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Iron Maiden Killers album cover
3.62 | 621 ratings | 36 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Ides of March (1:46)
2. Wrathchild (2:55)
3. Murders in the Rue Morgue (4:19)
4. Another Life (3:23)
5. Genghis Khan (3:10)
6. Innocent Exile (3:54)
7. Killers (5:02)
8. Twilight Zone (2:34) #
9. Prodigal Son (6:13)
10. Purgatory (3:20)
11. Drifter (4:50)

# Bonus track on US LP and most CD releases

Total Time 41:26

Bonus CD from 1995 reissue:
1. Women in Uniform (single - Skyhooks cover) (3:09)
2. Invasion (single) (2:37)
3. Phantom of the Opera (B-side - live) (3:07)
4. Running Free (live *) (3:07)
5. Remember Tomorrow (live *) (5:44)
6. Wrathchild (live *) (2:52)
7. Killers (live *) (4:50)
8. Innocent Exile (live *) (3:46)

* From 1981 "Maiden Japan"

Total Time 29:12

Bonus videos on 1998 remaster - from "Live at The Rainbow" :
1. Wrathchild
2. Killers

Line-up / Musicians

- Paul Di'Anno / lead vocals
- Dave Murray / guitar
- Adrian Smith / guitar, vocals
- Steve Harris / bass, vocals
- Clive Burr / drums

- Dennis Stratton / guitar (2.1-2.3)

Releases information

Artwork: Derek Riggs (creator of Iron Maiden's mascot, "Eddie the Head")

LP EMI ‎- EMC 3357 (1981, UK)
LP Harvest ‎- ST 12141 (1981, US) With a bonus track

CD EMI ‎- CDM 7 52019 2 (1985, UK)
2CD Castle Records ‎- CASTLE 103-2 (1995, US) Bonus CD
CD EMI ‎- 7243 4 96917 0 4 (1998, Europe) Remastered by Simon Heyworth with CDROM section including 2 bonus videos plus band and tour history, biography and exclusive photo galleries.

Thanks to Ghost Rider for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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IRON MAIDEN Killers ratings distribution

(621 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

IRON MAIDEN Killers reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by darkshade
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's safe to say this is a great album with one weak moment. That moment is Prodigal Son. Could have done without that track. The rest ranges from good to great, but nothing excellent. The Ides of March is a great intro track, very grandiose. Wrathchild is a classic staple of the band, though it's a more straight forward song.

Murders in the Rue Morgue is one of the best tracks on the album, more proto-prog metal in all its greatness. There's still the punk influence, mainly due to Clive Burr's drums. This album was actually a step down for the band, for the following album took the debut to another level.

Another Life, Genghis Khan, and Innocent Exile are kind of average speed metal tracks, the latter being the best of the 3, having a great verse section.

The title track is one of the best, and one of the most covered, metal songs ever. Once again there is a hint of the prog-metal style the band would perfect on later albums. This isnt as good as Phantom of the Opera or Transylvania on the previous album, but probably the best track here. The guitar uses a strange effect or technique during the main theme, and lots of the 'gallop' the band are infamous for.

After Prodigal Son, comes Purgatory, my personal fav from the album, with great speed and dexterity on the song. Also excellent melody in the chorus, and the main theme is so melodic, but with the tempo, it just makes you want to raise your fist.

Twilight Zone (i have the rerelease with this bonus track) and Drifter are, again, above average metal tunes but still good. It is Maiden after all.

Get this album after you're well familiar with the band. It's good, but may disappoint if you dont know the bands catalouge enough. The band would transcend everything with the following album and on......

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars After their brilliant debut album, IM set out for the proverbial difficult second album, but securing the production help of Martin Birch (a reference since the early Purple days). Alas what was supposed to be their master move also proved to be a bit of a nail in their coffin. Yes, Maiden made themselves a huge name on this album. Yes, the album is one of the (or THE) best of the NWOBHMB phenomenon. Yes this is a typical and referential Maiden album. But my complaint with this album and its successors is that this album is over-produced to my tastes. Don't get me wrong here. The album is not really over-produced as such compared to the other metal albums of the era, but when comparing it with the superb and immediacy of their debut (which might seem under-produced to the metal masses and the professionals), this album is way too slick and "passe-partout". Gone are the progressive and singular sounds of the debut album (the same kind of sound that you find on Priest's Sad Wings, on Rainbow Rising and Sabbath's H&H), the longer tracks (we have 11 tracks on this album and this leaves few space for progression and interplay) and in comes the typical 80's metal sound, albeit in its finest possible form.

Right from their instrumental intro Ides Of March, preceding the fantastically violent Wrathchild, the album is on a 100MPH cruising speed, where the different songs align right one after the other and there are few surprises. This hardly means that there are no strong tracks, though: the afore-mentioned Wrathchild, Innocent Exile and the wild title track, but there are also a bunch of average one too. Funny that Birch's production made Maiden sound Purplish at times (Rue Morgue). But by the end of the album, are we ever glad it is over. One of the better ingredients of Maiden, outside their superb bassist, is that their twin lead attack is very much a collaborating effort where both Smith and Murray are not busy outdoing each other as is often the case with other guitar heroic-induced groups.

