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In the progression that is Iron Maiden, this album is a critical step towards their goal of world domination. Its light years ahead of the debut, but not quite Number of the Beast quality yet, though some songs on here would rival some of the very best on that album. Killers, probably the best metal album ever when it was released, was an album that boasted the punky qualities of the debut, but also had a bit more of the serious leanings they would take after this album. Steve Harris (once again) wrote most of the music here. About 9 of the 11 songs, and had a big hand in the other two. Dennis Stratton is gone, and replacing him is Adrian Smith, guitar wizard extraordinare. It's impressive to see him and Murray duel back and forth, because they both rule. Di'Anno sounds MUCH better on here. More balls and conviction behind his delivery. While its not quite Dickinson in terms of quality, it is still very good, and comparing him to Dickinson isnt fair. They are two completely different styles. Clive Burr sounds as good as on the debut (not a bad thing). His rhythm is locked in well and he gets his job done. Anyways, onto the music. Let's see whats on hand here, shall we?
The album opens with the instrumental "Ides of March". It has a great melody and some harmonied guitars but its nothing to shit yourself over. The second song, Wrathchild, delivers. It is hard, angry and very punkish at times.
Now, Murders in the Rue Morgue is probably the most underrated Maiden song of all time. It sure as hell is my favorite off this album. The riffs are catchy, the lyrics are very realistic and thought provoking, and in some parts, it reminds me of Phantom of the Opera off the debut album.
Other outstanding numbers are "Prodigal Son", (another penned by Harris song) the mellowest song on hand here, but also the most heartfelt (not to mention also the best solo on the album), and the title track itself.
The title track has very much in common with what Megadeth would do 5 years later in the song "Devil's Island" off the album Peace Sells...But Who's buying?....Galloping thrash. Though Maiden doesnt quite thrash, this song is very speedy and has a very dark overtone. A standout indeed!
Iron Maiden would improve dramatically through all of their first 4 albums, until they hit their peak on Piece of Mind and kept it up for several years.