Iron Maiden Song By Song Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Zoot Marimba, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. SammyJoe

    SammyJoe Up The Irons!

    "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner", this was and is in this thread by far the most epic, most ambitious but also the finest song in their catalogue as we known conclude the album.
    Yet again very original, interesting and unique inspiration taken for the song. I've seen the original poem and book concerning it at the local library, but I haven't read it yet, unfornately. I think I have to read and explore it someday. I have to really.
    For what I've read and seen commented, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem is majestic and crown achievement, but it's also one of the hardest poems to illustrate and also it works on different levels, so it's not necessarily easy to understand and interpret.
    I like the narrative lyrics which are fairly easy to follow and verses use bits from the original poem. This has to be one of the best songs Steve has ever written. To date, it's remained as one of the greatest epic songs in the Maiden catalogue.
    I like tempo changes and change of feelings during the song and it keeps things interesting all the way. Great bass here in the song, I really dig Steve's playing on the album. Some don't mind the middle part, but I think it's perfect pause and essential part of the whole trip.
    The start of the song is energetic and epic with that catchy riff, the middle part is cool as there's some real eerie feeling present. The best part is probably the little building up back from the middle part with the crescendo, great solos (from both) and that scream. Great!
    I think the studio-version is great and preferred but the version found on Live After Death is wonderful and aswell any other live-version I've heard. I like the little story that is told on the video version..
    Amazing song, so this will get full 5/5 from me. I will post the rest rankings soon..
  2. SammyJoe

    SammyJoe Up The Irons!

    Aces High 5/5
    2 Minutes To Midnight 5/5
    Losfer Words (Big 'Orra) 4/5
    Flash of the Blade 5/5
    The Duellists 5/5
    Back in the Village 4½/5
    Powerslave 5/5
    Rime of the Ancient Mariner 5/5

    Overall thoughts on the album, I think this was actually natural continuation and progression from Piece Of Mind. It has some of their biggest songs so far, so it's really strong set of songs, there's couple not quite masterpieces (similar to past albums) but I think as a whole this album is really strong.
    I even renewed a bit of passion and likeness to this album via this thread as I hadn't actually listened to the 4 songs in the middle (from Losfer to Back) much at all lately, I surely had played the album fully but now I concentrated and found totally new respect for some of the forgotten songs, so I gave couple songs more points than had planned.
    Production is perhaps the best so far (thanks to Martin Birch), band performances are all top of the game, Bruce provides world class vocals, especially I have to mention how Steve's bass shines on this one and Nicko also provides the beats with greater enthuasiasm as this marks his 2nd album with Maiden.
    Everything works here precisely as should. This album captures the feeling, the mythology, the fantasy, the energy and the atmosphere into compact 50 minutes album (remember when album used to have just perfect running times in the old days?) resulting in absolute masterpiece.
    The next one is great also, it's one of my alltime favorites aswell, so it will be interesting to follow and comment how things go here when we discuss "Somewhere In Time"...
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  3. Cheevyjames

    Cheevyjames Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    Rime of the Ancient Mariner

    This is what we've been building too, the apex of the album and the greatest Maiden epic perhaps ever but definitely until Empire of the Clouds. Mariner is Steve's best song up to this point and one of his best ever. I became familiar with this song from Live After Death and it was the video specifically that really blew my mind. Seeing them pull off this song was intense. The first 5 minutes of Mariner show it as a really cool Maiden song and I specifically love the change at 3:00 in (There! calls the Mariner). Already at this point, 5 minutes in, we've got great riffs, fills, changes, bass playing, vocal melodies, lyrics...everything is damn good up to that point.

    It's interesting how we Maiden fans enjoy different things and have different reactions to the music. Just as @The Hud doesn't get into the middle section and usually skips over it, to me it makes the song and this slow part and the following Ultimate Bass Riff are my favorite parts of the song. Watching LAD and seeing Steve play those A augmented & G augmented chords for the first half and then the D minor-C minor chords for the 2nd half of the slow section really altered my thoughts on dynamics and how instruments, specifically bass, could shape music. I love what Dave, Adrian and Nicko do instrumentally in this middle section, but it was Steve Harris who truly blew my mind with this stuff. As @GodShifter said, the Ultimate Bass Riff is one that he'd tried out in NOB and To Tame a Land and then perfected here. It's a very effective slow down and build up before Bruce unleashes his excellent scream and the momentum carries us through the solos, the virtuosity and to the recap of the first section and the end of the song. This is how you write an epic song and Steve did a masterful job. As far as epics go, he's never topped this. Best song on the album.

