Iron Maiden - No Prayer For The Dying review
|Album:||No Prayer For The Dying|
|Release date:||October 1990|
01. Tail Gunner
02. Holy Smoke
03. No Prayer For The Dying
04. Public Enema Number One
05. Fates Warning
06. The Assassin
07. Run Silent Run Deep
08. Hooks In You
09. Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter
10. Mother Russia
Disc II [1995 reissue bonus]
01. All in Your Mind [Stray cover]
02. Kill Me Ce Soir [Golden Earring cover]
03. I'm A Mover [Free cover cover]
04. Communication Breakdown [Led Zeppelin cover]
1990 a new decade and a new sound for Iron Maiden, without keyboards again, much more direct in sound, but a different atmosphere from 'Somewhere…' and 'Seventh Son…'. This is 'No Prayer for the Dying'!
'Tailgunner' the first single from 'No Prayer' is definitely not the album's highlight, in fact I thought by the first listen: ok, but it can only get better! And it really does. The very sarcastic 'Holy Smoke' is a good start, direct, rocking and mocking. One of the album's highlights is the half-ballad and title track 'No Prayer For the Dying', nice melody, good vocals and great solo, even without Adrian Smith, who left after the 'Seventh Son' tour and who was replaced by Janick Gers, who had already worked with Bruce Dickinson on 'Tattooed Millionaire'. 'Public Enema Number One' is yet another solid performance, 'Fates Warning' is one of the more atmospheric songs, dark intro and guitars quite similar to those used on 'Somewhere' a good song. 'The Assassin' even darker, with the beat of a march in some passages. 'Run Silent Run Deep' is once again a song about a movie, or at least influenced by the same titled movie with Burt Lancaster and Clarke Gable from 1958. This makes sense as I've seen Bruce Dickinson in an interview on german television making the statement he likes those films about the war at sea and especially those with submarines. When you now take a look into the booklet you will find that the song is cooperatively written by Bruce Dickinson and Steve Harris.
'Hooks In You' is besides 'Bring Your Daughter… To The Slaughter' the cathiest track on this record. Especially regarding the chorus lyrics, these two will catch you to sing along!
'Bring Your Daughter' has already appeared before the album release, that was in 1989 on the soundtrack to 'Nightmare On Elmstreet 5', somehow that suits the movie, but in fact the song only raises it's quality, for the movie itself was not the best one.
'Mother Russia' the last song has a really freezing atmosphere, especially the intro and then throughout a dream of bass and guitars (and ok keyboard, but only on this one) we are caught in a very russian march, before the actual song begins with vocals and still some march rhythm on the hi-hat, snare and bass drum. The whole atmosphere seems to be transporting you via feet through the snowy and icy winter of Moskva or some other place in Russia. Until you start to freeze and begin to run for the solo, which comes in a quicker part and then uh, marching again…til the end.
If you ask me and I know you don't, I'd tell you that I feel 'No Prayer For The Dying' marks a change in the bands sound. It is the start of a timeline that itself last until the present day, it concerns the songwriting as well as the sound of the band. 'No Prayer' as well as the successor 'Fear Of The Dark' sound quite dark compared to elder albums and I feel some of the bands energy is lost. I know it's not really the case since the live performances are still strong as you can see best on the Rock In Rio DVD. In general the bands sound has lost the dynamic power, the best example is X-Factor, where most songs are dull and dark and this starts imo on 'No Prayer For The Dying', it's not clearly visible and you have to listen to the albums a lot, but you will see the nineties differ a lot from the eighties. That makes 'No Prayer' not a bad album, not at all, but as mentioned it's a change in the songwriting, later on in Maiden's history I find many of Steve Harris' basslines sounding the same, as if something inside Harris' head is stuck on a special idea, formed over and over again in different songs. A better outcome is reached when the reuniting with Dickinson happened, but the sound from 'No Prayer' on hasn't evolved too much, the changing mark shall be 'Brave New World' another decade another sound again, but strong influences of sound and songwriting taken from the nineties. I don't know if this is really important, but anyway I wanted to take you on this excursion of my personal opinion.
In general this is an album for the deepest winter, to make you freeze even more. Slightly better then very good, but not good enough to be almost a masterpiece, what can I say? 8.8!
|To call this album bad sure wouldn't be fair, but compared to other Iron Maiden albums 'No Prayer For The Dying' isn't really something to celebrate. I myself would call it the worst Maiden album with Dickinson on vocals. But I don't know any band who has released a great deal of albums like Maiden without failing a few times, so I'm not really blaming them. 'No Prayer For The Dying' is also the first Maiden album in more than 10 years that doesn't feature Adrian Smith, and even if Janick Gers is a great guitarist the chemistry wasn't really there yet, simply because he hadn't written any songs together with the band before.
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