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

THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

3.77 | 456 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Considered by many to be the masterpiece of their career, The Number Of The Beast was definitely the album that lunched Iron Maiden's career into stardom and made Bruce Dickinson an overnight sensation. But although most of us are well familiar with singles like The Number Of The Beast and Run To The Hills, what does the remainder of the album actually have to offer to the yet unconvinced audiences? Let's listen and find out!

Invaders starts off this album with an upbeat intro and Bruce Dickinson quickly takes his chance to showcase his amazing vocal abilities. Other than that, this is clearly one of the least impressive album openers in Iron Maiden's history due to the song's very generic structure. This fact is actually given away pretty early on considering the cliché title of the composition. Invaders is just such a typical Heavy Metal song title; Judas Priest showcased their spectacular Invader on the 1978 record Stained Class while Magnum featured a grand scale Invasion on their debut album from that same year. In short, Iron Maiden was at least 4 years behind in that regard.

Luckily, they managed to beat Metallica to a pulp with the intro riff to Children Of The Damned! The rest of the song is solid tribute to the Dio-era Black Sabbath, although some would consider it a rip off considering that both bands were still active in 1982. The Prisoner is the first unmistakably Iron Maiden sounding composition which will pave the way for many similar songs for years to come. I really have no idea what to say about 22 Acacia Avenue... this song starts like a typical Iron Maiden composition but the chorus line just makes me cringe every time I hear it. It's good to know that the band wouldn't try to recreate this type of composition throughout the rest of the '80s.

What can I say about the album's title track that haven't been said already? How about the fact that this song was my main reason for rejecting Maiden for many years after I heard it back in my early teens! I mean, this is just such an irritatingly cheesy track that makes me think more of a weird Halloween masquerade than the actual chilling story that is being portrayed in the lyrics. This is one of the two Iron Maiden tracks for the '80s that gets the skip button treatment the most by me whenever I listen to these albums (patience, the second one will be revealed pretty soon). Run To The Hills might be just as overplayed as it's predecessor but at least this track manages to achieve the title of being the quintessential Iron Maiden tune which manages to combine pretty much all the distinguishable qualities within their work. I'm talking about Dickinson's soaring vocals, Harris' stomping bass, Smith/Murray dual guitar action, rather bland drumming and let's not forget those ridiculous lyrics!

Gangland is another pretty forgettable track that is saved by the dual guitar action, other than that it's just too bland for my taste. Total Eclipse isn't really any better, even though I do enjoy that guitar riff a whole lot more. Hallowed Be Thy Name is easily the biggest highlight of the bunch, unfortunately even this track loses some of it's momentum after you hear the main guitar riff gets repeated a few too many times. Other than that, this is an excellent piece of music which incidentally began the tradition of featuring an epic composition at the end of each album all the way to Somewhere In Time, or maybe even Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son since it's actually considered one long concept album by some.

I've written more than I should have about this album since I don't really hate it as much as some of my remarks would suggest. The fact is I just never cared much neither for or against it. I guess I can see why the fans like it - there are a lot of big hits here and the rest of the songs can probably grow on the listener with time. Since I really never have given The Number Of The Beast that much time, I'll just never understand it. Who knows, maybe it's all for the better in the long run?

**** star songs: Children Of The Damned (4:35) The Prisoner (6:04) Run To The Hills (3:54) Hallowed Be Thy Name (7:14)

*** star songs: Invaders (3:25) 22 Acacia Avenue (6:37) Gangland (3:48) Total Eclipse (4:26)

** star songs: The Number Of The Beast (4:52)

Rune2000 | 2/5 |

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