Iron Maiden
The Number of the Beast



by south_of_heaven 11 USER (76 Reviews)
June 6th, 2006 | 63 replies

Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

"Woe to you, Oh Earth and Sea, for the Devil sends the beast with wrath, because he knows the time is short... Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast for it is a human number, its number is Six hundred and sixty six."
- Revelations Ch. XIII v.18

You knew somebody had to do it. You knew it was un-avoidable. And yes, it was done. I am reviewing "The Number of the Beast" on June 6th, 2006. And please refrain from sparking a debate on whether or not the date has anything to do with the actual number of the beast. (Ex: "Silly loserz, the real date is 6/06/06, and cant be the number of the beast because of those two zeros! LOLZ!")

Now, just as Iron Maiden was on the brink of a worldwide breakthrough, releasing two top-quality albums ("Iron Maiden" and "Killers"), vocalist Paul Di'Anno left the band due to his self-destructive habit of overusing cocaine. This greatly conflicted with other members of the band because unlike most Metal acts at the time, they dabbled very little in alcohol and almost none in drugs. Well, along came former Samson vocalist Bruce Dickinson, and he immediately joined the band, ignoring warnings from legendary DJ Tommy Vance, who urged Dickinson not to.

Upon it's release, the album caused much controversy, mainly in America where religious groups burned the album along with Ozzy Osbourne albums. They claimed Iron Maiden to be a Satan-Worshiping group due to the albums title and lyrical content, mainly on the title track (which I will explain why later). These protests are what to be believed as the spark of stereotyping all Metal bands as Satan followers.

This was the third Iron Maiden album I purchased, which is shocking seeing as how this is usually the first bought by any upcoming fan of these greatly influential artists. However, I made the mistake of buying 'The X-Factor' first, and I was so disappointed with what I found that I almost gave up on these guys. However, I reluctantly bought their self-titled effort, which was their first album, and I craved more. I burned that CD out so fast that I found myself back at the store the same day, waiting in the checkout line with 'The Number of the Beast' in my hand and a fat 20-Dollar bill in the other.

What did I encounter when I first put it in"

Passion. Technicality. Pure-Original Talent.

My Six Reasons on Why This is a Classic

1. The Riffs
Riffs can make or break an album. Anyone can usually ignore the vocals, just as long as the riffs flow well. In this case, they are damn near bliss everytime. The opener, 'Invaders', showcases a changing tempo, complete with a straightforward-type playing embraced with palm-mutes and a quick fill or note played at the end. Such is true for other tracks like 'The Prisoner', '22 Acacia Avenue', 'Run to the Hills', and 'Total Eclipse'. 'The Prisoner' features some great drum-work, accompanied by chopped guitar-riffs in the beginning before it begins to grind away. '22 Acacia Avenue' has more of a 'Punk' influence to it, with more simple-styled riffs. 'Run to the Hills', well, should be a song that we all know, starting off with a tribal drumbeat and an almost Bluesy guitar intro, and then goes on to feature a Steve Harris signature galloping bassline that Adrian and Dave stick close to with their axes. Although 'Total Eclipse' has an intro that begins to cause yawns, once it gets past that, old-school feeling Rock beats begin to be thrown straight into your face. 'Children of the Damned' will totally catch you by surprise, since it opens with a soft, emotional acoustic number before it slowly begins to plug away. The most unique out of all of these, however, might have to be the title track, 'The Number of the Beast', which after the speaking part features a dual bass/guitar intro, with the guitar being palm-muted and playing the same high-striking notes as Steve before it begins to thump away, accompanying some imaginative guitarwork and tight-nit drums. However, even the best of albums sometimes has a speed bump here or there, and that speed bump this time is 'Gangland'. Although it features a rather interesting basic drum intro, it feels rather bland and drawn out once everyone else joins in.

2. Bruce Dickinson
Most people tend to put down former Maiden vocalist Paul Di'Anno, always thinking how dumb he was to leave Iron Maiden just as they were about to go world wide and that his vocals were rather whiny. However, I feel the opposite. I loved his vocals. I thought they were amazing the first time I heard them on their Self-Titled album, but I was in now way prepared for Bruce. From the opener 'Invaders', it's clear how much of an impact this one man had on this band. He was able to reach much higher notes, such as on 'Invaders' and 'Children of the Damned', and could perfectly match the high-pitched guitars. His vocal range is enormous, going from a talk-like singing to wailing out high-pitched yells, which is evident on 'Run to the Hills' and 'The Prisoner'. Bruce can also manipulate his voice to sound somewhat sinister, like how he does on the intro to 'The Number of the Beast' before he suddenly lets out a chilling scream. Also, during '22 Acacia Avenue', he quickly changes his singing into a quick 'scream', and by that I mean something that you might find in the 'Metalcore' genre, and is a very welcome surprise. But for those of you that hate those kinds of vocals, don't worry, he just does it for select words, and only about twice.

