Iron Maiden was one of the first metal bands out of England in the 80s. First two cds were good but Number of the Beast introduced the new vocalist Bruce Dickinson and he took the band to new heights. He could actually sing and screamed very well even eerie at times. Another cool and unique fact is that both guitarists played lead guitar so they both played solos and sometimes in the same song. This cd is easily one of the top 100 of all time.
Invaders(4.5/5)-Awesome intro with some crazy bass notes in the intro, followed by an awesome riff. The first words by Bruce D. kick in and its iron maiden in their glory. Good symbolism and visuals in the lyrics, a song about invaders(duh) attacking a town. The chorus is great and could not be done with their old singer as he couldn’t reach high notes. The solo in the middle is insane(like most of them). Not many can play this one. Verse and chorus once more then followed by the intro again. Awesome song only thing keeping it from a five is the shortness as most of their songs are over 4 minutes and this one is about 3:20.
Children Of The Damned(4/5)-Starts with an eerie acoustic sounding riff. Rest of instruments kick in and then vocals. Doesn’t sound at all like maiden, instead kind of like zeppelin. The chorus again exhibits Bruce’s vocal skill with holding long notes. Second chorus is followed by a jungle tom thing which sounds awesome along with some good lyrics. Then all of a sudden it kicks into cut time and sounds more like maiden should. The guitar solo isn’t as good as some other songs but still good. Then theres a part with Bruce letting loose some whoa’s which the old vocalist could never pull off. Some more good guitar/drum melodies then the audience gets to hear bruce scream for the first time and its amazing. No one sounds like it in the history of rock.
The Prisoner(5/5)-Cool opening clip from the tv show the prisoner. Music opens with one of the best instrumental intros ever. Not that its hard to play it just sounds amazing with guitar and drums dueling if you know what I mean. Cut time kicks in with an awesome riff. The guitar matches the strong and visceral lyrics about an escaped prisoner whos not afraid to do anything. Prechorus has an amazing bass line that is unique to their sound. It all comes together in the chorus with great vocs, guitar, bass, and drums. Bridge has a weird guitar effect that sounds like a violin almost. The effect continues into a rockin solo, very reminiscent of angus youngs (ac/dc)style. Chorus once more than a cymbal wash ending. All in all 5 ½ minutes of pure maiden style metal.
22 Acacia Avenue(4.5/5)- Opens with what must be the easiest guitar part maiden has ever played. But theres nothing wrong with it as it fits the song perfectly. After some vocs kicks into a cool riff with both guitars then back into verse. Lyrics are about going to a prostitute that he knows. Guitar riff with some attitude kicks in and then bruce starts his screaming with “madness" like no other can. Lyrics also offer advice to the girl about giving it up. Some interesting drum work, a little jazz pattern between the ride and the snare in the slower part. The bridge is odd as he switches views again and is telling all the things you can do with her. This song truly is an example of how great something sounds when the vocals match the instruments perfectly. The solo shows that they can play sick stuff that’s not just fast. Again he switches views and is again saying to give up and move on. Followed by a solo by the other guitarist. Good bass line during the solo almost has a “galloping" rhythm. Ends with 2 loud bangs.
Number of the Beast(5/5)-One of the two songs everybody knows. I heard this in tony hawks pro skater 4 and it made me buy some maiden cds and got me hooked. Intro is a quote from Revelation in the Bible which is what the song is about. Pure awesome rockin guitar riff. Fits well with the lyrics which are very eerie and dark. Bass and drums(hihat) kick in full of energy. Bruce lets out a 20 second long scream which sounds like someone dying(in other words unbelievable). Gets faster with some good images and chorus has awesome bassline along with simple but effective vocals. Some cool instrument melodies after second chorus. First chorus is amazing one of the best ive ever heard from any band. Second one is just as amazing. Great singing in the 3rd verse. How can you not love the screaming of “SIX". Intro riff is back in the outro along with some creepy and satanic vocals. One of best metal songs of all time.
Run To The Hills(5/5)-The other one everybody knows. Cool drum intro which many a drummer has worked on in the basement. Awesome riff matches the drums and vocals perfectly. Lyrics about the Indians view of what happened when the English came and conquered the land. Goes into cut time with some excellent hihat speed by nicko(I think he was the drummer at the time)and another good “galloping" bass line. Another simple yet effective chorus with 2 great drum fills that fit the song and subject. Images get more violent in second verse. Awesome, very difficult solo, and not to be overlooked, solid bass line during it. Bridge is cool, again with good hihat work and bass line. And no one but bruce could do the chant thing. Awesome ending scream at the end of it. Every bassist should learn this song as it is prominent throughout and sounds sick.
Gangland(3/5)-Weakest song on the album. Drum intro makes the listener get ready for an awesome song. Too bad it gets nowhere. Guitar work is poor and does not match good with drums. Verse is good but sounds similar to invaders. Chorus is average, nothing special. Bridge is too much like the rest of the song. Good scream in 3rd chorus. The solo is not great but it still is good and it matches the mood. Second one is better with more shredding. Another verse and chorus. A mini solo before the end. Would be a better song if it was shorter as it is repetitive.
Hallowed Be Thy Name(5/5)-Every band(especially 80’s) has to have a power ballad. But maiden is one of the only bands who made it sound good. Starts off a creepy sounding guitar part which is unusual. Powerful lyrics about a man condemned too die in his final hour. Excellent symbolism with “the sands of time." Drums kick in along with the second guitar playing an awesome riff. Gets faster but still maintains the dark feel. More very powerful and emotional vocals. Theres not really a chorus just instrumental parts and verses. After a few more verses, theres a break with just the guitar and some awesome tom fills. Drummer(nicko I think) has excellent timing. Followed by an odd sounding solo. Insane finger tapping. Then goes back into the fast paced riff. By this point its not really a power ballad but can still be counted as one because of the first 4 minutes. Excellent closing as a riff plays with some cymbal crashes.
This was the cd that broke maiden out of the local scene and got them noticed. This is different from most hair metal(if theyre even that)as most hair bands had high voices, only guitarists were skilled, and looked like girls. Maiden was different as each member was insane at their instrument and they kept a hardcore image with a lot of leather and black. They are one of the great metal bands and this cd is their best. With hits like Number of the beast, run to the hills, and hallowed be thy name, any casual listener of hard rock/metal should listen to it. One of the most important recordings of all time.