#131 Iron Maiden – Piece Of Mind (1983)

That’s right, before there was Metallica there was the innovators of the genre…..the hardest thing rocking the planet….Iron Maiden. There was a time before all the
head banging, speed metal & thrashing that Maiden was as hard as it got and they ruled the metal world.
The were the leaders of what was called “the new wave of British heavy metal” along
with bands like Judas Priest. Like Kiss before them, Iron Maiden understood how
important the band could be visually and marketed that imagery to kids via their
mascot Eddie”, the ghoul that would grace their album covers and t-shirts.
They were well aware that the bands demographic was young males and made no
pretense about catering to that demo. Piece Of Mind was Maiden’s 4th album, but only its second with lead singer Bruce Dickenson and first with drummer Nicko McBrain thus solidifying Maiden’s classic line up. This album piggybacks the success the group experienced with the previous years album The Number Of The Beast and launched them as leaders of the metal movement. They accomplished this with nearly zero radio airplay but with stunning live performances that produced “word of mouth” results. This record continues where Number Of The Beast left off and explodes all the way thru the disc, making it my favorite Maiden album of all time. The album kicks off with a drum roll introducing the new skins basher and busts into the heavy and fast guitar work of “Where Eagles Dare” the song runs over six minutes with much of it lyric free rocking. The second cut on the record is my favorite Maiden tune, the epic near 7 minute “Revelations”. The opening guitar riff is so heavy it could make Black Sabbath pee their pants with envy (not that Ozzy doesn’t do that on occasion anyways). When I hear this song I can still remember being in my teens riding around in the car with Kent smoking Camels with this song blaring so loud that the speakers of his 1970 Impala sizzled and hissed. “Flight of Icarus” is the band’s take on the Greek myth of Icarus whose father constructed him a pair of wings from feathers and wax , he warned his son not to fly too near the sun. But Icarus ignored the warnings and flew close to the sun whose heat melted the wax and he fell to his death. This would be the most commercially successful song of the band’s career. It was the first single they released in the United States and actually received some radio airplay, which was something that happened very rarely for Iron Maiden. After blasting through the scorching “Die With Your Boots On” you arrive at “The Trooper”, a song written by Steve Harris ( possibly the best rock bassist ever) and inspired by “The Charge of the Light Brigade”  taking on the viewpoint of one of the slain British soldiers. It’s classic Iron Maiden from the dueling twin guitar attack to the wail of Bruce Dickenson’s voice and from the moment he sings “You’ll take my life but I’ll take yours too” this song rocks hard all the way thru. It was really my friend Kent who was a massive Maiden fan and turned me onto them. And there was nothing like seeing them live. I’ve never seen a band who was louder…my ears would ring for days after. I remember one particular concert that Kent and I attended on June 23,1985 at Trout Aire amphitheater in Forest Lake,MN where my ears had a ring in them for 4 days after the show. To some Iron Maiden is now just a footnote in the history of Heavy-metal, to me they are still the undisputed champions.”Up The Irons”.

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One Response to #131 Iron Maiden – Piece Of Mind (1983)

  1. Darrell says:

    Pretty insightful. Thanks!

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