IRON MAIDEN — Killers

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IRON MAIDEN - Killers cover
3.88 | 136 ratings | 16 reviews
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Album · 1981

Filed under NWoBHM
By IRON MAIDEN

Tracklist

1. The Ides Of March (1:45)
2. Wrathchild (2:54)
3. Murders In The Rue Morgue (4:19)
4. Another Life (3:22)
5. Genghis Khan (3:06)
6. Innocent Exile (3:53)
7. Killers (5:01)
8. Prodigal Son (6:11)
9. Purgatory (3:21)
10. Drifter (4:48)

Total Time 38:44

Line-up/Musicians

- Paul Di'Anno / vocals
- Dave Murray / guitar
- Adrian Smith / guitar, vocals
- Steve Harris / bass guitar, vocals
- Clive Burr / drums

- Dennis Stratton / guitar (non-US bonus disc track 2, 3, 4)

About this release

2 February 1981
EMI

Released in the US with the following tracklist:

1. The Ides Of March (1:45)
2. Wrathchild (2:54)
3. Murders In The Rue Morgue (4:19)
4. Another Life (3:22)
5. Genghis Khan (3:06)
6. Innocent Exile (3:53)
7. Killers (5:01)
8. Twilight Zone (2:34)
9. Prodigal Son (6:11)
10. Purgatory (3:21)
11. Drifter (4:48)

Total Time 41:20

Reissued in 1995 with a bonus disc with the following tracklist:

1. Twilight Zone (2:33)
2. Women In Uniform (Skyhooks cover) (3:07)
3. Invasion (2:38)
4. Phantom Of The Opera (live) (6:55)

Total Time 15:13

Reissued in 1995 in the US with a bonus disc with the following tracklist:

1. Women In Uniform (3:10)
2. Invasion (2:38)
3. Phantom Of The Opera (live) (7:12)
4. Running Free (live) (2:47)
5. Remember Tomorrow (live) (5:42)
6. Wrathchild (live) (2:57)
7. Killers (live) (4:46)
8. Innocent Exile (live) (4:04)

Total Time 33:19

Remastered and reissued in 1998 with the following tracklist:

1. The Ides Of March (1:45)
2. Wrathchild (2:54)
3. Murders In The Rue Morgue (4:19)
4. Another Life (3:22)
5. Genghis Khan (3:06)
6. Innocent Exile (3:53)
7. Killers (5:01)
8. Prodigal Son (6:11)
9. Purgatory (3:21)
10. Twilight Zone (2:34)
11. Drifter (4:48)
12. Wrathchild (video) (2:53)
13. Killers (video) (5:04)

Total Time 49:17

Thanks to metalbaswee, Stooge, Lynx33, adg211288 for the updates

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Sanctuary 2014
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IRON MAIDEN KILLERS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

martindavey87
One year after the release of their self-titled debut, Iron Maiden are back again with 'Killers', an album that pretty much replicates everything from the bands previous release, only the overall product just doesn't quite seem as good.

'Murders in the Rue Morgue', 'Genghis Khan' and the standout track 'Wrathchild' are all notable songs from this record, but to be honest, they're not really anything special. Any of them could easily be replaced with something from Iron Maiden's debut. It's not a bad album, but most of the songs will certainly be forgotten about with subsequent releases.

In the big scheme of things, this album "doesn't really matter" to me. It's just a stepping stone. Vocalist Paul Di'Anno's rather limited range has pretty much run its course, which Maiden will have rectified by their next album, and the addition of Adrian Smith on guitars (replacing Dennis Stratton) is really just setting up the band for the next big step of their career, and securing the line-up that would become the most endeared to fans.

