IRON MAIDEN — The Number Of The Beast (review)

IRON MAIDEN — The Number Of The Beast album cover Album · 1982 · NWoBHM Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Stooge
Here we are again. Another legendary metal band makes another vocalist change. Is letting go of the popular frontman Paul Di’Anno career suicide? Clearly not, since if the Dickinson-for-Di’Anno swap never occurred, Maiden may have just been one of dozens of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal Bands that didn’t quite hit the big time. With a rather brief honeymoon period with Bruce Dickinson, the band thrust themselves into the studio and made the album that launched them to international stardom, The Number Of The Beast.

Stylistically, there are certainly a couple of tracks that would suit Di’Anno’s vocals. The primary examples of this are album opener “Invaders” and the follow-up to “Charlotte The Harlot” from their debut album, which is titled “22 Acacia Avenue”. I could easily hear either of these songs on one of Maiden’s first two albums.

“Children of The Damned” is driven with a mix of acoustic guitar, melodic supporting guitar, and a nice Steve Harris bass line for the first half of the song. It’s the first example on the album where Bruce Dickinson shows us that not only is he replacing Paul Di’Anno. He wants us to forget about him entirely! The energy picks up in the second half of the song to great effect, making for one of the most entertaining tracks on the album.

“The Prisoner”, in my opinion, is easily one of the catchiest songs on the album. This song could have found a nice home as a single, that is, if it weren’t for two of the most popular songs in heavy metal.

“The Number of The Beast” and “Run To The Hills”, while considers almost universally as classics of the genre, happen to be two of my least favorite songs on the album. I don’t find these songs to be really weak or anything. I think they just suffer from being the two most popular songs on the album. My opinion is probably in the minority for Maiden fans,so it’s probable that many would get more enjoyment out of these songs than I do. They can’t be two of the most popular metal songs for nothing, can they?

“Gangland” begins with an interesting Clive Burr drum pattern, but the composition itself is nothing special. It ranks at the bottom of my personal Number of The Beast song rankings.

The final song on the album, much like the two singles off the album, suffers slightly from overplaying. However, “Hallowed By The Name” is a much stronger song than either of them. The main harmony guitar part in the song is one of the strongest they have ever done, and the intro sounds great.

I must note that I have an older CD version of this album, so it doesn’t include the track “Total Eclipse”, which has been included on most subsequent releases. I can’t comment on this song as I’ve only heard it a few times.

The Number of The Beast is the ideal place to start from if you’re just getting into Maiden. Branch out in either direction chronologically in their discography and you’re good to go!!
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UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Never cared much for Run to the Hills either.
LittleBig wrote:
more than 2 years ago
great review! I actually agree that Run to the Hills, NOTBeast and Gangland are the weakest songs, although not bad.

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