So this second album received regular and frequent rotation on my turntable when I had it on loan, but I never went out to buy it, which actually should give you a good idea why it is not getting a higher rating. Just not really essential for the proghead as it is for the metalhead. As for the remastered edition, there are a few freebies but for computer only.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This record is the best of the Maiden's albums: not for the sound, but for the power, the speed, the intensity, the progressive tendencies, the inspiration and the quality of the compositions: it is in a certain manner a "metal prog" album (not a prog metal album): it is a metal album with inevitable progressive elements. IMO it is the best metal album of all time! Everytime I look at "best Maiden albums" polls, I notice that Killers never comes to the top. I noticed that younger people prefer Number of the beast, Powerslave and the more recent ones. Not that those records are not good: actually, I really like all the Maiden stuff until "Somewhere in time" included. I think Killers is more appreciated by people around my age. In the 80's, we made such polls and the best one was Killers almost all the time, followed by Piece of mind and Number of the Beast. Killers is very intense and fast. Actually it is the fastest of the Maiden albums. The instruments are fully interlocking and the synchronization is amazing. The bass is very elaborated, and the guitars have a good sound, although I must admit that the other Maiden's albums have a better guitar sound, like Piece of mind, where the guitar sound is absolutely at its best. Clive Burr does an outstanding job on drums here: he brilliantly plays complex & fast cymbals patterns. He plays very varied partitions, and it contributes to give a prog dimension to this record. Paul Di'Anno's voice is absolutely entertaining, and his extravaganza materialized by "out of this World" space screams is unforgettable: it is noticeable especially at the end of Drifter, of Innocent Exile and of Killers itself. He proves that he is an excellent singer, able to sing normally, as reveal the poignant vocals on the beautiful "Prodigal son". "Prodigal on" is so mellow compared to the other songs that I am tempted to classify it as a danceable slow!! Many guitar solos on this record are very melodic and emotional. Do not miss the OUTSTANDING "Genghis Khan", a very complex, synchronized & fast instrumental track, which is, IMO, the best Maiden's track ever made! NO tracks are good: they are at least excellent! There are absolutely no fillers! One listens it from the beginning to the end without any problem! Compared to the first album, Killers has a more professional sound, a lot warmer. Unfortunately, the sound is still not at its best! Please, just listen to "Prodigal son" with your girlfriend: she will probably like it!! This record must be played using an Hi-Fi sound system, in order to fully appreciate.


Review by Zitro
3 stars 3.5 Stars

A worthy follow up to the great debut. Killers is a collection of great short songs with a similar style, with the lack of any extended songs. The musicianship is as strong as the predecessor, and anyone who enjoys the heavier and less symphonic side of the band should hear this album.

The Ides of March is a symphony of electric guitars that recalls Queen. This is used in great effect as an introduction to the album. Wrathchild is where the music actually starts, a catchy hard rock piece with a great hook in the chorus. murders in the Rue Morgue, Purgatory, Another Day are more standard hard rock pieces, but Another Day has a beautiful guitar solo. You could say that Innocent Exile is also a standard hard rock tune, but it has great riffs and hooks to keep you entertained. The same could go for the title track Killers which is even more memorable, with its unforgettable anthemic choruses. Drifter has a more symphonic sound and plenty of virtuosism for fans of technical playing. Genghis Khnan is another song that displays plenty of musicianship, this one being completely void of vocals. Pay attention to the soaring double guitar solo close to the ending of the song: it is spectacular! For me, the best song in the album is Prodigal Son , a softer song with beautiful melodies and slightly distorted guitars. The instrumental break by minute 3 is among the most beautiful sections of music I have ever heard, with simple musical arrangements supporting a jaw-droppingly gorgeous guitar solo.

Any fans of Iron Maiden should own this album without hesitation. For newcomers, I don't think this is the best way to start, especially if you are looking for the more sophisticated side of the band. There are a few songs that are average and don't have much to offer here, which is why I will round the 3.5 to 3 stars.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Iron Maiden second efford is, production wise, much better than their debut. With Martin Birch - who produced some of the best 70īs rock like Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Rainbow - they had the right guy to show all the powerful live shows captured at the studio. However, the songwriting in Killers is not really up to their previous one. The LP got some flak by critics who felt Steve Harris and co had used all their best ideas and now were unable to come up with something as revolutionary as Iron Maiden (the record). Their third album, The Number Of The Best, would prove them wrong. actually, Killers sold less than their first at home but it was responsable for their first international tour. It was also the first record to feature the guitar talents of Adrian Smith, replacing the sacked Dennis Stratton.

Killers had a great cover for the time, quite stricking and violent for 1981. But as for the songs themselves, few of the newer cuts are really memorable. Only the title track would have a major impact on their career. The bulk of the best stuff were from older materail that did not make it on their debut: Wrathchild, Drifter, Innocent Exile. Also the prog roots so evident on Iron Maiden are almost forgotten on the new songs (Prodigal Son being the sole exception). Fortunatly the band had a lot to offer in future releases.

