Great Metal Albums of 1984: Metallica- Ride the Lightning

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2018 by 80smetalman

I have said many times throughout the journey through 1984, it was the golden year of the golden decade for heavy metal. Many metal bands got mainstream exposure on radio and MTV. Not only that, the exposure gave many metalheads a look into bands that were up and coming or just out of the limelight. One of these up and coming bands was Metallica with their second album, “Ride the Lightning.”

Thinking back to that year, I don’t ever recall Metallica getting any airplay on the radio or MTV. As I listen to the album, I have to conclude that while mainstream media gave many metal bands some great exposure, I don’t think they were quite ready for a band like Metallica, even if metalheads were. After spending the year listening to all the great bands, Metallica was something different but interesting. It definitely had my attention. When I heard this album, I was blown away by the sheer power and hunger of this band.

While their debut album, “Kill’Em All,” just wants to pound the crap out of you, “Ride the Lightning” does offer some, I stress some, melodic moments. One gets that impression on the opening notes of the first track, “Fight Fire With Fire,” because it starts out with a full acoustic intro. However, it goes right into some very hard chords which lasts for three songs. In fact, all the times I’ve listened to the album, I seem to miss where “Fight Fire With Fire” ends and the title track begins. The comes the great “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” a loud pounding but at the same time rhythmic tune. I really like this track but I was disappointed when they played it at Donington 1987. It just didn’t grab me the way that it always does on vinyl.

Afterwards comes what I mean about melodic moments, my favourite track on the album, “Fade to Black.” The first half of this song is a near power ballad and while it would be another seven years before we got to hear their most famous ballad, “Nothing Else Matters,” I do hear some resemblances on “Fade to Black.” But it doesn’t stay melodic as the second half of the song goes back to more traditional Metallica soundings. An added bonus is the way that Kirk Hamett rips his guitar solo at the end.

With “Trapped Under Ice” and “Escape,” you get more great Metallica mashing and like the first two songs on the album, you have to listen carefully or you’ll miss where the one ends and the other begins. Then, if you thought your eardrums might get some relief, you’d would be sorely disappointed because “Creeping Death” comes along to kick your ass. This is a power song only slowing down slightly to deliver a more melodic chorus but then goes back to ear bashing. “Creeping Death” is decidedly my second favourite track on “Ride the Lightning.” It may not have the melodic approach of my number one but it lets you know it’s there and says you will like this song. Kirk’s solo on here is very cool too. The album ends with the very interesting instrumental “The Call of Ktulu.” All in all, this is a fantastic album and it reminds me of when Metallica were hard and hungry. The music on “Ride the Lightning” bears witness.

Track Listing:

  1. Fight Fire With Fire
  2. Ride the Lightning
  3. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  4. Fade to Black
  5. Trapped Under Ice
  6. Escape
  7. Creeping Death
  8. The Call of Ktulu


James Hetfield- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Kirk Hammett- lead guitar

Cliff Burton- bass

Lars Ulrich- drums, backing vocals on “Ride the Lightning”

In the opening pages of “Rock and Roll Children,” while the main characters are driving to the first concert in the book, one of them introduces the others to a new band called Metallica. It was the “Kill’Em All” album. Yes, back then, they were still making their way in the world and “Ride the Lightning” provided a springboard that would help launch them to greater things.

On another note, this album has been labelled thrash and speed metal. These were terms which I wouldn’t hear for another year. I just considered Metallica great metal at the time. Furthermore, this trip down memory lane makes me sad that I missed the Metallica, WASP and Armoured Saint show. That must have been fantastic.

Next post: Anthrax- Fistful of Metal

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to:



Great Metal Albums of 1984: WASP

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2018 by 80smetalman

At this moment, I’m kicking myself for my lack of foresight in these last few posts. Knowing I would be posting about Black Emerald, I should have waited until after my posts about them to visit the Armoured Saint album. This would have made my links to this debut album from WASP and the “Ride the Lightning” album from Metallica more cohesive. Why am I obsessing about this? You may be asking yourself. Well that’s because back in 1984, Metallica, WASP and Armoured Saint toured the US together. While I didn’t see this package, something I duly regret, I heard some amazing accounts of the shows and that’s why I wanted to post the 1984 releases from these three bands in succession. After all, it is part of our metal history.

