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There is a time when a band goes from either good to bad, or bad to good. Maiden on the other hand went from good to better. The Number of the Beast marked quite a few changes in the band with the most noticeable being the addition of Bruce Dickinson, who replaced Paul Di'Anno. Now I am not here to debate who the better singer is or who should have stayed in the band but all I know is that for the most part Maiden got really famous because of Bruce. I know that this is Mr. Harris' band but if it wasn't for Bruce, Maiden would not be what they are today.
Another change is the songwriting style that Steve Harris has adopted. The first 2 albums are very street-wise oriented with songs about violence, partying, and being a rebel. This was a great approach since Di'anno's vocal style fitted the themes amazingly. With this release Harris has dropped the street-wise style in favor of historical, war, life, and, religious themes. The track "Gangland" tells about life in a gang where murder, drugs, and crime are always present. This is my least favorite track from the album and possibly the worst. Another track entitled "22 Acacia Avenue" tells the story of a harlot named Charlotte and how she comes to the realization that someday she will age and her East End services will end. "Invaders" is a song about the brutal invasions of our good friends from the Nordics, the vikings. This is a very good track that for some reason gets panned by a lot of people. I would love to see this song played live.
The occult is ever present on the album (duh!). from the epic artwork and name, to the songs that tell tales of the devil himself. "Children of the Damned" and the (in)famous masterpiece "The Number of the Beast" are proof on why Maiden is hailed as one of the best bands in metal history. Both are classics that should be on everyone's playlists. The latter song is a heavy metal anthem whose spoken intro should be remembered by every metal head. Who hasn't written 666 on the blackboard when they were in school? Who hasn't raised their fists up in the air and said hell yeah when they heard this? It's a true heavy metal classic that changed metal forever, no fucking doubt. Another historical track and probably Maiden's most famous song is "Run to the Hills". It tells the story of colonists from Europe coming into the new world slaughtering and taking advantage of the natives. This song is ever present on Maiden's set lists and is a true anthem. "The Prisoner" is an another great and famous track about the show of the same name that has good songwriting and sound. The chorus however can get stale after awhile.
This album contains a song that is regarded as one of the best heavy metal tracks ever composed, in fact it was ranked as the best heavy metal song ever by Digital Dream Door. "Hallowed be they Name" is a musical masterpiece that is a staple at every Iron Maiden concert. It opens up with a slow intro that picks up speed after a vocal passage. The song is about a man who is going to the gallows and before his execution he questions his beliefs and thinks about the afterlife. The lyrics are very philosophical and chilling in a way that it makes you think and feel for the man described in a song. After the verses there is a long instrumental passage followed by amazing solos from both Adrian Smith and Dave Murray. The song ends with Bruce singing the phrase Hallowed Be Thy Name, signaling the ultimate fate of the man sent to the gallows. An amazing song that will blast into your ears many times.
To sum this entire review up I would like to say that this album is truly a classic. No matter what people say this album will be recognized for revolutionizing metal and putting Maiden into a world wide spotlight. While this album does have some faults such as silly lyrics, and the song "Gangland", it made a huge contribution to metal that will never be forgotten. I will conclude this with a few simple words..."I know where I'm going, out!"