Review Summary: One of Maiden's finest.2 of 4 thought this review was well written
Iron Maiden started out as just another cover band in 1975. However, thanks to the unique songwriting and heavier sound, they got more publicity and eventually released their first album in 1980. After they fired their previous vocalist, Paul Di´Anno, many critics predicted the end of Iron Maiden. However, that was not the case.
First of all I think the cover art of the album is awesome, it just screams "controversy". It shows The Devil controlling a human and The Devil seems to be controlled by Eddie. Which indicates that Satan is serving under Eddie. It seems that 1982 was the year of controversial albums. One other being Venom's Black Metal, but, let's not waste any time and take a look at the songs!
1. Invaders. (Harris). It's one of Iron Maiden's songs that has never been played live. I personally think it's an underrated song. It is one of Maiden's fastest songs and contains some great and fast riffs by Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. Steve also delivers some really good bass lines. You can mostly hear the bass all the time during the album which is great. Drummer Clive Burr does a great job in this song and never tries to outshine the band with his drumming which sadly is common in metal today. And of course we have Bruce Dickinson. He is one of the best singers ever. This song really shows what his voice is capable of. The song is about vikings invading a village probably. The lyrics are a little cheesy and the solos could have been better. But that doesn't mean you should not listen to this song. Overall, it's a good opening track. (3,5/5).
2. Children of the Damned. (Harris). This is the point where I knew this was going to be a great album. Everyone turns in a great performance. The song starts like a ballad with some calm singing and some eerie guitarwork but around 2:20 the song hit's you in the face with jungle drums, a great guitar riff and some chilling lyrics. Dave unleashes a terrific solo and the song ends with a creepy scream by Bruce. The song is about children with supernatural powers and they are eventually burnt at stake. I think it's based of the 1964 movie, Children of the Damned but I am not sure. All in all, a flawless song, one of the album's best. (5/5).
3. The Prisoner. (Smith, Harris). It begins with some eerie dialogue from the 1960-s TV-show, The Prisoner, which the song is based on. The song is not one of their most technical songs but it's one of their heaviest. The main riff is really great and so is the bass. The drums are still very good and so is Bruce´s voice. But it's not as good as some of the other songs on this album. I just can't put my finger on it, but there is not the same energy put in to it which is why it didn't leave the same impression on me like some other tracks. But does it mean that it is not worth listening to? Of course not! In fact, you should not skip this track under any circumstances. It's a really great song. (4/5).
4. 22 Acacia Avenue. (Smith, Harris). It was initially written by Adrian Smith for his previous band Urchin. But Steve Harris wanted to do a new version of it as a continuation of the song Charlotte the Harlot from their first album, Iron Maiden, originally written by Dave Murray. A nice thing about this song is that it has some variety. It's really different compared to the other tracks, both musically and lyrically. The lyrics sound a little like they were written by an old punk band or even AC/DC. There are some very nice riffs and bass lines in this song. The riff around 4:45 got stuck in my head for several hours after I heard this song. The drums are great as always and so are the vocals. Another great thing is that it does not feel like 6 minutes and 40 seconds. It keeps your interest the whole way through. Sadly, the lyrics were a little sub-par for my taste. But again that's just my opinion. (4,5/5).
5. The Number of the Beast. (Harris). Remember that I said that Children of the Damned was the song that made me know this was going to be a great album? Well, this is the song that made me want to buy this album in the first place. I first heard this song from the video game Guitar Hero III. Back then I barely listened to music. Most of the genres that were popular didn't appeal to me that much. That is until I heard this song. It still continues to be one of my favourite songs by Iron Maiden. It begins with a creepy speech intro with words from the Book of Revelation. Originally it was going to be horror icon Vincent Price reading these sentences. But he wanted 25 000 pounds which was something they couldn't afford. So they had to get some other person with a similar voice. The song is apparently about a nightmare that Steve Harris had after watching Omen II. The guitarwork is magnificent. The riff before the first solo is so badass. The two solos by Dave and Adrian always sends chills down my spine. The drums and the bass are also great and I think Bruce pulls out one of his best performances here. It's a classic. (5/5).
6. Run to the hills. (Harris). One of Iron Maidens most popular songs. While I love it when they are playing it live, on this album it does not have the same energy or emotion as the other songs have. It just relies to much on the vocals to keep it interesting. The solo is great and all but the main riff is very hard to hear. It feels like a song that was mainly focused on the vocals and then threw in the rest of the instruments later. I do like it, but it's just lacking something that the other songs had. (3,5/5).
7. Gangland. (Burr, Smith). In my opinion, this is the weakest song on this album. While it certainly has the energy that Run to the hills was lacking, the riffs didn't impress me that much. Ok, the solos are pretty good in my opinion. I couldn't hear the bass that well in this song which is unfortunate. I think Bruce and Clive turn in the best performances. Of course this is Clive's song so it makes sense that he would be good. Bruce once again is fantastic. It has never been played live so it seems a lot of other people agree. This is the only song you can skip and not feel like you have missed a thing. (3/5).
8. Total Eclipse. (Burr, Murray, Harris). This is more of a step in the right direction. The song is about judgement day and how Earth is being ruined thanks to ecological problems. It's a slow and heavy song. The riff kept me headbanging the entire way through and the drums are good as always. I had trouble hearing the bass, but it's probably good. After all, it's Iron Maiden! I don't know what else there is to say. It was great but it was not a masterpiece. (4/5).
9. Hallowed Be Thy Name. (Harris). I think this is one of Iron Maiden's best songs. It's like one of Mozart's compositions. If you would add or take away anything from this song, it would cease being perfect. That is the best way to describe this song: perfect. Perfect lyrics, perfect guitars, perfect bass, perfect drums, perfect vocals and of course: perfect songwriting. It's about a prisoner who is about to be executed when he realises that he is actually afraid of death. The lyrics are quite depressing and sound like they are ripped straight from movies like "The seventh seal". The riffs sound a bit oriental which is cool. The bass is awesome, the drums are perfect for this song and the vocals are masterful. It's just a perfect song and continues to be one of Steve Harris´ masterpieces. (5/5).
The Number of the Beast continues to be one of the most popular and best albums in the heavy metal genre. But do I think it is one of the best albums in this genre? No, but it is definitely one of Maiden's best.
Iron Maiden at their finest.
Great riffs, bass lines and drums.
Some variation between the songs.
Some of the tracks lack energy and power.
Just listen to the entire CD but for me the standout tracks are Children of the Damned, The Number of the Beast and Hallowed Be Thy Name.
Averages out to a 4,2 so it get's a 4/5. Definitely listen to it but let's face it. You already have.
R.I.P Clive Burr.