So, in conclusion, Killers is not a bad album in any sense. The aforementioned songs are great (Innocent Exile showing their prog roots in full bloom). Some are not that remarkable, although none is hack. But this is not a good starting point to get to know the band, specially if you want something more than straight ahead heavy music

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars English heavy metal band Iron Maiden is a household name for most people interested in music, starting their rise to fame and fortune at the very tail end of the 70's. Their sophomore album Killers from 1981 is an interesting album in many ways. It is an album showing a band still trying to develop their own style, it is a classic release in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and it is the last studio album with charismatic frontman Paul Di'Anno handling the vocals.

Musically most remember this album for the fast, punk-inspired riffing present on the classic tracks here. Listening closer to the album reveals that the album has more sides to it than this one asset. There are several examples of songs here with musical roots in traditional 70's hard rock, many examples of Iron Maiden's trademark double harmony soloing, and even some guitar solos with a slight bluesy edge to them. The main aspect of this album is the classic NWoBHM sound though, hard rock riffs played faster than earlier, staccato riffing inspired by the now dying punk movement and extensive use of solo guitar as melodic overlays in and in-between verses and quite a lot of Maiden's legendary harmonic guitar soloing.

The songs on this release has lost a bit of their edge with time. Even the classic Maiden songs all their fans love sounds slightly more ordinary now than what they did when the album was released. As often is the case with songs that were truly inventive and original when first released - when the thrill and joy of experiencing original sounds fades with time, songs can be viewed more on the strength of the songs themselves than the originality of the individual song.

Still, this album does contain quite a few excellent songs, probably so well known that naming them really isn't a necessity. The album as a whole isn't as good as I remembered it, although it should still be seen as an essential addition to most music collections due to the classic tunes on this release.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Second opus for the Maiden. Heavier metallic than their debut.

One thing is for sure. It is made of the same dynamite. No time to rest.

A killer instrumental to start with "The Ides Of March", a wild and heavy one with " Wrathchild", post-punkish with "Murders In The Rue Morgue" (one of my fave). Some great hard-rocking tune ("Another Life"). All this in just twelve minutes. And that's a bit the problem. This three minutes format leaves little place to songwritting development, as if punk would still be alive (but in this case it would have been over-extended songs).

One gets the impression that only halve songs are delivered. When you listen to the crazy beat of "Genghis Khan", you would have liked a more complete track. The current one only being the introduction of an epic which will never exist. Too bad. This will "only" remain a short but great instrumental.

This second "Maiden" album is not as strong as their debut one, but the evolution towards a heavier sound is obvious ("Innocent Exile"). The "Purple" filiation (Mark III) is very much present in here. Heavy vocals a la Hughes and furious guitar (hi Ritchie) are the highlights of this extremely powerful song.

The highlight and the summit of widness in this album is with no doubt the title track "Killers". If ever you believe that fast riffs are the "Dream Theater" fabric, do listen to this one. An amazingly...killer of course. Just to give us a break, the band will propose some rock ballad. Like almost any hard/heavy metal band, this seems to be a must ("Sabbath" paved the way of course). But this one is what I would call, an upbeat ballad. A very good guitar break is performed. "Prodigal Son" is a good song as well.

And we'll finally get our epic. Which epic would you say ? Well "Purgatory" of course. Over three minutes of the punkiest theme. Over three minutes, that's an epic interms of punk, right?

There are absolutely no weakness in this album. A bunch of good songs : from start to finish. You listen to this album as a maniac. You are overflown by the ultra-furious elements of druming-bass and guitars. A solid, a hard, a metal album. It will just leave you breathless, believe me.

Probably worth seven out of ten. But since it is still not possible to be more accurate, I will rate this album with three stars.

Review by WaywardSon
4 stars I remember buying this album the day it was released. There were two important changes on this release, firstly, Adrian Smith made his debut, and secondly, Martin Birch was brought in as the new producer.

The sound seems more full and metallized compared to the tinny sound of their debut album. "The Ides of March" is a great instrumental opener and one can hear the beginnings of Prog Metal and where it came from.

Maiden use Deep Purpleīs riff from "Stormbringer" for the beginning of "Wrathchild", which is just the start of an album packed with lots of time changes, great drumming by Clive Burr, and the unmistakable sound of Steve Harrisīs bass which can be heard clearly in the mix.

Although the album is under 39 minutes of playing time, the songs are well written, which gives it a timeless quality. Although Dickenson is without a doubt the better vocalist tecnically (also with a much wider range) for Maiden, Paul Di Anno fitted Maiden perfectly at this time.

This album has really stood the test of time.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Killers" is the 2nd full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. The album was released through EMI/Harvest in the UK in February 1981 and through Capitol Records in the US in June 1981. Itīs the last Iron Maiden album to feature lead vocalist Paul Di'Anno, who was fired from the band and replaced by Bruce Dickinson (Samson) following several episodes where the rest of the band felt that he didnīt perform well on stage (alledgedly as a result of his cocaine and alcohol abuse). "Killers" is also the first album to feature the services of guitarist Adrian Smith, who replaces Dennis Stratton.

