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Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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3.82 | 641 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The album that turned us all into children of the damned (well, the metal-heads, anyways).

Being one of the most influential and seminal albums ever to be released in the metal world it's a little bit weird to review it in the context of people who are looking for the next Yes. With this album Iron Maiden would lose their first singer, Di'Anno, and would bring in one of the most known pipes in all the land in the form of Bruce Dickinson - and although they hadn't completely matured into their intelligent fantasy-metal type selves yet, they were definitely on that path. You can still hear a large amount of Maiden's ''street sound'' on this album, but at least this time it's blended with a good amount of progressive influence, and even a few excellent tunes that the progressive giants would have given them kudos for in the 70s. All in all, this may not be the place for progheads to start with the band, but it's definitely one that should be on your buying list if you like the band in any way, shape or form.

The best, most memorable tracks on the album (even in the metal world) are all ones that can be called progressive in nature. Take for example the metal behemoth, the amazing opus, Hallowed Be Thy Name, something that even Kansas would have had trouble following during an act. Emotional, spine chilling, speed changing and guitar soloing greatness from start to finish, this one is still a classic that gets performed to mass applause in ever single show that the beast plays - and for great reason. This is the ultimate standout on what is often called the most influential metal album of all time. That said, there's other stuff of the disc that stands the test of time as well. Take for instance the lengthy 22 Acacia Avenue, which carries on the saga of 'Charlotte The Harlot with a twisted and gruesome, sexually charged pseudo-epic, the lyrics of which could have been written by Ian Anderson, although with more cynicism, and less humor. Children Of The Damned is an excellent and creepy song that makes the most out of its 4 minute time span while Total Eclipse seems like a two part suite forced into a short song format (and it works very well).

The rest of the songs on the album were either hits or songs that metal-heads will proudly proclaim as their favorite Maiden tune. The quick and dirty opener, Invaders may not have any 'progressive' merit, but who cares, really? How can you go wrong with a tune about vikings? The Prisoner is a lengthier piece that is more simple in composition than some of the other tracks, but it's still effective with Harris's dominant bass playing taking control of the fray. Gangland is probably the least memorable of the bunch, but with a frantic rhythm section it's at least still a fun ride. Of course then we have the hits, a couple of the most played and memorable tracks in the whole 'New Wave Of British Heavy Metal' scene. We all know Run to the Hills and Number Of The Beast so there's no real point in going into great detail about them, just sit back and enjoy.

So if you're into metal then buy this album and be happy with it - prog heads and especially the more 'inclusive' proggers probably won't enjoy this one so much, let alone be convinced of the band's place on a website such as this. While this is considered their best moment by some it's more rightly considered the start of their classic era by others - later albums would become more and more impressive, leaving this one in the dust, even if it is a monumental achievement. If you haven't already checked out their later albums then do that first - this one gets 3.5 stars out of 5. Excellent stuff, but the band did better.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |


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