My final verdict; 'Killers' doesn't have the prestige of being Maiden's debut, and it's not the record that really smashed out the hits and made them a global force (like their next release would). It's just that "in between" kind of album. Better things are coming.
UMUR
"Killers" is the 2nd full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. The album was released through EMI/Harvest in the UK in February 1981 and through Capitol Records in the US in June 1981. It´s the last Iron Maiden album to feature lead vocalist Paul Di'Anno, who was fired from the band and replaced by Bruce Dickinson (Samson) following several episodes where the rest of the band felt that he didn´t perform well on stage (alledgedly as a result of his cocaine and alcohol abuse). "Killers" is also the first album to feature the services of guitarist Adrian Smith, who replaces Dennis Stratton.

The music on the album is rooted in the NWoBHM movement but there are still some significant changes compared to Iron Maiden´s debut album as the addition of Adrian Smith is heard clearly. Harmony guitar leads are now a dominant element on all tracks. Harmony guitar parts were also present on the debut but they generally weren´t done with as much finesse as on "Killers". One other great asset on "Killers" are the many melodic guitar solos. But of course the organic playing rhythm section (both drummer Clive Burr and bassist Steve Harris deliver incredible performances), and Paul Di'Anno´s raw yet still melodic tinged singing, are also important parts of the band´s sound.

The two instrumental tracks "The Ideas of March" and "Genghis Khan" are great examples of how melodic the material on the album can be. "Killers" also features some really powerful and raw tracks though which deserve a mention in "Wrathchild", "Drifter", and the title track as some of the most standout ones. The album features a power ballad too in "Prodigal Son", which is a track that´s deeply rooted in 70s heavy rock/progressive rock. I´m especially reminded of some of the early output by Captain Beyond. Artists like Deep Purple, Scorpions, Wishbone Ash, Judas Priest, UFO, Rainbow, and Rush, are also obvious influences throughout the album, although Iron Maiden turn up the volume, the rawness, and the distortion quite a bit compared to most of those artists.

"Killers" features a raw, detailed, and organic sounding production, courtesy of Martin Birch. The first of many Iron Maiden albums that he would produce before going into retirement in 1992. He was quite the prolific producer/engineer at the time having worked with artists like Deep Purple, Jeff Beck, Wishbone AshWhitesnake, and Rainbow (just to mention a few).

Upon conclusion "Killers" is pretty much the expected sophomore album by Iron Maiden. It pretty much continues the sound of the debut album, but is slightly better produced, the songwriting is a bit more sophisticated, and the musicianship has become stronger too. Wether or not it´s better than the debut is up for debate, but it´s at least on the same quality level and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
666sharon666
With not even a full year having passed Iron Maiden followed up their self-titled debut with Killers in 1981. The release introduced guitarist Adrian Smith to the band and is the last studio album to feature singer Paul Di'Anno. He would be fired and replaced with the band's more iconic vocalist Bruce Dickinson after this.

I tend to enjoy Killers a bit more than the prior self-titled as a whole as I think this is quite the rocking Iron Maiden release with lots of great lead work. Individually though there aren't as many real iconic tracks here, the obvious being Wrathchild (which I think is taken best with the intro track The Ides of March). Another favourite of mine would be Murders in the Rue Morgue while the closing Drifter in my mind is one of Iron Maiden's most underrated songs. Overall Killers is simply a fun Iron Maiden record to rock to though the absence of a longer epic track, as has been featured on nearly every Iron Maiden album, including the debut's Phantom of the Opera, is felt.

Attribution: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/iron-maiden-killers-t3602.html
siLLy puPPy
A decent 2nd effort for IRON MAIDEN where Eddie got an upgrade. Now instead of just peaking up from below he is a full fledged bad-ass with an axe dripping with blood and a nasty evil grin that means he's just done something very naughty.

The production got an upgrade as well. Martin Birch joined the team and so much did the band like his talent that he stuck around until the album “Fear Of The Dark.” The sound is noticeably better than the debut but still is of the 80s.

Out was Dennis Stratton due to musical incompatibilities and in was Adrian Smith thus adding on yet another classic member. The Wishbone Ash dual guitar harmonies were here to stay though and getting more melodic and ferocious.