3. Steve Harris
I had come to the conclusion awhile ago that Cliff Burton was Metal's finest bassist ever. Needless to say, I was dead wrong. Steve Harris is one of the most imaginative, free-flowing bassists I have ever heard in my life. I don't think I'd be out of place to say much of the riffs off this album are based off of his signature 'Galloping-Bassline', which is lighting fast triplets from his possessed hands. These basslines are found all over, and are the main force behind songs such as 'Run to the Hills' and at points during '22 Acacia Avenue'. His variations on songs such as 'Invaders' and , 'The Number of the Beast' give the songs a whole other dimension to them, especially since the bass is so clearly heard its insane, so don't be surprised to find yourself remembering the bass parts instead of the guitars or vocals.

4. The Lyrics
British Heavy Metal bands aren't exactly legends for their lyrics. Hell, take a look at 'Judas Priest with lines such as 'Faster than a lazer bullet!' - 'Painkiller'. See' Pretty cheesy. However, unlike most bands from this genre, Iron Maiden's are actually extremely admirable. All of their lyrics here actually have worthwhile meanings to them. Even '22 Acacia Avenue', which was a continuation of 'Charlotte the Harlot' off their Self-Titled release, starts off about a place where you can go to find a 'wonderful' hooker, and then it changes into Bruce telling her to leave this life and come with him. So even though at first glance it seems like a typical song about sex, it suddenly turns into one of compassion. 'Invaders' actually shows a slightly darker side of Iron Maiden, with lines like, ' Severed limbs and fatal woundings bloody corpses lay all around', but that's about as grotesque as it gets here. Some people complain that the lyrics to 'Run to the Hills' are completely pointless, as they are sympathetic towards Native Americans, and their from England. I laugh everytime I hear this, however, because most people tend to forget that the English were also extremely brutal in dealing with Native American tribes when they first arrived in America. But the big one here is the title track, whose lyrics helped fuel religious protests throughout the country. However, they all failed to realize the lyrics were based of a dream, one that Steve Harris had. With lines like ' 666 the number of the beast, 666 the one for you and me / I'm coming back, I will return. And I'll possess your body and I'll make you burn!', it's relatively easy to see where the protests where coming from at the time, but still very stupid that they continued on once the band explained their true meaning. It also features an excerpt from the bible, Revelations Ch. XIII v.18, which I previously used above before the song begins. And on a side note, the lyrics to 'The Prisoner' are, just like the title, based off a British TV show of the same name.

5. The Solos (Dave Murray and Adrian Smith)
Maybe it's just me, but I can't stand songs that don't have solos in them. It proves to me how much talent is present, but if it's a crappy solo, I get even more pissed off at the song. So most new music leaves me in an almost lose-lose situation. But oh how I smiled after hearing Dave and Adrian. These guys are highly underrated, ranking up there with some of Metal's greatest guitarists ever. Not only are the riffs executed perfectly, but also when it comes time to rip the song a new one, Dave and Adrian waste no time. Trading off soloing parts can be tricky, but these guys pull it off without flaw on tracks such as 'The Prisoner', 'Total Eclipse', and 'The Number of the Beast', even though there's a small break in-between them on the last one I mentioned, it's still a spectacle to hear. Most of these solos tend to stick along the lines of 'Tasteful Shredding', and what I mean by that is while these two guys go crazy all over the fretboard, they never lose that feel that they are truly part of the song, unlike some solos by guys like Zakk Wylde (who I admire anyway).

6. Hallowed be thy Name
Never has there been, or ever will be, a song that can amaze me as much as 'Hallowed be thy Name' did. Considered by many to be the greatest song Iron Maiden have ever written, it is also widely known to also be acknowledge as one, if not the, greatest Heavy Metal song ever. I have decided to take it one step further, and declare it the greatest song ever written. Period. Argue with me or not, you cannot deny its power. From the opening atmospheric guitar, complete with a church bell and a pounding bass every few seconds, it's a song that grabs you from the moment it begins. Bruce is simply astounding in the very first seconds, as he begins to tell the story of a man who is sentenced to death, and he uses every last bit of his power to restrain himself by singing softly and smoothly. Then it's the sweeping infamous guitar riff, which Bruce seems to mirror perfectly, before that same guitar riff is changed into a slightly faster, heavier variation that seems to climb up and down. And that's just the intro. The verses, driven by an emotional Bruce, are split between itself with chunked riffs, which then turns into a chugging, almost galloping riff. There is no chorus. This is an 'Epic' song, clocking in at around 7 minutes. If you were to leave out the verses with Bruce being the highlight, then the mastery of this song comes from the never-ending flow of the guitars, brought to you by Dave and Adrian. The solo that they trade off between one another is simply amazing, as it seems to cut straight through the song and right into your mind. Steve tends to hold himself back a bit, allowing himself a variation here or there, but respect goes to him, as he knows the point of this song is the sheer emotion demonstrated from the guitars and Bruce, and he finds his own place respectively by supporting them with a pounding bassline. 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' begins to finishes itself with Bruce wailing out the titles name, and then some pounding drums and an ingenious and almost-ballad like, simple guitar riff.

