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Fueled by guilt, I have decided to write a review for one Iron Maiden's countless classics after I ruthlessly slagged their newest record. Powerslave is a very special album to me; it contains some of my absolute favorites, and it was my first Iron Maiden purchase. I was about to type my obligatory history lesson here, but then I decided that if you are reading this review, you must be on the Metal Archives, and if you are on the Metal Archives and do not know about Iron Maiden, well then you should probably pack your shit and leave.
This album is the disputable peak of their creativity, songwriting, and playing ability. Some say Number of the Beast nailed it, others believe Seventh Son of a Seventh Son was the absolute pinnacle. For me, it is Powerslave. This album is like a beacon of awesomeness in between two overrated records, Piece of Mind and Somewhere in Time. This is strange for me, I am a huge Iron Maiden fan, but it seems like they have a really uneven shit to great album ratio. I'll save the complicated explanation for another day and another review, just trust me when I say Powerslave contains some of the cathiest, most intense, most memorable, and overall most impressive songs Maiden has ever penned.
It has been argued that Iron Maiden started off as a heavy metal band, and the passage of time has transformed them into hard rock. My answer to this statement is 2 Minutes to Midnight. No amount of time will ever make that song less metal than it is. That song is truly THE Maiden classic to me. I'd rank it above Number of the Beast, Phantom of the Opera, or The Trooper.... the only song it pales to is Hallowed by thy Name. Featuring their goriest lyrics, catchiest riffs, and most memorable chorus after Run to the Hills, 2 Minutes to Midnight serves as essentially the perfect testament to what Iron Maiden is and also serves as a great introduction.
Aces High is the other high profile song here. Well... there's Rime of the Ancient Mariner and the title track, but no song is covered as often as Aces High. You think Powerslave, Aces High is the first song to come to mind, a fast, ripping number that leaves your neck sore and throat aching.
I'd like to go on and on about how this is my favorite and their best album, but frankly, I'd just repeat myself the whole time. Just know that people are certainly justified in hailing other albums as masterpieces, as Maiden definitely (usually) know what they are doing when it comes to music, but Powerslave ranks above as the only album they've ever recorded with no stinkers on it. Every last song is catchy and memorable, and this album is almost worthy of a coveted 100% rating. Unfortunately, I feel Rime of the Ancient Mariner to be a tad too self indulgent and meandering at times, and Duellists just doesn't seem to measure up to the others. Even the unknown songs like Back in the Village and Flash of the Blade are absolute classics, worthy of every metalhead's time.
A very worthy A is awarded. Excellent job guys, you've made a near perfect record. This is my favorite release from these pioneers, and it could only take a couple tweaks to make this album perfect. Essential listening, go buy it.