Beginning with a flurry of drums, Piece of Mind introduces the new member of the family: Nicko McBrain, former drummer with Trust, now Maiden powerhouse. Where Eagles Dare is an elaborate, progressive, opening track. Then the first official Bruce Dickinson songwriting masterpiece, Revelations. Borrowing from G.K. Chesterton for its opening is never a bad thing when it comes to Maiden. Epic riffs, great time changes, melancholy lyrics, make for a Maiden classic. Flight of Icarus was a Smith/Dickinson classic, forcefully sticking to its steady pace, despite Steve wanting a more brisk tempo. It’s often the unusual that stands out, and this was no exception, as Bruce and Adrian embarked on a fruitful collaborative partnership that endures to this day. Die With Your Boots On saw Maiden’s three principal songwriters (Steve/Bruce/Adrian) embarking on a pretty good track. Good chorus and plenty of variety, but its only downfall is being followed by The Trooper, a solid gold classic written by Steve. A mainstay of the band’s live set, it features the classic Maiden galloping tempo, screaming vocals and fantastic guitar solos from Dave and Adrian. Still Life was written by Dave and Steve and offers a nice change of pace, with a gentle beginning which picks up, with its tale of nightmares, a recurring theme in Steve’s lyrics. Excellent solos by both guitarists really lift this track. Quest for Fire is awful. Fortunately it’s only 3:42 long. Sun and Steel is another Bruce/Adrian track and is another galloper with a great chorus. To Tame A Land is the final track, written by Steve, and about Frank Herbert’s Dune stories. It’s a pretty lame way to finish a good album, but when you’ve got an album with The Trooper and Revelations on it, you don’t have a lot to worry about. But what’s this? A ticket to ancient Egypt? Sounds good to me.
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