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‘Holy Smoke’, apart from the sweet intro, wasn’t a real Maiden nor metal song and sounded like a comedy band playing background metal and probably would’ve been a funny b-side joke during the eighties.
However, In 1990 it not only found its way unto a regular album but even became a single as well. Releasing the second comedy-song from the album (Bring Your daughter) 3 months later didn’t make things any better for No Prayer’s reputation. No, Maiden were losing it around this time and it wasn’t just because they’d lost Adrian Smith. Harris could’ve still controlled the band and sound if he had wanted to, but he didn’t or he just had an indecisive phase.
Dickinson just doesn’t really sing and barks his way through the composition, which could’ve been written by any local pub group in a drunk mood getting tired of playing the same Wishbone Ash and Golden Earring covers for over 15 years. Anyway, there were of course plenty of good metal tunes on No Prayer to choose from like Tailgunner or Fates Warning but instead the band decided to take pubescent cheesiness a tad too far. And when a band in their mid-thirties becomes pubescent, you just know something is wrong.
To make things worse we are presented two of the most dull covers in Maiden’s career. But Maiden in their glory days could have given these two mediocre songs something extra. Not this time though. If I recall the drive and passion of Rainbow’s Gold, That Girl and Massacre and compare it with these pretty tame performances it becomes painfully obvious the band had lost a lot of its bite, energy and eagerness.
Collecting dust. Filling up the collection. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone outside the die-hard Maiden collectors.