For those of you who don't know, Iron Maiden is one of my favorite bands of all time. The start to their discography (and when I say that, I mean their first seven albums) is one of the most legendary runs in metal history, if not music history in general. Their debut album is a strong effort and generously displays their talent. It gets you in the mood to check out their other releases to see if they match the same status. Fortunately, it only gets better from the debut self-titled album. Killers is such an underrated record. It contains some lesser-known Iron Maiden songs that are exceptionally well done. Piece of Mind includes one of the most, if not the most, well-known tracks by the band, "The Trooper." Powerslave is such a masterpiece of a record and is highly consistent all the way through, metal done at its finest. Somewhere in Time also contains another of the band's most well-known songs, just like Piece of Mind; this one is called Wasted Years (oh, and it includes the great Alexander the Great). Finally, we have Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (excellent album title), known to be one of the band's best releases.
While all of these are great albums, one stands out from the rest. The album that stands out the most is the band's 1982 release, "Number of the Beast." This album is the first by the band to feature vocalist Bruce Dickinson, as a new addition to the band taking over for former vocalist Paul Di'Anno. Bruce Dickinson had a hand in many of the writing processes for several songs on the album. Number of the Beast is only the start of Bruce's legacy with the band, as it would span until 1993 (Fear of the Dark), where he would be replaced temporarily by vocalist Blaze Bayley for two albums: Virtual XI and The X Factor (both known for being bad records). However, Bruce would rejoin the band in 1999 and continue to be in the band to the present day. Collectively, Iron Maiden has an awe-inspiring and legendary lineup consisting of Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Bruce Dickinson, Nicko McBrain (one of the greatest drummers of all time), and Janick Gers. Together, to this day, they resume the band's legacy.
As for Number of the Beast, it is one of the first metal albums I ever listened to, and I instantly fell in love with it. I was familiar with Iron Maiden before I even listened to this record. Of course, I have heard their famous tracks before listening, such as "The Trooper," "Fear of the Dark," "Number of the Beast," and "Wasted Years." Also, Iron Maiden is one of my dad's favorite bands ever, as he used to play them extremely loud in my house when I was younger, and little did I know that when I grew older, I would become a massive fan of this band just like him. I have listened to this album so much I have lost count. Every song on here is executed, written, and composed so well, specifically the tracks "Run to the Hills," "Number of the Beast," and "Hallowed Be Thy Name." Hell (no pun intended), even the tracks people don't think stack up to those three are excellent.
The track "Invaders" wastes no time getting you into the action and what Iron Maiden offers on this album. You get an idea of what Bruce's contribution to the band will be from now on, that being some of the most impressive, graceful yet invasive and brutal vocals I have ever heard. Not to mention that Iron Maiden has some of the most brutal and "all up in your face" instrumentation ever. It just attacks you and doesn't stop. Iron Maiden records are a wild rollercoaster ride! Children of the Damned is such a masterpiece of a song that starts off somewhat slow initially but then transforms into an intense grand finale with a kick-ass guitar solo. The Prisoner is a highly catchy track and contains one of the best hooks I have ever heard in my life (NOT A PRISONER! I'M A FREE MANNNNNNNNNNN). There aren't a lot of metal tracks I have listened to that are insane (instrumentally) and infectiously catchy. However, Iron Maiden is one of the bands that does this so well. 22 Acacia Avenue is an underrated track on this record and is one of my favorites. This track is the one I sing the most when I get the chance to (even if my voice is dogshit compared to Bruce's; then again, everyone's vocals are dogshit compared to his.). But 22 Acacia Avenue has extraordinary hooks and riffs that make me fall in love with this song.
Alright, here we are, the second half of the album. The first half of the record is an underrated part since everyone remembers the second half of the record. However, I can't help but love both aspects equally because the second half is where all the BANGERS are! We start off with what is probably the most well-known track on this entire album, "Number of the Beast." This is one of the best metal tracks I have ever fucking heard in my life. Every part of this song is perfect, from front to back, and exciting all through. It also contains the most catchy hook I have ever heard, that being brought to you by Bruce Dickinson. It then transforms into a super kick-ass solo and ends with Bruce speaking as Satan, saying he has returned. I also love the beginning of the track; it introduces satan, and the voice that does it is so badass. Perfect song, absolutely PERFECT! Speaking of excellent songs, "Run to the Hills" is our next track. The beginning of the song might be one of the best openers to any song; it is so exciting and gets me on my feet.
Gangland might be the weakest song on the album; however, "weak" for Iron Maiden is impressive still. I like how Gangland is nonstop brutality to your ears for its entire runtime. Last but certainly not least, we have one of the best closing tracks on any album I have ever heard, "Hallowed Be Thy Name." Finally, we are at my favorite track. This is my second most-played track from this entire album, the first being "Number of the Beast," but don't let that fool you; this is, without a doubt, my favorite track on this record. It progresses so well throughout the entire song and is very consistent, not getting tiring at all. The second half of the track is definitely better than the first, but both halves are just as good. Hallowed Be Thy Name is one of the most perfect closers I have ever heard on any album and wraps the masterpiece that this album is very well.
So, it is one of the most exciting and thrilling albums I have ever heard. This album is perfect, even though I can understand how someone might not see it that way. Every aspect of this album is very well done, from the three guitarists' work, Nicko's drumming, and Bruce's masterclass vocals. It all blends together to make one of the most energetic and fun records to be released in the 1980s, if not of all time. I am also super close to this record; it means a lot to me, as I listened to this record very early on, about three years ago from now. It makes me happy whenever I hear it and motivates me to do things due to its energetic nature. Also, this album defines badass, from the music to the cover (which is terrific). Iron Maiden is one of those bands that you picture motorcyclists blasting as they go down a street 100 miles an hour or just shooting out of your car windows on max volume (the latter I am guilty of XD). To wrap things up, Iron Maiden bringing in Bruce Dickinson was one of the most genius moves in music history, and his debut for the band is a masterpiece. Well done, Iron Maiden.
~ Hallowed Be Thy Name
~ Number of the Beast
~ Run to the Hills
~ 22 Acacia Avenue