Six Reasons for Buying This Right Now
1. If you are a fan of any kind of Metal, you should and will undoubtedly appreciate this.
2. There is pure, untouched talent all over this.
3. Looking for a new icon my fellow bassists besides Flea or Les Claypool" You'll find him here: Steve Harris.
4. To listen to some of Heavy Metal's finest achievements (Ex: The title track, 'Run to the Hills')
5. First album to feature the mighty Bruce Dickinson on vocals.
6. 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' will simply blow you away.

Top Six Tracks (6 Being the Best)
1. Invaders
2. 22 Acacia Avenue
3. The Prisoner
4. Run to the Hills
5. The Number of the Beast
6. Hallowed Be Thy Name

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Comments:Add a Comment 
south_of_heaven 11
June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Let me address something here: I know theres about 4 other reviews for this, but I promised myself when I joined this website that I would review this album. I love it. A lot.

And I'll be posting my review for Slayer's 'Eternal Pyre' later on today...until then, later.

Digging: RAM - Rod

Saxon Priest
June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Very nice review, very appropriate, although I think you exaggerated the brilliance Hallowed be thy Name, don't get me wrong it is a very very very good song, a classic, but it takes away credit for the other tracks, if you did that for all the tracks I could understand.

I also liked how you highlighted Maiden's great lyrics, they really do play a large part in their songs.

Btw It's Acacia Avenue not Aracia.

5/5This Message Edited On 06.06.06

south_of_heaven 11
June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Btw It's Acacia Avenue not Aracia

Yea, I just noticed that. Apparently, I hit 'Spell Check' and for some reason it wanted to change it to 'Aracia' so I thought I must've spelled it wrong. Gracias.

June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

After this review you have convinced me to look into Maiden further. I like run to the hills

Great review.

June 6th 2006


Awesome review man. I havent listent to that much of Maiden, ive only heard Run To The Hills and The Number Of The Beast from this album. (maybe 1 or 2 more) but I wanna snag a few of their albums. Any Sugesstions?

Saxon Priest
June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

I wanna snag a few of their albums. Any Sugesstions?

All albums except No Prayer for the Dying and Virtual XI are worth a listen, I still rate The X Factor.

Be sure to check out their live albums too, they are awesome.

June 6th 2006


Thanks man

June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

A mammoth review; was an awesome one too. I love your format, original and interesting. For some strange reason, I have only recently begun to get into Iron Maiden; this was the first album I bought on a recommendation from a friend. I was simply blown away.

June 6th 2006


Eeeeexcellent review.
Deserves 5 stars alone for Hallowed Be Thy Name. My band used to cover it...perfectly, I might add *satisfied with self*
The entire album is hellah cool, but the only other part that truly comes close to equalling HBTN's coolness is the post-solo descending bass and guitar jig at 3:07 into the title track.
Listen to it tell me that it doesn't make you smile.
I *heart* Maiden.

south_of_heaven 11
June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Confessed - Thanks man, it took me a few days to write this, but I enjoyed doing it. If you like this, you're gonna love the rest of Maiden. Piece of Mind, Killers, and Powerslave are all highly recommended if you like this.

Deserves 5 stars alone for Hallowed Be Thy Name.

Agreed pattern, and I too, *heart* Maiden.This Message Edited On 06.06.06

June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

I like your review and I love this album, and WARPATH_88 Brave new World is a definate must to buy, its probably their best album since this

June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Great review. This is one of my favorite Maiden albums and definetly deserves a 5.

WARPATH_88, check out Powerslave, Piece of Mind, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son and Brave New World.

June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

heh, i knew somebody would do this. Great review too man, very different.

This album is very good and I will probably give it a higher score once I listen to it more. So many great songs here, manily the ones you put in the top six, although Run To The Hills is not really a favorite of mine. Still good though.

Digging: Pinegrove - Cardinal

June 6th 2006


funny, for awhile, run to the hills was the only song I had heard by them and it was enough to get me interested.
The review was more like an "Iron Maiden" review, not a Iron Maiden "number of the beast" review. I can tell you had this whole thing boiling around in your head for awhile and had to get it out.
This Message Edited On 06.06.06

June 6th 2006


Awsome review! Ive been meaning to get this and this review makes me wanna stand up from my Office desk and run right to the HMV superstore.

The Sludge
June 6th 2006


Wow, this is "featured review" quality. Nice job, please put behind our history of me slightly bashing Slayer but actually think they are good once in a while, but thinking the 6/6/06 Slayer nonsense is kinda crap sort of deal.

south_of_heaven 11
June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off


Thanks for the comment on the the "featured review part". Never had that before.

June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Im listening to the Number of the beast right now(666!) Great song, great album, great review.

June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 4.3

Damn, I wanted to review this.

Awesome review!

June 6th 2006


HAHAHA great day to see listen to this baby (6.6.06)

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