Review Summary: Though not possessing the top-to-bottom quality the debut had, Killers is still a solid album with several excellent tracks.
A good follow up to the classic debut, Killers features some of the best forgotten tracks of the Paul DiAnno era, such as the title song and Murders in the Rue Morgue. There are a few songs that are skippable but other than that this is a great metal album. And who isn't familiar with that cover? For a lot of people, that is the first image that pops up when they hear Iron Maiden. The album, though lower rated than its predessecor, only increased Iron Maiden's ever-growing fame.
We start everything with Ides of March. This brief, instrumental opener has a good, heavy marching sound. The guitar work is nice, and Clive's drumming really powers it along for the whole minute 45 playing time. However, it's hard to call such a short forgettable track great. Not only that but it's really unecessary, as there were other songs on the album that would've worked fine as the opener. 3.5/5
Like Wrathchild, for example. Kicking off with a deep bass line and soft drumming, this song soon explodes with energy as the guitars and Paul come in. The raw aggression and vicious atmosphere have made this song a true classic and a perennial fixture in concerts. It's hard to put your finger on just what gives this song its charm, but whatever the reason is this song will always be fun to listen to. 4.5/5
An eerie bass line sets up an eerie atmosphere, before high-pitched guitar wails join in. Then at about a minute in Murders in the Rue Morgue explodes into the traditional heavy sound. Paul dominates this trac kwith his singing, quickly racing through the verses before the catchy chorus. I really mean it when I say catchy, by the way. This is likely the best song on the album, and its a real shame this isn't played live very much as it is a classic. 5/5
Another Life is one of the definite weaker tracks, there isn't really anything special here. It has the regular Di'Anno sound but it doesn't hook you at any part. The opening is pretty cool, however. Clive has a booming drum line before strange guitar licks joins in. What brings this song down, however, is its repetativeness. There is only one verse and it's repeated three times and the instruments aren't enough to make up for it. 3/5
After one of the lesser songs, Killers then takes you into one of the best. Genghis Khan is the second instrumental on the album, following Ides of March, and is clearly the superior. The guitars go from one pace change to another, which drawns listeners in. What really steals the show is Clive's drumming. This is one of his best performances with Iron Maiden, and he changes from frantic smashing to rhythmic beats in the blink of an eye. One of the best on Killers, so don't let it being an instrumental repel you. 4.5/5
Another wicked bass line from Steve Harris heads the sixth song, Innocent Exile. Again, after his bass intro the song kicks into full gear with aggressive guitars and Paul howling away like usual. Similar to Another Life, this is another forgettable, mediocre song which has no real special parts. 3.5/5
The album's titular track, Killers, delivers as one of the best early Maiden ever made. This is the closest thing Killers had to an "epic", and though it wasn't one it had most of the elements. There was the slow, build-up intro followed by brilliantly written verses by Steve (Killer behind you/his blood lust defines all his needs), then we get one hell of a solo, and then back to the verses before the song ends. This is the best guitar work on the whole album save for maybe Genghis Khan. You can tell a lot of effort was put in here. 5/5
A speedy, catchy little track called Twilight Zone folows up the brilliant title track. You can really tell this is filler as it is only 2 and a half minutes and the lyrics/intruments are very simple. For a filler song, though, this one delivers. The opening riff is enough to draw some fans in, and its still a fun song to hear. Plus it is short enough to where it ends before it gets repetative. A solid track but there are better ones here. 4/5
The one slow, ballad-esque song on Killers, Prodigal Son, is next up. This song is beautiful at times, but a bit boring at others. Paul sings in the same soft voice heard on Remember Tomoorow and Strange World. This is one of the better listens, as it provides a good change of pace from the speedy, heavy hitters while not completely abandoning the metal sound. 4.5/5
Going right from the slow ballad is the relentless Purgatory. This song went into rapid fire from the very beginning and never strayed far from it. It has a runtime of 3:20, but the pure speed makes it go by even faster. There are a few minor breakdowns to keep it from becoming tedious and everything is executed very well, which may have been why it was released as singel. 4.5/5
Closing out Killers, and the Di'Anno era, is Drifter. It's fitting that this would be the last song Di'Anno made with Maiden as the song is mostly a display for his vocal talents. It is not the best song here, but Paul gives one of his best performances and saves this song from mediocrity. 4/5
Bringing in almost the same sound as the debut, this album is a bit lower in overall quality. Its mainly a it and miss album, though the misses are still solid tunes. It's difficult what to make of Killers, because it isn't a great album but it isn't a mediocre one either. It would say it's better than average, as tracks like Murders in the Rue Morgue, Wrathchild and Killers are some of my favorite Iron Maiden pieces. Skipping a few tracks here and there, Killers ranks in as an above-average Maiden album.
Murders in the Rue Morgue