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Review: Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind
Iron Maiden
Piece of Mind

Label: Sony
Year released: 1983
Duration: 46:03
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: May 3, 2015
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.66/5 (93.23%) (130 Votes)

Here it is, my first real Heavy Metal album. I'd listened to a lot of Hard Rock before I picked up Piece of Mind sometime in 1983 including Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, KISS and even Black Sabbath (though they were far from my favorites) and was always looking for something "different." I didn't exactly know that "different" meant but I knew it had to exist and I had to find it. Enter Piece of Mind. I don't know what prompted me to pick up the cassette in my local record store. Maybe I had heard "Flight of Icarus" somewhere or maybe it was just the cover, which was like nothing I'd ever seen before. The music within was certainly new to my ears and I admit to putting it down for a while after unsuccessfully trying to get through it the first time. "Where Eagles Dare" was just SO fast and SO heavy I couldn't hang. Something prompted me to go back to it though and it wasn't long before it finally clicked. This was the "different" I was looking for. More intense than anything I'd experienced up until this point and with lyrics that weren't the usual "girls, parties and music," the path of my musical life was forever changed.

How has Piece of Mind held up over the years? Just look at my avatar to know how I feel about it. "Where Eagles Dare" with its machine-gun guitar bridge, "Flight of Icarus" with lyrics out of Greek mythology and one of Maiden's absolute best songs ever and one of the best riffs PERIOD, "The Trooper" have cemented this album in the pantheon of Heavy Metal. The twin guitar work of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith was fast approaching peak efficiency, Steve Harris' galloping bass was already the standard by which all other bass playing would be judged, Bruce Dickinson was ready to challenge Rob Halford for best pipes in Heavy Metal and new drummer Nicko McBrain solidified the rhythm section. Almost every band member contributed music or lyrics including Dickinson who had joined one album earlier but had been contractually unable to write any music for his new band. Some of the lyrical themes and devices the band has become known for started showing up on Piece of Mind like swordplay ("Sun and Steel") and basing songs on movies or literature ("Where Eagles Dare," "Quest for Fire" and "To Tame a Land"). Iron Maiden was truly the band for nerds and outsiders and even better for those of us who were both. Why not a perfect 5/5 then? On Piece of Mind the highs are high but there are a few lows and some kinks to work out before the (in my opinion anyway) masterpiece that was Powerslave would come about. "Still Life" sounds hastily put together, basing a song on the movie Quest for Fire seems dubious at best and then there is "Revelations." I'm going to take heat for this but I just don't like the vocal lines Bruce wrote for this one. The song has never flowed very well for me.

Still, Piece of Mind remains a classic from one of the best Heavy Metal bands to walk this Earth and is an absolute must for anyone who calls themselves a fan. Even if you are into the extremes of Metal today much of what you are hearing can be traced back to albums like Piece of Mind. It is not to be missed.

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