2 Minutes to Midnight was written by Adrian Smith and Bruce Dickinson and was produced by Martin Birch in 1984. 2 Minutes to Midnight mainly focuses on the Doomsday Clock, the symbolic clock used by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In September 1953 the clock reached 23:58, the closest the clock ever got to midnight. This occurred when the United States and Soviet Union tested H-bombs within nine months of one another. The first guitar solo is played by Dave Murray followed by a guitar solo played by Adrian Smith.
One of the B-sides on the album, titled "Mission from 'Arry", is a recording of an argument between bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain. The argument happened after a show in Allentown, Pennsylvania during the band's World Piece Tour, and occurred due to a misunderstanding on stage between the two due to technical issues with Harris' bass, which had led to McBrain's drum solo going wrong. Vocalist Bruce Dickinson was recording the argument with a concealed tape recorder. Because Harris' bass wasn't working, he asked a light rigger to tell McBrain to extend the solo. Rather than following proper procedure, the man started shouting to McBrain. Angry that he messed up his solo, McBrain had a confrontation with the man that Harris felt was unnecessary.
2 Minutes to Midnight was covered in 2008 by Glamour Of The Kill tribute CD to Iron Maiden. This song also appears on a radio station on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and is downloadable content for Rock Band 2.
The guitar part can be difficult, especially since the song lasts 6 minutes. Alt strumming can be helpful, but the tempo changes at certain parts. Even then, it shouldn't be hard to switch to another beat.
2 Minutes to Midnight is one of the hardest songs on Guitar Hero 5 for the bass. It's similar to the guitar part, but there are many hammer ons that aren't in the guitar notes. It isn't the hardest song, but it's still tricky.