Tag Archives: Nicko Mcbrain

Iron Maiden/Ghost-June 16th 2017/St Paul Mn.

 

So my Brother Todd back in January of this year received an email saying that Iron Maiden  would be playing the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St Paul Minnesota on June 16th.

Todd was working up in the area of Hudson’s Bay(Manitoba) back in January when the pre sale happened so with crappy WiFi where he was working he drove 60 miles to get a decent signal and viola grabbed us two tickets which was good as all 15,000 tickets sold out in less than a few hours!

Todd was pumped that not only Maiden was showing up but they were bringing Ghost as an opener. Todd vouched for them but I was on the fence with Ghost as I tried watching some of their live stuff on YouTube but for some reason I could not grasp the concept of the whole Ghost shtick! Would they convert me?

Keep Reading…

So the day of the show we took off bright n early and headed to St Paul Minnesota which is right next door to Minneapolis Minnesota(Twin Cities the locals call it) and Todd was on the ball and got us a hotel within a 10 minute walk to the Xcel Center.

So about 3 hours before show time we headed towards the Xcel Center (where there was a bunch of Maiden fanatics hanging out by the doors a good 3 hours before door’s would open. We realised later why as the floor was general admission)which has a bunch of Burger N Booze establishments so we picked one and had a few beers and you knew Maiden was in town as there were a ton of Maiden shirts everywhere. Let me clarify that. A ton of dudes wearing Maiden T’s with a handful of woman wearing some as well…Kinda like being at a Rush show!

It was funny as once as we headed back to the Xcel Center on  the entrance side of the building that  we were going to enter into I  counted 7 poh poh cars and one K-9 Unit sitting right beside the Arena. Ha! Guess they were calling in extra’s for the Maiden show thinking there was going to be trouble! Strong Arm Of The Law!

Once inside and tickets scanned it was off for me to the Merchandise tables and there must have been about 12-14 different Maiden T’s (One T was an Xcel exclusive in which we snagged a few of those stat) There was another table set up that was selling a bunch of silk screen covers of albums. All the bases were covered! Todd was talking to a guy who drove in from Des Moines Iowa for the show and he bought a couple of these Maiden only Minneapolis T’s and told Todd that he puts a couple up on eBay and gets about $150 U.S per shirt as Maiden fanatics will pay for rare shirts!

At 730 pm sharp Ghost hit the stage opening with Square Hammer and I was hooked! What a great opening song and let’s for a second talk about these guys.

Ghost consists of 6 members with the  Lead Singer going by the name of Papa Emeritus while the 5 other fella’s names or well they call em Nameless Ghouls. Papa looks like during the first three numbers an anti Pope. Seriously but I will say he has a wickedly good voice that with an excellent band of musicians around him whoever the Ghouls in real life are. Opening number Square Hammer is a great track but it was the tune Absolution  that made me really take notice. This tune blends heavy and melodic rock with a smattering of Alice Cooper vocally mashed with the Keys of Deep Purple. The two Ghouls on guitars are a show upon themselves getting the crowd into it with their demonic like silver masks. Papa after awhile ditches the Anti Pope deal and goes for Think Andrew Loyd Weber with a mix of  Phantom Of The Opera. He even has quite a bit of humour at times between songs when addressing the crowd. Good to see these guys don’t take themselves that seriously except when it comes to the music its taken very seriously! I posted a clip of Ghost from St Paul playing the track Cirice. You can see how they have that edge throughout but can snap into a real melodic bit and snap right out of it. Great stuff.

I don’t think I have ever seen an opening act get this much stage space and a real good use of lights(purple and green dominated the set ) from a headliner. Than again it’s Maiden!

The crowd was stoked as this was Maidens first appearance in the St Paul/Minneapolis area in 17 years!

At 8:55 pm the opening keys of  UFO’s Doctor Doctor filled the arena and you knew once this song was over it was time for Maiden.

I have to say the whole Mayan like themed stage is very slick-looking and as it filled with smoke out appears Lead Singer Bruce Dickinson perched  above Drummer Nicko McBrain’s Drums and does his Capella opening to the first song of the night If Eternity Should Fail for a few minutes than   the rest of the Maidens hit the stage amidst a blast of pyro it is definitely show time.

It’s official I lose my shit!

Speed Of Light is up second and everyone is at the front of the  stage with Bruce handling his mic stand like a Fencer swinging his sword. Guitarist Janick Gers is a show upon himself.  Doing a bunch  of wind mill’s on his guitar like Townsend. The dude is a throwback to the late 70’s early 80s look complete with the bullet belt around his waist. Flinging his guitar around his neck/back,legs stretched out over the PA and at times tossing in a solo for good measure. Must mention I dig Bruce’s stage attire for this show. Cargo pants/Hoodie and Boots. The dude is hanging with Mayan’s!

Great to hear Nicko and Bassist Steve Harris lock in at the start of  Wrathchild.  Bruce lets off his patent Air Raid Siren scream and wow man the guy is so good! Childern of The Damned is played this night and right before Children, Bruce addressed the crowd and asked how many people at the show where born after 1982.  (The year COTD was released) The response was pretty loud as this is what Maiden wants to hear. Kids getting into Maiden from their parents and plus it keeps Maiden themselves from becoming a straight nostalgia act! Case in point there was Dad sitting beside me with his two young teenage son’s.

