Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Powerslave” — Iron Maiden (1984)

blgpowerslaveGreen is the cat’s eye that glows in this Temple
Enter the risen Osiris – risen again…

Iron Maiden’s fifth studio album Powerslave is widely regarded as one of their finest releases ever, if not THE finest. It’s definitely in my Top 3 (along with The Number of the Beast and Killers); I distinctly remember visiting West Germany with my parents in 1985 (anyone remember the concept of WEST Germany?) and sitting in the back of our rental car as we drove from town to town, headphones over my ears, playing a dog-eared tape of the album which I copied from my brother’s LP.

Sadly, the whole album couldn’t fit onto a single 45-minute side, and I had to cut off half of “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”… which is only my third favorite Maiden song of all-time. Poop.

But never mind all that. Let’s get to talking up the title track, and why Powerslave is one of the most buttkickin’ Halloween songs of all time! The tune is replete with all the trappings of ancient Egypt and classic Universal Monster flicks: a howling wind, creepy heartbeat, sudden howl and demonic laugh kick off the track, as Nicko McBrain’s drum fill delivers us into the intro.

The guitar riff is pure Egyptian tone and timbre, as Bruce Dickinson’s inimitable vocals weave a tale of a cursed Egyptian Pharoah, mourning the irony of a so-called immortal lying on his deathbed, the God-King left as nothing but “slave to the power of death”. Of course the song ends with his passing, but into a living death of sorts. His spirit pounds at the gates of his tomb, a shell of mummified remains, preparing to strike from the grave…

When I was living this lie, Fear was my Game
People would worship and fall
Drop to their knees
So bring me the blood and red wine
For the one to succeed me
For he is a man and a God
And He will die too…

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