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While you’re looking up the definition of ‘talisman’ (we’ll save you the trouble: According to Merriam-Webster, it’s 'an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune' - good enough topic for a song), just know that Maiden have come up with yet another head-turner of monstrous proportions.
A folk-infused intro, over which Dickinson is in Dickensonian story-telling mode (he more talks the first verse than sings it), is soon steamrollered by the band’s pulverizing force. From here on in, Dickinson shreds his vocal cords.
Arrangement-wise, this is a 'can-this-part-top-the-next?' pastiche, not unlike Rush in spots. A go-for-broke, gonzo guitar solo (Smith?) almost seems like an instrumental high point, but a second run (Murray?) is steeped in melodic blues. Somehow, the combination works splendidly.
At 9:03, there’s a wealth of ideas jammed into the song - and with any other band one might say it’s too much information - but Maiden pull it off. Fascinating.