The Number of the Beast- Iron Maiden

Release Year: 1982

Rating: 9/10

Iron Maiden are one of the best heavy metal bands ever. They are known for their epic songs, awesome lead singer and mostly for their hellish mascot Eddie. Though the band did have a pretty impressive debut album, this release is what they are still known for today. Not only does it have some of their biggest hits, it’s also the first time Bruce Dickinson sings with the epic band. It’s a heavy record and probably one of the best heavy metal albums out there.

All the songs here are epic as hell. Everything from the music to the lyrics to the energy is bigger than life. The band manages to create a great atmosphere with this album that gets you pumped up as you listen on. Their songs are also great because they tell mini stories. These are stories about war, death, and standing up for yourself. With this band it’s so important to pay attention to the lyrics because you get so much out of them, sometimes you even get a little history lesson. Whatever the songs are about one thing is for sure, they fucking rock.

This is another one of those albums where you can play it through without having to skip that mediocre song. The opening track “Invaders” has an awesome speeding guitar riff that sounds like an army coming in and trampling over everything they can. The song is great because it seems to sum up the image of all the wars in history. Also, it’s about Vikings. Who can’t get behind a song about Vikings? “Children of the Damned,” which was inspired by the movie of the same name, starts out with a somber acoustic guitar riff before the electric guitar joins in. It has a very sad, down trodden vibe before the pace picks up during the bridge. This song also has some of the most gruesome lyrics here: “Melting his face screamin’ in pain/peeling the skin from his eyes.” It’s so descriptive you can actually visualize it. It’s lyrics like these that makes the band so great.

The one song that doesn’t deal with war of some sort is “22 Acacia Avenue.” It’s a dark song about the trails and tribulations of Charlotte the hooker. The song is really interesting because it seems like Bruce Dickinson is playing devil’s advocate. During the first verse, it sounds like he’s advertising Charlotte as a really good lay when he says “So if you’re looking for a good time/and you’re prepared to pay the price/fifteen quid is all she asks.” But later on, he pleads for her to stop screwing around because she’s ruining her life. The ending has you question if he’s really her savior with how he says “You’re coming with me.” He sounds threatening more than anything.

Of course the classics “The Number of the Beast” and “Run to the Hills” are found here. The first song has one of the best riffs on the album and the build up to it is amazing. Also, the way Dickinson screeches “YEAH!” after the first verse is fucking awesome. The song is so epic sounding that you can actually picture the summoning of Satan himself. The latter song is one of my favorites and again has an amazing riff. And the way it speeds up makes it sound like galloping horses, which is a perfect fit here. It’s a great song that shows that Iron Maiden makes history fun! It’s about the Native Americans getting their land stolen from them. So not only do you get a rocking song, you get a little history lesson too.

There are some pretty dark themes on this album most of which have been mentioned earlier. A lot of the songs reference war, invasion, prison, being taken advantage of and death. The one song that represents all of these themes so well is the closing track “Hallowed be Thy Name.” It tells the tale of a prisoner’s last thoughts as he heads towards his execution. It’s a really powerful song that’s really a story and has awesome music to back it up. It’s one of the best songs on the album. With these songs, you may not realize how dark they are because the music captures your attention, but either way it all makes for a classic album.

One thing I have to point out with this album is how awesome Dickinson’s voice is. As I mentioned earlier, this is the first album Dickinson sings on, which is why I don’t like Killers as much. The previous singer was okay, but doesn’t have the vocal range and capacity of this guy. Listen to how he holds that note on “Hallowed be Thy Name.” His voice is just amazing and is a really good fit for the songs as well. I really wish they would re-record the first album with Dickinson, but to each his own.

Overall, the album gets 9/10. All the songs are fantastic with some of the bands best know tracks found here. The music is great as all ways and with the addition of Bruce Dickinson, the band got bigger and better. The songs are memorable not only because they have recognizable guitar riffs or anything like that. They’re memorable because they act as stories or mini history lessons that really grab your attention. It’s a classic heavy metal album to this day and reminds everyone why people love this band so much.

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