Piece of Mindby Iron Maiden
The second of three straight iconic Iron Maiden albums, Piece of Mind marks the debut of what many regard as the definitive Maiden lineup, with the arrival of new drummer Nicko McBrain. McBrain's ability to duplicate the complex patterns of the guitar and bass riffs gives the band a seamless ensemble unity. Even Steve Harris, whose busy basslines were never exactly groove-oriented, has never felt more integrated into the overall sound. Perhaps part of that feeling comes from the less frantic pace; the average tempo has slowed somewhat from the preceding album, and the hold-over punk influences still present there have been completely eradicated. Instead, we get a few moodier, heavier pieces (especially "Revelations") that make the album darker-sounding overall. We also get greater involvement in the songwriting from Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith, whose themes are perfectly in tune with Steve Harris' epic storytelling. Nearly every song here was inspired by movies or literature, whether it's history, mythology, sci-fi, or fantasy; this approach got them tagged as a thinking-man's metal band, and certainly provided a lyrical blueprint for Anthrax. No less than four songs are about battles and warriors, and a couple are about flying, underscoring the heights of the drama that the band is aiming for. The centerpiece of the album is, of course, "The Trooper," an all-time genre classic that boasts Murray and Smith's most memorable harmonized lead riff, plus that trademark galloping rhythm. A retelling of the Greek myth "Flight of Icarus" was the other British hit single, boasting an appropriately soaring chorus. Album opener "Where Eagles Dare" is the other flight song, recounting a WWII spy thriller and featuring one of McBrain's signature performances with the band. If much of Piece of Mind ranks as state-of-the-art heavy metal, it is true that the second half dips a bit from the first. "Quest for Fire" is many a die-hard fan's least favorite track from the glory years; the melody is rather stiff and simple, and the lyrics are about cavemen, rendering Dickinson's operatics ("In a tiiiiiime when dinosaurs walked the eaaaaaarth") a bit ridiculous. Among the serious-minded Maiden faithful, there's no less forgivable sin than silliness (no matter how entertaining it might be). Fans also bemoan the relative simplicity of the samurai tale "Sun and Steel." However, the album closes on a big, progressive note with "To Tame a Land," an epic retelling of Frank Herbert's Dune that evokes the desert planet via Middle Eastern guitar melodies. In the end, even if Piece of Mind is the most obviously inconsistent of the classic Maiden trilogy, its many high points are no less awe-inspiring, and it's no less essential for anyone with even the most basic interest in heavy metal.
- Release Date:
- Sanctuary Records
Performance CreditsIron Maiden Primary Artist
Bruce Dickinson Vocals
Paul Di'Anno Vocals
Adrian Smith Guitar,Vocals
Clive Burr Drums
Steve Harris Bass,Bass Guitar,Vocals
Nicko McBrain Drums
Dennis Stratton Guitar,Vocals
David Murray Guitar
Technical CreditsIron Maiden Concept,Sleeve Design,Sleeve Idea
Barry Guy Contributor
Martin Birch Producer,Engineer
Frank Gibson Engineer
Denis Haliburton Engineer
Steve Harris Composer
David Murray Composer
Rod Smallwood Concept,Sleeve Design,Sleeve Idea
Derek Riggs Cover Illustration,Sleeve Design,Sleeve Idea
Tony Webster Contributor
Barrie Stjohn Jones Contributor
AMX Studios Producer
Ian Shurmer Contributor
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Every one who was into Metal when this came out played this into uselessness. Remember, this was before CD's existed. The band STILL plays 3 cuts off of this when they tour. Where Eagles Dare, Flight of Icarus, Die With Your Boots On and Trooper are all classics. This, along with Ozzy's "Diary Of A Madman" and Judas Priest's "Screaming For Vengeance" altered the musical landscape. It's an important piece of history.
Well, not so good, three good songs "Where Eagles Dare", "The Trooper" and "Flight of Icarus". Check out band Sonata Arctica. It has made cover of "Die With Your Boots On" and its very much more faster than Iron Maiden's.
Three good songs "The Trooper", "Flight of Icarus" and "Where Eagles dare". Other ones are not Maiden Style. Instruments and Vocals are well successeed.
This has to be the best CD I have ever heard. Awesome opening, awesome closing, and great songs. Some of my favorite Iron Maiden songs are on this album: The Trooper, Flight of Icarus, Revelations, and Die With Your Boots On. Great CD. Highly recommended
better than the number of the beast but still not perfect.key tracks-where eagles dare,flight of icarus,the trooper,still life,quest for fire.