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Smith and Dickinson have proved throughout the years they are a more than able composing duo. ‘Flight Of Icarus’ and ‘Moonchild’ anyone? On Powerslave they were responsible for the not brilliant but still extremely good ‘Back In The Village’.
However they also wrote a rather dull rock tune for Maiden standards, called ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’. I must say I really like the pre-chorus and chorus so in fact there’s only the intro riff and verses I can complain about. Nevertheless it’s one of two tracks from Powerslave (the other one being Losfer Words) which I feel do not live up to Maiden standards. I know millions of fans think otherwise and for years this song was actually the only song from Powerslave which they kept playing live but to this day I still consider it ‘that hardrock tune’ on that over all classic heavy metal album.
Anyway, I'm glad to have the Beckett cover ‘Rainbow's Gold’. Just like ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’ it is a rock tune but really so much better. Dickinson truly excels here on the verses, McBrain comes to life on the perfect groove, not to mention the awesome rock riffs which are played to perfection by Maiden’s most famous guitar-tandem.
On the 12 inch version we also have ‘Mission From 'Arry’ which is a 7 minute argument the band had about a fucked up drumsolo, a roadie and obviously ‘some cunt’ who was recording this. It’s actually great to see a band of Maiden’s grandeur having such a sense of humour in sharing these intimate moments with their fans. it’s fun to listen to more than once actually.
And the cover? One of the least interesting ones. The lyrics of ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’ were quite good for Maiden and the cover refers to it, but still it isn’t much fun to look at.
“2 Minute to Midnight” is the second and arguably best song on Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave”, and the first single for the album. The song begins with the main riff playing quietly with louder drum intervals by Nicko. It gets going quickly, and you’ll hear some excellent singing from Bruce for a while. He sings most of the verses in a very catchy way, with a touch of evil at times. This song has one of the catchiest (If not the catchiest!) Maiden chorus ever. This chorus, which consists mainly of Bruce yelling, “Two… minutes… to midnight!!!” is one of the only heavy metal choruses I would actually consider the highlight of a song. The solo is typical Maiden style, being fast and powerful, except done even better than usual. The outro is great too, consisting of Bruce yelling, “Midnight… is all night!” in a glorious way. The song retains a constant beat, with the exception of a slower section following the solo. Despite how fun this is, the atmosphere is pretty dark. The lyrics also aid this darkness, as some of them sound pretty evil. The atmosphere, the catchy chorus, and the great solo make this one of Maiden’s best. Score 96%
The B-side here, A Rainbow’s Gold, is pretty solid. My main problem with this song is that it is way too repetitive. Both the vocals and the guitars lack variety, and end up repeating themselves for most of the song. The lyrics are pretty interesting, despite the repetitive way they’re sung, so that’s a plus. The solo was short, but quite good, and the song is fun, despite its lack of creativity. Iron Maiden covers are always interesting of course, making for another plus. Summed up, this B-side is entertaining but flawed. Score 63%
The other B-side, Mission from ‘Arry, is a recording; not a song. The seven-minute recording contains an argument between Steve, Bruce, and Nicko during the World Piece Tour. I won’t spoil it if you haven’t heard it, (Or read the “lyrics” here on the Archives) but do expect plenty of “cunts”, “bollocks”, and many variations of the word “fuck”. It is a rather silly argument, but it’s fun to listen to. Score 80%
This is a very good single for the Maiden collectors, containing a classic song, interesting B-sides, and great artwork. The band has shown that they really knew what they were doing when they decided to release this. Back in the day, this probably led many people to buying “Powerslave” and becoming fans themselves. If you want a notable and good Iron Maiden single, this is exactly what you’re looking for.