without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
After the sucess of “The Number of the Beast”, Iron Maiden released the acclaimed “Piece of Mind”. And while it is a good album, it suffers from the same problem as its predecessor: the existence of too many fillers. The album released after this one, “Powerslave”, solved this problem, as it probably is the only Maiden record 100% filler-free.
Anyways, this record shows Maiden adopting more epic lyrical subjects, with “Flight of Icarus” speaking about greek mythology, “The Trooper” about some battle between Russia and England (I love History, but I really can't remember the name of the battle now, damn) and “Die with your Boots On” about the prophecies of Nostradamus. Iron Maiden continued writing this type of songs later on with songs like “Powerslave”, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, “Stranger in a Strange Land” or “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”. This epic feel that many tunes share and the fast, melodic guitar work, give Maiden a more power metal (or proto-power metal) sound, “Piece of Mind” being arguably the first of many power metal-ish albums the band recorded. Gone are the punk influences that made the debut, “Killers” and parts of “The Number of the Beast” what they are.
Another key factor of “Piece of Mind” is the presence of the excellent Nicko McBrain, a drummer that while not trying to surprise the listener every time with some technical fills, still sounds great. “Where Eagles Dare” is absolutely dominated by his tight playing, one of the most complex (from the drummer's point of view) songs Maiden ever composed. The tune also shows the immense vocal range of Bruce Dickinson: got to love that fantastic chorus. “Revelations”, a Dickinson penned take, follows, carrying a very egyptian/oriental vibe that was explored further by the band when “Powerslave” was released. It also features some nice tempo changes, the song changing constantly between calm and more aggressive sections. Again, the drumming is very good on this track too.
“Flight of Icarus” is another strong song, insanely catchy and enjoyable, and the exact same thing goes to “Die with your Boots On” albeit this one is a bit weaker. The bass solo, courtesy of Steve Harris, is the highlight of the song, showing that Harris still plays an important role within the band. However, his bass here is a bit more buried under the guitars than on the previous albums, a thing that was fixed on the next pieces the band released (especially on “Powerslave”, where is bass is, at times, as loud as the guitars). The production is pretty competent, nevertheless, not the best the band had nor the worst. “The Trooper” is a classic that everyone that is into metal knows, the fantastic guitar riff featured on it are absolutely unforgettable and so are the “ooooooooooaaaaaoh” parts. You can sing along to this song until you die, that's for sure.
Unfortunately, the next three tracks absolutely kill the flow of “Piece of Mind”; those, friends, are the ugliest and the most annoying fillers that Maiden ever recorded, that's right. “Still Life” is unforgettable and boring, got to hate that silly spoken intro. “Sun and Stell” is a bit better, the chorus is listenable, but the song is lame, all in all. I like the “life is like a wheel... and it's rolling... stiiiiillll” part quite a bit though. Finally, “Quest for Fire” is another abomination just because you'll hardly ever remember anything about the song. The most horrid trilogy of songs ever put into a Maiden CD? I think so, lads. The closer, “To Tame a Land” contains some nice melodies, working decently well as a closer. However, I don't like the tune that much, especially when I compare it to other album closers like “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, “Alexander the Great”, “Hallowed be Thy Name” or even “Iron Maiden”.
After all, I've got to say that the performances of the musicians are top notch, this is Iron Maiden, not KoRn, isn't it? The guitars are excellent as ever, with the Murray-Smith team delivering some quite good solos and riffs. Nicko McBrain is the man of the album as I've already said and Steve Harris is always there, performing some tasteful bass solos on some tracks. The biggest flaw of the piece is its unconsistency, the afore-mentioned trilogy of fillers killing the flow of the record and harming the whole listening experience.
Summing up, this album is very overrated, Maiden made better albums undoubtely (“Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”, the debut, “Powerslave”); however, the first five tunes are worth listening, they are all classics in their own way. “Piece of Mind” would be a killer album if that awful trilogy of fillers wasn't present. Meh.
Best Moments of the CD:
-the guitar attack of “The Trooper”.
-”Life is like a wheel... And it's rolling still!”.
-the final repetition of the chorus of “Flight of Icarus”.