The fifth full-length album by the legendary British Heavy Metal band.
"Powerslave" was released on 3 September 1984 on EMI in Europe and its sister label Capitol Records in the US.
The third in a trilogy of legendary Iron Maiden albums, "Powerslave" is frequently ranked as the fan favorite of the bunch, capping off a stellar run that sealed the band's genre-defining status. If "The Number Of The Beast" was the all-time Metal landmark, "Powerslave" is perhaps the quintessential Maiden album, capturing all the signature elements of the band's definitive era in one place.
The album opens with Maiden at their catchiest, turning in a pair of Metal classics right off the bat with the British hit singles "Aces High" (a high-speed ode to a WWII air battle) and the apocalyptic "2 Minutes to Midnight." Next we get an instrumental, "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)", of the sort that Maiden periodically deployed to keep fans in awe of their technical chops. A pair of their best and most overlooked album tracks follows; "Flash of the Blade" and "The Duellists" exemplify the glory-minded battle hymns that made up such an important part of their lyrical obsessions, even if both are about sword fighting rather than modern military history. By the end of the album, we're seeing Maiden at their most progressive and ambitious. The seven-minute title track builds on the previous album's "To Tame a Land" with its use of Middle Eastern melodies, delving into Egyptian mythology for a rumination on power and mortality. This leads into the biggest, most grandiose epic in the Maiden catalog - "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", a multi-sectioned, thirteen-and-a-minute prog-fest adapted from the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem. Though it isn't exactly what you'd call hooky, its shifting moods and lofty intellectual aspirations made it a live favorite. This latter material helped ensure that "Powerslave" was the Maiden album with the biggest impact on the emerging Progressive Metal genre (which, in its earliest form, essentially fused Rush with this sort of Maiden material). In this context, "Back in the Village" gets somewhat lost in the shuffle; it's a thematic sequel to "The Prisoner", though not quite as memorable.
So even though we don't hear the Punk influences of old, "Powerslave" catalogs every major facet of the band's personality during the Dickinson years, and does so while firing on all cylinders. Perhaps that's in part because "Powerslave" is the first Maiden album to feature the same line-up as its predecessor, creating a definite continuity and comfort level. Or perhaps it's simply that we're witnessing a great band in its creative prime. Whatever the case, it's entirely arguable that "Powerslave" summarizes why Iron Maiden was so important and influential even more effectively than "The Number Of The Beast", at least on a purely musical level. It may not be quite as accessible, but it's every bit as classic and essential.
Album is notable for its Ancient Egyptian theme displayed in the cover artwork, lifted from the title track, which was carried over to the album's supporting tour. The World Slavery Tour began in Warsaw, Poland on 9 August 1984, and is widely regarded as being the band's longest and most arduous to date, as well as leading to the live album "Live After Death".
The album contains a musical re-telling of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", which uses pieces of the original poem as lyrics and is, furthermore, Iron Maiden's longest song to date (at thirteen minutes and 42 seconds in length).
Album debuted at number two in the UK charts, as a result of their record company's (EMI) third "Now That's What I Call Music!" pop compilation.
Rare Russian edition with laminate cover.
EMI/Gala Records, 1984/1993 (EJ 2402001 A). Made in Russia. Used: NM/NM.
1. Aces High
2. 2 Minutes To Midnight
3. Losfer Words (Big 'orra)
4. Flash Of The Blade
5. The Duellists
6. Back In The Village
8. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
Total playing time: 51:20 min.