The music on the album is rooted in the NWoBHM movement but there are still some significant changes compared to Iron Maidenīs debut album as the addition of Adrian Smith is heard clearly. Harmony guitar leads are now a dominant element on all tracks. Harmony guitar parts were also present on the debut but they generally werenīt done with as much finesse as on "Killers". One other great asset on "Killers" are the many melodic guitar solos. But of course the organic playing rhythm section (both drummer Clive Burr and bassist Steve Harris deliver incredible performances), and Paul Di'Annoīs raw yet still melodic tinged singing, are also important parts of the bandīs sound.

The two instrumental tracks "The Ideas of March" and "Genghis Khan" are great examples of how melodic the material on the album can be. "Killers" also features some really powerful and raw tracks though which deserve a mention in "Wrathchild", "Drifter", and the title track as some of the most standout ones. The album features a power ballad too in "Prodigal Son", which is a track thatīs deeply rooted in 70s heavy rock/progressive rock. Iīm especially reminded of some of the early output by Captain Beyond. Artists like Deep Purple, Scorpions, Wishbone Ash, Judas Priest, UFO, Rainbow, and Rush, are also obvious influences throughout the album, although Iron Maiden turn up the volume, the rawness, and the distortion quite a bit compared to most of those artists.

"Killers" features a raw, detailed, and organic sounding production, courtesy of Martin Birch. The first of many Iron Maiden albums that he would produce before going into retirement in 1992. He was quite the prolific producer/engineer at the time having worked with artists like Deep Purple, Jeff Beck, Wishbone Ash, Whitesnake, and Rainbow (just to mention a few).

Upon conclusion "Killers" is pretty much the expected sophomore album by Iron Maiden. It pretty much continues the sound of the debut album, but is slightly better produced, the songwriting is a bit more sophisticated, and the musicianship has become stronger too. Wether or not itīs better than the debut is up for debate, but itīs at least on the same quality level and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by The Whistler
3 stars (Murders in the 3.5)

You know, I'm STILL not sure why this gets a 3.5. I mean, on my goofy lil' ratings system type line of thought, that's honestly not bad. Not bad at all. Some bands, Maiden perhaps included, never see anything higher than a solid four, so 3.5 is honestly not bad at all. However, something about Killers rubs me funny, and I feel like it SHOULD get a solid four...or a solid three.

I think in the long run it's a combination of things. For one thing, it sort of suffers from second side syndrome. Not that the second side really sucks, it doesn't. It's all very nice. It's just that the things approaching Maiden classics are pretty much on the first half. But, again, it's not that the second half is bad; I think it's just because, after hearing largely the same material for one and a half albums, even I get a little bored.

Still, the instrumental opener "Ides of March" is actually pretty damn sweet. It sounds kinda Sabbathy, truths to be told, but with about a ton more intelligence (would Sabbath quote "Bolero?"). This flows flawlessly into "Wrathchild," not a bad song either. Dig that solid riff moving quietly beneath the main song.

"Murders in the Rue Morgue," this week's pretentious literary allusion, manages to be kinda speedy and fairly memorable. But, it ain't as pretentious or literary as "Phantom," and without the twisting complexity of the earlier song, it never soars as high. "Another Life" is another speedy number, and there is definitely some clever riffage at its center. But it feels somewhat...incomplete? I dunno.

Quick, complex instrumental "Genghis Khan" is actually the song that got me into Maiden in the first place (true story), so I have a slight weakness for it. However, now that I'm more educated, I realize that it relies heavily on the instrumental parts of "Phantom." Which is not bad, per se, just not terribly original.

A little of the ole fun starts to slip out from under me "Innocent Exile" has a somewhat mediocre opening, but that bridge is pretty headbangin' in an...almost funky, dare I say it, way (all metal bands have to show blues roots at some point, right?). Cool ending. The title tune contains more cool riffage (although I wonder if we needed so long an intro), particularly the riff that precedes the chorus. Di'Anno gives a pretty "killer" vocal performance too. Whoops, made a funny.

Quasi-ballad "Prodigal Son" is the only breath of variety on an otherwise pop-metal album (with artistic inclinations). In the long run, it's not much worse than "Strange World." In fact, if it had been handled right, it might have been better, but speeding up the softer parts and Gilmour-izing the slower parts does not help in my book. I'm actually somewhat fond of "Purgatory" though. The verses are speedy enough to headbang to, and the chorus pretty darn catchy. Too bad it's so short (anyone notice these all seem to end the same way eith the drums going all "BIDDA-BIDDA-Boom-ping?").

"Twilight Zone" follows a similar pattern. The verses are toe-tappin' and tolerable, the chorus is almost great. Cool riffs at the center. Feels a little short at the end. "Drifter" is an energetic rocker, with a nice, layered riff holding it together, and some choice soloing near the end. Instead of being under-baked though, it's a little over-baked, with a bunch of parts being tossed together (dig the middle). Entertaining finisher, if a bit sloppy.

What's right with the record? Most things, to be honest. There are some pleasant melodies and riffs within and throughout, and everything is played to technical perfection, if a little...emotionless, more so than the first. But Di'Anno is cool.

