This is my 666th review, and what more appropriate way to tip my hat to Beelzebub than listening to and reviewing the album that sent parents into a satanic panic back when this was released. Even today, evangelical parents all over will be quick to lay the hammer of Thor down if they even see their kids so much as glance at this record. The power of art... you love to see it!
After Iron Maiden's first two records, former frontman Paul Di'Anno had departed from their lineup. So now, the band is stuck in a weird position. They had already formed a pretty unique sound within the midst of the new wave of British heavy metal, and are now on the hunt for a new singer. After some tryouts that were hosted in the London Borough of Hackney in 1981, they would score Bruce Dickinson, arguably one of the most operatic and powerful vocalists in any metal band ever. Personally, if it wasn't for Bruce, I would say Paul was their best vocalist. That didn't happen though, and I am so glad for it. Bruce compliments the epic, fast-paced, guitar-driven sound that Iron Maiden is known for, and that sound multiplied in spades by the time they began work on The Number of the Beast.
This band became more than just metal with this record. They became a theatrical monolith of granular sonic relentlessness. Nearly every track on here is proof of what Iron Maiden would embody throughout what many consider their "golden era", which consists of ever album from here to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.
I will be honest, I am not sure about Invaders being the opening track. It is not a bad song by any means, it's more or less a straight-forward banger, but from Children of the Damned and on, this album takes on a large, victorious, triumphant shape. Each track is epic, and even the shorter tracks like Run to the Hills and Gangland are so dense, they feel longer than they are, but in the most positive way.
I remember hearing the title track on the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 soundtrack when I was little and thinking "woah, this is so catchy and fun! I've never heard anything like this before!" and then Bruce's insane scream comes in after that intro... It was one of the first moments where I realized how virtuous metal music could be.
The closing track, Hallowed Be Thy Name, is easily one of Iron Maiden's best songs. Everything that I have mentioned up to this point about what makes this band's sound so special is encapsulated in this song, with the stage-setting, haunting intro, and how it builds and builds into this climactic, high-energy ending... it's absolutely stunning.
The Number of the Beast is what put Iron Maiden on the map, and not only that, it is a landmark album for heavy metal music, and music in general. It's amazing what an aesthetic can do to get you attention, it just so happened that the band had an incredible sound to back up those expectations.
Satan! HELL yeah!
|1||Invaders / 75|
|2||Children of the Damned / 90|
|3||The Prisoner / 92|
|4||22 Acacia Avenue / 92|
|5||The Number of the Beast / 95|
|6||Run to the Hills / 92|
|7||Gangland / 88|
|8||Hallowed Be Thy Name / 100|