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The only other Maiden album with Paul Di’anno is an absolute rarity in metal, in that it takes the success of its predecessor and repeats it, without a really broad stylistic deviation. As far as I’m concerned, it’s basically a continuation of the first album. In some cases that would be a bad thing, especially considering the likelihood of poor songwriting and repetition, but Iron Maiden makes it work magnificently. Unfortunately, while Killers does take the best aspects of the first album with it, it also takes the same primary fault of that album as well. Inconsistency.
Just like with their self-titled, the songs on Killers can be divided into two basic categories: the classics and the fillers. The former, of course, are the reason for the album’s inherent awesomeness. “Wrathchild” is lead-filled and has a killer groove. “Killers” has a lot of awesome guitar work and cool vocal lines. “Drifter,” a personal favorite, is infectiously catchy and has great vocal hooks. Other highlights include “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” half-ballad “Prodigal Son,” and the sweet instrumental “Genghis Khan.” These songs all exhibit immense creativity, classic riffing, great leads, and even better vocals than the first album. The rest of the songs, however, are the reason for the mediocre score. They’re decent songs, but generally unmemorable. The intro track “Ides of March” is completely unnecessary and boring to listen to, even for being so short. Even worse is “Another Life.” I forget the name of it every single time I play the album through. Seriously, it just doesn’t go anywhere. The same can basically be said for “Innocent Exile” and the slightly better “Purgatory.” These songs just aren’t up to the quality as the other half of the album.
Similar to their first album, a little over half the tracks are worth listening to, while the other half is MIA in the quality department. But that classic half is definitely worth the time. This album is far from disappointing, despite my negative comments, and should be regarded higher than it usually is.