Ginger Nuts of Horror
started out a gritty punkish street metal band...stepped a time or two over the N.W.O.B.H.M. line before grabbing the rulebook and tearing it in two.
When Powerslave was released I was fourteen. I had only the summer before begun showing an interest in heavy metal music, after growing up on 70's hard rock and old country and trucker music--all genres I still adore. But what began in early 1983, with a listen to Quiet Riot's "Metal Health" and Motley Crue's "Too fast For Love" was now a growing growling thing. So when my friend, Tommy, brought over this album and we sat one afternoon and listened to it, it changed the game. Metal no longer had to be the party on anthems of the denim and leather clad hooligans.It wasn't all shout along choruses to drinking, fighting and fucking. Iron Maiden were smart, and also had a keen sense of wit. Maiden lyrics were like a history lesson. And with repeated listens after I procured myself a copy on cassette for myself, my brain cracked open.
The album starts off with a galloping (no better word describes the band's sound) "Aces High," a song about fighter pilots and dogfights (The plane kind not Michael Vick). But when the shit really hit the fan for me was when track two began. heavy as hell and with lyrics out of a nightmare, but all a slick and scalpel-sharp commentary on world horrors.
"The blind men shout let the creatures out, We'll show the nonbelievers...the body bags and little rags of children torn in two..." and it keeps going, it's sensory overload--this tune. Fucking ferocious.
We get a charming instrumental in "Losfer Words" and a fantasy epic in "Flash of the Blade." We hit "The Duellists" which is another foray into historical timepiece where we encounter a man defending his honor. "Back in the Village" is a love letter to the cult television series, The Prisoner. Where a man awakes to find his identity stripped and his name replaced by a number. Terrifying. Next is the title track which is about old Egypt and immortality. But then. Oh my God, then....
"Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Bloody. Fucking. Hell! One of my favorite poems (even at that young age) set to heavy metal music by what was becoming a favorite band. Coleridge's characters meld with the band's music, Steve Harris' bass and the guitar work of Smith and Murray. McBrain's moody percussion and the vocals of the unrelenting and genius Bruce Dickinson. It has a sound effects laden middle break where part of the source poem is read over waves and creaking timbers, that just gives chills. You can almost feel the weight of the dead albatross around your neck.
And wisely, that cuts ends the album, because it would have been impossible to follow up. It's a gob smacker.
Iron Maiden started out a gritty punkish street metal band...stepped a time or two over the N.W.O.B.H.M. line before grabbing the rulebook and tearing it in two. They are Maiden. A band with a signature sound and a catalog that is, for the most part, a force to be reckoned with. A thinking man's metal band, I've heard them touted. They have never quite topped this album for me, though I feel While they got a little more mainstream as time rolled on, for my money you can do no better than the trio of albums that were Piece Of Mind, Number Of The Beast and Powerslave.