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Iron Maiden had an unusual amount of success when being compared to most bands. During the 1980's, Iron Maiden released seven excellent studio albums that were perfect from beginning to end. The song writing was incredible, the lyrics were poetic, and everything flowed together perfectly, but this kind of perfection couldn't last forever. The 1980's had ended and the golden years Iron Maiden once had came to an end with there first lackluster release of the new decade, "No Prayer For The Dying."
Iron Maiden's guitar attack has severely downsized on "No Prayer For The Dying." Most of Maiden's material on the first seven albums contained a decent amount of speed in the riffs; the speed element on "No Prayer For The Dying" has basically vanished. Songs like "Tailgunner" and "Public Enema Number One" lack the speedy guitar work that was once a key factor in Iron Maiden's music, and it makes the songs seem really boring. Repetition of the riffs doesn't help the already lame guitar work. Most of the songs have one riff that repeats until the song ends. This repetitiveness obviously makes the music seem extremely dull. The only positive factor about the guitar work is the solos. The solos seem to be much more technical then on previous albums. This does add a little comfort, but the overall guitar work is terrible.
Bruce Dickinson changed his vocal style on "No Prayer For The Dying," and it really drags the album down. Instead of that high flying voice he had on previous albums, Bruce now has a raspy voice. His new gritty voice doesn't fit the usual Maiden tone. There are hardly any good singing moments by Bruce, just the annoying voice that sounds like someone dying.
Not every song on "No Prayer For The Dying" is bad. "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter" has become a Maiden classic with the thumping bass lines, the numerous amount of solos, and the famous raunchy lyrics. The title track is probably the best track on the album. The title track is filled with soft guitar notes and catchy leads. There is also a nice speed metal burst in the middle, which seems to regress that old Maiden sound. These two tracks are the only songs that stand out on this mistake of an album.
I've been very fond of most of Maiden's material, but this album is truly terrible. "No Prayer For The Dying" was the first album of Maiden's decline, which ultimately led to the departure of Bruce Dickinson. Without a shadow of a doubt, "No Prayer For The Dying" is Iron Maiden's worst album. I doubt they'll make something as bad as this again. Unless you're a Maiden superfan, I suggest you stay away from this one.
This review was orginally written for: http://www.Thrashpit.com.