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I love Iron Maiden’s most famous album, The Number Of The Beast, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a problem with it. That being, that if three filler songs were removed, it would probably make for the best EP of all time. Therefore, my problem with this release is that both the A and B sides are two of those weak filler songs, the other one being the one which is commonly accepted as the weak point of the album, ‘Gangland’.
Don’t get me wrong, both of them are respectable NWOBHM songs and contain Maiden’s trademark duelling guitars, soaring vocals and lyrical splendour, but they are nothing spectacular – the simplicity of ‘Run To The Hills’ naturally appeals to the mainstream more than the vast majority of the metal genre, with its memorable chorus, the melody of which is based around basic chromatic progressions.
Its verses are somewhat unusual for Maiden, in that the sole focus is Dickinson’s vocals, with a few simple riffs seeming to have been thrown together as a background for a preconstructed vocal melody. It’s nowhere near Maiden’s usual standard that out of 4 or 5 riffs, the only one which really catches attention on its own merit is the one used twice in the middle 8 section, and even that has Dickinson mirroring its melody an octave (or two, I’m unsure) higher.
The complete lack of a guitar solo is somewhat disappointing – the catchy virtuosity which is often displayed here during Maiden’s songs is sorely missed. In a song where the only real attraction is the vocals and lyrics contained therein, any technicality would be desired merely to make the song anything more than pleasant background music, or indeed a shallow crowd-pleasing stadium filler.
‘Total Eclipse’ is far superior, yet still somewhat lacking; I feel the main problem is that the main verse riff is, as with the chorus of ‘Run To The Hills’, nothing more than a simple chromatic progression. That said, there is at least a solo to sweeten the deal a little, and an interesting one at that. The song overall, however, is far from memorable, perhaps the worst one taken off TNoTB in that respect, but is enjoyable to listen to.