If there has been any MAIDEN album, which disappointed the fans a little, then it's their 90s output "No Prayer For The Dying". It is the first album after the leaving of Adrian Smith and the entrance of Janick Gers.
The Opener "Tail Gunner" is still not bad. But what's striking instantly is the pretty thin sound, which is not famous for MAIDEN. The song itself isn't outstanding, but also not too bad. With the first single "Holy Smoke" follows one of the sparely spread highlights of "No Prayer..." The song is straight forward and contains those typical MAIDEN hooks and a cool, mangy chorus. After the following and also good titletrack, the serial of good songs seems to be over. As well as "Public Enema Number One" and "Fates Warning" can't convince. There are missing the new ideas and the fire of older songs. I don't want to deny that the melodies and the guitars there are also first class, but this was all written better in the past. That's not MAIDEN at the best. Again, or still, the thin sound is striking, which the English boys have made themselves in their own studio. The fact, that this is the first own production of Steve Harris let's me think forgivingly.
Let's turn again to the songs. "The Assassin" is ready to push the temper again, although it's not reaching nearly the old highlights. "Run Silent Run Deep" and "Hooks In You" are in the same way. Those songs are not really bad, but something is missing. There are no effects, which let you make crazy. The second single "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter", the last but one song, is then another highlight. The song was able to be on the top of the English charts for two weeks. That's MAIDEN again, like one knows them, catchy and dithyrambic. But with this song you also recognize their biggest changes compared with their former albums. The songs are altogether more rocking and not as experimental as on "Somewhere In Time" or "Seventh Son Of The Seventh Son". Maybe, the band wanted to go too much back to the roots? And then there remains one pretty good last number, "Mother Russia", which finishes interesting a really conflicting album.
Now, what have we to recognize, when we listen to "No Prayer..."? On one hand we get the three really good songs "Holy Smoke", "No Prayer..." and "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter". On the other hand we get much of averagely tracks and a not much attracting sound. Even Mr. Dickinson is not as great as before. It's hard to judge neutrally. There are people who love MAIDEN so much, that "No Prayer..." is also another great album for them. But I'm surely not alone, when I have to say as MAIDEN fan: "Folks, that's not really a killer". They have proved before this record and also after it, that they can do it better, or not?
Tips: "Holy Smoke", "No Prayer For The Dying" and "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter". (Online February 12, 2003)