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Review: Iron Maiden - No Prayer For The Dying
Iron Maiden
No Prayer For The Dying

Label: EMI
Year released: 1990
Duration: 44:02
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: April 1, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.53/5 (70.7%) (86 Votes)

This is one of those few Maiden albums that take a serious beating in just about every discussion about the band's catalogue... And I honestly can't understand why. I think this is one of the Maiden albums that I've listened to the most, and the melodies from most of the songs here are forever stuck in my head. Definitely one of my favourite Maiden albums, and it has nothing to do with the arrangements or the song writing or whatever criticism has been thrown at it: Whenever I listen to this, I can't help but think "Whoa!.. This rocks!" Say what you will, this accounts for a lot, more so than the number of notes a band can play per second or some other bullshit like that. I mean that's all very nice (...) but sometimes I simply want an album that rocks without pretention - and "No Prayer for the Dying" is one such album.

This was the first album that followed Adrian Smith's departure for his ill-fated solo career, with Janick Gers taking over (although he has no writing credits on this particular album.) The vocals on this album are somewhat more aggressive and raspier than on the previous albums with Bruce, but fit the music pretty well - although the vocal work is a bit shaky in a couple of places.

The odd song on this album is "Holy Smoke". From the beginning and still today, I've always thought it was simply some kind of joke meant for the band to have some fun - hell, just check out the video they made for it. I think it would have fit better on Bruce's debut solo album, however. ;) Not really a bad song, but one to raise a few eyebrows. The version of "Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter", oddly THE one meant for Bruce's solo album, fits the rest of the album much better.

I couldn't help but notice that the longest song on the album is "Mother Russia" at 5:32. Considering Steve's addiction to long epics (nothing wrong with that), this is surprising to say the least. Still, "Mother Russia" comes out with a very strong epic feel, so it's not like the album is devoid of an epic either.

As usual, there's a couple of fillers on here - or I should say more like songs that are an acquired taste.. I guess "Holy Smoke" is one of them, even though I don't want to hurt the little song. ;) And while I just can't get "The Assassin" out of my head - and the song does have its moments - overall it sounds a bit half-baked. This album doesn't cut it as a Maiden classic, but it shows you a good time. In conclusion, sorry to all the detractors, but this album simply rocks. And as an added bonus, the choruses on this one are not repeated ad eternum. The end. :)

Favourites: Tailgunner, No Prayer for the Dying, Fates Warning, Hooks in You, Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter.

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