Death or Glory and The Red And Black from the current album Book of Souls are front and centre and Death And Glory is a great track with Bruce “Climbing Like A Monkey” as he gets the crowd into it(watch the video below) and Adrian Smith plays some real slick slide guitar during the solo. The Red And The Black is epic and clocks in at over 10 minutes with spectacular lights and a boatload of guitar solo’s!

1983’s classic The Trooper complete with Bruce in a red war jacket jostling a Union Jack Flag cranked up the crowds even more as this is one of those tracks that you will always be played. My brother who plays guitar says that Dave Murray is one of the smoothest Soloists out there as you don’t hear his picking and he flawlessly goes up and down the fret board during his solo’s. Todd also mentioned on the drive home between Ghost and Maiden we heard probably over 60 guitar solo’s between the act’s. An exhibition in axemanship I would say!

Powerslave encompasses everything I love about Maiden. Ripping verse’s huge chorus/total chill out in the  midsection of the tune and the solos of Smith/Murray bring the song back up and Nicko does those crazy rolls right before the song goes back into its final verse! Told Todd that this track takes me right back to when I first bought Powerslave the day upon its release back in 1984! Must mention as well the huge wall of fire upon Bruce’s entrance…Impact!

The Great Unknown with its melodic opening and  ramps up and ends with an extended melodic jam with all three guitarists getting there shot at playing some bluesy like riffs while Bruce works the crowd( all night Bruce was pointing to the front/back/upper deck’s all sections were acknowledged throughout the show)

Bruce soars vocally on the track Book of Souls and   basically is  a 13 minute Maiden Metal Masterpiece especially when  Nicko lifts the tune off into a crazy tempo during the solo and  here comes at least a 12 foot Eddie swinging at Janick before Bruce takes Eddie’s heart out and chucks it into the crowd! Steve Harris has written many classic tracks but this tune is one my fav’s. Like Powerlsave (song) it encompasses everything I love about Maiden!

Fear of The Dark has Bruce running back and forth behind Nicko on  and not missing a line  vocally. Endurance the man has! Janick throws down a great solo on FOTD. Love the last verse as the band just rip it up and just like that it’s time for …

Iron Maiden! The classic tune from the self titled 1980 release is performed and there’s Eddie behind Nicko rising up and Bam out comes the fire/pyro off of Ed’s noggin and just like that …the show is over!

Kinda….Encore please…

The stage goes red and The Number of The Beast is dialled up and you want a ton of fire set off look no further than this track complete with another round of Bruce’s Air Raid Siren wail at the start of the track. Love Smith/Murray’s solo’s and Harris when he razzle dazzles with that bass riffing after the guitar solo’s…

Blood Brothers is next and I’m going to post the video and Bruce actually thanks Dekes and Todd for showing up(kinda thanks us..check it out it’s at the beginning of the song about the minute and half mark)

Wasted Years closes the show and it’s a great Adrian Smith track complete with A Plus solo. Maiden end things on a high!

First of thanks to Todd for making this trip happen! Maiden is still the best live act around and considering Nicko just turned 65 it’s crazy that these guys are still playing at this level! The solo’s/vocal’s it’s like its 1985 again! No dip in anything folks!

Bruce mentioned that there putting this show to bed at the end of July and they will go away for a bit but will be back. So it’s not quite the end yet.

Umm… yeah when they come back…..Myself and Todd will be there again!

Long Live Maiden!

 

Iron Maiden/ Book Of Souls(2015)

Yes folks today I’m cheating with a repost of this review from April 2016! The reason? Well  I’m off to see Maiden Live in Minneapolis tonight(June 16th) and that’s thanks to my brother Todd who got us tickets on a presale as the show sold out in 2 days back in January! So thanx to Todd I’m outta here but fret not…Full Live Review….ASAP!

It wasn’t for the fact that Maiden after 35 years of albums would release a double studio album too psyche me out! Nope! It also wasn’t for the fact that Maiden as per protocol would have some tunes that clock in at 13 minutes and one at over 17 minutes! Nope…

It was the fact that in the credits as it listed the bands  names  their’s lead singer Bruce Dickinson credited with both vocals and piano!

Scccccreeeeeeech…..HALT! Yep my fine readers at Stick It In My Ear that is the difference between Maiden 2015 and Maiden 1985!

If you’re looking for Maiden speed metal  in Aces High from yesteryear just keep on trucking. They can still hold down the Metal Fort thank you very much but their sound has advanced proggy,epic in spots,a different kind of recording beast in 2015!

Just like how Rush stepped up and delivered a classic in Clockworks Angels back in 2012. Iron Maiden step up and deliver what I would say is there best album since Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son(1988)

Rush and Maiden have nothing left to prove but how they managed to step up and release such majestic epic recordings pushing  the age of 60 years young  is mind-boggling but yet for us Lovers of Hard Rock its a win win…..

Bruce Dickinson(vocals) Dave Murray,Janick Gers,Adrian Smith (all guitars) Steve Harris(bass) and Nicko McBrain (drums) are still alive and kicking into The Final Frontier(Ha!) ….No slouching around at Maiden HQ when Commander Harris is at the controls!