So, what's wrong with the record? Well, it seems to me that the band (or just Harris, who can say?) was trying to streamline the sound. Like, compare this with the first record, and you'll already note that the guitars are cleaner, the production is tighter, and, the songs are shorter and leaner. So what's wrong with that? Well, first off, the album gets a little tedious on the second side, and more importantly, I liked all that weirdo garage rock experimentation. It feels like, in their rush to create "the perfect Iron Maiden product," the band looses sight of what made the first album so entertaining. And as a result, nothing here ever reaches the heights of "Phantom of the Opera" or "Prowler" or whatever.

Case in point: I can't honestly pinpoint a "best song" here, and that's neither a good nor bad sign (just...pick something on the first side, okay?). I mean, everything's enjoyable, everything's great, but nothing really, REALLY stands out. It's all kind of...shallow. Which is, again, really a pity, because the material here is so gosh darned even, that I feel if it had the first album's aesthetic, it would have been even better. Believe it or else.

So the sound is also becoming more uniform. Which, admittedly, didn't take long. But don't worry folks, we've still got Di'Anno, and he'll never, never, never leave us! Er, right? Uh oh...

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The second Maiden album continues the punk metal approach of the debut. It doesn't have the same element of surprise but the song writing is more ambitious and the playing and production values have become a lot more professional.

The Ides Of March / Wrathchild has the same punk power of the fast tracks of the debut but testifies of a greater musical confidence, better playing, more worked out leads and smarter composition. The entry of Adrian Smith on guitars is a clear improvement. Murders In The Rue Morgue is excellent fast-paced punk-rock. It brings some early Scorpions to mind. Another Life is similar to other early Maiden punk-rock but less catchy. Genghis Khan is a typical Maiden instrumental, not measuring up to Transylvania from the debut but the guitar leads are scrumptious.

Innocent Exile has an almost swinging groove in the verses and an adventurous structure for such a short song. Harris's bass takes the lead on the aggressive and swirling title track. After a good 25 minutes, Prodigal Son is the first track that steps down a gear, it's not as alluring as the ballads on the debut but on the up side it's less predictable and quite original. The furious Purgatory and Drifter sound as if they wanted to make up for the slower pace of Prodigal Son.

I have no Di'Anno or Dickinson preference. Both vocalists defined very distinct phases of Maiden's sound. I might have preferred Di'Anno had stayed on for one more album but Di'Anno's voice would certainly not have fitted on the more epic Piece of Mind and Powerslave. Killers is not the most obvious album for prog fans but it's highly recommended if you want to explore their earlier punk-metal attack.

Review by friso
4 stars Iron Maiden - Killers (1981)

The second album...

Iron Maiden has this amazing debut album (s/t) full of energetic heavy rock with progressive and rockn'roll influences. During the tours of the debut album most of the songs for follow-up Killers had already been finished. The recording of the album is slightly better, but the vocals sounded better on the debut IMHO. The guitars, drums and bass sound great on this record and I sometimes regret they didn't make more albums with this sound.

Killers is a great follow-up for the debut, as Iron Maiden continues the path of the debut, it never repeats itself. The song-writing expanded a bit and Iron Maiden shows some growth on the technical aspect of the music as well.

The instrumental Ides of March shows the true guitar skills of the hard rock scene. Wrathchild became a podium favorite with it's flamboyant style and lyricsm whilst the extremely energetic and inventive Murders in Rue Margue is one of the best tracks of this period. The bass part in the beginning is truly a blessing. Another Life yet another very inventive heavy rock track and I begin to wonder how the band ever managed to get inspiration for such fine rock tracks! Genghis Khan is the second instrumental track with both technical and emotionally moving moments. The title track is an atmospheric hard rocker with nice lyrics with a twist in the end. The flamboyant vocals of Di-Anno and the unusual guitar part in the main riff make this a real gem. The next three songs are less energetic, but they seem to compensate with the beautiful song-writing. The sound becomes a bit more abstract, but I love the exploration-spirit of the band.

Conclusion. Yet another great Iron Maiden classic. I say: spice up your live with a little Paul Di'Anno era Iron Maiden! Soon after this, with the departure of the Paul the music would change quite a bit and the rock'n roll and highly inventive punk influences of Iron Maiden were gone. Four stars for this one. There aren't any better records in the scene in 1981.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars ron Maiden's second album, and Paul Di Anno's last album with the band, is in a way better than their rough debut. The sound is more mature, the vocals are better, and many songs are really awesome! However, many times it isn't very brilliant, actually at times it can annoy.

The style is even more eclectic than the debut, even though it has only one ballad (Prodigal Son, my least favorite), there is a slight experimentation, like in songs such as Murders In The Rue Morgue, Drifter, and maybe even Twilight Zone and the title track, another huge Maiden classic. These mentioned songs are for sure my favorite, even though we also have Wrathchild (a big hit, thus another classic), Purgatory, and the excellent Genghis Khan, a great instrumental track, just as good as Transilvania, from their previous work. While Innocent Exile is another great song, Another Life never appealed to me, in fact it's, together with Prodigal Son, my least favorite.