The second this album was released, it became the subject of much controversy from the American religious right and eventually groups like the PMRC. The first target was the track “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast).” If you bought this album back in 1984, this track wouldn’t have been on it. Reason being was that it caused such an uproar with the zealots that Capital records decided to pull it from the album. Wimps! Therefore, I’m going to rewrite history a little an include it here because it is my all time favourite WASP song.

On the original copy, the album begins with the single “I Want to Be Somebody.” This was the song that actually got a little airplay on the radio and it is good. I don’t know how he does it but Blackie Lawless manages to write tunes with a catchy vibe to it. Fortunately, Blackie and the band don’t veer too far from that formula on the rest of the album. It is certainly there on the follow up track “L.O.V.E. Machine,” although the following track “The Flame” isn’t quite as catchy as the last two but not a bad song in any way. “B.A.D.” has a a very cool opening riff and possibly the best guitar solo on the album.

If offending the religious fanatics wasn’t enough, WASP had to go and have the America right question their patriotism. The track “School Daze” starts with a class full of children reciting the pledge of allegiance, which some attacked them for. However, if they bothered to listen to the lyrics, they would know that it’s about the drudgery of high school and nothing unpatriotic. The pledge of allegiance was there because that’s how the school day begins in America! Not that that ever bothered me because right after the pledge, the song goes into some hard  riffs and it’s possibly the heaviest song on the album.

WASP’s formula ticks things over very nicely on “Hellion.” It’s a cool track but nothing about it stands out from the other songs on the album. Afterwards though, comes the weakest link on the album. Now most of you know, I love a good power ballad and “Sleeping (In the Fire) is a brave attempt at one. However, Blackie doesn’t have the voice for singing such songs. He sounds to strained as if his voice is going to crack at any second. It is redeemed by a great guitar solo.

Three really good songs close out the album. I especially like how “Tormentor” begins with the guitar solo but keeps its pace throughout. It’s my vote for the hidden gem on the album and “The Torture Never Stops” makes the best closer for the album and gets the runner up vote for hidden gem.

Track Listing:

  1. Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)
  2. I Want to Be Somebody
  3. L.O.V.E. Machine
  4. The Flame
  5. B.A.D.
  6. School Daze
  7. Hellion
  8. Sleeping (In the Fire)
  9. On Your Knees
  10. Tormentor
  11. The Torture Never Stops


Blackie Lawless- lead vocals, bass

Chris Holmes- guitar

Randy Piper- guitar, backing vocals

Tony Richards- drums, backing vocals

The debut album from WASP would be a tool used by the religious right to wage war on rock music all throughout the 1980s. Like KISS, idiots would say that the band’s name was an acronym for We Are Satan’s People and We Are Sexual Perverts. While I am still lmao about this thirty plus years on, I still enjoy what a great album their debut was.

Next post: Metallica- Ride the Lightning

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Great Metal Album of 2018: Black Emerald- Hell Can’t Handle All of Us

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2018 by 80smetalman

It’s been four days since my weekend in Reading and after listening to their debut album, “Hell Can’t Handle All of Us,” I can still say I’m really into Black Emerald. I’ve now given the album three spins and I am completely impressed. Back in the 1980s, I used to love to listen to up and coming bands because they were hungry and that hunger was reflected in their music. So, it’s great to see that more than thirty years on, that theme is still present.

Things start off with an intro that totally reminds me of Black Sabbath. You know, that slow gloomy bass and guitar sound that gives the eerie feeling of impending doom. Something I have always loved about Sabbath. However, unlike Sabbath, that mood quickly changes to a faster uptempo sound which the earlier hook leads you into banging your head away to. This is a good opener to the album.

Following on is the more speed metal “Life of Anxiety.” Gutlocker vocalist Craig McBrearty lends a hand on the lead vocals and his vocal trade off with Emerald front man Edd Higgs, is just great to listen to. On “Dr Stein,” we have a fusion of Black Sabbath meets Megadeath. An interesting combination to say the least but it works very well on this song. There is the speed of Megadeath to start and even the first chorus reminds me a tiny bit of one of my favourite Megadeath tracks, “A Tout Le Monde.” Later in the song things go to the slower, gloomier Black Sabbath sound. “Dr Stein” ends with a very interesting combination of sounds from the guitar, bass and drums.

Next comes my favourite song on the album, “B.O.D.” I have said many times before that if the music is good in a song, the content of the lyrics won’t matter. The song could be about loving Jesus, eating fruit or doing terrible things to cats with a spoon and I wouldn’t be affected. “B.O.D.” is an anti- drug song and at my age, I shouldn’t be amused by the lyrics but with the song being so good, I don’t care that the opening line is:

“Shoot it up and snort the line

Dropping acid to drinking wine.”

