”. The already mentioned “Ace’s High, Losfer’s Word (Big Orra)” which is an instrumental, “The Duellists”, and the classic 13-minute “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”

Harris always delivered stellar writing as you could easily learn a good early history lesson from Steve. “To Tame A Land” and “Where Eagles Dare” from 83’s “Piece of Mind” came to me right away when I was typing this.

“Rime of the Ancient Mariner” came in handy for me when I needed to explain a poem in Grade 12 English.  Thanks to Steve I got an A on my presentation thanks to the help of playing snippets of Rime in my class( much to the dismay of the yuppies in the front row) and the fact that Steve explained to me the whole meaning of the Samual Taylor Coolridge poem in 13 minutes!

God Bless Steve Harris!

Bruce Dickinson also had a big hand on this record. Writing two songs by himself (Flash of the Blade and the title track Powerslave) while doing two co-writes with Adrian Smith (2 Minutes To Midnight and Back In The Village).

“Powerslave” the song is one of the best Maiden tracks ever.  The song takes off from the get-go and as it builds it lifts off than breaks down as Dave Murray and Adrian take over and build up the tune as the solo’s take off like a rocket. When Maiden played this tune on the 2017 “Book of Souls Tour” I lost my shit when I heard it LIVE!

Adrian over the years is easily one of the best riff gods in the game of metal. That opening riff to “2 Minutes To Midnight” proves that theory going back in the Maiden catalog how about that opening riff to” 22 Acacia Avenue” from 82’s “The Number of The Beast” album.

FYI-more classic Adrian riffs are coming during this series so stay tuned.

1984 was packed with huge albums from huge bands in the Hard Rock spectrum( Van Halen, RUSH, Dio, Judas Priest, KISS, and others) yet Maiden held their own and solidified the fan base with both the “Powerslave” album and tour.

Canadian Sales of Powerslave- Double Platinum

U.S Sales of Powerslave- Platinum

 

Impact Albums: Iron Maiden- Powerslave(1984)

 

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?

Side 1.

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!

Side 2.

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!

Impressive!

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!