    Overall Powerslave Thoughts:

    Amazing album. As I said in the initial post, the production is the best that Martin Birch ever did for Maiden. No Maiden album sounds this good. The artwork is iconic. Maiden just had the whole package here - the art, the musicianship, the songs. It's their best album so far.

    Excellent songs:

    Aces High
    2 Minutes to Midnight
    Losfer Words
    Flash of the Blade
    Back in the Village
    Rime of the Ancient Mariner

    Enjoyable, but needs help:

    The Duellists
  4. Standoffish

    Standoffish Don't you dare call me an ostrich!

    Rime of the Ancient Mariner

    This is one of those songs where you need to find some alone time, so you can listen to it under headphones. Awesome.

    Not much to add to the great analysis you guys have done. I'm glad someone brought up the cover art, though. I don't know how closely Derek Riggs worked with the band, but his artwork does such a good job of conveying the albums' music/themes. (I like how Pharaoh Eddie seems to be scratching the scruff of his mini-pharaohs necks, like they're puppies :laugh:).
  5. superstar19

    superstar19 Senior Member

    Canton, MI, USA
    Think I mentioned earlier in the thread that my intro to Maiden was via Live After Death and it was Rime Of The Ancient Mariner that sealed the deal for me. This is still probably my favorite Maiden song. Love gallop of the first part. Even the slow section is used to great effect. Dave and Adrian do an incredible job after the slow section and Bruce totally kills with the vocals. Sheer perfection here.
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  6. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    After listening to this album, and indeed both the previous three and next two (three if you count Live After Death), all I can say is... God, I miss Martin Birch!!!

    That is all.
  7. Cliff

    Cliff Magic Carpet Man

    Northern CA
    I would have to agree with you there. Even though Steve doesn't tear it up like he was famous for, I love the powerful gallop in Mariner. Powerslave (the song and the album) kicks so much ass from start to finish.
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  8. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Rainbow's Gold:

    And now, my belated review of Rainbow's Gold, a cover of the Beckett tune and one of the B-Sides to 2 Minutes to Midnight.
    We get a count off before Nicko lays down a beat at :05, and it has this great feel to it. The guitars come along at :15, and they groove really, really well. Bruce comes in at :59, and he gives a great Robert Plant-esque delivery, but Dickinson style. I love the little throwback styled solo at 1:33, and the harmonized guitars are put to excellent use, and we must mention Adrian's solo at 3:09, what a great solo it is.
    This is a great tune and performance from all involved.
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  9. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Beckett's version:

    Pretty good, but I'll take Maiden
  10. MusicMatt

    MusicMatt Quality over Quantity

    California, U.S.A.
    Rainbow's Gold

    Not a fan. Don't care the style of singing Bruce is doing here. Musically its good and I really like the solo but its a pass for me.
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  11. ABBDutchFan

    ABBDutchFan Well-Known Member

    A little off-topic but i've always been a sucker for Derek Riggs's Iron Maiden cover art work. Especially the little details on his more eleborate covers like "Powerslave" and "Somewhere In Time".

    Most fans probably spotted this many moons ago but did you see the "Indiana Jones was here 1941" inscription on the PS front cover? And Micky Mouse nearby. There's also a "What? No Guinness" slogan and cartoon. There's a "bollok" inscription. And one of the hieroglyphs shows an Egyptian artist working at a drawing board which has a modern day light spot.

    A poster or a vinyl copy might be helpfull spotting these. Another reason why CD covers suck ha-ha.
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  12. SammyJoe

    SammyJoe Up The Irons!

    Dereg Riggs old website had some interesting info on some of the artwork, the newer website has only the pictures for some reason.
    Anyways, it was interesting back in when the old pages were active to read comments concerning each artwork, and also I remind you, look and see all the pictures remember to read each pictures tab header text.
    That tab header text is visible fully when you highlight the tab with mouse..there ain't anything remarkable but some nice tidbits and extra info on there.

    For example, Powerslave cover has this info on the page:
    Most of the heiroglyphs are from the book of Osiris, which basic says that Osiris is the biggest, baddest due around, don't mess with Osiris. But it says it for about fifty pages. I copied some of it except for the slilly bits, like the bit that says "this is a load of old bollocks".
    Somebody somewhere said it was inspired by an "Earth Wind and Fire" cover (a seventies band), but that's just crap. Because of the song Bruce wrote it had to be Egyptian so I went back to the tomb of Rameses 2 and copied the idea from that (just like Earth, Wind and Fire did) but mine is better.
    It's also got a heiroglyph Micky mouse in the bottom left corner. Ha! Earth Wind and Fire don't have a Mickey Mouse. Obviously inferior. The last time I saw this picture it was hanging on the managers wall. Then they phoned me up one day and asked me if I had it... What?