Even later in the track, there’s “Smoking weed to smoking crack,” but I’m still rocking away. It could be down to the fact that guitarist Simon Hall really opens up on this track.

“One For the Road” continues to show how well the band can change it up during a song with elements of speed metal and melody. Afterwards, there’s “Voodoo Princess” which features Remnant guitarist Andy Gunn. The guitars on this track give the song a Jimi Hendrix feel to it. Like I said when I saw Remnant, Andy Gunn can play a guitar and Simon is playing along with him. I get impressions of guitar solo trade offs in the forms of Tipton/Downing, Smith/Murray and even Hanneman/King.

The second song from the demo tape I was given at Bloodstock is “Drown in the River.” It’s is done even better on the album and now that I have the lyrics on hand, I know know that the singer is drowning in the Thames River and not the River Death like I thought he was the past four and a half years. It also has a cool guitar solo and a great fade out at the end.

Black Sabbath rears its influential head again on the intro for “Sculptures to the Sky.” Now before every starts going WTF? let me say that this track is what Black Sabbath would sound like if Tom Arraya was lead vocalist. I don’t know if that would work in real life but Black Emerald makes it definitely plausible here.

The final crossover track from the demo is “Figure on a Barbed Wire Cross.” During the show, Edd explained that the song was about Charles Manson. Reading the lyrics, I can see that but they could be singing about a Hitler, Manson, Satan orgy and I would still like this song. Another weirdo fanatic is featured in the near ten minute track, “Jonestown.” The song is about Reverend Jim Jones who ordered his cult to commit suicide in 1978. What I love about this song is that’s it’s a celebration of what the band is capable of. Great vocals, musicianship and some cool tempo changes just so you don’t get bored. Not that you would. “Jonestown” leads into the closing instrumental that is “Revelations” and that is a brilliant way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Hell Can’t Handle All of Us
  2. Life of Anxiety
  3. Dr Stein
  4. B.O.D.
  5. One For the Road
  6. Voodoo Pricess
  7. Drown in the River
  8. Sculptures in the Sky
  9. Figure on a Barbed Wire Cross
  10. Jonestown
  11. Revelations

Edd Higgs- bass, lead vocals

Simon Hall- guitars, backing vocals

Connor Shortt- drums



You know what? Of the many hundreds of albums I have covered here, I have never broken an album down this extensively. This is because every track has something to offer. Black Emerald are hungry and this debut album is surely evidence of that. So, I hope I’ve converted all of you and you will all go out and buy this album.

Next post: WASP

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Metal Madness in Reading

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2018 by 80smetalman

Not long returned from my short break in Reading with Mrs 80smetalman. We spent the Saturday afternoon at The Oracle, which is Reading’s big shopping precinct. While there were many eating places along the Thames River, which runs right through the precinct, we wanted to get out of the rain and went straight for the mall. With her ability to sense out these places, my wife found the Lush shop and added to her collection of bath stuff. We can also say that Lush staff are super friendly wherever you go. After that, we hit a few places in the mall, had dinner and then returned to the hotel where I prepared for big night at the Face Bar, where I was invited to attend the launch party for Black Emerald’s debut album, “Hell Can’t Handle All of Us.”

After a couple of detours down some dead end side roads, I found the Face Bar without any real trouble. On the outside, it looks like any other rock club I’ve been to and probably on the inside too. However, the first honour done to me on the evening was when I announced who I was on the guest list, the people at the door seemed to be expecting me. Once inside, I met Sharon, the mother of Black Emerald’s drummer as well as the bassist/lead vocalist’s father, who incidentally, was the one who gave me the Black Emerald demo CD at Bloodstock 2013 and told me to go check them out at the New Blood Stage. A recommendation I will forever be grateful for.

Sharon and me. Sharon worked her socks off to make sure the evening was top notch. Full marks to her!

Four bands were on the card this night and the first one on stage was Remnant. Here’s one band you can’t pigeon hole in any way. Remnant are a mix of thrash, groove and a few more genres of metal. They have dual male/female vocalists who share the duties but unlike say Amy Lee of Evanescence or Live Christine of Leaves Eyes whose vocals are very melodic, Tori Walter’s vocals are just as gritty as her male colleague Lee Gordine. Another gender stereotype broken here resulting in a one-two vocal punch that doesn’t let up. Both do a great job but what impressed me the most about this band was the lead guitar work of Andy Gunn. When you weren’t getting pounded by the two vocalists, he shredded in spectacular fashion. All of the combinations worked well together to make one great sound. It was a great way to begin the night!

Remnant begin the festivities

Tori and Leigh on the vocals

Andy Gunn shredding away

FFI on Remnant, go to:

The next band up was Thirty Giants, however, I never saw 30 giants go onto the stage. What I saw was four men who knew how to play heavy metal. Thirty Giants have a style I’ve become quite fond of in my waning years. They come out with some powerful metal during the verses only to go slightly more melodic while singing the choruses to their songs. Luca Cossu handles most of the vocals and does a great job with it but he has some good support from bassist Sam Yard. Meanwhile, Dave Gilburt does most of the lead guitar duties and solos very well but Luca does lend a hand at times on the guitar. They did do a solo trade-off on one of the songs and I always am impressed when that’s done well, which it was. My biggest impression of Thirty Giants was that I am convinced I heard a little Asphalt Ballet influence in a couple of their songs and that made me like them even more.

You can hear some of their offerings here:

Luca and Sam begin things for Thirty Giants

Guitarists Luca and Dave wailing.

Luca on the vox

Dave plays a solo

Anyone thinking that after the first two bands, they might have a reprieve, they were completely wrong. Up next was Gutlocker, who set out to pound the ears of everyone in the Face Bar with their brand of sludge metal. Lead singer Craig McBrearty has the power and range in his voice as well as the charisma of a good front-man, while the other three members did a great job in supporting his vocal efforts with power chords, thumping bass and drums. They might have only been on stage about thirty minutes by they let you know they were up there that entire time.

To hear more, go to:

Craig with guitarist Peter Tucker

Peter and drummer Dean Walker

Bassist Ben Rollinson

Three bands had come and gone. Three different styles of metal, all of which were completely enjoyable. Now, you might have noticed that I didn’t say anything about the rhythm sections of any of the bands. That’s because I would have been repeating myself three times. I can safely say that the rhythm sections for all three bands were spot on. All three bands also did a great job warming things up for the main event. After all, this was Black Emerald’s evening.

The atmosphere was almost electric by the time Black Emerald took the stage. I could have been back at the old Philadelphia Spectrum in the 1980s seeing such greats as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister or Dio. It was like that. The first thing I noticed when they took the stage was that while I said how good they were in 2013, they were miles better four and a half years later! Edd Higgs’s shredding had come on leaps and bounds and the vocals of Simon Hall sounded even better. Plus Simon and Connor Shortt had become an even more tighter rhythm section and I was very impressed with Connor’s drumming. They played their entire album, including the song “Dr Stein,” which I uploaded from  Youtube when I announced they were cutting an album. Plus, they played the songs from their demo, all of which I liked. During the set, Craig from Gutlocker came on for a guest vocal slot and it proves the versatility of this band, that they were able to fit their sound to his vocals. Just as good was when Andy Gunn from Remnant came up to play guitar on “Voodoo Princess.” It was a treat hearing Andy and Edd shred together on this song. When they announced their last song, the nearly ten minute long, “Jonestown,” I couldn’t believe that more than an hour had passed. Black Emerald were fab!

Edd shredding

Simon on bass and vocals

Connor on the drums

Craig on stage with Black Emerald

Simon working some more magic

Andy shredding with the band

Another shot of Edd

Simon has the pipes

Don’t forget Connor

Here’s an interesting observation. You hear all the time of parents disapproving of their children’s interest in playing music. Hell, even John Lennon’s mother told him that playing guitar was a nice hobby but it wouldn’t get him anywhere. Boy, was she wrong! Therefore, it was great to see the parents of the members of Black Emerald, truly supporting their sons. Special kudos goes to Sarah, (Connor’s mum), who worked tirelessly throughout the evening, helping to make it so good.

When I left the Face Bar, I began to ask myself: “Is Reading an unknown mecca for metal?” True, the other bands weren’t from Reading but close enough. Thirty Giants were the furthest away coming from Brighton. If it is, I must go there more. There was one more surprise in store for me. I went to purchase “Hell Can’t Handle All of Us” before I left but Sarah told me to hold on. Moments later, she returned with a goody bag which featured the CD, a flier signed by the band, a Black Emerald coaster and a Black Emerald mug! That was a nice surprise and I thank the band for it and all the bands for a great night of heavy metal in Reading.

