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Iron Maiden - Killers CD (album) cover

KILLERS

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

3.60 | 364 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars After the groundbreaking NWoBHM debut from famed heavy metal act Iron Maiden, they proved that they weren't going to stop there with their second album, Killers. This album is often forgotten about in Iron Maiden's discography because of the seminal classics that are about to follow it, but Killers should definitely not be forgotten about. Even though many of the following releases from Iron Maiden are better than this 1981 album, Killers is a highly enjoyable release that needs to be heard by anyone who even remotely likes Iron Maiden.

The sound on Killers is almost identical to that of their debut, but in a much more mature fashion. Expect a typical New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound with 70's punk influences and a few progressive influences. After this album Iron Maiden would ditch most of the punk influences and begin incorporating more prog sounds into their music, mostly due to the departure of the punk-laden vocals of Paul Di'Anno. The music is generally pretty fast and upbeat, although there is also a slower ballad-type song, Prodigal Son. There aren't as many "galloping" basslines from Steve Harris on Killers either. So if you get this album, expect a similar sound to their debut, but in a more mature, and in my opinion, better way.

There has been one lineup change since 1980's Iron Maiden and that's the addition of guitarist Adrian Smith as a replacement for Dennis Stratton. Dennis Stratton is surely a very talented musician, but Adrian Smith's addition is really a great one in my book. Adrian's frequent multilayered harmonies with other guitarist Dave Murray is part of what gives Iron Maiden their distinct sound, and even though it was present on their debut, it really shines on Killers. Of course, Paul Di'Anno would depart after this album and be replaced by Bruce Dickinson.

The original pressings of Killers consisted of 10 tracks and a 38:52 running time. I have a reissue containing a bonus track, Twilight Zone, and has a running time of 41:20. If you can get your hands on a version with this bonus track, I recommend doing so. It really is a worthwhile track. The running time of Killers is absolutely perfect for this type of music. It never tires, and stays intense and powerful for the entire album. Of course, there is also a lot of variation in Iron Maiden's sound, keeping repetitiveness out of the equation. All of the 10 songs are great, with the ballad Prodigal Son, the riff-heavy Murders in the Rue Morgue, the semi-epic Drifters, and the instrumental Genghis Khan being my favorites. Not by a long shot, though, as the entire album is very enjoyable.

Like all Iron Maiden albums, you're feasted with some of the best musicians in heavy metal. As previously mentioned, the addition of Adrian Smith really helped improve Iron Maiden's sound. He is just such a fantastic guitarist, as is Dave Murray. Steve Harris is a monster on the bass, and is possibly the best in all of heavy metal. He is just such a joy to listen to. Clive Burr is often overshadowed by drum-master Nicko McBrain, but Clive is definitely very talented. Just listen to his drumming on Genghis Khan and Purgatory! Paul Di'Anno is often criticized, and even though he isn't as fantastic as Bruce Dickinson, he doesn't deserve all of the flak he gets. He has a great range and unique vocal style.

The production of Killers is fantastic. This is truly how all heavy metal albums should sound. Crystal clear, yet still powerful enough to convey emotion. I complained about the lack of a "punch" on Iron Maiden's debut production, but that is a thing of the past with Killers. The production is extremely powerful and commanding, while still remaining clear and audible.

Conclusion:

Iron Maiden is simply one of the best heavy metal bands, and they proved just that with Killers. Even though the famed British heavy metal monsters would release better albums in their future, it's hard to deny how great Killers is. This is definitely an improvement over their debut, and this is the ideal starting point for the Di'Anno-led Iron Maiden era. If you like heavy metal, Killers is a highly recommendable and enjoyable album worthy of a confident 4 star rating.

J-Man | 4/5 |

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