No Prayer for the Dying

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No Prayer for the Dying
Studio album by Iron Maiden
Released 1 October 1990
Recorded June – September 1990 at Barnyard Studios, Essex, England
Genre Heavy metal
Length 44:25
Language English
Label EMI
Epic (US)
Producer Martin Birch
Iron Maiden chronology
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
(1988)
No Prayer for the Dying
(1990)
Fear of the Dark
(1992)
Alternative cover
Remastered cover
Singles from No Prayer for the Dying
  1. "Holy Smoke"
    Released: 10 September 1990
  2. "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter"
    Released: 24 December 1990

No Prayer for the Dying is the eighth studio album by British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It marks their first line-up change since 1983; guitarist Adrian Smith left the band during the pre-production phase, unhappy with the musical direction it was taking,[1] and only having contributed to one song, "Hooks in You".[2] Smith was replaced by Janick Gers, who had previously worked with singer Bruce Dickinson on his first solo-album, Tattooed Millionaire,[3] and had also worked with Ian Gillan,[4] former Marillion singer Fish,[4] and New Wave of British Heavy Metal band, White Spirit.[5]

Although it received generally mixed to negative reviews, the album peaked at No. 2 in the UK Albums Chart and contains the band's only UK Singles Chart No. 1, "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter".

Background[edit]

Guitarist Janick Gers replaced Adrian Smith during the album's preproduction stages.

The album departed from the keyboard- and synthesiser-saturated progressive rock direction of the band's two previous studio outings (1986's Somewhere in Time and 1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son) in favour of a more "stripped down," straight forward style, reminiscent of the band's earlier material,[1] which ushered in a change of vocal style for Bruce Dickinson from the operatic sound of the 1980s to a raspier way of singing.[6] The idea to make a more "street level" release also inspired the band to record in a barn on bassist Steve Harris' property in Essex, using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio.[1] Dickinson states that this idea was a mistake, commenting that "It was shit! It was a shit-sounding record and I wished we hadn't done it that way. At the time, I was as guilty as anyone else in going, 'Oh great! Look, we're all covered in straw! What a larf!'"[7]

The album also departed from literary and historical lyrical themes in favour of more political content, with songs focusing on religious exploitation (such as in the record's first single, "Holy Smoke") and social concerns ("Public Enema Number One").[2] No Prayer for the Dying is the only Iron Maiden studio album to date without a song exceeding six minutes in length and the only one to contain profanity in the lyrics. It was also the band's first release with Epic Records in the US, after the band left Capitol Records, but was sold through EMI for all territories outside the US. Despite charting well in most countries, particularly in the UK where it debuted at No. 2,[2] it would be the band's last album to receive gold certification in the US.[4]

No Prayer for the Dying includes the hit song "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter", which, in spite of a ban by the BBC, remains Iron Maiden's only UK No. 1 single to date.[2] A tongue in cheek song written by Dickinson and originally recorded with his solo band for the A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child film soundtrack, Harris decided that the song would be "great for Maiden" and had the band rerecord it.[8]

Following Dickinson's departure from Iron Maiden in 1993, songs from No Prayer for the Dying have been largely ignored at live performances. "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter" was the only song played on a post-1993 setlist, appearing on the band's 2003 summer tour.

No Prayer on the Road was the tour in support of the album.

Album cover[edit]

No Prayer for the Dying does not follow the continuity of previous album covers, as Eddie no longer exhibits either his lobotomy or cyborg enhancements.[9]

Two versions of the cover exist. The original 1990 version has Eddie bursting from his grave and grabbing a grave-digger by the neck. As the band's manager, Rod Smallwood, disliked the figure, he asked artist Derek Riggs to remove him from the cover for the 1998 re-release,[10] although the original artwork is used on the disc itself. Additionally an inscription was added to the plaque on the tomb, which Riggs had initially left blank to allow the band to add their own words,[11] and reads "After the Daylight, The Night of Pain, That is not Dead, Which Can Rise Again." The picture disc LP shows Eddie firing a weapon made of four machine guns (a reference to the album's opening track, "Tailgunner"). It has the original cover on side two.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[4]
Entertainment Weekly C+[12]
Sputnikmusic 2.0/5[6]