We surely can't say this is a bad album, quite the contrary it's very good, even though it has it's weak moments, unlike the band's following album. Four stars.

Review by J-Man
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.


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.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars IRON MAIDEN's second album would be the first for Adrian Smith and he and Dave Murray would continue this twin lead guitar attack for many many years.The punk element from the debut has been scaled back but we still get those straight forward tracks that are still fairly short.The tour for this album would include a lot of "firsts". This was the first of ten albums that Martin Birch would produce for the band. Their first headlining gig at the Hammersmith Odeon. Their first European tour as headliners.Their first tour of America and Japan.

"The Ides Of March" is a short opening instrumental. "Wrathchild" is a top three for me. Check out Harris with that bass intro. Vocals join in quickly. Killer track. "Murders In The Rue Morgue" builds and I really like the tone of the guitar. It turns uptempo with vocals a minute in. Guitar solo 3 minutes in. "Another Life" opens with drums as guitars join in then the tempo picks up. Vocals follow. This is a good little rocker.

"Genghis Khan" is a top three as well. This is classic MAIDEN and check out the rhythm section. Lots of bottom end. Love the guitar before 2 1/2 minutes. "Innocent Exile" has a killer bass intro as the vocals join in. A guitar solo 3 minutes in. "Killers" has some nice bass and dark atmosphere early as Paul yells several times. Here we go a minute in ! The bass and guitar before 2 1/2 minutes is great. "Prodigal Son" is the other top three.This one is diferent from the rest and it moves me. Lots of strummed guitar and it's laid back. Reserved vocals join in before 1 1/2 minutes. The remaining tracks are more uptempo and "Drifter" is a really good way to end the album.

Definitely 4 stars for me although the best was yet to come.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I rarely find it disappointing to hear that an album is comprised of leftovers from the previous sessions since some of my favorite albums just so happen to be those releases. I guess that Still Life by Van Der Graaf Generator is the best example of just that (note that I just made a VDGG reference in an Iron Maiden album review)!

Killers starts off with a short instrumental followed by the early concert favorite Wrathchild. So far everything is off to a good start, even though Murders In The Rue Morgue is not as poignant as I would have preferred it to be. Another Life is the first really forgettable track of the bunch, only the dual guitar action of Murray/Smith keeping it barely a drift. Genghis Khan is this album's second instrumental which comes only halfway into the record. This can of course be seen as a way to highlight the strong instrumentalists that are featured in the lineup but somehow I get the feeling that this was rather a way to hide the fact that this album is lacking in the actual songwriting department.

The album's title track is easily the highlight of the entire record and features another enigmatic performance from Steve Harris. If only more of this record could be as strong as this one track! The remainder of the album ranges from good to decent performances from the band, but there is really not a single moment that would be considered as classic as anything off the band's debut album.

It's not that Killers is a bad album in any way, believe me when I say that those releases aren't that far ahead, but it simply pales in comparison to the classic debut album. Still, it's clear that many Iron Maiden fans really cherish this album, so if you're in the midst of discovering Iron Maiden for yourself then be sure to give this album a spin just to make up your mind about it. Personally, I've always preferred the raw energy of the band's debut mixed with some of their top notch material. We don't get either of the two on their sophomore release but it's still a solid, if not essential release from this rising NWoBHM band.

***** star songs: Killers (5:02)

**** star songs: The Ides Of March (1:46) Wrathchild (2:55) Murders In The Rue Morgue (4:19) Genghis Khan (3:10) Innocent Exile (3:54) Prodigal Son (6:13) Purgatory (3:20)

*** star songs: Another Life (3:23) Twillight Zone (2:33) Drifter (4:50)

Review by Warthur
4 stars The second Paul Di'Anno album from Iron Maiden sees the band enjoying the benefits of a superior production job. Once again basing the album on tried and tested material honed to perfection in the years prior to their debut, the album is a particular tour de force for Steve Harris, whose songwriting contributions dominate and whose complex bass playing is at last able to be heard clearly. Less well-served by the improved sound quality is Paul Di'Anno, whose vocal style suited the low-fi, punkish energy of the debut but gets rather lost in the more complex material presented here; his best vocal performances are on songs such as Wrathchild or the title track, both of which hark back to the direct and aggressive style of the debut.
Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Killers' - Iron Maiden (5/10)

"Killers" could be seen as a transition album for Iron Maiden. Although the band had a relatively firm grasp of their galloping sound since the debut, Paul Di'Anno's punkish style and image had a pretty significant impact on the way Maiden carried themselves. "Killers" indeed picks up where the self-titled debut left off, but nothing is done with the same sense of sincerity and excitement. Perhaps "Killers" was needed in order for the band to finally opt out of their ties with Di'Anno and move forward, but we have here a record that falls under a terminal case of 'second album syndrome'. Iron Maiden's signature sound is here, but the magic certainly isn't.

