Review Summary: Satanic drivel or metal masterpiece? Probably the latter.4 of 4 thought this review was well written
God forgive me, I'm now going to review Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast. This is just as hard and forbidden as reviewing Dark Side of the Moon or something, so much have been said about this album. So now, I'm going to open my mouth and start saying what I think about it. And of course, my opinion is just as positive as everyone else's, except of those who claim this album to be "satanic" (HAHA) or Rolling Stone who seem to hate Iron Maiden. They hate Queen as well. What's their problem with british bands?
Anyway, as everybody knows this is the album where legendary metal-singer Bruce Dickinson debuted with Iron Maiden; the previous vocalist Paul Di'Anno (who got a really rough voice) got replaced by mentioned vocalist (who got an operatic wail). Bruce Dickinson is my next to favorite vocalist ever (nothing beats Freddie Mercury), so this was a very positive thing for the band. I don't really think this album would be as great if Paul sang it, really; can't imagine him pulling of Hallowed Be Thy Name.
How great, the album might be, the starter leaves a lot to desire. Invaders is a very standard Maiden song about bloody history, this one is about vikings invading Britain. It doesn't really showcase Bruce's awesome vocal abilities and falls flat on the ground for me. It's not really bad, but it's just very uninteresting and when you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times. Just like the entire Piece of Mind album (overrated as hell, that album).
The next song is better, by far. It is a metal ballad called Children of the Damned (or is it just very slow?) based on an old movie, just like too many Maiden songs. This one shows Bruce's vocal abilites better than the starter as well. And gosh, the guitars during chorus is lovely, and very 'eavy.
The album just gets better and better, and next up is a painfully forgotten song, The Prisoner. It is based on the TV-series of the same name and even starts with a snippet of dialogue taken from the series. Hell, this would be a much better opener for the album. The rest of the intro is great; is stars out with some groovy drums and heavy guitars and just about everything about the song is great; the verses are chatchy, the chorus is wonderful (I'm not a number, I'm a free man/Live my life where I want to) and the guitar solo is awesome. It's so good you actually forget it's based on a TV-series for a while. Meh, that doesn't matter anyway.
Pave way for another truly great song, the sequel to the song Charlotte the Harlot, 22 Acacia Avenue. This also got a slightly progressive song structure, there's a lot of tempo changes, different melodies and riffs and so on. Overall, this is a great song that rocks hard.
Next up is the reason that this ablum is evil, the metal classic The Number of the Beast. Yes, this song must have made one or two priests or other religious people very upset back in the '80s, but those guys have maybe heard the chorus. The song is just as much fantasy as many other Maiden songs. Stupid people trying to blame metal. Booo. But what about the song, then? Well, it's fantastic, the solo is one of Iron Maiden's best ever, the chours is satanic and great, and the scream in the begining is wonderful. Amazing vocalist, that Bruce Dickinson...
After the satanic classic comes the overplayed classic that everyone knows about. Run to the Hills, the song about white man killing red man follows the standard Maiden formula, together with a nice intro (that somehow reminds me of Queen's Radio Ga Ga...) and after that; lightning speed vocals in the verses and the most fameous chorus ever. This might be Iron Maiden's most fameous song, and for being that it's a bit overrated. However, the song is great.
Then comes a song that I've never really cared that much for, Gangland. I think this is a bit of a letdown after the last 5 songs that has been pretty much awesome all the way, this song suffers from the same thing as Invaders. It's just too generic, standarized and boring. A filler track, but those have to be somewhere.
The last song on the album is not widely known outside the metal communtiy (and critics don't give a damn about it) but is still loved as the best song Iron Maiden ever wrote. And... I can't do anything but agree, but this is kind of a... hard song to get the first time. I remember the first time I heard Hallowed Be Thy Name, I didn't actually listen to it and got bored after three minutes with all the seemingly random instrumental sections. The second time I actually gave it a chance, and I was just stunned. I was staring at the wall after this monumentally epic metal masterpiece about a mans last thoughts before being sent to the gallows (hanged, in other words). Maiden put a lot of effort into this song, every instrumental passage is great, the lyrcis are very strong and everything just feels right about the song. Not an easy song to listen to and understand (just as too much metal out there), but a song that everybody should deserve to listen to at one point in their lifes. Hail to the best metal song... Ever.
Overall, The Number of the Beast is a metal masterpiece by the true masters of metal. Album gets a 10/10, easily. I recommend this album to anyone who is not stupid.