Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast (1982)
The creation of the metal-epic...
The beginning metal-scene had to progress quite a lot from heavy rock'n roll to the varied and inventive scene we know today. This album still stands as a landmark in the development of the genre. From now on heavy instrumentation, epical song-structures and emotionally developed songs could all be part of the same formula. That formula was called Iron Maiden.
Paul Di'Anno was fired because of his risky behavior and new lead singer Bruce Dickinson (ex-Samson) was to be the new front-man of the band. The vocal capabilities of Dickinson, the metal instrumentation and the wish to expand the music became the foundation for the third album of Iron Maiden. The album has songs of different sorts and the artistic approach on the music made this a very likable album for proggers at the time. Some commercial moments made the music accessible for the big public as Iron Maiden got their international fame in this period.
Invaders is a song that must have been intended for Di'Anno's voice. Dickinson tries to recreate the flamboyant up-tempo heavy rockin' style of first two Iron Maiden album and succeeds. The songs has great parts, but I never really understood the way couplet and refrain succeed each other.
Children of the Damned shows Iron Maiden in freshly discovered new grounds. The song has an epical feel an extremely extrovert vocals of Dickinson. This emotional affair comes to a zenith with an very touching end section. Great track!
The Prisoner has a more guitar-riff-like approach. This song isn't my favorite of the album, but it still stands as a great metal track.
22 Acacia is yet another new experiment by Maiden. It continues the concept of whore Charlot the Harlot with a story-telling lyrical style. The introduction of the story of Bruce is sympathetic, but during the song his opinion about the 'service' of Charlot changed brilliantly and dramatically. The combination of this inventive lyrical (and instrumental) progress in the song with the beautiful instrumentation makes this one of the best Iron Maiden tracks. Both guitar solo's are great as well.
The Number of the Beast is yet another story-telling lyrical track with yet some more instrumental exploration. The ever important bass-lines of Harris are great and the guitar solo's perfect. This song get's me moving, great metal!
Run to the Hills represents the commercial part of the album. Still the song has a great lyrics about the killing of all the Indians in North America. It's a nice song and nothing more.
Gangland is a song with an atmospheric approach. As the title suggest, the song has a dark sound that perfectly fit with the lyrics about a dark society with killers on every corner of the street. The drums and the main guitar riff are strong and the vocals are great. Somehow this song is a lonely track in Maiden discography: it just doesn't sound like other tracks. Great!
Total Eclipse was a b-side intended for our Japanese amigo's who had to spend a lot of money on European music and thus deserved a bonus track. The song has less sophisticated themes, but still has an interesting structure and the apocalyptic lyrics are nice.
Hallowed be thy Name. This is the one metal epic. This track alone is a ground-braking affair and one of the most inspiring metal tracks ever! The dark atmospheres, the great instrumental guitar parts, the progress during the song, the heart-aching vocals of Dickinson.. all are great. The song moved me when I was 12 years old and I still thinks just as brilliant to day. Iron Maiden is here to stay!
Conclusion. An album with lot's of amazing moments, whilst changing the style of the band quite a bit. Still this is not like a 'transitional' album, this is Iron Maiden arriving in a new era. A lot of songs have a special place in my hearth because of the emotional and extrovert vocals of Dickinson and the amazing instrumental parts. The innovative song-writing of Iron Maiden made them one of the best acts of the eighties for sure. Five stars.