Again, haven’t read Mike’s review before doing this. Remember, I’ve not heard all of these songs before.
Right out of the gates, and all album long, we’re blasted with the drum prowess of new guy Nicko. Am I allowed a pun and say that between albums Maiden never missed a beat? Where Eagles Dare rules, what a great slice of metal. Definitely one for the hits discs. Revelations has this great intro and then drops into an incredible groove. Sure, it’s a quarter their usual speed, but never fear, there are the fast bits (and a killer guitar solo) interspersed in the softer parts too. Flight Of Icarus is fun, a worthy enough inclusion.
Die With Your Boots On is akin to Eagles – a total fuckin’ rocker. Great message, and an unrelenting song. I liked this one! Then follow that with The Trooper? Holy hell, what a one-two punch. This band is something else. If they’d put these two right after Eagles, this record would have laid waste to entire cities and there’d have been no need for any other songs. A killer single! Ha.
Still Life’s weirdo (backwards?) intro is sort of a bring down from the rushing surge of The Trooper, and worse, there’s a soft bit that’s way too quiet, but the song soon brings the rock back full force. An odd sequencing choice here. Quest For Fire’s intro and main riff almost don’t meet up nicely. It’s a real pull for the ear to go from one to the other, and if they ever played that sucker live, the likelihood of it falling apart seems high, to me. Fortunately, it’s the only time that happens in the track. Overall, it’s OK. Not a grabber. Sun And Steel (the title nicked from Mishima, maybe?) is a full-on rocker with philosophy to boot. And last track To Tame A Land noodles for a bit, then gets down to a chugging heavy riff before eventually taking off into a full-on blast with a couple of minutes to go. Definitely an epic. I’ve never read Dune and have no plan to do so. I have to assume they did right by it.
Piece Of Mind is another winner. It’s tough to say the whole thing is amazing, though. It’s hard to be critical of a group so committed to its vision and flawless in its execution. But when up against some of its songs we’ve come to know so well as hits, some of the others on PoM are lesser songs for this group. For any other group they’re solid gold. But this is MAIDEN and they’ve set the bar so high it’s outta sight. Says the guy sitting on his ass in his living room, playing armchair critic.
And now, a real review by a true fan. Take it away, Mike: