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

It is notable for its Ancient Egyptian theme displayed in the cover artwork, lifted from the title track, which was carried over to the album's supporting tour. The World Slavery Tour began inWarsawPoland on 9 August 1984, and is widely regarded as being the band's longest and most arduous to date, as well as leading to the live album Live After Death.

The release also contains a musical re-telling of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", which uses pieces of the original poem as lyrics and is, furthermore, Iron Maiden's longest song to date (at thirteen minutes and 42 seconds in length).

Powerslave is also notable as being the band's first album to feature the same lineup as the previous one, which would remain intact for two further studio releases.

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


 [hide*1 Background, writing and recording

Background, writing and recording[edit]Edit

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,[5] the band took three weeks off in January 1984 before regrouping in Jersey.[1] As with Powerslave's predecessor, Piece of Mind, this was where most of the album's writing took place before the band began recording at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas.[6] The band spent weeks drinking on the island, which singer Bruce Dickinson states consisted of Banana Daiquiris,[7] while recording the songs.

Steve Harris recalled how, under time pressure, the song "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" was written in a relatively short space of time.[7] Influenced by Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem of the same name (drawing heavily from his 1815-16 gloss),[8] the song directly quotes two passages from the poem, the former including the famous lines: 'Water, water everywhere - nor any drop to drink'.[9] At over thirteen minutes long, the track contains several distinct sections with differing moods, and would become a fan favourite.[2] During the 'Somewhere Back in Time World Tour', Dave Murray, Dickinson and Harris cited the song as their favourite from that tour 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 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to rehearse for the World Slavery Tour,[11] which began in Poland in August 1984 and ended in California, in late 1985.[12] The stage set was an eye-opener, echoing the album cover, including monumental pedestals several stories high atop which the musicians appeared at times during the show.[8] The set amply filled even the gigantic proscenium of Radio City Music Hall. It was also 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] The tour continued into South America for the first time where they played to an estimated audience of 300,000 at the inaugural Rock in Rio as special guests to the band Queen.[7] The Live After Death album and video, recorded over four nights atLong Beach Arena in LA and Hammersmith Odeon in London,[13] were also released and respectively peaked at No. 2 and No. 1 in the UK charts.[14]

In total, the tour was thirteen 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.[14][15][12]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.[7]

"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. The song "Flash Of The Blade" can also be heard in the Jem and the Holograms episode "Kimber's Rebellion," just after the cartoon band members return home from Paris, on a boom-box stereo being carried by a passerby.

Track listing[edit]Edit

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Aces High"   Steve Harris 4:29
2. "2 Minutes to Midnight"   Adrian SmithBruce Dickinson 6:00
3. "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)" (Instrumental) Harris 4:13
4. "Flash of the Blade"   Dickinson 4:03
5. "The Duellists"   Harris 6:06
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Back in the Village" (5:20 on the 1998 reissue) Smith, Dickinson 5:03
7. "Powerslave" (6:48 on the 1998 reissue) Dickinson 7:12
8. "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"   Harris 13:42
Total length: 50:48

Subsequent releases[edit]Edit

  • The 1995 re-release contains a bonus disc, which contains the B-sides of the original singles.
  • It was re-released in 1998 with an extra multimedia section, which featured the music videos for "Aces High" and "2 Minutes to Midnight".
  • Originally, "Back in the Village" and "Powerslave" had running times of 5:03 and 7:12 respectively, but when remastered for the 1998 reissue, the introduction to "Powerslave" was merged with the end of "Back in the Village", resulting in "Powerslave"'s length being cut to 6:48 and "Back in the Village" being extended to 5:20.


Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes.[16][17]

Iron Maiden
Additional personnel

Additional notes[edit]Edit


  • (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]



Country Chart (1984) Peak position
Austria Ö3 Austria Top 40[18] 15
Netherlands MegaCharts[19] 5
New Zealand RIANZ[20] 11
Norway VG-lista[21] 5
Sweden Sverigetopplistan[22] 5
Switzerland Swiss Hitparade[23] 10
United Kingdom Official Albums Chart[14] 2
United States Billboard 200[24] 21
Chart (1992) Peak position
Norway VG-lista[21] 4
Chart (2006) Peak position
Spain PROMUSICAE[25] 96
Chart (2013) Peak position
Finland The Official Finnish Charts[26] 16
Norway VG-lista[21] 25
Sweden Sverigetopplistan[22] 23


Single Chart (1984) Peak position Album
"2 Minutes to Midnight" German Singles Chart 70[27] Powerslave
Irish Singles Chart 10[28]
UK Singles Chart 11[29]
"Aces High" Irish Singles Chart 29[28]
UK Singles Chart 20[30]
Single Chart (1990) Peak position Album
"2 Minutes to Midnight/Aces High" UK Albums Chart[note 1] 11[31]


  1. Jump up^ Re-release of both singles as part of The First Ten Years box set. Exceeded the length limit of the UK Singles chart.


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[32] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Germany (BVMI)[33] Gold 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[35] 1× Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

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