This was Paul Di'Anno's second and final stint as vocalist offering yet again his punkish vocal talents but it was clear by now that the band was evolving into a more dynamic powerhouse and Di'Anno's vocals were no longer cutting it as his voice sounds a little strained at times trying to hit the high notes. MAIDEN was clearly evolving past their punk roots and moving like troopers into more progressive territory and the lead singer's drug and alcohol abuse were keeping him from evolving with them.

This is a great sophomore release but overall I like it slightly less than the debut. This is one of the earlier albums that I have always brushed aside because I preferred the debut and all the following albums better, but as i'm sitting here listening to this now I am questioning my sanity for not including it more often to get my MAIDEN fix.
Sinkadotentree
This would be Adrian Smith's first album with the band and he and Dave Murray would lead IRON MAIDEN's dual lead guitar attack for many years. Also this would be Martin Birch's first time at being their Producer. In spite of all of these positive things i still feel the debut is better. We continue to get that Punk vibe with this sophomore record. Like the debut we get a great stretch of music in the middle of the album although i would list the second song "Wrathchild" as one of my favs as well. But from "Genghis Khan" through to "Prodigal Son" we get some of the album's best music. I would especially mention "Prodigal Son" because it's different from the rest and it's also the longest at over 6 minutes. A good album for sure but this is the perfect time for a shakeup and the human siren was about to arrive.
Conor Fynes
'Killers' - Iron Maiden (5/10)

"Killers" could be seen as a transition album for Iron Maiden. Although the band had a relatively firm grasp of their galloping sound since the debut, Paul Di'Anno's punkish style and image had a pretty significant impact on the way Maiden carried themselves. "Killers" indeed picks up where the self-titled debut left off, but nothing is done with the same sense of sincerity and excitement. Perhaps "Killers" was needed in order for the band to finally opt out of their ties with Di'Anno and move forward, but we have here a record that falls under a terminal case of 'second album syndrome'. Iron Maiden's signature sound is here, but the magic certainly isn't.

Looking back on my fond memories of the debut, Maiden may not have had the degree of sophistication in their sound and lyrics as they are known for today, but, as the towering "Phantom of the Opera" would testify, they were capable of great things, fusing raw energy with technicality and pomp likely influenced by the progressive rock of the decade past. The idea of moving one step forwards, and two steps back seems to apply here. Although there is a slight progression towards a grittier heavy metal sound, the aggression and intelligence have been siphoned out. "Killers" puts all of its best tunes at the front; although "The Ides of March" functions as a simple, anthemic intro to the record, its martial rhythm leaves a greater impression than most of the songs here. "Wrathchild" has become a bit of a fan favourite, and there's no doubt that it takes the dubious prize of album highlight. Steve Harris' bass licks on "Wrathchild" are some of the best of his early career, and though Di'Anno's performance throughout the album feels generally inferior to his vocals on the debut, he executes some incendiary wails. "Murders in the Rue Morgue" follows up "Wrathchild" quite nicely, delivering a faster pace more indicative of the album as a whole. After that, the songs begin to blur together. Iron Maiden deliver many of the same tricks each song, and though it is made a worthy listen for their consistent tightness as a band, the songwriting lacks the excitement and distinctiveness most of us have come to expect from this band. The one exception later in the album is the relatively long "Prodigal Son", which actually ends up feeling like an unwelcome change of pace for the album. It's as if Maiden suddenly decided to toss out their metal direction in exchange for a painfully watered down prog rock style. Di'Anno's vocals notwithstanding, "Prodigal Son" sounds like something Rush could have done on "Fly By Night", then decided to toss away.

