Analysis Of Nicko McBrain’s Iron Maiden Licks

Ex. 8 “Sign Of The Cross”
(Rock In Rio [live])
There is a beautiful march-type section that comes after the soft guitar and bass part that is just so powerful. In typical Steve Harris fashion, he didn’t write a straight-ahead part, and McBrain shines on this part of the song. McBrain drops the bass drum in the most perfect spots and plays right-handed ghost notes on the snare that double the bass drum part, similar to how he plays the ride cymbal on “Where Eagles Dare.” This is the beginning of that section.

nicko mcbrain

Ex. 9 “The Longest Day”
(A Matter Of Life And Death, 2006)
After the second chorus, the band goes into an amazing 7/4 riff that really sings. The tempo also changes and McBrain handles it all very well with a nice snare part that doubles the riff while ending each run through with a short fill before leading the band back into a common-time groove.

nicko mcbrain
Page 4 of 4
Get the How To Tune Drums Minibook when you subscribe to our newsletter