My goody bag. Note: when I didn’t need to buy the Black Emerald CD, I bought Remnant’s one.


Next post: Black Emerald- Hell Can’t Handle All of Us

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Armoured Saint- March of the Saint

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2018 by 80smetalman

One question I have been asked many times back in 1984 and today by non-afficianadoes of heavy metal is: Don’t you get tired of listening to the same sound all the time? My answer is no. The stereotype on metal is that they all play the same four chords over and over. That might be true with some bands but at least every band chooses four different chords to play. That is what makes their sound unique. Plus, it also has a lot to do with the singer and lead guitarist as well. I was asked this question when I was listening to some Armoured Saint back in 84 and their debut album, “March of the Saint” proved my point. They were pure metal but at the same time, sounded unique.

Most people who have experienced Armoured Saint know of the title track to this album. It has become their trademark song pretty much and I was exceedingly glad when they played it at Bloodstock in 2015. Boy, how time flies. If one song were to be used to introduce anyone to Armoured Saint, it would be that one. A great song to bring in the album and a great song to hear live. Of course, everything they played live on that day sounded great.

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance at Bloodstock, 2015. 

Following the historic title cut are nine equally, well nearly equally, fantastic songs. Each song possesses the unmistakable vocals of John Bull and the guitars of Dave Prichard and Phil Sandoval backed up the rhythm section laid down by Joey Vera and Gonzo Sandoval. What you get is a total metal package. While most of the songs are pretty much equal in the kick ass stakes, I do think that “Seducer” does slightly rise above the rest in my opinion. I can’t explain it but it just catches my vibe. However, there are lots of great things about the other songs. “Glory Hunter” is also a really cool track with some interesting little riffs in the middle of the song. Then again, there are some rather cool intro riffs in most of the songs. “Take a Turn” and “Envy” are great examples of that. That’s the problem when I listen to this album. Every time I want to praise one particular track, the next one comes along and deserves equal praise. So, I have to go back to my previous statement, you get the total metal package on “March of the Saint.”

Track Listing:

  1. March of the Saint
  2. Can U Deliver
  3. Mad House
  4. Take a Turn
  5. Seducer
  6. Mutiny on the World
  7. Glory Hunter
  8. Stricken by Fate
  9. Envy
  10. False Alarm

Armoured Saint

John Bull- lead vocals

Phil Sandoval- guitar

Dave Prichard- guitar

Joey Vera- bass

Gonzo Sandoval- drums

Since “March of the Saint,” the band have said that they were totally disappointed with the final mix of the album because it was too commercial for the more heavy metal sound the band wanted it. They would make up for that for sure in future albums. Still, I have always enjoyed this album and will continue to do so.

Next post: Another band I who impressed the hell out of me at Bloodstock 2013, Black Emerald, will be having their album launch party for their debut: “Hell Can’t Handle All of Us” in Reading, UK this Saturday. I’m on their ‘Special Guest’ list to which I am truly honoured! See, a note to fellow bloggers, say great things about a band and you get invited to album launch parties. Although everything I have said about Black Emerald is certainly true. Don’t worry, next post, you will all get a full account of the evening with plenty of photos.

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Mercyful Fate- Don’t Break the Oath

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2018 by 80smetalman

To this day, I’m not sure whether or not I should be disappointed by “Don’t Break the Oath,” the second album from Danish metal band, Mercyful Fate. I have to admit, I was expecting great things from them after hearing their great 1983 debut album, “Melissa” and another admission, it did take me a couple of listens before I really got into it. When I did, I discovered that it’s still a pretty cool album.

For those of you who read my post on the “Melissa” album, you might remember that it was the album that really got me into black metal. What I liked about it was the fact that there were no backwards messages from the Dark Lord. On their best known song, “Black Funeral,” lead singer King Diamond comes straight out and sings, “Hail Satan!” He doesn’t do that on any of the songs on “Don’t Break the Oath” and maybe that’s what the disappointment was for me. After all, when I put the album on, I had my altar prepared and my knives sharpened so I could sacrifice a few chickens and goats. The album didn’t inspire me to go through with it. Shame, I know.

On this album, King Diamond not only doesn’t sing “Hail Satan,” on some of the songs, it’s hard to hear what he’s singing. He could be telling us to eat our peas and carrots and we’ll never know. Of course, the counter argument here is that with that versatile trademark voice and falsetto vocals, he could be singing about vegetables and would still sound good. I think the clearest he comes in is on the third track, “Desecration of Souls.” However, it is the track after that I think is the best track on the album, “Night of the Unborn.” King comes in nice and clear although at one point when he goes falsetto, he briefly sounds like a chicken being strangled but he pulls it down and delivers a great performance backed up by the guitar work of Hank Shermann and Michael Denner. This song reminds me so much of the black metal I loved on the previous album.

