IRON MAIDEN – Powerslave

IRON MAIDEN - Powerslave


Sanctuary Records
Release Date: September 3, 1984

User Review
10/10 (1 vote)

On September 3, 1984, Iron Maiden released Powerslave at the pinnacle of their “golden age.” This was the second album with the now classic line-up of Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Nicko McBrain. This was also the second album recorded at Compass Point, Nassau, Bahamas.

The album peaked at #2 on the charts in the UK. The cover featured Eddie as an Egyptian god (after they killed Eddie at the last show of the World Piece Tour ’83 in Dortmund, Germany, Eddie was raised up from the dead). The artwork is probably the most detailed and comprehensive artwork Derek Riggs has ever done. Many Iron Maiden fans consider this as the Iron Maiden cover.

Powerslave starts off with one of Heavy Metal’s finest tunes, “Aces High.” This is a story of a British fighter pilot’s view of a defense against a bombing raid during the Battle of Britain. This song continues Iron Maiden’s classic battle/combat song topical theme approach, which began with “Invaders” (The Number Of The Beast, 1982) and “The Trooper” (Piece Of Mind, 1983). “Aces High” was released as the second single off the album, and peaked at #20 on the British charts.

“2 Minutes To Midnight,” a song about the politics of war, was an instant live classic, which has been featured on many tours over the following years … the chorus has great sing-a-long lyrics. The actual meaning behind the song title deals with the Doomsday Clock, the symbol of the nuclear age. This was the first single off the album, and was another Maiden top 20 song, hitting as high as #11 on the British charts.

The third song on the album is “Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra).” Despite the embarrassing and easy title, this was the fourth (maybe last) instrumental song Iron Maiden recorded, a great song but not as great as the early classics such as “Transylvania” (Iron Maiden, 1980). This is the weakest song on the album, and without this, Powerslave would be flawless.

Next out is “Flash Of The Blade,” a Metal monster by Dickinson. This is a story about a young swordsman who wishes to avenge the murder of his family. Grinding guitars and Steve’s trademark bass make this a standout track, it’s a shame it was never played live.

“The Duelists” is yet another song about fencing, and inspired by the 1978 film by Ridley Scott. The chorus is great, but the best part in this song is the instrumental part — this is Heavy Metal at its finest.

Iron Maiden once more show their love of the British TV series The Prisoner via the song “Back In The Village,” an upbeat, hard-hitting song about strange happenings in the Village (the mysterious place from the TV series). This is a classic Smith/Dickinson song, and you hear great harmonies and amazing vocals — another highlight of the album.

Next up is the title track … an amazing story about a dying Egyptian Pharaoh, or perhaps a tragic story about a band destined to go to waste? This is a song written by Dickinson when Iron Maiden were about to be the biggest band in the world … they were touring constantly and Dickinson especially felt he was getting eaten up by it all. Anyway, the instrumental section of this song sets a great mood for the entire album and the artwork.

Powerslave finishes with the strongest track ever written by Harris, “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner,” a 13.5-minute epic song, based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s (1798-1834) famous poem about man’s essential apartness in his loneliness. Great summary by Harris, and shows what an amazing musician he is. “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” is simply the best album closer an Iron Maiden album ever had.

The Number Of The Beast (1982) is the most important Iron Maiden album because they made themselves a household name, and with Piece Of Mind (1983) they were able to headline tours in the U.S.A., but when Powerslave was released, there was no doubt, Iron Maiden were the biggest band in the world. The impressive World Slavery Tour 84/85, which lasted for 322 days, showed a hardworking Metal band almost destroy themselves, but as history would tell, Iron Maiden were here to stay.


  • Frode Kilvik

    Frode Kilvik was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Sotra, an island west of Bergen, Norway. He's been a music lover all his life, and Metal has always been his main passion. He grew up, listening to Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Metallica, etc., and it gave him a hunger and an addiction to explore and find new acts in the world of Metal. Frode picked up the bass guitar when he was about 10 or 11 (Steve Harris was a huge influence) and has played in various Rock and Punk bands ever since. He was the bass player and vocalist for the Stoner Metal band Kraków, and is also playing bass in the Black Metal bands Gaahls WYRD and Aeternus!

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