Analysis Of Nicko McBrain’s Iron Maiden Licks

Ex. 3 “Face In The Sand”
(Dance Of Death, 2003)
The one and only song McBrain used a double pedal on, and it’s a phenomenal performance. It’s a 12/8 time signature with a feel that is not common in 12/8 meter songs and features not only a driving-engine–type bass drum part but also some nice ride work over the groove in a way that would be challenging for a regular double bass player. This excerpt is from the point when McBrain adds the ride cymbal to the groove.

nicko mcbrain

PART 2: That Amazing Right Foot

McBrain is a legend among drummers for his right foot. Not only is it fast and consistent, but it also helps drive the band along with Steve Harris’ bass lines in a way that is not common among heavy metal rhythm sections.

Ex. 4 “Where Eagles Dare”
(Piece Of Mind, 1983 )
The song where Maiden’s new drummer announced his arrival. McBrain’s opening performance on his first album with the group is still one of his best ever. Not only does it display his amazing foot technique but also the swing in his groove that very few rock drummers have.

nicko mcbrain

Ex. 5 “Sea Of Madness”
(Somewhere In Time, 1986)
The beat alone is complex, but the tempo of this song is what makes McBrain’s performance that much more amazing. McBrain displays both amazing foot speed and consistency as the tempo never moves and the dynamics are very consistent.

nicko mcbrain
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