without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Less than a year after the debut, Harris and the band strike gold with Killers, an album that’s packed with magically delicious heavy metal. The vibe is cooler, the atmosphere much more chill, and the tone of everything from Di’Anno’s voice to the tick off the cymbal sounds superbly crisp and rich. Compared to Dickinson, yes, Di’Anno doesn’t have a huge range, but he’s much more focused this time around to smash expectations gambled off the first album. His voice this time around shows much more attitude, personality, control and, thanks to proper mixing, melody next to the harmonious lead attacks by Smith and Murray. On that midway conclusion, the guitar duo’s sound has improved much over the months, as well. Going from sloppy and uninteresting to powerful, melodic, Smith and Murray show great friendship as they kick off one another in nailing twin leads. The tone is grainy and warm, integrating well with the comfortable, jazzy atmosphere brought about by Di’Anno’s soulful voice.
Well, the showmanship aspect of the band improved tremendously, and the show tonight would be the best one put out this far. However, Di’Anno shortly after the release of the debut realized that he suffered (or according to him, was blessed) from Douchitus, scientifically known as Thinkus Biggitus Dickus, or Bloody Wanker Syndrome according to English metalheads. This may explain his spectacular performance on this album, as he sounds not only like a capable singer, but also very pompous. Over the following months, he began sucking Iron Maiden into his own void and acting like the driving force while Harris still held the title as founder and creative controller of the band. He drove the band over the edge a couple of times with his pretentious attitude and over-the-top character, which went against most of the band members’ ethics.
The band feared him more than he gave a shit about the band, but during the recording sessions for Killers he was surprisingly reserved. His stares into the blank abyss could only be matched by Vietnam veterans, which scared the shit out of the band. Murray, with all his skill and wisdom, hypothesized that Di’Anno’s egotism turned him into a monster on the inside. He could be tamed if given time, but the band wasn’t as hopeful as Murray, who knew Di’Anno would be blinded by fame to pursue either a solo career.
In that result, the band would be saved from potential slaughter; remember now, Harris needed to stay alive most of all to have those three daughters everyone loves.
Blasting off with “Killers,” the fans instantly recognize Harris’ signature, bobbing bass tone as it glides forward in the grooviest fashion. Alongside the gritty guitars, the tone feels much warmer and heavier than before, with a stylish persona to go with it. Sometimes the bass rides the rhythm with the guitars, but a lot of times it’ll find itself on its own carrying the rhythm while the guitars cocked back before launching themselves forward in a chaotic whirl of merciless harmonies. “Innocent Exile” hits the spot with this as Harris twirls his basslines before letting Smith and Murray capitalize on the scene, mesmerizing the listener with spot-on precision and heavy-hitting heavy metal excitement. Killers is more of a fun album that hopes to make the listener relaxed and along for the ride. In the car, the bass is especially grumbly and acts as a deeper and more serious edge to the music. In this respect, the guitars are much like kids attempting to have fun and prove that they have what it takes to slay the competition.
Burr in the back really has his drumming tight as bubble wrap. The hats have a clingy sound to them, but the rest of the kit hammers along nicely. I especially love how the double bass really has this galloping sound, like a horse charging toward you at record speed. The tom and cymbal crash combination is sometimes overwhelming, like so much force is hitting you. “Prodigal Son” is the real slow, ballad-type song on the album that works with these crashes, but then you have the rest of the album where Burr gets out his pit-pat-pit-pat speedy drumming, keeping up well on the sidelines next to his lead counterparts. The mixing on the album is very touchy, with extra caution not to bury the vocals or accentuate the guitars like on the debut. In the car, the combo is fabulous when blasting at peak volumes, and as for the fans in this concert, they were caught well off guard.
The band knew the careful recording process paid off, as the fans were going berserk. Maiden tore through their previous classics “Phantom Of The Opera” and “Running Free,” but focused on the new songs; stellar show of force was given with the tuneful “Drifter” and the sing-a-long “Murders In The Rue Morgue,” before going all out with “Genghis Khan.”
Alas, a minute had passed before Murray made a sudden miscalculation. By playing “Genghis Khan,” which happened to be a complete instrumental, the spotlight wouldn’t be centered on Di’Anno, who couldn’t keep his monster egotism held for too long. Dickinson later on could just run around like a monkey using the stage as his playground in front of tens of thousands of fans, but Di’Anno wasn’t going to stoop to that level. No, he believed the band wouldn’t be anywhere without him – an expendable bunch of baboons.
Immediately, he went into a fit of rage that looked like a common stage act, but it quickly descended out of control as he started swinging his mic at the band and the crowd. “Genghis Khan” abruptly ended during the riff that Papa Roach ripped off so the band could calm him down, but it was far too late - Douchitus is the leading cause of band break-ups, and a picture of Di’Anno is in the dictionary right next to the word. The crazed frontman located a conveniently placed axe on one of the props, fervently grabbed it, and started wailing away at the members like a maniac. The band members rushed for their lives back to the van with instruments still grasped in hand like rifles in a war zone. The fans still considered this part of the show, but the band knew this was do or die while Di’Anno couldn’t give two squirrel farts more about the fans to go back to them. He had one night to take out our boys, and our heroes understood Murray well as he explained to them that tonight would be their only shot to take him out, too.
The lines were finally crossed, the stakes were set, and the dawn of a new Maiden was upon us.
The police insisted that they capture Di’Anno first, to show him the error of his ways, but the band decided against it. Regardless, justice would have a take first whether the band liked it or not. They’d net him, but he’d most likely hack away at the net, which is when they’d unleash riot police on him with CS gas-
In bursts Di’Anno, who quickly slays the few policemen standing in his way of retaliation; his eyes blood-red and his hair standing up like Donald Duck on crack. Choosing to discard the axe, he throws it like a Scotsman at Burr, who quickly dodges before it slashes Smith and effectively brings him down to the ground. Burr at this point grabs some of the firearms still scattered on the ground as Harris quickly jabs at Di’Anno’s face with his monolithic bass guitar – the groovy basslines surging through it even without the presence of amplifiers! Murray quickly reacts with a drop kick and a solo burst from “The Ides Of March,” knocking Di’Anno out of the station as the boys rush trying to fireman-carry Smith into the van. Di’Anno recovers, dashes for the axe, and gets the last cackle as he destroys the rear window of the van while our boys drive off into the city.
The entire plan went straight to hell. Smith thankfully made it to the emergency room on time, Murray, Harris and Burr were exhausted, and Di’Anno was still on the prowl in the streets. The city wouldn’t rest peacefully tonight unless our heroes put him out of his misery for good, but that sophist asshole won’t go down without taking the band with him, either. No one was prepared for this douche move, but now blood must be shed for the survival of not only Iron Maiden, but the NWOBHM movement as a whole. Police interference already proved too costly; the time for diplomacy was never an option. With drumsticks, guitars slung on backs, and magnums in hand, it was time for a new Maiden to rise from these scarred ashes; Dave Murray was pissed for the very first time.
At the cost of Burr, Di’Anno was defeated. The remaining members will reconstruct Maiden with an even better line-up and sound. They’ll make it so that no one member could dominate the band ever again. With two minutes to spare before midnight, the boys headed back to the gig for some well-deserved refreshments.