Speaking of the guitars, it is the work of Shermann and Denner that stands out the most. I didn’t mention the first two tracks above on account of not being able to fully understand the vocals but these two guitarists push the songs through at a break-neck pace and that what makes those songs good. Even when they go a little prog metal on “The Oath,” the guitars are just spot on. The vocals are good as well. I love how the slamming guitars mix well with King’s vocals before going out on a cool guitar solo. That tight chemistry remains on the much more power metal like tracks”Gypsy” and “Welcome Princess of Hell.” Always loving a bit of unpredictability, things slow down a lot so Michael and Hank show their softer side on the guitar instrumental, “To One Far Way.” But things go out with a bang with the closer “Come to the Sabbath” and by the end, I forget why I thought I should be disappointed in the album.

Track Listing:

  1. A Dangerous Meeting
  2. Nightmare
  3. Desecration of Souls
  4. Night of the Unborn
  5. The Oath
  6. Gypsy
  7. Welcome Princess of Hell
  8. To One Far Away
  9. Come to the Sabbath

Mercyful Fate

King Diamond- vocals

Hank Shermann- guitar

Michael Denner- guitar

Timi ‘Grabber’ Hansen- bass

Kim Ruzz- drums

Unfortunately, after “Don’t Break the Oath,” Mercyful Fate would break up due to musical differences. As you will see in future posts, King Diamond would go on to have a fabulous solo career. But for now, I enjoy what a good album this is, even if I don’t want to sacrifice anything.

Next post: Armoured Saint- March of the Saint

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Iron Maiden- Powerslave

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2018 by 80smetalman

Having had a glance back at posts about previous Iron Maiden, I mentioned when I posted about the “Piece of Mind” album, that the first Iron Maiden album I actually bought was “Live After Death,” which wouldn’t come out for another year after, “Powerslave.” But it was buying that great live album that got me to get off my ass and check out their earlier albums, including this great 1984 offering, “Powerslave.”

When you hear a song on a live album and then hear the studio version or vice versa, it’s hard not to compare and contrast the two versions. It is even more of the case when listening to “Powerslave” because four songs from it are played on “Live After Death.” There are some interesting comparisons both ways here. Take the opener. “Aces High” is a great song to open the album with. However, the live version is an even better song to open a concert on. It seems that the live version is played with much more intensity. That’s just my opinion. Thinking about it more, one thing that pisses me off is the fact that whenever there is talk about the Battle of Britain, “Aces High,” which is a great song to commemorate the battle, is never mentioned. This song is not only a great metal tune, it should be used as a teaching tool in schools.

On the other hand, the title track, sounds just average on “Live After Death.” It’s played well and all that but it just sort of blends in along with all the great songs from the other studio albums that are played live. However, it does stand out more on the studio album that bears its name and as a result, I get into it more. In regards to the other two songs from this album that appear on the live album, “Two Minutes to Midnight” and “Rime of the Ancient Mariner sound just as good played either way.

Now before stones start getting hurled at me, when I say that the title track stands out more, I am no way implying that the other songs on the album are sub par. I enjoy listening to all the songs on “Powerslave.” “The Duellists” is a great song where guitarists Smith and Murray trade off solos very well. I also find the instrumental, “Losfer Words” very enjoyable as well. I think that like the previously mentioned song, Adrian and Dave were given more liberty to shine on their six strings and with fantastic results! “Back in the Village” is a more powerful Maiden track that gets more in your face. So you have a little bit of everything Iron Maiden can do at their best here and that makes a fine album.

Track Listing:

  1. Aces High
  2. Two Minutes to Midnight
  3. Losfer Words
  4. Flash of the Blade
  5. The Duellists
  6. Back in the Village
  7. Powerslave
  8. Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson- vocals

Steve Harris- bass

Dave Murray- guitar

Adrian Smith- guitar

Nicko McBrain- drums

Heavy metal was exploding across the world in 1984. Great bands from all around the world were making their mark but it was still great that all the great NWOBHM bands like Iron Maiden were leading the charge and still proving they were a force to be reckoned with. “Powerslave” stamps that point emphatically.

Next post: Mercyful Fate- Don’t Break the Oath

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