Iron Maiden - No Prayer For The Dying review


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Band: Iron Maiden
Album: No Prayer For The Dying
Release date: October 1990

Disc I
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!

Written by Pierre Tombale | 17.02.2004


Guest review by
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.

published 13.06.2008 | Comments (18)


Comments: 17   Visited by: 109 users
01.01.2007 - 19:44
Account deleted
All songs except Holy Smoke have a dark atmosphere indeed, and that's not so bad, yet I feel this album to be quite boring comparing to the elder records.
01.01.2007 - 21:47
Personally, I find this to be one of the most underrated of Maiden's albums. It's not as polarised as Fear of the Dark, yet neither does it have any outright 'FUCK YEAH!' songs such as 'Judas Be My Guide', 'Childhood's End', 'Afraid to Shoot Strangers' and the title track. 'Mother Russia' is killer, but the rest of the album is a lot more consistent than Fear of the Dark. While FotD meanders from the sublime (AtSS) to the ridiculous (Weekend Warrior), No Prayer sits firmly in the middle, with a consistent level of (being fairly harsh here) mediocrity. Due to this, both these albums are tied as my least favourite Maiden albums, yet both have an innate charm that appeals to me.

Overall verdict? 7.9
10.03.2007 - 23:14
Bob The Bastard
Account deleted
Bruce's vocals are alot harsher on this record. I prefer him with his high operatic sound. Like on SSOASS.

Still though. Not bad.Overall: 7.0
26.08.2007 - 08:27
Account deleted
I always get the impression that Maiden was cutting loose and having a blast when they recorded No Prayer. The album may be darker, but it's also fun - and very catchy. Some people might miss the sophistication of Seventh Son. And yes, the album has a couple of weak tracks. But all things considered it's great to hear a whole different side to Maiden. I think RavenLord summed it up quite nicely when he mentioned the "innate charm" of No Prayer. Those who dismiss the merits of the album by comparing it to its predecessors are missing the opportunity to enjoy the album in its own right. No Prayer is a valued part of my Iron Maiden collection, and though it may not rank among the best of their work I figure it's still pretty darn close.

02.10.2007 - 16:13
I don't know, maybe it's just me but I like this album a lot! Actually, I only start listening this album from track 3 because the first 2 songs are bad (IMO). There are some amazing songs on in and I would even rate it higher if it wasn't for these 2 initial songs!

09.01.2008 - 06:18
Thrash Talker
Ok.. well i disagree with almost everyone here lol. That album is not that bad seriously. Guys we gotta pay attention on Maiden's albums. First of all only for Holy Smoke.. this album would worth a try. And then Adding Tailgunner, Mother Russia... and lots of funny songs (cause ya that album is funny) well we got something pretty cool here.

All bands gotta try something new someday and i think that this album for Maiden wasn't a bad try.

My Rate 7.5/10
- I love my technical, melodic, my thrash, agressive and fast paced, my sludge, well thought, my heavy, heavier and my metal, ever-growing -
09.01.2008 - 14:14
It could be trying something new, or it could be running out of steam, with Adrian gone... I haven't heard ALL of the tracks but from the ones I have, this album reeks of boredom. It's a good thing Dickinson had a break before too long so that new creativity could stew in both Maiden and his solo career. This one gets around a 5 from me... the coarse lyrics are truly embarrassing but I also agree with the reviewer's point about repeating basslines etc, it was quite annoying how they did that...
deaththrashdeath/doom/prog ‡ Hail Zoldon!

he's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays
12.01.2008 - 18:52
Don't like this album, too few good songs for me to listen to it in it's entirety... A waste of money.
30.03.2008 - 00:11
The worst album by the best band. thats all there is to it. no where near anything else they've ever done, worst than X Factor and Virtual XI. Not Worthy of the name on the cover. If it were not for Mother Russia, this would have been the only hole in my Maiden Collection.
30.03.2008 - 02:07
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
The worst ever Maiden track is featured on this album that emberassing atrocity called Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter.

WTF were they thinking?
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

30.03.2008 - 04:48
Account deleted
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 30.03.2008 at 02:07

The worst ever Maiden track is featured on this album that emberassing atrocity called Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter.

WTF were they thinking?

Wasn't the song penned for the soundtrack to one of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies? Actually, it's a decent song if you ignore the lyrics. I pretend I can't understand English and it sounds just fine.

31.03.2008 - 07:52
Bring your Daughter, Bring your Daughter to the slaughter, let her go, let her go, let her go!!!

Ha, pretty good song, goofy lyrics! Maidens worst album with Bruce, but still pretty consistent and good!
20.07.2008 - 18:49
Account deleted
fun to listen to this album not bad overall 8/10
28.11.2008 - 12:16
Not the best form Maiden but still a good album maybe 8 would be fair
16.09.2009 - 12:20
Heaven Knight
I consider this album being "good enough"
So behold the flight of the sapphire dragon
soaring through the skies once again

19.02.2010 - 17:36
Amazing album, good review, its nice to hear people finally to good about this album
19.02.2010 - 22:50
This album sucks balls. This one, The X Factor and Virtual XI are pure garbage. If it weren't for the logo on the cover, no one would talk about this crap because it would have fell into oblivion.
"Why would we fear death, when life is so much more frightening?"

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