Iron Maiden
The Number of the Beast


3.0
good

Review

by Ed Watson USER (26 Reviews)
December 28th, 2006 | 101 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Three classic songs? Yes. A classic album? No, not really.

Why did you buy the Number of the Beast? I can think of two reasons. Either someone told you that it was the best Maiden album, or at least the definitive one, or you looked on the back and saw the song titles of three of the all time classic metal songs. I reckon that everything else will have been, to be quite honest, a bit inconvenient. Because, to be brutal, nothing else on this album even apporaches the same quality.

Lets start with the worst. The opening track, Invaders, still makes me almost physically sick. The main riff is frankly annoting, and I cannot think of a worse example of Bruce's voice than the truly appaling chorus. The verse utilises the same chord progression you can find at least twice on any Maiden album, but does it so much worse (listen to the difference between between this and Hallowed Be Thy Name if you will). The lyrics meanwhile amount to mild torture, and the worst bit of it is that they have done similar lyrics so much better (try Run to the Hills for Comparison). At least the solos are enjoyable, but considering the crap surrounding them, it just isn't enough.

Gangland is not a huge amount better. An empty sound and annoying drum beat, combined with similarly inane lyrics, makes for an almost equally cringeworthy effort. That it comes straight after Run to the Hills doesn't do it any favours, because it just cannot stand up to the challenge in the face of such competition.

I have no real problem with the rest of the songs. They just aren't that great. Yes, the Prisoner has a great intro riff and corresponding drumbeat, but chorus is pretty average, and the intro riff itself goes on a bit too long. Yes, Total Eclipse has an infectious and unusual chorus, but the verse riff is pedestrian and the solos unispired. 22 Acacia Avenue goes on for far too long, dragging what should have been a three minute stomper into six and losing pace whilst doing so. Finally, Children of the Damned, despite a brilliant vocal performance from Bruce, fails on the chorus and further more seems to drag 4 minutes 35 out to about six.

These songs however, are not the ones that catapulted Iron Maiden to world superstars. No, that honour falls to the three sings I have thus far failed to mention other than as comparisons. it is no fluke that Number of the Beast, Run the Hills and Hallowed be thy Name are still greeted with something bordering madness at live sets. Each of these three are stone cold masterpieces in their own rights and have between them defined Maiden in the 80s.

Number of the Beast is a surprisingly tricky song, especially the intro riff, and quite how Bruce ever reached that inhuman pitch to achieve the scream, I will never know. It sounds so vibrant, so full of energy. The solos are incredible (even a bass solo!) and the overall sound is one of a band at their peak.

Run to the Hills pulls off all the things which should not have worked. Songs about cowboys and indians should not be seriously good metal. The intro guitars should be annoying. It works however, perfectly. The gallop riff is as good here as anywhere else. The vocal performance (from Harris as well) is possibly the best in all of Maiden's catalogue, and the guitar interplay between Smith and Murray sounds like the two are bonded spirtiually, and understand exactly what will complement the other.

Hallowed be thy Name closes the album in grand style. Starting off calm and serene, with some of Maidens best lyrics, it perfectly conveys the sorrow and confusion felt by a condemned man. The tricky but catchy riff and superb rhythm during the verses build the tension magnificently as the execution draws nearer, until the music becomes unbearably frantic and , with the final wails of 'Hallowed be Thy Name' reaching deep into your soul and shaking it at its base, it fades into the calm collected refrain that closes the album.

Had these three songs not been present, this would not have made Maiden huge, nor would this album still be selling. Yes, the album is worth buying, but purely for these three songs. An album can only be a classic if every single track lives up to that standard, and it is the case I fear, that Number of the Beast is just a significnt one. I finsih by asking you one question. Would you have still bought this album if Number of the Beast, Run to the Hills and Hallowed be thy Name were not on the tracklist?



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user ratings (3056)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Thor
December 28th 2006


10200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Decent review for an album that deserves much more.

south_of_heaven 11
December 28th 2006


5436 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

[quote=Thor]Decent review for an album that deserves much more.[/quote]

Yeup.

Neoteric
December 28th 2006


3243 Comments


I quite liked the review but mainly cause I completely agree with it.

freudianslipknot
December 28th 2006


803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review. I more or less agree with you - although I think children of the damned is a really solid track.

northerncomfort
December 28th 2006


106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, its not terrible by any stretch, but I don't really think its inspired. Thankyou for comments.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Review is good.

Intransit
December 28th 2006


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ive yet to hear this, but since Ive heard the three classic tracks, I'll stick to Piece of Mind and later kthx

metallicaman8
December 28th 2006


4677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Your opinions, differing from my own as they do, are not welcome!

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hallowed Be Thy Name is the only song worth anything on here.

Kaleid
December 28th 2006


711 Comments


Decent album, but not their best. Still great though. Even when Maiden are off course a little, they still pack a punch. 'Hallowed Be Thy Name ' is the best here.

JumpTheF**kUp
December 28th 2006


2710 Comments


This is either their best or their second best. I don't agree with the review, but fair enough, you backed up your points pretty well.

BludgeonySteve
December 28th 2006


558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, wow, Invaders is horrible. But there are some fantastic sounds on this album.

Thor
December 28th 2006


10200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

INVADERS! RAPING!!!

:thumb: ...real metal. This Message Edited On 12.28.06

south_of_heaven 11
December 28th 2006


5436 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Invaders reminds me of Vikings too :thumb:

Jim
December 28th 2006


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

:lol: For that very reason!
I like Invaders. It's terribly "oldskool".

Thor
December 28th 2006


10200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah and Steve Harris owns up on that song...more than he does normally.

Jim
December 28th 2006


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Invadeeeers! PILLAGING!
Invadeeeers! LOOOTING!!!
:cool:

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bruce Dickinsoooon! SUCKING!!!

Jim
December 28th 2006


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Why, this is an outrage!
:lol:

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

but its true



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