Powerslave is the fifth studio album by the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released on 3 September 1984 through EMI Records in Europe and its sister label Capitol Records in North America. It was re-released by Sanctuary and Columbia Records in the United States in 2002.

Iron Maiden - Powerslave.jpg
Studio album by
Released3 September 1984 (1984-09-03)
RecordedFebruary–June 1984
StudioCompass Point (Nassau, Bahamas)
GenreHeavy metal
ProducerMartin Birch
Iron Maiden studio albums chronology
Piece of Mind
Somewhere in Time
Singles from Powerslave
  1. "2 Minutes to Midnight"
    Released: 6 August 1984
  2. "Aces High"
    Released: 22 October 1984

The album's cover artwork is notable for its Ancient Egypt theme. That theme, taken from the title track, was carried over to the album's supporting tour, the World Slavery Tour. This began in Warsaw, Poland, on 9 August 1984; it is widely regarded as being the band's longest and most arduous tour to date, and led to the live album Live After Death.

The release contains a musical re-telling of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the lyrics of which include some lines from the poem. At 13 minutes and 45 seconds in length, this was Iron Maiden's longest song for over 30 years until it was surpassed by the 18-minute "Empire of the Clouds" from the 2015 album The Book of Souls.

Powerslave is notable as the band's first album to feature the same personnel as their previous studio release. This lineup would remain intact for two further studio releases. It is also their last album to date to feature an instrumental piece, and the only one until Senjutsu (2021) in which longtime member and guitarist Dave Murray does not have a songwriting credit.[a]

"2 Minutes to Midnight" and "Aces High" were released as singles.

Background, writing and recordingEdit

Following the conclusion of their highly successful World Piece Tour in December 1983, during which Iron Maiden headlined large venues and arenas in the US for the first time in their career,[1] the band took three weeks off in January 1984, before regrouping at Le Chalet Hotel in Jersey where they rehearsed for six weeks.[2][3][b] As with Powerslave's predecessor Piece of Mind (1983), this was where most of the album's writing took place; the band then began recording it at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas.[5]

Bassist Steve Harris recalled how, under time pressure, the song "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" was written in a relatively short space of time.[6] Influenced by Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem of the same name (drawing heavily from his 1815–16 gloss),[7] the song directly quotes two passages from the poem, the former including the famous lines: 'Water, water everywhere – nor any drop to drink'.[8] At over thirteen minutes long, the track contains several distinct sections with differing moods and would become a fan favourite.[9] During the 2008–09 Somewhere Back in Time World Tour, guitarist Dave Murray, vocalist Bruce Dickinson and Harris cited the song as their favourite to play live.[10]

Once finished, the band undertook another short break while the album was mixed at Electric Lady Studios, New York, before reconvening in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to rehearse for the World Slavery Tour.[11] The tour began in Poland in August 1984 and ended in California in July 1985.[12] The stage set echoed the album cover, including monumental pedestals several stories high, atop which the musicians appeared at times during the show.[7] The set amply filled even the gigantic proscenium of Radio City Music Hall. The tour was the first time a heavy metal band had taken a full set behind the Iron Curtain, visiting Poland and Hungary, a landmark achievement at the time.[12] It continued into South America – the first time the band had toured there – where they played to an estimated audience of 350,000 at the inaugural Rock in Rio as special guests of the band Queen.[6] The Live After Death album and video, recorded over four nights at Long Beach Arena in LA and Hammersmith Odeon in London,[13] were also released; these respectively peaked at No. 2 and No. 1 in the UK charts.[14]

In total, the tour was eleven months long and touched 28 countries.[12] Powerslave debuted at No. 2 in the UK Albums Chart, as a result of their record company EMI's third Now That's What I Call Music! pop compilation.[12][14][15] According to both Nicko McBrain and Adrian Smith, Powerslave began making Iron Maiden famous "very fast, very quickly", such as in Brazil, where hundreds of fans waited outside hotels and restaurants for the band.[6]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [9]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal9/10[16]
The Daily VaultA[17]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [18]
MusicHound Rock3/5[19]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [20]
That Hashtag Show9.5/10[22]

In 2017, it was ranked 38th on Rolling Stone's list of "100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time".[23]

In other mediaEdit

The song "Flash of the Blade" was included on the soundtrack of Dario Argento's 1985 horror film Phenomena and was covered by the American band Avenged Sevenfold on their double live album/DVD Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough. Rhapsody of Fire have also recorded a cover of the song that is featured on the deluxe edition of their album From Chaos to Eternity.

Track listingEdit

Side one
1."Aces High"Steve Harris4:31
2."2 Minutes to Midnight"6:04
3."Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" (instrumental)Harris4:15
4."Flash of the Blade"Dickinson4:05
5."The Duellists"Harris6:18
Side two
6."Back in the Village"
  • Smith
  • Dickinson
8."Rime of the Ancient Mariner"Harris13:45
Total length:51:12
1995 reissue bonus disc
1."Rainbow's Gold" (Beckett cover)
2."Mission from 'Arry"6:42
3."King of Twilight" (Nektar cover)
  • Roye Albrighton
  • Mick Brockett
  • Allan Freeman
  • Ron Howden
  • Derek "Mo" Moore
4."The Number of the Beast" (live)Harris4:57
Total length:21:29


  • It was re-released in 1998 with an extra multimedia section, which featured the music videos for "Aces High" and "2 Minutes to Midnight".
  • In this same version, the intro of "Powerslave" was moved to the end of "Back in the Village".
  • "King of Twilight" incorporates elements of "Crying in the Dark", another song by the same band, taken from their 1972 album A Tab in the Ocean.


Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes.[24][25]

Iron MaidenEdit

Additional personnelEdit

Additional notesEdit


  • (1984 LP) EMI POWER 1/EJ 2402001 [UK]
  • (1984 LP) Capitol ST-12321 [USA]
  • (1984 CD) EMI/Capitol CDP 7 46045 2 [Worldwide]
  • (1998 CD) EMI 7243 4 96920 0 8 [UK]
  • (1998 CD) Sanctuary/Metal Is/Columbia CK-86212 [USA]
  • (2002 CD) Sanctuary CK-86044 [Album Replica] [USA]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[43] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Germany (BVMI)[44] Gold 250,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[45] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[46] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[47] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Murray co-wrote multiple bonus tracks on Killers, The Number of the Beast and The X Factor.
  2. ^ The History of Iron Maiden: Part 2 – Live After Death documentary erroneously lists the place as Guernsey.[4]
  3. ^ Re-release of both singles as part of The First Ten Years box set. Exceeded the length limit of the UK Singles chart.


  1. ^ Bushell, Garry; Halfin, Ross (1985). Running Free, The Official Story of Iron Maiden (2nd ed.). Zomba Books. p. 116. ISBN 0-946391-84-X.
  2. ^ Bushell, Garry; Halfin, Ross (1985). Running Free, The Official Story of Iron Maiden (2nd ed.). Zomba Books. p. 124. ISBN 0-946391-84-X.
  3. ^ Popoff, Martin (3 September 2014). "IRON MAIDEN – Powerslave's 30th Birthday: "I Don't Know How I Did It, Because I Felt at Death's Door"". BraveWords. Retrieved 24 January 2018. The first time we played that was in Jersey, where we used to rehearse, in the Channel Islands.
  4. ^ "The History of Iron Maiden: Part 2 – Live After Death". Live After Death (DVD). EMI Records. 4 February 2008. Event occurs at 1:30. ASIN B0010X7TJ6. After a brief Christmas break, the band reconvened at le Chalet Hotel on Guernsey,
  5. ^ Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 252. ISBN 1-86074-542-3.
  6. ^ a b c "The History of Iron Maiden: Part 2 – Live After Death". Live After Death (DVD). EMI Records. 4 February 2008. ASIN B0010X7TJ6.
  7. ^ a b Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 254. ISBN 1-86074-542-3.
  8. ^ "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". Lyrics Freak. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
  9. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Powerslave – Iron Maiden > Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  10. ^ Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn (directors) (2009). Iron Maiden: Flight 666 (documentary). EMI.
  11. ^ Bushell, Garry; Halfin, Ross (1985). Running Free, The Official Story of Iron Maiden (2nd ed.). Zomba Books. p. 125. ISBN 0-946391-84-X.
  12. ^ a b c d Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 253. ISBN 1-86074-542-3.
  13. ^ Bushell, Garry; Halfin, Ross (1985). Running Free, The Official Story of Iron Maiden (2nd ed.). Zomba Books. p. 130. ISBN 0-946391-84-X.
  14. ^ a b c "Iron Maiden UK Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  15. ^ "1984 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive - 15 September 1984". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  16. ^ Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. pp. 171–172. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5.
  17. ^ Rusk, Bruce (2019). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews: Powerslave". dailyvault.com. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  18. ^ C. Strong, Martin (2004). Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Canongate. ISBN 1841955515.
  19. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel, eds. (1999). "Iron Maiden". MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  20. ^ "Iron Maiden: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 October 2019.[dead link]
  21. ^ Stagno, Mike (17 May 2006). "Iron Maiden – Powerslave". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  22. ^ Bolding, Hunter (30 August 2019). "Iron Maiden-A-Thon: Powerslave Review". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  23. ^ Beaujour, Tom (21 June 2017). "100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  24. ^ Powerslave (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 3 September 1984.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  25. ^ Powerslave Remastered (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 1998.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  26. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 149. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  27. ^ "Iron Maiden – Powerslave (Album)". Ö3 Austria Top 40. AustrianCharts.at. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  28. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 166. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  29. ^ "Iron Maiden, Powerslave". Media Control Charts (in German). charts.de. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  30. ^ "Iron Maiden – Powerslave, Dutch Charts" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  31. ^ "Iron Maiden – Powerslave, New Zealand Charts". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. charts.nz. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  32. ^ a b c "Iron Maiden – Powerslave (Album)". VG-lista. Norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  33. ^ a b "Iron Maiden – Powerslave (Album)". Sverigetopplistan. Swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  34. ^ "Iron Maiden – Powerslave" (in German). Swiss Hitparade. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  35. ^ "Iron Maiden – Powerslave Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  36. ^ "Iron Maiden – Powerslave". Productores de Música de España (in Spanish). Spanishcharts.com. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  37. ^ "Iron Maiden – Powerslave (album)". The Official Finnish Charts. Finnishcharts.com. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  38. ^ "Single – Iron Maiden, '2 Minutes to Midnight'". Media Control Charts. charts.de. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  39. ^ a b "Irish Singles". IRMA. Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  40. ^ "Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive 25 August 1984". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  41. ^ "UK Singles Archive - 10 November 1984". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  42. ^ "UK Albums Archive - 31 March 1990". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  43. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Iron Maiden – Powerslave". Music Canada. 12 October 2006. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  44. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Iron Maiden; 'Powerslave')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  45. ^ Fernando Salaverri (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. p. 918. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  46. ^ "British album certifications – Iron Maiden – Powerslave". British Phonographic Industry. 11 December 1984. Retrieved 28 August 2011.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Powerslave in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  47. ^ "American album certifications – Iron Maiden – Powerslave". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 28 August 2011.