And so Mr. Miniike got back from a week-long vacation. He’s been going to bed at 12:45 and waking up at 6:15 during that entire time. Here he is in a new, completely coherent review:
Mimumkuklumble. Hey everyone, Minthony Miktano here, with some new cuts by West Coast Trap-Influenced Crisphihatcore group Iron Maiden. Iron Maiden is asjdhifjnkfkgfghjfhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
(awesome drum intro)
AH! OKAY, I’M AWAKE!
I’m gonna be up front and just say that I don’t find Piece of Mind to be as vibrant or memorable as The Number of the Beast. That’s in large part due to the fact that Piece of Mind takes itself quite seriously, trying to push legitimate stories of epic mythology/anti-war/anti-religious establishment/anti-whatever, while largely losing that wonderful camp flavor. This doesn’t even have anything to do with my opinions of the sentiments themselves (didn’t stop me from loving Rust In Peace), just Iron Maiden’s almost total lack of writing adequacy approaching them. Have you TRIED reading the lyrics to “Sun and Steel”? Yeech! Too many clichés and limp prose all around.
The other major effect this has is that the songs are a bit more homogenous, as if trying to make a unified statement. The album doesn’t become BORING necessarily, but I do get a bit antsy near the end. There’s only so many tight, chugging rockers about myth and legend I can tolerate on one album. Basically, the songs on this album are, in their broadest possible strokes, mediocre and banal. With such a blueprint, it’s hard to imagine the songwriting and playing making much difference.
Wait, scratch that. The songwriting is great. And the playing isn’t just good, it’s mind-bustingly FANTASTIC. These strengths take an album that threatens to be a wishy-washy mess and elevate it to excellence. Even better, there’s nothing as horrific as the chorus to “Invaders.” That’s not to say this album is super-melodic, but the choruses are solid and the verses flow quite well. Take the awesome opener “Where Eagles Dare” for example: infectious and spontaneous turns of melody and energy, huge-sounding soloing, impeccable drumming, and a wonderfully catchy and legitimately epic chorus. The percussion on this track (and most of the album) is ridiculously fun to listen to, even more noticeable since this is apparently a new drummer. When was the last time you heard a drum riff this good?
Next is the slightly overlong but still enjoyable “Revelations”, mostly made enjoyable by some in-your-face power riffage and a few nice, melodic slower-paced parts. It’s very dynamic, even if that dynamic is very simple and wears out a bit by the end. “Flight of Icarus” is a weaker version of “Run to the Hills”, with a less memorable melody (though it’s maddeningly catchy anyway), but the emphasis on chugging has switched metaphorical focus from running to flying (and falling), which is a smart and musically enjoyable move. Despite being slightly less energizing, it’s still incredibly fun. “Die With Your Boots On” is the first major snag, with a really repetitive chorus and uninteresting melody (though the guitar work is still quite satisfying), but it’s negative impact is almost immediately erased by “The Trooper”, an awesome twin-guitar showcase with wonderful riffs and interplay aplenty. “Still Life” is alright, with effective playing and a simmering melody, but not a lot of pure power. “The Quest for Fire” has some really inane lyrics and underwhelming playing, but it’s too short to get seriously mad at, and features some neat soloing. The lyrics to “Sun and Steel” are even worse but the guitar interplay is incredibly fun. And hey, the chugging is back! “To Tame a Land” doesn’t touch the epic closer feel of “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, but builds satisfyingly enough.
Clearly I don’t have nearly as much to say about this album as I did Number of the Beast, but when all’s said and done I enjoy it about the same amount. It mellows out a bit on side two, but I would say the best stuff on here would easily fit on Number of the Beast. It also gets points for better technicalities; the solos are far better, the production is a bit cleaner, Dickinson’s vocals are even more jaw-dropping, all that stuff, so if you’re up on technically proficient NWOBHM this will probably be your Bible. It’s a bit too self-serious and samey to overtake Number of the Beast, but they can sit on the couch together and…I dunno, play DnD. I think they’d be into that.
Thematic Content: 2/5
Resonance: 5/5 Cheat Commandos, rock rock on!
Experience: Your third-grade history teacher gets totally stoned on Greek mythology day and starts yelling about…I dunno, something. I’m in third grade, give me a break!
9/10. Best Song: Where Eagles Dare, I guess.