IF ETERNITY SHOULD FAIL- Ahhh so the proceedings begin with Bruce and some Voodoo Hoodoo Mayan like vibes. Yep all is fine with the Air Raid Siren and at age 57 his vocal pipes are as strong as ever  and why wouldn’t they be? Before too long the rest of Maiden shoots out of the gate and I like the production courtesy of Kevin Shirley who keeps things dry in other words he doesn’t overproduce  Maiden he keeps things sonically balanced. First thing is that I notice is Harris bass is mixed  down and not that twangy vibe like some sonic beef was added to the grill. Great chorus and Bruce’s vocals just sail over and Frigg his voice is outstanding. Dig how the song shifts into a Steve/Nicko mashup before the solos are launched by the Three Amigos on guitar. What a powerhouse opener as Maiden always deliver on the first song on each of their albums! Stand up and take notice Fokkers! Must also mention that I dig Bruces old creeper voice at the end of this song where he talks…”Good Day My Name Is Necropolis…….” Love it! Also a round of Hip Hooray for a close to 9 minute opener!

SPEED OF LIGHT- When I preordered this album from iTunes they dropped this tune Into my iPod! Read how at the age of 48 I still go Bonkers over these guys! …https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/iron-maidenspeed-of-light/

FYI- I posted a live clip of this tune from Mexico a few weeks back! Check out the crowd at the beginning as you see now nutty the crowd is with beer flinging through the air people just flat-out Rockin! Well done people of Mexico! Plus you see how a frontman aged 57 named Bruce has not lost a step like the frontman  he was at the age 27!

THE GREAT UNKNOWN- It starts off chill with some nice electric picking along with Bruce’s voice and then builds up into a heavy kick of Maiden Prog as Nicko sets the tempo with his driving Sonor drums and the chorus here is the money shot. Bruce soars vocally (Shocker! Not!!) and lifts the song as only he can do. Nice guitar work and as the song wraps up its back to where it began with some nice electric picking and Bruce’s voice!

THE RED AND THE BLACK- How about a 13 minute plus Maiden Attack as Bruce and Steve lead the charge from the get go and now about that guitar that cruises along with Bruce’s vocals during the verses. The Red And The Black has a bunch of music and it gets heavy proggy at the end and when you think it ends it keeps going and why not? Stop? Naaaa when the riffs are rolling keep em rolling! Nice interplay between all three guitars and I’m sure this song will go down a storm  when played live! As per protocol the song ends as it started!

WHEN THE RIVER RUNS DEEP-Kinda could have been on the Somewhere In Time album from 1986 me thinks! The song super charges ahead and theirs Nicko riding that Paiste Cymbal like no ones business. When the song crashes into the verse Maiden slip gears and crank it up with a slower doomed pace with some slick backing vocals perhaps Bruce doubling up but regardless When The River Runs Deep is a great track! Freight Train Maiden Full Steam Ahead!

THE BOOK OF SOULS- 10 minutes of the title track and if you want tempo change look no further! This track sweeps through all kinds of musical landscapes meshed with the Maiden Synth firmly entrenched in the background but not overstepping the boundaries of the guitars of Dave,Adrian and Janick. One of the things I love about  Maiden is right around the 5 minute mark the song does indeed shift gears and that’s thanks to Nicko as he does his smooth as silk drum n tom rolls and Maiden go into the zone and blast off with solos and its back to the Prog but Maiden Heavy Prog!

DEATH OR GLORY-A nice little ditty that kicks ass! It launches right out of the Maiden Gate with all hands on deck! Nicko is smashing the cymbals while the guitars play off each other and man oh man there’s the Air Raid Siren stretching his tonsils and laying down a great vocal. Believe it or not it’s a Maiden tune under 6 minutes! Video is posted so play it please!

SHADOWS OF THE VALLEY- The beginning riff is straight outta Wasted Years kinda and this tune would have fit nice and snug on side 1 of Somewhere In Time! Tons of Maiden synth fill the backspace along with Maiden ensemble! Great tune and better solos. Nice pace as well!

TEARS OF A CLOWN- A song inspired by Robin Williams (RIP)and its a fabulous piece of musicianship,lyrics and voice! It’s all here. Love the  Crispy Crunch sound of the guitars and the amped up Maiden Synth during the chorus. One great track but I have been saying that all along this review haven’t I!?

MAN OF SORROW-A mid tempo track that is paced once again by Nicko and the features a ton of Maiden triple guitar combo attacks and also features some real slick bass playing by one Mr Harris! Nice Cymbal riding at the end of this tune!

EMPIRE OF THE CLOUDS-And Here It Is …Piano! Ha! But well done and played by Bruce(what can the guy not do!) Cellos sweep across the backing of Bruce’s Piano playing and it’s a great hook! Nicko does his marching snare to Bruce’s vocals! Amazing that Bruce composed this tune about a Military Airship ( to understand the scope of this the Titanic could have fit in this Airship!)pre Hindenburg and can keep the song and more importantly us the listener interested as the song clocks in at 18 minutes! Yep 18 minutes! It’s a journey it’s not Metal but Maiden keep it moving as for the first time ever in Maiden History the piano drives the tune!  Epic comes to mind! I know people were going on about Bruce only writing a couple of tracks for Book Of Souls. This qualifies as about 3 plus tunes! Give the guy a break! Ha! Fantastic song! It ends how it started with Bruce at the piano!

