In honor of Maiden's newest album The Final Frontier dropping this week, it's only fitting we pay them their due with one of heavy metal's masterpieces from cover to guts, Powerslave.
On personal level, Powerslave is my favorite Iron Maiden album and if it isn't the finest metal album ever recorded, it certainly claims dibs for the most intricate artwork the genre has ever seen--and likely ever will see.
I'm not going to lavish upon this album cover. It speaks for itself, particularly if you own a vinyl copy of Powerslave. When you hear about the old school talk about how much better it was to sit on your bedroom floor with the vinyl cover in your lap and thus establish a genuine connection with the music, this is what we're talking about. If you didn't find yourself spitting imaginary sand beneath the shadow of the sphinx while listening to "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and drooling over the details of this album cover, I truly pity you. X-Box has nothing on the grandiose aesthetics of Powerslave's artwork.
It's enough joy to savor the front artwork from Derek "The Master" Riggs, but the rear cover of Powerslave is another thrill of linear perfection with Iron Eddie's mummified corpse being watched over by Anubis, who stands ready to usher Eddie into the next life. In Iron Maiden's case, that meant an abrupt whisk to a Blade Runner-esque future on another breathtaking album cover for Somewhere in Time.
In high school, I sat next to a dude named Troy Carver in art class who spent the entire semester replicating this cover. He incredibly defied our teacher by refusing to do the assigned work, but he was given a provisional A+ specifically for his near-perfect freehand copy of Powerslave's fantastical artwork and it was showcased in a school exhibition--well-deserved, too. I'm still in awe of both this cover and Troy today. His refusal to do anything for an entire semester in art class but recreate Powerslave is one of the most metal moments I've ever beheld in my life.