Looking back on my fond memories of the debut, Maiden may not have had the degree of sophistication in their sound and lyrics as they are known for today, but, as the towering "Phantom of the Opera" would testify, they were capable of great things, fusing raw energy with technicality and pomp likely influenced by the progressive rock of the decade past. The idea of moving one step forwards, and two steps back seems to apply here. Although there is a slight progression towards a grittier heavy metal sound, the aggression and intelligence have been siphoned out. "Killers" puts all of its best tunes at the front; although "The Ides of March" functions as a simple, anthemic intro to the record, its martial rhythm leaves a greater impression than most of the songs here. "Wrathchild" has become a bit of a fan favourite, and there's no doubt that it takes the dubious prize of album highlight. Steve Harris' bass licks on "Wrathchild" are some of the best of his early career, and though Di'Anno's performance throughout the album feels generally inferior to his vocals on the debut, he executes some incendiary wails. "Murders in the Rue Morgue" follows up "Wrathchild" quite nicely, delivering a faster pace more indicative of the album as a whole. After that, the songs begin to blur together. Iron Maiden deliver many of the same tricks each song, and though it is made a worthy listen for their consistent tightness as a band, the songwriting lacks the excitement and distinctiveness most of us have come to expect from this band. The one exception later in the album is the relatively long "Prodigal Son", which actually ends up feeling like an unwelcome change of pace for the album. It's as if Maiden suddenly decided to toss out their metal direction in exchange for a painfully watered down prog rock style. Di'Anno's vocals notwithstanding, "Prodigal Son" sounds like something Rush could have done on "Fly By Night", then decided to toss away.

The first two Maiden albums are usually seen as being apart from the rest, if only because Bruce Dickinson had not yet entered the fold. Paul Di'Anno is a great frontman with a charismatic delivery, but his vocal work on "Killers" lacks the precision and ballsy guts it sported on the debut. His performance is decent, but he favours the 'charismatic' angle of his inflections far too much over the more melodic aspects here. As a result, DiAnno's vocals still feel larger-than-life, but there's not a single vocal melody on the album that really sticks, even after several listens. In short, the worst thing that ever happened to "Killers" was the fact that it was being expected to follow one of the best heavy metal debuts ever. There is still much potential in Iron Maiden's style- which remains powerful and exciting- but it's a tough sell to say that the album is really worth checking out for anything more than the fact that it's Iron Maiden. Luckily, it wouldn't be long before the excellent "Number of the Beast" was released under the vocal guidance of Brucey, but considering the sort of artistic success Maiden had with Di'Anno with their first record, it's pretty difficult not to feel disappointed.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars A decent 2nd effort for IRON MAIDEN where Eddie got an upgrade. Now instead of just peaking up from below he is a full fledged bad-ass with an axe dripping with blood and a nasty evil grin that means he's just done something very naughty.

The production got an upgrade as well. Martin Birch joined the team and so much did the band like his talent that he stuck around until the album 'Fear Of The Dark.' The sound is noticeably better than the debut but still is of the 80s.

Out was Dennis Stratton due to musical incompatibilities and in was Adrian Smith thus adding on yet another classic member. The Wishbone Ash dual guitar harmonies were here to stay though and getting more melodic and ferocious.

This was Paul Di'Anno's second and final stint as vocalist offering yet again his punkish vocal talents but it was clear by now that the band was evolving into a more dynamic powerhouse and Di'Anno's vocals were no longer cutting it as his voice sounds a little strained at times trying to hit the high notes. MAIDEN was clearly evolving past their punk roots and moving like troopers into more progressive territory and the lead singer's drug and alcohol abuse were keeping him from evolving with them.

This is a great sophomore release but overall I like it slightly less than the debut. This is one of the earlier albums that I have always brushed aside because I preferred the debut and all the following albums better, but as i'm sitting here listening to this now I am questioning my sanity for not including it more often to get my MAIDEN fix.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars This good, but not great, early album by metal gods Iron Maiden is raw, energetic, and maybe even a little ambitious. The group's songwriting and complex instrumental passages definitely show that they're striving for something more than just the punk metal label that the band is often given at this stage in their career. Personally, I think the "punk" label is quite misused; the production of Killers is first rate, and the band sounds way too focused to be a punk group. But I digress.

The album opens with a dramatic instrumental metal fanfare, then kicks in the door with the fist pumping "Wrathchild." The great riffing, hooks, and bass work on this track make it a concert favorite even today. "Murders in the Rue Morgue" keeps the momentum going, with its combination of dynamics and memorable chorus. Adrian Smith's guitar presence is felt strongly from this point forward, with he and Murray taking the twin-lead guitar schtick to great levels.

There are a few standout moments in the tracks that follow, but in general Killers is not likely to leave is big of an impression as the group's later works, or even the debut. At times I felt that the songwriting was almost too ambitious; the group felt like they were struggling to keep up at times. Killers is closer to Number of the Beast in terms of style, but not quite there yet.

