Quickie: Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind
Anyways, there’s a few adages that explain why this album is what it is and not “Killers”, “Powerslave”, or for that matter, “Walls of Jericho” by Helloween.
1. A lot of the overt NWOBHM influence that pervaded the first three albums has disappeared, to be replaced with more traditional heavy metal stuff – think Dio era Sabbath, which shares a few similarities at times.
2. This album is at its best when it’s acting all progressive-rock flavored. In this case, that means “Revelations”, “Still Life”, and “To Tame A Land” – good song writing to be found. Nothing here is hyper complex or technical, but things are well performed and written overall.
3. There are no real “weak” songs here – “Flight of the Icarus” can be boring at times, but Bruce Dickinson busts out some cool vocal melodies, and the solos appeal to me for whatever reason.
4. The lineup had steadied into the classic Dickinson/McBrain/Smith/Murray/Harris lineup. This would stay relatively consistent throughout the band’s careers, give or take the occasional Janicke Gers or Blaze Bayley.
In comparison to surrounding Iron Maiden, I would say that this is the best thing they released since Killers (but it would be surpassed by Somewhere in Time). It’s a relatively accessible, considering that the first three albums had a substantial sense of grit and somewhat greater aggression, while the three after extend the songwriting formula to its logical extent, add synths, and more so than this define an early chunk of progressive/power metal (Ever listen to Dream Theater, Queensryche, Fates Warning, Helloween, Rage, Helstar, Dissection, In Flames, and a whole crapton of other bands?). I like this – it’s not nearly as flashy as much of the more extreme stuff I listen to, but it takes solid songwriting ideas, executes them well, avoids “bullshit”, and so on.