The first two Maiden albums are usually seen as being apart from the rest, if only because Bruce Dickinson had not yet entered the fold. Paul Di'Anno is a great frontman with a charismatic delivery, but his vocal work on "Killers" lacks the precision and ballsy guts it sported on the debut. His performance is decent, but he favours the 'charismatic' angle of his inflections far too much over the more melodic aspects here. As a result, DiAnno's vocals still feel larger-than-life, but there's not a single vocal melody on the album that really sticks, even after several listens. In short, the worst thing that ever happened to "Killers" was the fact that it was being expected to follow one of the best heavy metal debuts ever. There is still much potential in Iron Maiden's style- which remains powerful and exciting- but it's a tough sell to say that the album is really worth checking out for anything more than the fact that it's Iron Maiden. Luckily, it wouldn't be long before the excellent "Number of the Beast" was released under the vocal guidance of Brucey, but considering the sort of artistic success Maiden had with Di'Anno with their first record, it's pretty difficult not to feel disappointed.
Warthur
The second Paul Di'Anno album from Iron Maiden sees the band enjoying the benefits of a superior production job. Once again basing the album on tried and tested material honed to perfection in the years prior to their debut, the album is a particular tour de force for Steve Harris, whose songwriting contributions dominate and whose complex bass playing is at last able to be heard clearly. Less well-served by the improved sound quality is Paul Di'Anno, whose vocal style suited the low-fi, punkish energy of the debut but gets rather lost in the more complex material presented here; his best vocal performances are on songs such as Wrathchild or the title track, both of which hark back to the direct and aggressive style of the debut.
Time Signature
Another life...

Genre: NWoBHM

While not completely up to scratch compared to the other early days Maiden albums (that is, the other 1980s albums), "Killers" is nonetheless teeming with great Maiden classics, like "Killer" and "Wrathchild", but also some more obscure tunes like "Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "Purgatory" (which was nonetheless released in single format). "Killers" is an essential addition to any Iron Maiden collection.

It opens out with the short, yet epic, instrumental track "The Ides Of March", and with an opening like this, the listener cannot but expect something big. Those expectations are, to some extent, met in the sense that there are plenty of great rock songs on the album, but none of them reaches the same level of epicness as the opener.

Most of the tracks on this album are actually quite dirty and mostly uptempo - I don't know if the comparisons between this album and punk music in general holds, but the songs on this album certainly have the same discharge of energy that might characterize punk music, but the level of musical proficiency on this album is much higher than that of punk music.

My favorite tracks on this album are found among the more obscure ones, such as "Murders in the Rue Morgue" with its uptempo verse and groovy chorus, "Another Life" with its kind of disintegrated or patchworky structure and admittedly punky bridge, the groovy "Innocent Exile", the other instrumental "Genghis Khan" with its unpredictable tempo changes (come to think of it, this track is a brilliant heavy metal masterpiece!), and the breakneck "Purgatory" with its guitar-harmony-based verse riff and catchy chorus. "Wrathchild" is a classic, of course, and I think that "Killer" is a song which has perfect congruity between the brutal lyrics and the kind of scary and dark musical composition. "Prodigal Son" is a melancholic ballad which does not really sound Maiden-esque, but it is actually quite good I think and showcases Paul Di'Anno's singing abilities quite well.

Speaking of Di'Anno, this was his last album with Maiden, before being kicked out of the band for not living up to the degree of self discipline expected by Steve Harris, and what an exit release this is! I really like D'Anno's work on this album - there is a really raw quality to his voice which suits the songs perfectly.

This album should appeal to any fan of traditional heavy metal, and certainly it belongs in any Maiden fan's CD collection.
J-Man
After the groundbreaking NWoBHM debut from famed heavy metal act Iron Maiden, they proved that they weren't going to stop there with their second album, Killers. This album is often forgotten about in Iron Maiden's discography because of the seminal classics that are about to follow it, but Killers should definitely not be forgotten about. Even though many of the following releases from Iron Maiden are better than this 1981 album, Killers is a highly enjoyable release that needs to be heard by anyone who even remotely likes Iron Maiden.

The sound on Killers is almost identical to that of their debut, but in a much more mature fashion. Expect a typical New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound with 70's punk influences and a few progressive influences. After this album Iron Maiden would ditch most of the punk influences and begin incorporating more prog sounds into their music, mostly due to the departure of the punk-laden vocals of Paul Di'Anno. The music is generally pretty fast and upbeat, although there is also a slower ballad-type song, Prodigal Son. There aren't as many "galloping" basslines from Steve Harris on Killers either. So if you get this album, expect a similar sound to their debut, but in a more mature, and in my opinion, better way.

