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No Prayer For Gers' Skills - 99%

Desert_Rat, August 7th, 2018

This band has been one of the popular bands of the 80s, and Killers is some pretty cold hard proof. They have always made music that stands out from the rest of the metal pack, giving a very unique listening experience. For me, this was my fifth pick up from Maiden, but it really should have been my second one. Killers and The Number of the Beast are pretty good introductions to the band, but No Prayer for the Dying is the one recommended for the newbie. Maiden 1990's offering brings to light a whole new display of endurance and aggressiveness skills. This album builds on the street landscapes presented in albums such as Killers, but also somewhat throwback to an older sound.

It is a beautiful, rich combination of rawness and simplicity. Killers and the debut were released ten years before, so it's quite amazing to see again this kind of songwriting. This is much more in the vein of straightforward heavy metal like the debut, instead of the epic stuff they have come composing, and this is what Iron Maiden do best. It is, in fact, their best 90s album along with Virtual XI. The production is not as cleaner like Seventh Son, but it's a sound they could use with for the next albums; unfortunately, that was not developed and only stands up on this record.

From the first note played on this album, you can tell you're going to be in a rip-roaring ride. You should know, by now, not to expect anything serious this time. Gone are the emperors, cyborgs and mystic characters themes. When the guitar riffs stand out, they're very prominent, but when they don't, you can still enjoy them at all. The solos are all impressive, as they range from utter wankery-fest to sliding along with the song perfectly. The lyrics are street as hell, and the raspy vocals truly seem to fit the thematic, but that matter doesn't make a difference really. Songs are catchy, and most likely you'll have them stuck in your head as much as you hum the choruses. Janick Gers' doodle solos show how skilled he is with his instrument, and is pretty damn addictive.

The title track offers some nice lead and riff work from Janick Gers, he has always been one of my top rhythm guitarists, and his playing sets the tone for this song, as well as much of the rest of the disc. It also features some nice bass runs from Harris and some pretty over-the-top drumming from Nicko. If you have a sense of rhythm, listen and see what I mean. After a while this can give the songs a very plodding, boring feel, as if they're not going fast enough, or don't have enough energy. The Assassin is a prime example. However, due to some good guitar and vocal work, this problem can be resolved, as pre-chorus shows. The last song is a mini-epic starting off slowly, speeding up during the verse and chorus, and having a slow section in the middle of the song, laden with keyboards, which blasts out with a majestic solo again.

As a whole the album ends satisfactorily and strikes out compactly. A great Killers sequel! Even so, No Prayer manages to release some of the rawest, pure songs I've heard in quite a while. Very raw and thrashy, which is the main thing that keeps the attention of listeners and will avoid leaving you still. But still, the raw and almost grungy feel is something you just gotta like in metal. To finish it off, this disc is just something you either like or dislike, even if you're not a big fan of raspy productions. The raw production in combination with the bluesy tunes instantly makes this a distinctive point.