Still, not much to complain about in this excellent hard rock/metal release. Recommended for those seeking some edgy, feedback-heavy riffing from one of the all-time best.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Latest members reviews

4 stars 1The Ides Of March for this orchestral intro which had me hooked in its time; what an instrumental, but it could be prog then, I hear prog metal, in short superb intro which turns in all directions and which shows that the drums could have a place of choice 2 Wrathchild continues by offering this n ... (read more)

Report this review (#2312201) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

2 stars One year after the release of their self-titled debut, Iron Maiden are back again with 'Killers', an album that pretty much replicates everything from the bands previous release, only the overall product just doesn't quite seem as good. 'Murders in the Rue Morgue', 'Genghis Khan' and the stando ... (read more)

Report this review (#1777272) | Posted by martindavey87 | Thursday, August 31, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Iron Maiden's Killers is the last episode with vocalist Paul di'Anno and so with the original line- up of Iron Maiden. In this period Iron Maiden played hardrock/metal wich seemed much influenced by Judas Priest (Sin after Sin for example) and Deep Purple (In Rock). Paul di'Anno was not the m ... (read more)

Report this review (#610226) | Posted by the philosopher | Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Yet another fantastic effort from the Irons, but is it as good as their steller debut?...well i guess in a way, i mean theres not too many changes, you have your rockers (WRATHCHILD, MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGE) and the epic on the album (which in this case i guess is PRODIGAL SON even though its a ... (read more)

Report this review (#291566) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An honest and simple slaughter. The two albums recorded by Iron Maiden with Paul Di'Anno as singer are sadly overlooked gems.Dickinson's charisma brough to the band a more experimental and captivating approach,but this earliest Maiden material holds something that got lost later on,a certain pu ... (read more)

Report this review (#228691) | Posted by Gustavo Froes | Monday, July 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another early Iron Maiden effort that deserves a higher rating than that given here. It's really a 4.5 effort but I gave it a 5 to help the disc's overall score. From beginning to end one of the best, most consistent metal efforts to emerge from the NWOHM. From the instrumental opener to th ... (read more)

Report this review (#222893) | Posted by MrMan2000 | Wednesday, June 24, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well there are two schools of writing about this album. First is, taking it as a serious documentary of new wave of British heavy metal movement and the second is, taking it as regular metal album and compare to other band's releases. I'm going to rate this album picking the first way of thinkin ... (read more)

Report this review (#216820) | Posted by LSDisease | Thursday, May 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Iron Maiden comes out of the (prog rock) closet ? I regard this album as an oddity in Iron Maiden's discography. Mainly because it has some oddball songs. The title track, for example. There are also some ideas on this album Iron Maiden only fully developed on their Dance Of Death and A Matter ... (read more)

Report this review (#189072) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm a Maiden fan, and this is the best Maiden album, not only from their first era (Di'Anno), but for the entirety of their career. Raw, brutal, almost punk in tone, Killers deserves very well his title. I especially love Prodigal Son, Wrathchild, Genghis Khan and Killers. But all is great here. ... (read more)

Report this review (#164070) | Posted by Zardoz | Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Maiden's second album shows a matured band with good songs (I only dislike Another Life and Drifter) and tight playing. When I re-listened to it a few hours ago I was surprised how strong the material and the playing was at that relatively early state. They seemed to have found their direction b ... (read more)

Report this review (#162928) | Posted by strayfromatlantis | Friday, February 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I hate to say it, but here's a Maiden album that I'm not too keen on. Maybe my opinions will change, but right now I find it hard to enjoy. There's nothing wrong with the musicians and they all give a top performance, and even DiAnno gives us some great vocals (not as good as the debut though). ... (read more)

Report this review (#155257) | Posted by burtonrulez | Wednesday, December 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a great album. It sounds much better than the debut. I know some people love the original, but I really have a hard time with the production and some of the tempos they used(which they play different live having realized their mistake). Killers is a classic and it took me awhile to get i ... (read more)

Report this review (#130501) | Posted by JD-Buckeye | Saturday, July 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The most underrated album of the Maiden. To give the true value to Killers you must to go to 1981. Before Killers, the heavy rock were some old bands (Sabbath, Purple and the Zeppelin) and the only new element was Judas Priest. Killers was the true first highlight (the press qualifed Iron Maiden ... (read more)

Report this review (#127299) | Posted by watcherofthesky | Sunday, July 1, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Dude what a chance reviewing killers here..where?!?!? boy, if u grown up enoughī you could feel Di'Annos voice down to the doubt telling thet maidens best effort is right here with the 80īs pinnacle killers, sounding loud and fast our very high school feelings, sure the best ones. i ... (read more)

Report this review (#126970) | Posted by luisman | Thursday, June 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Iron Maiden's second album, the first one with Adrian Smith. The sound quality has improved, but the songs sound less original than the ones on their debut album. The album opens with a short instrumental "The Ides Of March" and a great rocker "Wrathchild". More fast paced metal follows with "M ... (read more)

Report this review (#98275) | Posted by zaxx | Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Iron Maiden's second album received a critical lashing upon its initial release, the rock press not knowing quite what to make of this cluttered record. KILLERS forsakes the comparatively convention songwriting of the debut in favor of a blistering set of songs firmly rooted in the NWOBHM tra ... (read more)

Report this review (#93223) | Posted by JohnGargo | Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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