There has been one lineup change since 1980's Iron Maiden and that's the addition of guitarist Adrian Smith as a replacement for Dennis Stratton. Dennis Stratton is surely a very talented musician, but Adrian Smith's addition is really a great one in my book. Adrian's frequent multilayered harmonies with other guitarist Dave Murray is part of what gives Iron Maiden their distinct sound, and even though it was present on their debut, it really shines on Killers. Of course, Paul Di'Anno would depart after this album and be replaced by Bruce Dickinson.

The original pressings of Killers consisted of 10 tracks and a 38:52 running time. I have a reissue containing a bonus track, Twilight Zone, and has a running time of 41:20. If you can get your hands on a version with this bonus track, I recommend doing so. It really is a worthwhile track. The running time of Killers is absolutely perfect for this type of music. It never tires, and stays intense and powerful for the entire album. Of course, there is also a lot of variation in Iron Maiden's sound, keeping repetitiveness out of the equation. All of the 10 songs are great, with the ballad Prodigal Son, the riff-heavy Murders in the Rue Morgue, the semi-epic Drifters, and the instrumental Genghis Khan being my favorites. Not by a long shot, though, as the entire album is very enjoyable.

Like all Iron Maiden albums, you're feasted with some of the best musicians in heavy metal. As previously mentioned, the addition of Adrian Smith really helped improve Iron Maiden's sound. He is just such a fantastic guitarist, as is Dave Murray. Steve Harris is a monster on the bass, and is possibly the best in all of heavy metal. He is just such a joy to listen to. Clive Burr is often overshadowed by drum-master Nicko McBrain, but Clive is definitely very talented. Just listen to his drumming on Genghis Khan and Purgatory! Paul Di'Anno is often criticized, and even though he isn't as fantastic as Bruce Dickinson, he doesn't deserve all of the flak he gets. He has a great range and unique vocal style.

The production of Killers is fantastic. This is truly how all heavy metal albums should sound. Crystal clear, yet still powerful enough to convey emotion. I complained about the lack of a "punch" on Iron Maiden's debut production, but that is a thing of the past with Killers. The production is extremely powerful and commanding, while still remaining clear and audible.

Conclusion:

Iron Maiden is simply one of the best heavy metal bands, and they proved just that with Killers. Even though the famed British heavy metal monsters would release better albums in their future, it's hard to deny how great Killers is. This is definitely an improvement over their debut, and this is the ideal starting point for the Di'Anno-led Iron Maiden era. If you like heavy metal, Killers is a highly recommendable and enjoyable album worthy of a confident 4 star rating.
Phonebook Eater
Iron Maiden's second album, and Paul Di Anno's last album with the band, is in a way better than their rough debut. The sound is more mature, the vocals are better, and many songs are really awesome! However, many times it isn't very brilliant, actually at times it can annoy.

The style is even more eclectic than the debut, even though it has only one ballad (Prodigal Son, my least favorite), there is a slight experimentation, like in songs such as Murders In The Rue Morgue, Drifter, and maybe even Twilight Zone and the title track, another huge Maiden classic. These mentioned songs are for sure my favorite, even though we also have Wrathchild (a big hit, thus another classic), Purgatory, and the excellent Genghis Khan, a great instrumental track, just as good as Transilvania, from their previous work. While Innocent Exile is another great song, Another Life never appealed to me, in fact it's, together with Prodigal Son, my least favorite.

We surely can't say this is a bad album, quite the contrary it's very good, even though it has it's weak moments, unlike the band's following album. Four stars.

Members reviews

floflo79
Killers is good but not as good as Iron Maiden but it's still cool.

01. The Ides Of March (4/5) : A great instrumental overture. 02. Wrathchild (4,5/5) : A live classic very heavy and pretty cool. 03. Murders In The Rue Morgue (4,5/5) : Great guitar solo in this song. 04. Another Life (3,5/5) : Good guitar harmony but forgettable song. 05. Genghis Khan (4/5) : A pleasant instrumental. 06. Innocent Exile (4/5) : Very good bass work in here. 07. Killers (5/5) : Best song of the album. Classic track. 08. Prodigal Son (3,5/5) : Good but not awesome. 09. Purgatory (4/5/) : Very fine guitar work. 10. Drifter (4,5/5) : An epic track.
friso
Iron Maiden - Killers (1981)

The second album...

Iron Maiden has this amazing debut album (s/t) full of energetic heavy rock with progressive and rockn'roll influences. During the tours of the debut album most of the songs for follow-up Killers had already been finished. The recording of the album is slightly better, but the vocals sounded better on the debut IMHO. The guitars, drums and bass sound great on this record and I sometimes regret they didn't make more albums with this sound.

Killers is a great follow-up for the debut, as Iron Maiden continues the path of the debut, it never repeats itself. The song-writing expanded a bit and Iron Maiden shows some growth on the technical aspect of the music as well.

The instrumental Ides of March shows the true guitar skills of the hard rock scene. Wrathchild became a podium favorite with it's flamboyant style and lyricsm whilst the extremely energetic and inventive Murders in Rue Margue is one of the best tracks of this period. The bass part in the beginning is truly a blessing. Another Life yet another very inventive heavy rock track and I begin to wonder how the band ever managed to get inspiration for such fine rock tracks! Genghis Khan is the second instrumental track with both technical and emotionally moving moments. The title track is an atmospheric hard rocker with nice lyrics with a twist in the end. The flamboyant vocals of Di-Anno and the unusual guitar part in the main riff make this a real gem. The next three songs are less energetic, but they seem to compensate with the beautiful song-writing. The sound becomes a bit more abstract, but I love the exploration-spirit of the band.

Conclusion. Yet another great Iron Maiden classic. I say: spice up your live with a little Paul Di'Anno era Iron Maiden! Soon after this, with the departure of the Paul the music would change quite a bit and the rock'n roll and highly inventive punk influences of Iron Maiden were gone. Four stars for this one. There aren't any better records in the scene in 1981.
Sean Trane
After their brilliant debut album, IM set out for the proverbial difficult second album, but securing the production help of Martin Birch (a reference since the early Purple days). Alas what was supposed to be their master move also proved to be a bit of a nail in their coffin. Yes, Maiden made themselves a huge name on this album. Yes, the album is one of the (or THE) best of the NWOBHMB phenomenon. Yes this is a typical and referential Maiden album. But my complaint with this album and its successors is that this album is over-produced to my tastes. Don't get me wrong here. The album is not really over-produced as such compared to the other metal albums of the era, but when comparing it with the superb and immediacy of their debut (which might seem under-produced to the metal masses and the professionals), this album is way too slick and "passe-partout". Gone are the progressive and singular sounds of the debut album (the same kind of sound that you find on Priest's Sad Wings, on Rainbow Rising and Sabbath's H&H), the longer tracks (we have 11 tracks on this album and this leaves few space for progression and interplay) and in comes the typical 80's metal sound, albeit in its finest possible form. Right from their instrumental intro Ides Of March, preceding the fantastically violent Wrathchild, the album is on a 100MPH cruising speed, where the different songs align right one after the other and there are few surprises. This hardly means that there are no strong tracks, though: the afore-mentioned Wrathchild, Innocent Exile and the wild title track, but there are also a bunch of average one too. Funny that Birch's production made Maiden sound Purplish at times (Rue Morgue). But by the end of the album, are we ever glad it is over. One of the better ingredients of Maiden, outside their superb bassist, is that their twin lead attack is very much a collaborating effort where both Smith and Murray are not busy outdoing each other as is often the case with other guitar heroic-induced groups.

So this second album received regular and frequent rotation on my turntable when I had it on loan, but I never went out to buy it, which actually should give you a good idea why it is not getting a higher rating. Just not really essential for the proghead as it is for the metalhead. As for the remastered edition, there are a few freebies but for computer only.

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