Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums :
Artist : Iron Maiden
Album : Piece Of Mind
Released : May 16, 1983
Metal Mofo Album Rating : 5/5 (One Of The Holy Grails Of Heavy Metal Music)
By the time of the release of their fourth album Piece Of Mind, the band Iron Maiden had already been through more than most other bands who have been around decades, both professionally, and personally. Not only had their writing, and playing improved by leaps and bounds, but they had taken the ultimate risk, by replacing their very popular lead singer Paul Di’Anno, with Bruce Dickinson. They had finally started to break in America with “The Number Of The Beast”, and with Piece Of Mind it would not only make them one of the biggest bands in the world, but also prove that the move to Dickinson was no fluke. Not that everything was well in the Maiden camp. Drummer Clive Burr would leave the band, and Nicko McBrain would take over basically without a hitch.
One reason that Clive Burr decided to leave the band was the very difficult Number Of The Beast tour. Maiden was persecuted throughout the tour by religious fanatics that this started to upset the band. Steve Harris made an effort to change the theme of what Piece Of Mind would become. What it would end up showing was how intelligent the band was with their writing. Displaying their different literally interests would give the record many different themes from everything to war, to Greek Mythology. But that was only part of the story, to show their sense of humor to play mind games with the fanatical religious people they even added a secret message on the song “Still LIfe” where if you played the song backwards would be a Satanic message. What they got through was a message stating ” do not meddle with things you don’t understand”. A brilliant way to call their haters out.
Then there was the music that displayed some of the best music the band had written to date. You couldn’t go wrong on either side of the album. Both “Where Eagles Dare” which opened side one, and “The Trooper” which opened side two are killer tracks that pull you immediately. Also the great “Revelations” the first song Bruce wrote in his own, and “Flight Of Icarus” a song he co-wrote with Steve Harris. All examples of a band thriving in their peak. It shouldn’t be surprising that the fans (especially the American fans) truly embraced this music. It sold so well that it made the top 20 on the album charts with basically no radio play.
With both commercial and critical acclaim it would’ve been easy or understandable to think that Maiden could only go down from here, but as we would learn a year later with “Powerslave” they still had some of their greatest work ahead of them. Even with all the persecution the band received from outsiders, all they did during this time was make Heavy Metal music shine in a way it never had before. I love this band !!!