Reviews for the album were generally poor, with AllMusic commenting that "the songwriting wasn't up to snuff when compared to such classics as Killers or Number of the Beast" and "as a whole doesn't measure up to the hits."[4] Sputnikmusic were equally negative, stating that "No Prayer for the Dying is a plain, listless record that never really gets itself going."[6]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Tailgunner"   Steve Harris, Bruce Dickinson 4:15
2. "Holy Smoke"   Harris, Dickinson 3:49
3. "No Prayer for the Dying"   Harris 4:23
4. "Public Enema Number One"   Dave Murray, Dickinson 4:13
5. "Fates Warning"   Murray, Harris 4:12
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Assassin"   Harris 4:35
2. "Run Silent Run Deep"   Harris, Dickinson 4:34
3. "Hooks in You"   Dickinson, Adrian Smith 4:08
4. "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter"   Dickinson 4:45
5. "Mother Russia"   Harris 5:31
Total length:
44:25

US bonus track[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
11. "Listen With Nicko! Part XI"   Nicko McBrain  

1995 Reissue Bonus CD[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "All in Your Mind" (Stray cover) Del Bromham 4:31
2. "Kill Me Ce Soir" (Golden Earring cover) George Kooymans, John Fenton, Barry Hay 6:17
3. "I'm a Mover" (Free cover) Andy Fraser, Paul Rodgers 3:29
4. "Communication Breakdown" (Led Zeppelin cover) Jimmy Page, John Bonham, John Paul Jones 2:42

Personnel[edit]

Production list acquired from AllMusic[13] and from the album liner notes.[14][15]

Iron Maiden
Additional musicians
  • Michael Kenney – keyboards
Production

Chart performance[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[32] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[33] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[34] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 283. ISBN 1-86074-542-3. 
  2. ^ a b c d Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 286. ISBN 1-86074-542-3. 
  3. ^ Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 281. ISBN 1-86074-542-3. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Prato, Greg. Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying at AllMusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  5. ^ Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 278. ISBN 1-86074-542-3. 
  6. ^ a b c Stagno, Mike (18 August 2008). "Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Berelian, Essi (June 2000). "The Wicked Man". Classic Rock (15): 36–43. 
  8. ^ Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 282. ISBN 1-86074-542-3. 
  9. ^ "Eddie – mascot of Iron Maiden". BBC Online. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Popoff, Martin (2006). Run for Cover: The Art of Derek Riggs (1 ed.). Aardvark Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 1-4276-0538-6. 
  11. ^ "Derek Riggs- No Prayer for the Dying commentary". Derek Riggs. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  12. ^ Mack, Bob (26 October 1990). "No Prayer for the Dying Review". Entertainment Weekly (37). Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying: Credits". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  14. ^ Iron Maiden (1 October 1990). "Album credits". No Prayer for the Dying Booklet. EMI. 
  15. ^ Iron Maiden (1998). "Album credits". No Prayer for the Dying (remastered) Booklet. EMI. 
  16. ^ "Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying (album)". ARIA Charts. Australian-charts.com. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  17. ^ "Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying". Ö3 Austria. Austriancharts.at. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  18. ^ "Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying". Media Control Charts (in German). charts.de. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  19. ^ "Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  20. ^ "Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying (album)". MegaCharts (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  21. ^ "Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying (album)". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Charts.org.nz. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying". VG-lista. Norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  23. ^ "Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying". Sverigetopplistan. Swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  24. ^ a b "Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying". Swiss Hitparade. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  25. ^ "Iron Maiden – UK Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  26. ^ "Iron Maiden- Billboard albums". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  27. ^ a b "Irish singles archive". IRMA. irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  28. ^ "Iron Maiden – 'Holy Smoke'". Swiss Hitparade. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  29. ^ "Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive 22 September 1990". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  30. ^ "Iron Maiden – 'Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter'". Swiss Hitparade. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  31. ^ "Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive 5 January 1991". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  32. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying". Music Canada. 30 January 1991. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  33. ^ "British album certifications – Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 26 April 2013.  Enter No Prayer for the Dying in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  34. ^ "American album certifications – Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 26 April 2013.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH