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Classic Albums: Iron Maiden - Powerslave


When Iron Maiden released their fifth album Powerslave, they weren’t quite the biggest heavy metal band in the world but they were about to be. Despite their home-grown success in the UK since their debut, it wasn’t until this offering that they totally cracked the notoriously difficult US market. Now, with what was regarded as the classic Maiden line-up with frontman Bruce Dickinson, lead guitar duo Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, Steve Harris on bass and drummer Nick McBrain, the band were ready to hit their peak in all respects.

The album’s intense rhythms, muscly melodies and diverse subject matter made this a meaty Maiden milestone. Notably this album becomes the first to feature a fully-fledged instrumental in ‘Losfer Words’, Harris’s nod to eccentric 70’s rock such as Focus and Jethro Tull. ‘Two Minutes To Midnight’ sees Maiden at their riff-laden best and is often considered the favourite amongst fans, yet it is their final track, at almost 14 minutes long and the longest piece the band had ever recorded together at that point, which became the centrepiece of the Maiden stage-show for years to come.

The band’s re-telling of ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ (the 18th century Coleridge classic) was an epic, with verses of the original poem imaginatively reinvented as lyrics. This grand climax to the album metamorphosed the lads into quite simply the biggest metal band on the planet or as Steve Harris aptly put it, marked "the moment the boys became men…”

1. Aces High Harris 4:29
2. 2 Minutes To Midnight Dickinson, Smith 6:00
3. Losfer Words (Big Orra) Harris 4:13
4. Flash Of The Blade Dickinson 4:03
5. The Duellists Harris 6:06
6. Back In The Village Dickinson, Smith 5:03
7. Powerslave Dickinson 7:12
8. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner Harris 13:42

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