Holy Heck Maiden show up yet again and knock me on my ass! A double bubble epic album release. If you’re a reader at Mikeys site you know this was my Numero Uno #1 of album releases in 2015! No one came close!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iron Maiden/Live After Death(1985)

Live After Death is in the upper echelons of my all time favourite Live Albums Period! Still to this day!

Shall we rewind back Somewhere In Time?

A week after my 18th Birthday in October of 1985 Iron Maiden drop on my senses this Double Whopper Of  A Live Album. The Double Whopper being its a Double Album.

Live After Death was released on Friday October 15th 1985 to be exact and I remember this day well as I had seen the ads in Circus Magazine  pre hyping it’s release a month or two before and I was chomping at the bit to go and fetch this upon its release which I did after the school bell rung on that Friday.  Basically barricaded myself in my bedroom with this album for the whole weekend! Frigg ya as Maiden as per their protocol went all out on this album. Cool artwork by Derek Riggs Double Gatefold Sleeve/Tons of Pictures/All the tour dates/Lyrics/Pics/Stats (like how many guitar strings and pics were used and how much booze was consumed) you know the important stuff involving suds! Even the Road Crew schedule was posted!

I drooled as here I am in Tbay with my head fried from my  Grade 12 Sociology Class yet Maiden and band mascot Eddie made me forget the hard trials of school that day and well….

So here it is Iron Maiden recorded over 4 Nights in Scream For Me Long Beach( California ) on there very successful World Slavery Tour 84/85. Plus a an added kicker they released this on VHS Video as well. A  few years back as Maiden released this on DVD with a bunch of extras…. They still know how to package their product!

Maiden Men…

Losfer’s Words & Music…

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. Intro: Churchill’s Speech Winston Churchill 1:09
2. Aces High” (from Powerslave, 1984) 4:07
3. 2 Minutes to Midnight” (from Powerslave, 1984) Adrian Smith, Bruce Dickinson 5:52
4. The Trooper” (from Piece of Mind, 1983) 3:59
5. “Revelations” (from Piece of Mind, 1983) Dickinson 5:59
6. Flight of Icarus” (from Piece of Mind, 1983) Smith, Dickinson 3:21
Side 2
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (from Powerslave, 1984) 13:03
2. “Powerslave” (from Powerslave, 1984) Dickinson 7:06
3. The Number of the Beast” (from The Number of the Beast, 1982) 4:48
Side 3
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. Hallowed Be Thy Name” (from The Number of the Beast, 1982) 7:17
2. “Iron Maiden” (from Iron Maiden, 1980) 4:11
3. Run to the Hills” (from The Number of the Beast, 1982) 3:52
4. Running Free” (from Iron Maiden, 1980) Harris, Paul Di’Anno 8:16
Side 4
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Wrathchild” (from Killers, 1981) 2:54
2. “22 Acacia Avenue” (from The Number of the Beast, 1982) Harris, Smith 6:04
3. “Children of the Damned” (from The Number of the Beast, 1982) 4:19
4. “Die with Your Boots On” (from Piece of Mind, 1983) Smith, Dickinson, Harris 4:51
5. “Phantom of the Opera” (from Iron Maiden, 1980) 7:01
Total length: 98:09

YUP! Just over 98 Minutes of Maiden! Now you know why I locked myself in Bedroom with my stereo blasting this album on that cold October weekend! Special mention must be made to my parents who never ever once told me too turn it down but at times they must have wondered what the hell was going on in my bedroom! No worries Folk’s I was on the Flight Of Icarus!

Basically you have the first three sides recorded in Long Beach and man oh man did Bruce trademark the “Scream For Me Long Beach!” If he hadn’t he should!

Of course with Maiden on  this tour was the stages of all stages with a Mummified EDDIE leading the way! Massive is what I would call it!

The album opens with Churchill doing his War Speech and about never surrendering and Bam! Here’s Maiden ripping into Ace’s High  and tons of rolling/rolling turning/turning through out! The songs are crisp and clear. The Musicianship is second to none! Bruce’s vocals soar through out the whole album.

This is just one rock solid album from start to finish! The songs all stand on their own merit! It’s basically a Greatest Hits set done live while spreading throughout songs from the current Powerslave album that had walloped me outside the noggin the previous year!

Adrian Smith and Dave Murray in my opinion are the best two lead guitar duo’s ever in the business of Music! There playing is friggin unbelievable even up till this day (Along with current sidekick Janick Gers)  The solos’ are slick/well thought out and are hammered into our skulls as epic riff’s. Nicko the lunatic playing the drums does all the drum rolls and you want epic crash n smash style but keeping it smooth look no further than the track Powerslave after the Dave/Adrian solo’s man he just is so smooth as in making it look easy. Steve Harris being the main songwriter and he is the leader(much to Bruce’s chagrin at the time I suppose) as this was his vision put forth by him and manager Rod Smallwood. 

So if you want an  epic Harris track  look no further than Rime Of The Ancient Mariner as it weaves over it’s 13 minutes of tempo changes and keeps you the listener entrenched and no boredom ever sets in with this track.  Pure Greatness!

Course the big end of the set tune Iron Maiden pulls out all the stops! Just watch the clip below and see for yourself!

Side Four is recorded in England at the infamous Hammersmith Odeon and if my memory serves me correct this side was for the diehards across the pond as Maiden would mix up the set list as to keep the hardcore fans happy as America hadn’t caught on as quickly as Europe. I may be wrong here ….

22 Acacia Avenue rips accordingly and I love how Bruce drops the line of Speak For Me Hammersmith!” over the guitars of Davey and Adrian before Bruce ramps back up vocally on the second verse!

Die With Your Boots On is another kicker of a track. Great everything about this one as well! Love the guitar playing  on this track as Nicko drives the bus with his drums and keeps it all together!

Phantom Of The Opera always fascinated me back than as did the other tracks that were sung by original singer Paul Dianno on the studio versions before he got tossed and Bruce took charge. Of course now in 2017 it’s nothing new when Bruce sings the Paul tunes but back in 1985 other than hearing a B-Side of Bruce singing Remember Tomorrow you had no idea how the Dianno songs would come across with Bruce singing them!

Well the answer after listening to Live After Death was that Bruce basically took them over and made him his own.

Don’t get me wrong folks I love Dianno’s singing style on the debut Maiden album/Killers and especially Maiden Japan but the Air Raid Siren just belts it out like there is indeed no tomorrow!

Live After Death was the bridge gap between 84’s Powerslave and 86’s Somewhere In Time albums but this live audio/video showcase features a band showing everyone else in the Metal Spectrum how it’s done!

 

 

Iron Maiden/No Prayer For The Dying(1990)

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Maiden 1990 is a different animal than the band that released what I consider their best album ever 1988’s Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes……

Gone is Guitarist Adrian Smith who already had contributed a ton of Classic Tracks to the Maiden albums of years before. Case in point check out my review of Somewhere In Time as Smith is the MVP of that album in my eye’s. So when he bailed on Maiden I was disappointed but I knew Bassist and Maiden Creator Steve Harris would carry on as that’s Maiden’s tendency! Replace and move on!

Gone are the elaborate stage shows that came with each album release in the 80’s. A more stripped back stage with the backdrops and Eddie of course but more Marshall Amps added and yada yada. This did not bug me in the least as it’s the tunes that count right?!

So Harry and Crew recruit Janick Gers (playing guitar at the time in Lead Singers Bruce Dickinson solo band) and keep the Maiden Juggernaut heading into new frontiers. But are we ready for it?

1990 was a great year not only did we get like I mentioned earlier the fantastic Bruce solo album Tattooed Millionaire but along with it a new Maiden album as well.

October 1st 1990 is when No Prayer was released and SHOCKER I was not a first day buyer of it! I had purchased Peace OF Mind/Powerslave/Live After Death/Somewhere In Time and 7th Son all on their release dates.  My first day Maiden purchase streak ended at 5!

Reason you ask? Simple a little less than a week later myself and Tbone were gonna be in Winnipeg going to see ZZ Top and per our protocol on road trips was to load up on discs! Tbone especially as he would drop coin on say 20-25 discs on a given road trip! So with this in mind I thought i would hold out and at least purchase 1 for myself! Haha….

Still recall unwrapping the plastic from No Prayer in out hotel room in the Peg and scanning the lyrics/pics as Maiden always delivered in the cd department!

Course when I got back to Tbay the first order was to listen to No Prayer….

The Verdict! Good not Great. Not a let down either but a band that I had thought was maybe trying to ditch a bit of the past(80’s) and move into the 90’s with a new kinda look and new Metal like sound.

Maiden Men …

Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Dave Murray – guitar
Janick Gers – guitar
Steve Harris – bass guitar
Nicko McBrain – drums

No Prayer Maiden Mix…

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Tailgunner” Steve Harris, Bruce Dickinson 4:13
2. “Holy Smoke” Harris, Dickinson 3:47
3. “No Prayer for the Dying” Harris 4:22
4. “Public Enema Number One” Dave Murray, Dickinson 4:03
5. “Fates Warning” Murray, Harris 4:09
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “The Assassin” Harris 4:16
2. “Run Silent Run Deep” Harris, Dickinson 4:34
3. “Hooks in You” Dickinson, Adrian Smith 4:06
4. “Bring Your Daughter… to the Slaughter” Dickinson 4:42
5. “Mother Russia” Harris 5:30
Total length: 43:42

Couple of things you may notice right away about the track listings! Steve and Bruce team up on three tracks. Dave Murray even steps up with 2 contributions as ex member Smith is featured in a co write with Bruce. Second of all the album clocks in at 43 minutes. Not only are Maiden cleaning house but there also doing away with the Epic Long Tune’s. All tracks are under 5 minutes except for album closer Mother Russia.

Let’s Do This…

Tailgunner has Maiden beginning studio album Number 8 with Harris and Nicko along with the guitars of Janick and Davey usher in Tailgunner! Tailgunner what a great name for a late night establishment don’t you think? I could picture it now with Tbone dialing his phone circa 1990 and a voice on the other end answering with a “Good Evening Welcome To Tailgunners How can I Direct Your call?” hahaha…oh wait this isn’t it a Dance Club? Gah! Sorry lost my trail of thought there! Maidens Tailgunner  is  a song about World War 2 Pilots…..Bruce as always delivers a great vocal “Nail That Fokker Kill That Son” ahh clever writing fella’s! It doesn’t take long to realize that Maiden to  my ears is making a Street Sounding Album. The production by Martin Birch is dry sounding which kinda suits the vibe of the album.

