Powerslave

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Powerslave
Iron Maiden - Powerslave.jpg
Studio album by
Released3 September 1984 (1984-09-03)
RecordedFebruary–June 1984
Studio Compass Point, Nassau, Bahamas
Genre Heavy metal
Length51:12
Label EMI
Producer Martin Birch
Iron Maiden studio albums chronology
Piece of Mind
(1983)
Powerslave
(1984)
Somewhere in Time
(1986)
Singles from Powerslave
  1. "2 Minutes to Midnight"
    Released: 6 August 1984
  2. "Aces High"
    Released: 22 October 1984

Powerslave is the fifth studio album by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released on 3 September 1984 through EMI Records in Europe and its sister label Capitol Records in North America. It was re-released by Sanctuary and Columbia Records in the United States in 2002.

Contents

The album's cover artwork is notable for its Ancient Egypt theme. That theme, taken from the title track, was carried over to the album's supporting tour, the World Slavery Tour. This began in Warsaw, Poland, on 9 August 1984; it is widely regarded as being the band's longest and most arduous tour to date, and led to the live album Live After Death .

The release contains a musical re-telling of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner , the lyrics of which include some lines from the poem. At 13 minutes and 45 seconds in length, this was Iron Maiden's longest song for over 30 years until it was surpassed by the 18-minute "Empire of the Clouds" from the 2015 album The Book of Souls .

Powerslave is notable as the band's first album to feature the same personnel as their previous studio release. This lineup would remain intact for two further studio releases. It is also their last album to date to feature an instrumental piece, and the only one until Senjutsu (2021) in which longtime member and guitarist Dave Murray does not have a songwriting credit. [lower-alpha 1]

"2 Minutes to Midnight" and "Aces High" were released as singles.

Background, writing and recording

Following the conclusion of their highly successful World Piece Tour in December 1983, during which Iron Maiden headlined large venues and arenas in the US for the first time in their career, [1] the band took three weeks off in January 1984, before regrouping at Le Chalet Hotel in Jersey where they rehearsed for six weeks. [2] [3] [lower-alpha 2] As with Powerslave's predecessor Piece of Mind (1983), this was where most of the album's writing took place; the band then began recording it at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas. [5]

Bassist Steve Harris recalled how, under time pressure, the song "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" was written in a relatively short space of time. [6] Influenced by Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem of the same name (drawing heavily from his 1815–16 gloss), [7] the song directly quotes two passages from the poem, the former including the famous lines: 'Water, water everywhere – nor any drop to drink'. [8] At over thirteen minutes long, the track contains several distinct sections with differing moods and would become a fan favourite. [9] During the 2008–09 Somewhere Back in Time World Tour, guitarist Dave Murray, vocalist Bruce Dickinson and Harris cited the song as their favourite to play live. [10]

Once finished, the band undertook another short break while the album was mixed at Electric Lady Studios, New York, before reconvening in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to rehearse for the World Slavery Tour. [11] The tour began in Poland in August 1984 and ended in California in July 1985. [12] The stage set echoed the album cover, including monumental pedestals several stories high, atop which the musicians appeared at times during the show. [7] The set amply filled even the gigantic proscenium of Radio City Music Hall. The tour was the first time a heavy metal band had taken a full set behind the Iron Curtain, visiting Poland and Hungary, a landmark achievement at the time. [12] It continued into South America – the first time the band had toured there – where they played to an estimated audience of 350,000 at the inaugural Rock in Rio as special guests of the band Queen. [6] The Live After Death album and video, recorded over four nights at Long Beach Arena in LA and Hammersmith Odeon in London, [13] were also released; these respectively peaked at No. 2 and No. 1 in the UK charts. [14]

In total, the tour was eleven months long and touched 28 countries. [12] Powerslave debuted at No. 2 in the UK Albums Chart, as a result of their record company EMI's third Now That's What I Call Music! pop compilation. [12] [14] [15] According to both Nicko McBrain and Adrian Smith, Powerslave began making Iron Maiden famous "very fast, very quickly", such as in Brazil, where hundreds of fans waited outside hotels and restaurants for the band. [6]

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [9]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal 9/10 [16]
The Daily VaultA [17]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [18]
MusicHound Rock 3/5 [19]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [20]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 [21]
That Hashtag Show9.5/10 [22]

In 2017, it was ranked 38th on Rolling Stone 's list of "100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time". [23]

In other media

The song "Flash of the Blade" was included on the soundtrack of Dario Argento's 1985 horror film Phenomena and was covered by the American band Avenged Sevenfold on their double live album/DVD Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough . Rhapsody of Fire have also recorded a cover of the song that is featured on the deluxe edition of their album From Chaos to Eternity . "Flash of the Blade" can also be heard in the Jem and the Holograms episode "Kimber's Rebellion", just after the cartoon band members return home from Paris, on a boom-box stereo being carried by a passerby.

Track listing

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Aces High" Steve Harris 4:31
2."2 Minutes to Midnight"6:04
3."Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" (instrumental)Harris4:15
4."Flash of the Blade"Dickinson4:05
5."The Duellists"Harris6:18
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
6."Back in the Village"
  • Smith
  • Dickinson
5:02
7."Powerslave"Dickinson7:12
8."Rime of the Ancient Mariner"Harris13:45
Total length:51:12
1995 reissue bonus disc
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Rainbow's Gold" (Beckett cover)
4:57
2."Mission from 'Arry"6:42
3."King of Twilight" (Nektar cover)
  • Roye Albrighton
  • Mick Brockett
  • Allan Freeman
  • Ron Howden
  • Derek "Mo" Moore
4:53
4."The Number of the Beast" (live)Harris4:57
Total length:21:29

Notes

Personnel

Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes. [24] [25]

Iron Maiden

Additional personnel

Additional notes

Catalogue

Charts

Certifications

RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada) [43] 2× Platinum200,000^
Germany (BVMI) [44] Gold250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) [45] Gold100,000^
United States (RIAA) [46] Platinum1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Notes

  1. Murray co-wrote multiple bonus tracks on Killers , The Number of the Beast and The X Factor .
  2. The History of Iron Maiden: Part 2 – Live After Death documentary erroneously lists the place as Guernsey. [4]
  3. Re-release of both singles as part of The First Ten Years box set. Exceeded the length limit of the UK Singles chart.

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