This month’s Classic Albums Column focuses on Iron Maiden’s Powerslave. Mars Attacks Podcast episode 77 features comments from Jon Schaffer, Gene Hoglan, Richard Christy, Brian Tichy, Glen Drover, Alan Tecchio, Dave Reffett, author Martin Popoff, journalist Mitch LaFon, Mark Strigl from Talking Metal, Andrew from Metal Assault and Roch from Radioactive Metal. As we established with the previous podcast we also discuss why this album was selected. You will find the podcast at the bottom of this post.
Remember that you can go here index page to find out further details on everyone involved in the column.
Below you will find links to purchase not only Powerslave, but music featured throughout the episode.
Dan Lorenzo – I have a confession to make. I do not like Iron Maiden’s Powerslave album. I loved the first two maiden cds with Paul on vocals. My band HADES were, at the time primarily a cover band and we nailed early Maiden. When Bruce came aboard I was into it and I loved the first two Maiden cds with Bruce. After that…not so much. Honestly Iron Maiden Powerslave to me is as goofy as Spinal Tap. It embodies all that can be cheesy about heavy metal. I hate when metal is cheesy. I know how popular Iron Maiden are and I’m shocked. I still listen to all the albums I “grew up” with: AC/DC, Aerosmith old Kiss, old Cheap Trick, Judas Priest etc., but I NEVER ever pull out any Iron Maiden cd to listen to in 2013. I don’t think it’s aged well at all. Sorry if I offended any lovers of cheese metal.
Peter Ellis – As far as I am concerned this is the best Maiden album ever. It has everything you could ever ask from a Heavy Metal album. Maiden always had great songs, so the fact that Powerslave has all those amazing classic songs is no surprise but it’s the production that separates this album from all the other Maiden albums in my opinion. This is simply the best that Iron Maiden has ever sounded in the studio, the production values are immense in this album and it proves once again that Martin Birch was the best Heavy Rock/Metal producer of his day! I also think this album was the highlight of Bruce’s career (next to Piece of Mind). The vocal performances in this album are unsurpassed to this day. And of course Powerslave includes my all-time favourite song, Aces High as its opening track which makes me dig it even more! haha. If I had to describe Powerslave with one word it simply would be: PERFECTION!
Jon Leon – Probably the overall fan favorite album. Timing was perfect as it was probably the heaviest and most energetic the band ever was, and the melodic interplay is furious.
It is an amazing album, but I played it so much when I was a kid, it got a little burned out for me. That said……the 1-2 punch at the beginning of the album is as good as an opening 2 songs you will hear. Sleeper track on the album is the short Back in the Village-possibly the heaviest tune they ever did. Wish they would do it live. The title track weaves an amazing feel of Middle Eastern dynamics and melodic interplay. I feel Rime of the Ancient Mariner lags a bit at times however, and that it could have been a couple minutes shorter. The part coming out of the clean interlude with dry ice creeping fog into the guitar solos is the best live Iron Maiden moment in my opinion. It may be the most dramatic live moment in metal performance I have ever seen. Amazing dynamics that must be seen live in person to appreciate. Overall one of the coolest art concepts in my opinion beaten only by the next 2 amazing Riggs pieces (Live After Death and the most detailed album art ever on Somewhere in Time). This is when Maiden would become a world class act and start tasting true success. The merchandise and shirts/art from Powerslave became visually recognizable on kids everywhere, and the band would never look back. Was also probably the beginning of Metal’s peak from 84-89 and really gave metal one of it’s big albums and defining moments. One of the most important 80’s albums.
Erik Kluiber – it’s a great album. My favorite song is Aces High. I got this on Vinyl back in the 80’s. Side b is a bit long in the tooth. I don’t care for the songs Powerslave or Rhyme of the Ancient Marinor. Even though it’s a good album, I think Powerslave is my least favorite of the “Classic” Maiden albums.
Pest – I remember well my fascination with Iron Maiden’s Powerslave. I remember owning a copy of the “Live After Death” concert on a VHS tape. This was years before there was a real VCR at my house, this was in the days of renting “movie-box”. This was a small VCR that would play VHS tapes, but you could not record on them. I remember they came in a black plastic suitcase when we rented them. Every time i rented one of these movie-box things I watched the video repeatedly for 24 hours before the “player” was due back at the local video store. The stage was set like the albumcover, and the setlist was incredible.
Sean Bryant – One weekend a few friends and I decided to take acid and hike up 5 miles and camp. As we were cruising up the trail, haphazardly carrying all of our gear, trading off periodically to relieve the strain, there was one item that didn’t really fit into the serene beauty of the trail before us. We had to have our little ghetto blaster as we traversed up into the Wasatch Mountains, blasting all along the way was Maidens’s Powerslave. Needless to say, on top of other quite intoxicated moments throughout the night, I am sure that, somewhere along the path, our music pissed someone off. The next morning as we were about to leave we decided to pull up onto a rock and break out the steamroller. My paranoid nature got the best of me as I stared about our surroundings and as soon as the first puff of smoke lifted into the clean air, I noticed a couple walking up, dressed in gray and brown and wearing stupid hats. Turns out they were park rangers and that because we were such a menace to the camping area, which, wasn’t truly a camping area, folks along the trail reported us. Weeks later they made a surprise appearance at my parents’ house and insisted on explaining how to camp properly. What they forget to inform was the extra-curricular options that are usually available and chosen to escalate said camping experiences.
Will Carroll – Maybe the most PERFECT metal album ever recorded. nuff said
Steve Smyth – One of my alltimes favorite albums, next to Somewhere in Time. I learned this whole album by ear as soon as I heard the first notes of Aces High! Every songs is a favorite here, and the band is on fire throughout, great performances from everyone on this. Only wish I could have seen the tour!