    And the tab header text has this info:
    all the little virgins go to eddie's groin and come out DEFILED!!! Dirty Eddie...

    Powerlave-page over here:
    all the little virgins go into eddie's groin and come out DEFILED!!! Dirty Eddie...

    Somewhere In Time:
    This is the most complex album cover ever done by anyone... and I'm not going to do it again. It's too much ****ing work. This may be the biggest version that some of you have ever seen. there's tons of stuff in here, you will have to look and find it for yourself.
    There's more about the painting of this in the book "Run for Cover" which is available from my website. They said they wanted something a bit Bladerunner looking so I painted this.

    Eddie in the 25th century... Wednesday... about tea time. He gets quite agressive when he hasn't eaten. Eddie shooting off his pistol again.

    Visit the old Dereg Riggs site here: Wayback Machine
    I didn't test all the given dates from that archive, but the one I linked seems to work.
    Please, look and read the info and comments, it's really interesting to find out as these things were never told by the band, it's from the artist himself and sometimes how fed up or frustrated he was with the whole hurry etc.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
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  13. Yam Graham

    Yam Graham Forum Resident

    West Midlands,UK.
    Powerslave was the last Maiden album I got on Vinyl...
    I taped my mates Live After Death whilst I waited for the CD....tho the vinyl had more songs.
    The artwork, Eddie....all major contributions to Maiden's on going success.
    Riggs's artwork were particularly superb...shame they dropped him for the later albums.
  14. SammyJoe

    SammyJoe Up The Irons!

    "Rainbow's Gold", tight and powerful cover, excellent musicianship with great vibe.
    Nicko's got great groove and beat going here, I like the harmonized guitars and Adrian's solo.
    There's great sense of Bruce channeling his inner Robert Plant here and it works.
    I think this is better than the original and interesting choice as cover. Im digging this one..
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
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  15. Cheevyjames

    Cheevyjames Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    Rainbow's Gold

    Nicko brings the bass drum work and the groove. @Musicman1998 nailed the Robert Plant aspect of Bruce's singing and that comment put me in a Led Zep frame of mind. I hadn't ever thought about it before, but Maiden's version of Rainbow's Gold is very Zep-influenced in general, for everyone. The obvious reason is that the original is an even more pronounced Zep-influenced track. The Beckett version brings the funk a lot harder, but I do love Nicko's playing on here and how he interprets that aspect. The original appears on Beckett's only album, from 1974. Of course, the same album features Life's Shadow...the song that Steve lifted parts that became Hallowed Be Thy Name. I like how they Maiden-ized the track, and I think it's good song, but it's sort of decreased in stature over the years. I used to love it, now it's just a good song, nothing more. Maiden play it really well and I like listening to it, but mostly for Nicko.
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  16. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Mission From Arry:

    And now onto Mission From Arry, a recording of a argument between Steve and Nicko recorded during the World Piece tour when something had happened with Steve's bass, and he sent a roadie to tell Nicko to extend his drum solo. Problem is, this guy was not able to communicate with Nicko, and the latter screwed up his solo as a result, which resulted in him going off on the guy, then Steve came in and the rhythm section went off on each other, with Bruce eventually joining in and recording the conversation.
    I don't have much to say about this, but I do smirk when listening to this, the highlights would be
    1. Bruce going "there is a difference between a mistake and a human error", which is basically him stirring s--- up.
    2. Steve (?) going "some c--- is recording this" :laugh:
  17. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Here's a clip with them talking about it:
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  18. Cheevyjames

    Cheevyjames Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    Mission From 'Arry

    A great laugh and a wonderful piece of Maiden history. The video above tells the story perfectly, the only thing that wasn't mentioned is that when Steve saw the tape recorder he tried to smash it, but Bruce knocked him out of the way because on the other side of the tape were Bruce's demo ideas for the song Powerslave. I think it's hilarious that the argument had died down and then Bruce starts it all up again just so he can get it recorded!
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  19. MusicMatt

    MusicMatt Quality over Quantity

    California, U.S.A.
    Mission From Arry

    "Don't ever do that again" has to be my favorite line from Nicko during the recording. Hilarious from beginning to end and a stroke of genius to release it as a B-side.
  20. TexasBuck

    TexasBuck Forum Resident

    Dallas, TX
    I've been out of town for a few days so I'm catching up:

    Powerslave: From the opening laugh to the big ending: It's a classic. In the 80's, I thought the song was a bit monotonous but it's aged VERY well for me. It's now one of the highlights of the album. I'm a big fan of the backing vocals during the chorus and that pushes the studio version ahead of the live version for me. Bruce's vocals are perhaps a bit cartoon-ish or over-done but it works and makes the song great fun. Love the pre-chorus riff too.

    Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Perhaps my favorite Maiden song. Certainly up there. The beat is driving and relentless. The story is fascinating and perhaps why I never tire of this song. The tempo changes make the 13+ min song over before you know it. On the live version, from "The curse it lives on in their eyes..." until the end of the solo is one of my favorite passages in all of rock music. The laughing then screaming that leads up into the solo never fails to give me chills. That part of the studio version is a bit anti-climatic in comparison. The studio version has it's own strengths though, with the more polished sound and great production.

    Overall 4.5 stars out of 5. Easily a top 100 album of all time for me. Pushing the top 50:

    Aces High: 5
    2 Minutes: 4
    Losfer Words: 3
    Flash of the Blade: 4.5
    Duelists: 4.5
    Back in the Village: 4.5
    Powerslave: 4.5
    Ancient Mariner: Off the chart
  21. Standoffish

    Standoffish Don't you dare call me an ostrich!

    Rainbow's Gold

    Yeah, this is very Zeppelinesque. It's kind of "The Immigrant Song" with an undercurrent of "Trampled Underfoot". Dave's guitar sounds like Jimmy Page. Cool cover that makes for a nice b-side.

    Mission From Arry

    Things that crack me up about this:

    -the title (it sounds so dramatic!)
    -giving official songwriting credits to Steve and Nicko
    -Bruce the Instigator!
    -awesome thick British accents
    -I'm convinced this is an outtake from Spinal Tap. Love it.
  22. SammyJoe

    SammyJoe Up The Irons!

    "Mission From 'Arry", this is odd but surely one of the coolest b-sides ever. Very clever and interesting idea to record argument and release it officially.
    This has to be very british way of dealing things or perhaps british humour, anyways "Mission From 'Arry" is truly great and essential part of the Maiden History.
    Great and very hilarious how the argument goes down or almost is dying but Bruce goes there and starts it again so he can record the whole thing.
    Absolutely fabulous!

    Here's the full transcript of the argument:
    Two Minutes To Midnight – Lyrics
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  23. Cheevyjames

    Cheevyjames Forum Resident

    Durham, NC

    King of Twilight 1984 (Nektar) 4:53

    @Musicman1998 asked me to do the write up for this one since he's busy today (it's his birthday! Happy birthday, dude!).

    Continuing the trend from Piece of Mind where both singles get a cover for the B-side, the flip side of the Aces High single starts off with Maiden playing their version of English prog band Nektar's King of Twilight. The song originally appeared as the closing track on Nektar's second album, A Tab in the Ocean (1972). In preparing for this write-up, I learned that Maiden's version is actually combination of Crying in the Dark & King of Twilight (last two tracks on the original album). The guys took the first half of Crying in the Dark and added that onto KOT, basically taking out the long solo section in Crying in the Dark. Maiden also slightly rearranged the middle section to Twilight. I'll include the original versions below.

    In listening to the original versions it's easy to see how this song would inspire young Steve Harris. Steve ups the ante on the bass playing, but it was still damn good in the original. I love the bass playing here. One of my favorites from Steve and it's such a blast to play along with. Maiden did a great cover on this and succeeded in making it sound like an Iron Maiden song. Where Nektar's version is kind of creepy, Maiden goes for the heavy route and really nails it. Nicko brings a great groove to this song and Bruce sounds fantastic, esp. in the darker second half. This might be my favorite cover that Maiden's ever done - it's so great.
  24. Cheevyjames

    Cheevyjames Forum Resident

    Durham, NC

    Original version of Nektar's Crying in the Dark/King of Twilight
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  25. Cheevyjames

    Cheevyjames Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    In thinking about Maiden's covers, here's something I've always wondered: why did the band never do a Wishbone Ash song? They're possibly Steve's biggest influence and their first three albums are excellent and almost sound like Iron Maiden, if they were around in 1970. Most any of their early material would sound great Maiden-ized. Their covers were the most fun of buying the 80's singles; wish they'd still do that.

    Knowing that Steve's also a Zappa fan, I would love to hear Maiden tackle Zappa's Peaches En Regalia.
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