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Iron Maiden- No Prayer For The Dying - LP -

Price per Unit (stuk): €25.95

Just like "Virtual XI", "No Prayer for the Dying" belongs to the outsiders of the Maiden discography. And that's no wonder. The album is a collection of ten more or less smooth, almost harmless songs that have ordinary structures and avoid stylistic experiments. A certain lack of creativity cannot be ignored in view of the very typical and slightly outmoded melody lines of songs such as the title track. This does not mean that the output is filled to the brim with songs that suck. Maiden's enormous musical skills avoid shitty albums per se. Yet the degree of excitement does not achieve previously unknown levels. The opposite is true. Already the opener "Tailgunner" shows that Maiden were running out of ideas while penning this work.

Its lyrics stand in the tradition of "Where Eagles Dare" and "Aces High", to say it politely. Differently expressed: we have heard this kind of lyrics before. They deliver another contribution about air raids and bombardments. How thrilling! Honestly, I have never understood this almost romantic scenario of the seemingly boundless freedom of the pilots and their divine power to sentence (innocent) civilians to death from above. Yet in terms of music, the "Tailgunner" does not miss his goal. The lively guitars and the catchy chorus characterize this track. It reflects the then new attitude of Iron Maiden. The band has reduced its sound to the essentials, bombastic, nearly overloaded songs do not occur, maybe with the exception of some parts of the final track. Progressive elements are also ostracized. Thus, the quality of the album very much depends on the effectiveness of the guitars. Sometimes it takes just one great riff to produce a good piece of music. But - and that's the other side of the coin - without this riff, everything is lost. "No Prayer for the Dying" holds songs of both categories. From my point of view, its hidden champion is called "Run Silent, Run Deep". Why? Well, very simple, it houses the best guitar lines. Apart from that, it emanates a gloomy atmosphere - too bad, that many of its comrades fail in this regard. For example, its direct neighbour "Hooks in You" remains almost completely expressionless (and its riffing sounds poor). The same applies for faceless tunes such as "Fates Warning" or "The Assassin".

Lean songs are often created in order to give the music an earthy feeling, to bring more or less pompous or overly complex metal back to the unpretentious roots. Good approach, but bands that have this vision should not forget to keep an eye on the production in order to make their idea come true. Five or ten percent filth can be very helpful in this context. But "No Prayer for the Dying" is free from dirt. Aggravating this situation, its production totally lacks of individual features. It is neither sterile or clinically clean nor does it possess this little yet necessary amount of filth. In short, this technically proper yet somewhat lukewarm sound matches the pretty flat tunes excellently. Indeed, this is not the highest compliment. But it is true. Just take "Holy Smoke". Its winsome flow and the acceptable lines cannot hide that one is listening to a painfully simple number which is actually beneath the dignity of Harris and his band mates. "Bring Your Daughter..." was a commercial success, but we all know that this does not mean much. Therefore, I rather recommend to lend an ear to fairly vehement tracks such as "Public Enema Number One". Anyway, one will not find many jewels while giving "No Prayer for the Dying" a chance.

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