David Ellefson – Number of the Beast was the last Maiden album I bought as for me it was the essence of the ‘best of the best’ of Maiden. However, some albums get better to me over time and one of those is Powerslave. It had a great album cover and the title track is just a classic. Plus, Aces High and Two Minutes To Midnight are like metal standards in every rock bar around the planet. ‘Up The Irons’ for Maiden on this one!!
Bat – My next favourite band of all time after Thin Lizzy is Maiden, I got hooked onto metal after hearing Number of the Beast, Powerslave was another amazing release for maiden, they released 7 classic albums in a row, I don’t think any other band in the world can say that. The guitar work of Smith and Murray really shines through on this album, I love the mood and feel of the playing on the title track.
Luke Wenczel – My first and perhaps largest influence is Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden. The way Nicko makes his drums bark and crack and the tones he struck out of them through the 80s have heavily influenced my drumming. The other aspect of Nicko’s drumming that perks my ears time and time again are his stickings through rolls and fills from a lot of the albums in the mid 80s – they blew my mind when I was starting out and still do today – the opening fill in Powerslave and the ensuing rolls throughout the track are a great example. Nicko is the reason I have more than a few toms and a raft of Paiste cymbals! He is also the reason I mount my Ride cymbal up over the toms almost vertically.
Aquiles Priester – The first band I joined with my “huge” drum set was “Stylo Livre” in 1987. At that time, everything was recent and new and the fact that we were the only Rock Band in town opened up some doors and gave us opportunities that nowadays an amateur band wouldn’t have. We used to perform in several TV and Radio Station programs as well as be shown in magazines and newspapers. At that time, an essential fact for my musical directing happened: I listened to “Caught somewhere in time” by Iron Maiden on a local radio station and after that, getting to know all the discography of this band would be a major influence for many years.
In 1987 I was 16 years old and for sure I did not have a lot of money, so I used to listening a lot all the cassette tapes at that time. I even had money to have a nice stereo, just a Walkman by Sony. So I love this record. For sure it’s the album I have listened more in my entire life. All songs are very inspiring and even though some people find strange the synthesized guitars, I love this album like no other in my life. My favorite songs are The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (they only played the first show of the tour in 1986), and also Alexander the Great. There are other things that make this album much more special for me. In 2006 I had the chance to meet Nicko McBrain during the Drummer Live Festival, in London, where I played and had a chance to talk to him backstage and in hotel for a long time. He told me many nice things about making this recording, especially about the recording session of the drums. He used to record his part very quick to get all the free interpretation of those songs. After that night, listening to this album always makes me travel somewhere back in time… By the way, this is the main theme of the album and for me it makes perfect sense!
Jose Izquierdo – The title track is the first metal song I ever heard. My brother and I were listening to it, and looked at each other and said, what the hell is this? Someone gave us a tape that had something else on the other side, and after listening to the album we decided that we only wanted to listen to Iron Maiden.
Davish G. Alvarez – This album has my all-time favorite track by Maiden, Back in the Village. The song still blows my mind. I would spend hours playing this song. We also did a cover of Losfer Words years ago. I could still play that album on guitar and still love it. This is also an album that a lot of my students have asked about when taking lessons. The cool thing is so many students have a favorite off of the album, and it isn’t the same as say Piece Of Mind where they all ask to play The Trooper.
Jorge Salan – Great, great album, another album that I listed to a ton back in the day. Aces High is just ridiculously good. I went to go see the tour where they commemorated the tour of the album, and I got all emotional when they kicked things off with the track. I felt like a kid again.
Chris Howorth – Fucking love this album, the artwork is epic (used to get stoned and try finding all the eddies or little creatures hiding throughout the artwork) I also took this album into my 8th grade history class taking advantage of the subject matter as an excuse to play rhyme of the ancient mariner during class, haha my favorite songs are aces high, Powerslave and of course 2 minutes to midnight, this is easily my all-time favorite album from Iron Maiden!
Erun Dagoth – I love it, my favorite of all is Piece Of Mind, followed by this album, Powerslave. Piece Of Mind was the first album by the band that I heard, the tracks on the album just seem so epic to me. The same thing occurs with Powerslave. I love the way Bruce Dickinson sings, it is just epic, at another level. If the song isn’t epic enough, his voice just puts it over the top. When I purchased the album I literally spent hours examining the cover art, it is just amazing. I spent so much time reading the lyrics, and looking at the photos on the album jacket, but I spent so much more time just looking at that artwork, same thing for Somewhere In Time. Iron Maiden is one of my all-time favorite bands, three are albums here and there that I don’t care about, but I still love seeing them live. The thing that gets me about them is they seem the same as they did 30 years ago. Other bands get older and change, Maiden just keeps being as genuine as they were back in the day.
Bruce Moore – I have always been a fan of Iron Maiden especially their early material. Powerslave is a good album but definitely not my favorite. Perhaps because it was the follow up release to my all time favorite Maiden album, Piece Of Mind. I think it was a good album with a few great moments. I totally love 2 Minutes To Midnight and the title track but I feel Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner is way to long for my limited attention span.
Patrick Kennison – My first concert ever. WASP opened. My 11 year old mind was blown. I wore the 3/4 WASP jersey from the show til it literally became a rag. Many concerts after that one couldn’t touch it. I still have the ticket stub today. Powerslave is my 2nd fav Maiden album after NOTB. The concept & lyrics were like metal history to me.
You’ll also hear snippets of songs that come off of the following albums, please support our contributors and buy their albums or at least purchase the tracks you enjoyed hearing:
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