Second song Holy Smoke is bona fide classic in my humble opinion! Loved it in 1990 and still love it 27 years later! This song takes charge and at the time with all the corrupt TV Preachers goings on Steve and Bruce nail out a Gem writing about it. Super Duper catchy chorus! Super Duper Metal Slop Rock Solo from New Boy Janick and Wow Man! Gem! Posted the video to this song and look at those Brits! They are a funny bunch! Great video!

The title track No Prayer For The Dying  almost sounds like at some spots  like a Maiden Jig! A little slower tempo but like all Harris written tunes it’s gonna speed up and go into overdrive and lift off at which it does. Real cool leads from both Davey and Janick as they just do what they do.

Whoah! Another Gem in the form of Public Enema Number One. Janick and Dave take charge with those cool dual leads right out of the gate with Steve and Nicko taking charge in the rhythm department! Bruce as he always does take charge in his vocal delivery and man oh man another Great Track!  Watch the live video! Actually I’m pasting the last verse in the tune which features my favourite paragraph of Bruce written lyrics on this album…

A million network slaves
In an advertising new age
I don’t need a crystal ball to sell ya
Your children have more brains
Than your drug infested remains
California dreaming as the Earth dies screaming

Woo-Hooooo!

Fates Warning is a straight forward no frill’s Metal Track. It’s a decent enough one for sure and it was interesting to revisit this one as on any other Metal Release at the time this would have been a great song but with this being Maiden they set they set the Bar High.  Pretty good actually….WTF am I going on about?

The Assassin builds and builds with Harry and Nicko doing their quick snare and bass riffs. One of those tracks which is ok not great. The Verses build and build and the chorus is for me a little on the lacklustre side.

Run Silent Run Deep has Bruce singing in that sinister style vocal and man oh man after the last two previous songs kinda lagging things pick up with this track. Love the pace of it. Great chorus as well and love the guitar work and bass on this tune. Nicko man plays like only Nicko does and that’s awesome! Love how the tune ends with just Bruce and bit of guitar!

Speaking of Nicko you want Cowbell? Hooks In You leads off with a slick riff with added cowbell. Pretty good track nothing spectacular but still a decent round of Metal. Maiden man set and drank the bar high n dry.

Ok. Bruce is the only singer in the world who could sing the chorus to Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter and making it oh so catchy. Case in point when this album was first out I found myself singing it at work in a moment of pure unconsciousness except I wasn’t! Some one near by said “Pardon me” and snapped me back into reality and I mumbled away …. Great track actually and as an added bonus a real cool guitar solo! Bruce as always delivers in spades.

Mother Russia is your end of the album Harris concept piece as it’s another one of those epic pieces but for me I dunno I kinda missed the Metal Boat on this one. The playing/singing is all there of course but I just don’t get this one at all.

Maiden enter the 90’s with more of a street vibe and it’s a pretty decent album with some standout tracks and some not so standout tracks. Something has to give after a while really. I mean 8 studio albums over 10 years including tours it’s impressive to say the least.

So although Harry & Crew did not hit one totally out of the park No Prayer is still a decent album with a real couple of good standout tracks!

Iron Maiden/Powerslave(1984)

 

1984 and talk about being pumped for new Maiden! I saw the ad in Circus Magazine a month before the release date and I just couldn’t wait for it to hit the record shops!

As per protocol I was a first day buyer of Powerslave on Sept 2nd 1984! What a great way to start Grade 12! Ha those first two weeks of school back in Sept of 84 my home work was Powerslave! Boom! The artwork done by Derek Riggs was very detailed and of course with Maiden they included pics,credits and lyrics! I was mesmerized as a teen!

No wonder these guys are my fav Metal Band they knew the deal for the fans!

Nicko McBrain,Adrian Smith,Bruce Dickinson,Steve Harris and Dave Murray just keep the classics rolling…….

Scream For Meeeeeeeeeeee!

ACES HIGH- Rollin Rollin Turnin Turnin …Do It Again…….Rollin Rollin Turnin…Maiden launches an audio assault on my senses and Aces High is a classic right off the hop! Love the drums,bass and guitars synced at the beginning and before you know It Bruce is charging the vocals and giving it his all and he commands attention and by gosh I do! Adrian and Dave do their cool super-duper co leads and man oh man after being blown away by the Piece Of Mind Album(1983) Maiden take it up a notch and does it get any better than this?

TWO MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT-Oh yeah that riff starts the Maiden Motor running…. Adrian Smith is the riff master and he launches the assault and not before to long theres Nicko and Steve rowing the metal boat to shore. Bruce as he always does delivers it vocally and who else can sing the line of Cut Their Meat,Lick The Gravy and make it sound cool? Bruce does! Adrian and Dave fling slick powered up solo’s and instead of rocking the song to the end Maiden chills out a bit (just a bit) and Nicko and Steve lead the pack.(picture Harris with his bass up in the air pointing it like a rifle) Holy Crap when i was 17 here’s Maiden continuing to set the bar high with this being album number 4 and there’s no relief in site!

