Review Summary: INVADERSSSSSSSSSS! RAPING!!!!!!!!1
There comes a point in time where a band is no longer just popular, they are a force of nature. A monster that cannot be tamed. There are very few of those bands, especially in the heavy metal scene. But if you ask most metal fans who some of the classic greats are, you'll probably get the typical list: Metallica, Megadeth, and of course...
This band has been playing some of the metal scene's greatest hits since the late 1970s and hasn't really showed any signs of stopping. They've released a myriad of full length albums, live CDs, the infamous Rock in Rio DVD, and much much more. Their live shows have become well known as some of the best around, thanks to their triple guitar attack, pounding rhythm section, soaring vocals and elaborate stages.
But what of the band's albums? Sure, their older material is not as earth shattering as their first few, but no worries. You can always go back and listen to such classics as Killers
and always find something new to fall in love with...but what is the band's "best" album? I'm going to have to agree with the masses and say that it's this one. 666!
The Number of the Beast
Iron Maiden on this album was:
Steve Harris - Bass
Bruce Dickinson - Vocals
Dave Murray - Guitar
Adrian Smith - Guitar
Clive Burr - Drums
"This album is a metal classic? Why's that?"
Why, I'm glad that you asked. This album was the band's big break upon the rock and metal scene in 1983. Their first two albums (Iron Maiden and Killers), while both being solid releases, were just not enough to make them the legends that we know them of now. What was the reason behind this? It's a simple answer, and I can explain it in two words: Bruce Dickinson. This man has been known as one of the best vocalists not only in metal, but of all of rock history. His voice has become infamous because of his soaring high notes that has been imitated many times but never truly duplicated. Every song on this album features some of his finest work, if not the finest. Paul Di'anno just can't compete.
Another reason would be another two word answer: the riffs. This band is well known for their constant swift E minor riffing, and this album has some of their finest and most popular ones. Take the band's most famous song "Hallowed Be Thy Name" as a prime example. This song is simply loaded with great dual guitar parts from start to finish. The harmonized part at about 5:50 is not just the best riff on the album, but one of the best riffs ever created by the band, if not the best. Steve Harris, the band's bass player and principle songwriter, also loads up the album with his very loud bass lines that have now made the band different from the other 80s metal acts. Songs like "Invaders" and "22 Acacia Avenue" are jam packed with swift bass lines, courtesy of Harris' lightning fast right hand.
If you know me and my tolerance with metal albums, you'd know that I don't like a band that plays the same song 10 times in a row and calls it an album. It just doesn't work unless there's some change in the middle. Iron Maiden knows how to balance their sound in order to make an album tasteful and know when to change things up. After you've just been sucked in by the galloping lines of "Invaders", the band insantly slows things down and enters the slower and very emotional "Children of the Damned". And of course, the final powerful song "Hallowed Be Thy Name" shows that the band can start off with a slow song and by the end play some of their speedy riffs. Balance is a key factor in what makes this album so great.
"Wow, that sounds awesome! I really should pick this up! So are you saying that this album doesn't have anything wrong with it?"
...Just about. There are only a few complaints that I can make with this album, and I'm going to be very brief about them. While all of the songs are listenable, some of them have their lacking moments. "The Prisoner", even though the chorus is very catchy, is not as consistent when being compared to the juggernauts this album has to offer. I know I'm going to get some crap for this, but I can't say that I really like "Run to the Hills" that much, either. The guitar riffs aren't anything special when you put them up against other riffs that you've already heard on the album. And I can't take the lyrics seriously either, seeing as how they're singing about the injustices that the Native Americans had to go through, and they're a band from England. It seems a bit out of place, you know?
Other than just a few low sections on the album, I'm extremely pleased with it and I can listen to it many times, never tiring of it.
Children of the Damned: 4.5/5
The Prisoner: 3/5
22 Acacia Avenue: 5/5
The Number of the Beast: 5/5
Run to the Hills: 3.5/5
Total Eclipse: 4/5
Hallowed Be Thy Name: 6/5 :)
Final Album Rating: 5/5 -- A Metal Classic!