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Piece Of Mind is one of my favorite Maiden releases to be sure. I never quite understood what the big deal about Number Of The Beast was; yeah, it was good, but inferior on many grounds compared to their other work. But this is a Piece Of Mind review, not a Number Of The Beast review.
It took awhile, but once the riffs and melodies sunk in on “Where Eagles Dare”, it made me realize how brilliant the song was from a song-writing standpoint. The bass and guitar work on this track is just amazing, some of the best melodic work Maiden has done; it is also quite drawn out and open ended for an opening track- an interesting choice. In a way, the rest of this CD was much like “Where Eagles Dare” for me, in the sense that it took awhile for everything to sink in. Once I found myself fully exposed to Piece Of Mind, the number of catchy hooks, melodic riffs, memorable song structures, and great vocals really hit home. I will disagree with the other reviews here and state that I liked every song, including “Quest For Fire”. Yes, “Quest For Fire” has lame lyrics, but I really like the chorus and despite the straight forward-ness of the arrangement, obviously being too easy for Iron Maiden, I enjoyed the track. I actually think that the weakest track on here is “Die With Your Boots On”. It is not bad, but for some reason I just found some sections in the song to be annoying, despite other sections containing terrific melodies.
Dickinson really starts to come into his own with his performance on Piece Of Mind. He hits some great notes and really carries songs like my personal favorite, “Flight Of Icarus”- his vocals make that song! The same could be said for “The Trooper” and “Sun And Steel”, which much like “Quest For Fire” is a little too easy, but still good to listen to. I don’t mind the more simple songs on here because the CD has plenty of cleverly arranged and progressive tracks such as “Revelations” and “To Tame A Land”. Everything else comes to together from an instrumental stand point including a lot of quality solos and of course those Maiden melodies and galloping riffs.
I don’t really have any major complaints with Piece Of Mind; there are a lot of classics on here along with quality musicianship throughout, and some worthy of note lyrics (“Quest For Fire” being the exception). I’m only taking off points because, as someone pointed out, a lot of the songs lack the certain “punch” and “oomph” that later CD’s would possess, especially when compared to Powerslave.
Song Highlights: Where Eagles Dare, Flight Of Icarus, Revelations, The Trooper, and Sun And Steel