LOSFER’S WORDS(BIG ORRA)- Maiden give Bruce a 4 minute break from singing and  Flex there Maiden Musical Muscle with a smattering of Nicko cymbal riding smashes along with Dave,Adrian and Steve galloping along at a fever clip with a few musical time changes to keep us interested! Maiden 84 is not slowing down….

FLASH OF THE BLADE-Real cool intro on the guitar to this song and Nicko joins and were off. Flash Of The Blade is a Bruce tune about fencing(Bruce’s passion) Maiden even double up Bruce’s vocals in the chorus and give us an almost Maiden like single. Harris and his bass lay down some serious action on this song and Man I loooooove it! Crank the video posted…

THE DUELLISTS-More fencing as this song clicks in at about 7 minutes and has a real smooth prechorus with Nicko leading the charge and Bruce tossing out some ‘Oooooooh Oooooooooh Fought For The Honor’ Adrian and Dave get into some real neat duelling(duellists) guitars during the solo. Harris writes epic songs! End of story!

BACK IN THE VILLAGE-This is one of those sleeper tracks that features a real slick riff and it’s a boogie upped Maiden looking to kick down doors at the local watering hole! Bruce almost sings the chorus faster than the band which is trying to keep up! I really like Bruce after the Dave and Adrian solo workouts when Maiden rip back into the chorus and Bruce just chills with a “Yeah Yeah” vocal line! He doesn’t have to Air Raid Siren the screams all the time. Love it!

POWERSLAVE-This song is beyond epic! it features everything I love about Maiden. 7 plus minutes of heavy riffing inter spread with some chill pieces accenting the heavy guitar action especially during the solos. Nickos a warhorse on the drums,pounding and doing some real cool rolls throughout with Steve tiding it all up with the bass.  Speaking of Nicko it was Tbone all those years ago that said that Nicko had the coolest smoothest drum rolls ever and to this day it has not changed. Bruce sings for his supper here. It’s his tour de force. The pace is which all others will follow. How about a HOORAY for the Power ending of Powerslave! Big smash and crash of drums colliding with the guitars and more smash and crash with more guitar collisions. Frigg Ya! I posted the live version of this song from the Powerslave tour. I don’t think there was a bigger show than this one at the time (1984-85) Also the mask that Bruce wears in this video was bought by him at a sex shop in L.A…hahaha. Funny that when I seen this video back in 1985 I thought ‘holy crap Bruce is wearing some real cool Egyptian mask’ haha……

RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER- Just like the song this little chat about this tune is gonna be long! Ha! So Harris delivers the track of a lifetime and I recall reading about the pre hype in Metallion Magazine that Powerslave was gonna feature the 14 minute tune Rime Of The Ancient Mariner and the Powerslave album was going to clock in as a whole at over 51 minute! Now thats getting your moneys worth. That alone sold me. MAIDEN MAIDEN more MAIDEN! Impressive that Harris and company could drop a real long a roo tune at the end of the album so to speak and it could still draw me in as a listener! power of music folks! More impressive is the fact that Bruce could nail each line live and not cheat with any help with the lyrics being taped all over the place to remember the words! Rime charges right out of the gate with Maiden loading up and delivering massive epicness of a sonic delight! At the mid-point you hear creaking of the ship boards like you’re in the middle of the Atlantic with Harry and Crew. It’s amazing to me that for Maiden during there Powerslave tour would hammer out this tune every night, city after city and toss in the usual after party treats they could still deliver it at a higher rate of musicianship than some of their peers at the time! (i’m not naming names!) WATER ,WATER  Everywhere and all the boards did shrink. WATER ,WATER Everywhere nor any drop to drink! HOOO BOY ….them Mariner fella’s are in deep doo doo…

Samuel Taylor Coolridge was the poet who wrote the poem while Steve Harris wrote a tune about it! Harris has always been one of my favourite lyrcists as he wouldn’t write the same ole same ole of his counterparts. Rime is the best example of this.Harris was probably in his mid 20s when he wrote this and it just boggle my mind that he had and has that kind of creativity.

1985 i’m in Grade 12 English and one of our assignments was to dissect a poem by an author and present it infront  of  the class. Hip Hip Hooray I raised my hand quicker than Billy The Kid drawing his pistol! I’ll never forget my teachers reaction as i had pretty much said jack shit all semester but now it was Deke’s time to shine….’I’ll do Rime by Coolridge I blurted out loud!’ All those little Duran Duranie girly fans sitting in front row of Mr Babcocks class did not see this one coming…

Come presentation time  not only did I show up with my notes of the poem(thanks Mr Steve Harris for simplifying the actual poem for me in song) but I  showed up to class with a ghetto blaster(courtesy of Tbone) and the cassette of Powerslave(once again courtesy of Tbone as I only had Powerslave on vinyl)

I’ll never forget those front row girls doodling and dreaming of Corey Hart and Duran Duran and I plug-in and let the sonics of Maiden and Rime take over. No,the whole song wasn’t played that day in class only snippets but man I wish I could have snapped a pic. BOOM….DONE….Mr Babcocks  Grade 12 English class just got Maidenized that morning!

