Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast
is a heavy metal classic. Released in 1982, this album was Iron Maiden's third, and the first to feature Bruce Dickinson on vocals. The only member of the band here who isn't still a member is the drummer, Clive Burr. As for the rest of them, here's some band member info:
Bruce Dickinson- Vocals
Bruce is an insanely talented singer, especially on this album alone. His highlights include just about every song, but notably his big scream on the title track, the "Run to the Hills" chorus, and some great stuff on "Hallowed Be Thy Name."
Steve Harris- Bass
Steve is the founding member of Iron Maiden and one of the most influential metal bassists ever. His bass can be heard clearly on every track, and his highlights include "Invaders," "Number of the Beast," and some great galloping rhythms on "Run to the Hills."
Dave Murray and Adrian Smith- Guitars
These guys are both great guitarists, and since they both play leads, neither one of them is specifically better than the other. However, in the video for "Number of the Beast," Dave plays the first solo and Adrian goes next. Since most of their songs have two solos, I'll assume that their skills are equally as amazing. Highlights include "22 Acacia Avenue," "Number of the Beast," and "Hallowed Be Thy Name."
Clive Burr- Drums
Clive was replaced after this album by current drummer Nicko McBrain, but he was pretty good anyway. He co-wrote "Gangland" and "Total Eclipse," two of my least favorite songs on the album. His highlights include intros to "Run to the Hills" and "Gangland."
Now, about that album...
1. Invaders (3:20)
A fast-paced intro, the shortest song on the album. It's very catchy and less heavy than the others, especially in the chorus. Regardless, the bass is strong and the vocals are awesome as well. 4/5
2. Children of the Damned (4:34)
This song features acoustic guitar and some ballad-like styles in the beginning, but it really kicks in by the halfway point into a full-blown Maiden song complete with wicked solo. 4/5
3. The Prisoner (6:00)
This song starts off with a sound bite from a television show of the same name. I'm not familiar with it, but I'm pretty sure it's more high-concept than the song, and doesn't have anything to do with the prison-type of escape. Anyway, this song rocks, especially the pre-chorus and chorus, and features excellent solos and stuff. 5/5
4. 22 Acacia Avenue (4:49)
Here we have a continuation of a song from the first album that I'm not familiar with, but it's about prostitution. That's all you really need to know, other than that this song rules as well. It's got lots of time changes, great lyrics, and it ends in a barrage of solos. 4.5/5
5. The Number of the Beast (4:49)
This is a rather famous song, and it should be since it's so great. It starts off with a biblical quote, followed by a story about a man who gets taken in by a group of Satanists. Bruce has a great scream to open up the verses, and the interlude between the solos is a great little bass and guitar doodle. 5/5
6. Run to the Hills (3:50)
This is another famous song by Maiden, so of course it has to be good. It's got a galloping bass line to complement the lyrics of the Indians' defeats by the white settlers, and the chorus is the best one of the album. This is definitely a close second for the album's best song. 5/5
7. Gangland (3:47)
Aaaand we hit a speed bump. This song is everyone's least favorite of the album, and not without reason. It starts off with a great drum beat, but somehow it doesn't really feel as good as the previous songs had got you worked up for. 3/5
8. Total Eclipse (4:28)
This song wasn't originally included on the first release of the album, and I can't blame them. The slow beginning is almost unforgivable to me, even though it picks up for a brief moment in the middle, solely for the purpose of a guitar solo, which was considerate of them. This song, however, will definitely grow on you if you give it the chance. 4/5
9. Hallowed Be Thy Name (7:10)
Here we go, the crowning acheivement of heavy metal up to this point. This is one of the greatest songs ever; not just on the album, not just by Maiden, and not even confined to the realm of heavy metal. This is an awesome, moving, spine-tingling song with a great vocal performance and emotional lyrics about a death-row prisoner about to die. If I felt like screwing with the integrity of the rating system, I'd give this one a lot more than 5/5, but I'll keep it intact. Five is the best it can get, and this song IS the best. 5/5
So there's the album for you. Beginning Maiden fnas should definitely buy this album first, as it is the most accessible of their albums and also one of their best. 4.5/5