When the dust had settled I scored a mid 80s mark took my seat at the back of the class and went back into my Grade 12 English Coma!

FINAL YAMMER-Maiden schooled me in metal more ways than one! It’s no wonder these guys are still my faves today. Powerslave delivers in spades. Mention must be made towards producer Martin Birch who delivers a dry sound with still enough punch that doesn’t gloss out the tracks sonically. Cool artwork and the inside sleeve had pics and lyrics and as per Maiden Protocol they would give the fans 110%.  Hell even Tbone lapped up this album. Powerslave keeps the Maiden train rolling …..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRON MAIDEN/Speed Of Light

I’m comimg  out of my vacation blog sabbatical to talk about this new ass kicker Maiden Track Speed Of Light( written by Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith) from the forthcoming  Maiden album Book Of Souls! Just announced a World Tour starting in 2016!

Speed Of Light has been on high rotation on my iPod since the pre order on iTunes dropped Speed Of Light on August 14th 2015! I babbled some comments I believe at the great HMOs site along the lines of ” Yep no ITunes on this one,I’m buying the physical product(cd) ,Blah Blah,Blah!” Umm. Well I caved! Ha! ITunes has done the right thing and that’s include the booklet when the full album drops on Sept 4 2015.

It was off of Robbo’s(Arena Rock Faithful reader) iPhone that I first heard Speed Of Light! The Internet in our  city pooched on Aug 13th and our house didn’t get it back Til supper time Aug 14th. Robbo had downloaded it already so I basically swiped his iPhone from his hands at work held the phone to my blown out earlobes and the first thing I said to Robbo was “Holy Shit!! There’s Cowbell!”

Speed Of Light is a great track in my opinion. A few comments that I have heard  say it sounds like Guns N Roses. Too be honest I don’t hear Gunners in the song I hear Maiden! Since summer of 1981 when I first purchased Killers I have always bought all of Maidens product the day of release! (First day buyer Folks!) so Ya call me Fanboy! Ha! Book Of Souls will be no exception!

Speed of Light starts off with Maiden Boogying out of the gate with the three Guitars of Dave Murray,Adrian Smith and Janick Gers along with Nicko McBrains cowbell, Steve Harris bass and here’s the Air Raid Siren the one and only Bruce Dickinson doing his patent howl and we’re off !

Kevin Shirley the producer of this song and album has given the album a big live bassy feeling. Shirley  on this song anyways toned down Harry’s galloping bass and cranked up everyone else around to make it sound like one big live jam!

The song has a strong verse and the pre chorus into the chorus is the meat and potatoes of this song Bruce at age 55 plus can still belt it and come solo time here’s the 3 Amigos on guitars doing there thingy by each having a slice of the solo!

As the song heads to the finish line with another tip to the the chorus  Maiden with about 25 seconds left goes into there big power ending. Drums a smashing,guitars a crashing….I love Maidens end of songs blowout endings the best ever being Powerslave (studio track) …Wowzers that’s how you wrap up things folks!

Great song Sez I! Do you agree with me?  Feel free to discuss!

Cool Lil Numbers….Adrian Smith/Reach Out

All the diehard Maiden fans will be ..this is a Maiden tune! Correct you are! Why is not this Cool Lil Number segment titled  Iron Maiden? Umm well let’s give Adrian Smith his due man in Maiden and have a little chat about a real good cool song!

Adrian Smith when he joined Maiden for the Killers(1981)album he put his stamp on playing note for note with Dave Murray and laying claim that they are the best guitar duo going and that continued for years and now with Janick Gers they are three guitars deep but back in 1982 comes Number Of The Beast and heres Adrian doing co writes on such numbers as The Prisoner,Gangland and the epic 22 Acacia Avenue!

Piece Of Mind(1983)Smith delivers more co writes in the form of  Flight Of Icarus,Die With Your Boots On and Sun And Steel.

Powerslave(1984) Adrian yet has more cowrites in Back In The Village and how about one of Maidens signature riffs that would be 2 Minutes To Midnight! Hey if you a Canuklehead like me than you will remember the old Pepsi Power Hour Tv Metal Show on Muchmusic and for a long time it’s the opening riff of 2 Minutes…that would begin the PowerHour! ….

So 1986 and the Maiden boys find guitar synths and Adrian shows up and drops down what I think (along with the opening track Caught Somewhere In Time) are two of the best tracks off of the new studio release (Somewhere In Time)at the time(1986) which are Stranger In A Strange Land and Wasted Years which are for the first time written solely by Mr Smith.

So I guess Maiden like they always do record extra tracks for each release and one of them from the Somewhere In Time sessions is this standout track Reach Out written by Adrian’s pal Dave Colwell. This tune is the deal and I mean Maiden rock it big time and Bruce Dickinson handles the backing vocals while Adrian proves he not only plays a wicked guitar but he can sing almost a top 40ishy Rock style like Bryan Adams.

Reach Out is a great track the guitars even with the Synthy sound and Steve Harris and Nicko McBrian laying down the bass and drums respectively push it into unlike Maiden Territories but no wimping out so it still sounds like Maiden! Give it a listen and you will know what I’m talking about and for all you non Maiden listeners out there(shame on you..hahaha)listen with a open mind!