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THE ONE for you and me - 100%

Xyrth, March 28th, 2022
Written based on this version: 1998, CD, EMI (Reissue, Remastered, Enhanced)

Happy 66(6)th birthday Steve! And The Number of the Beast is 40 years old! Unbelievable. Even when I cannot say I’ve listened to it since when it was originally released, as this great masterpiece of metal precedes my own existence by two years. I can only imagine what it means for metalheads who were there, anxious to get it right after listening to the debut and Killers and knowing this band was destined for greatness, even after the departure of its first frontman. Were there many doubts Bruce would fill those shoes? Were those who though and foresaw he might actually surpass DiAnno as THE voice for The Beast? I’ve never chatted with someone who happened to be alive in that situation, but I’d be curious to know. My own first experience of the Irons came a decade and change later, around 1997 when Bruce was not around anymore. A friend lent me Fear of the Dark and I wasn’t really impressed. But then, I listened and purchased Best of the Beast compilation and boy, oh boy! I was blown away. The songs from The Number of the Beast became some of my favorites, especially “Hallowed Be Thy Name”.

A few years later, I had collected all the 80s Maiden classics in CD format, the enhanced 1998 EMI reissues. The Number of the Beast became one of the most listened albums by me all the late 90s and remained so well into the mid-2000s, when my taste in metal diversified exponentially. How could I rank it now? Among my favorite 20 metal releases? Top 50s? I certainly don’t know anymore, since I’ve listened to so many great metal records, and every day I listen to something new. I don’t listen to Maiden as much as I used to, not that I like them any less (especially their classics). But despite my musical listening tendencies what remains unquestionable is that The Number of the Beast is ONE OF THE GREATEAST METAL ALBUMS EVER CREATED. I can understand and sympathize with those that say that this isn’t Maiden’s best, if they chose any of the four subsequent LPs or all of them instead, or even the preceding Killers. But then, I can do likewise with those who say this is their best. Bruce Dickinson’s debut is such a well-rounded piece of work that deserves all and any accolades I can imagine. The Derek Riggs artwork is iconic beyond measure, the music within just perfect. It was released in 19-fuckin-82, people! Thrash didn’t exist at that time; can you fathom that? It’s mind-blowing!

With all due respect to the ill-fated Paul DiAnno, Iron Maiden got really lucky and struck the jackpot by choosing Bruce Dickinson as his replacement. DiAnno served its purpose of leading the punkish-sounding and embryonic form of Maiden into the front stage of the NWOBHM, but Bruce would take them to the upper echelons of all rock music. The Number of the Beast is a bridge between the two eras, as it contains traces of both their previous works and uses formulas they would adapt and improve in future releases, as their music became more complex and ambitious. Iron Maiden’s legendary third LP maintains the energic pulse of their first two records, in part because the potent Clive Burr remained behind the kit, but also because Bruce knew he had to shine with his new band and employed all of his vocal potency and strong charisma to succeed in it. The chemistry was of immediate effect, and Bruce delivered some of the best performances of this career in this record. The native American-like chants in “Run to the Hills”, the powerful, long notes on “Children of the Damned” or the spirited show on “Hallowed Be Thy Name”…revealed a frontman on a mission!

The rest of the band only got better, or at least as stupendously good as in Killers. While the aggression and speed of the preceding work was toned down a little bit, the longer, more complex compositions more than make for that. In any case, opener “Invaders”, a track that has been pretty much ignored by the band in live tours, probably due to the fact that they played several other songs from this LP, quickly picks where the band left, a fast-paced proto-Viking metal tune with an immediate head-bang inducing set of riffs, and the signature pouncy ‘n’ bouncy Steve Harris bass all over it. Then “Children of the Damned” sort of cools things off, as half a taciturn ballad about a wretched man, that soon transforms into a faster, heavier tune, and has a demonic tapping guitar solo, classic of the NWOBHM years when it was all the rage. Adrian Smith and Dave Murray stand omnipotent in this record, their dual guitar attack as prolific, enticing and savory as usual. Side A closers are a couple of six-minuters that show the recaptured intent of writing something more demanding and multi-sectioned, as in “The Phantom of the Opera”. “The Prisoner” and “22 Acacia Avenue” might not reach the heights of the 7-minute mini epic of the debut LP, but they aren’t far.

Side B starts with the iconic title-track. That spooky narration intro by the immortal Barry Clayton always manages to make my skin hair stand, no matter how many times I’ve listened to it. “The Number of the Beast” is undoubtedly great, a classic piece of prime heavy metal for the ages, almost rivaling the intensity of the similarly long previous title-track “Killers” and featuring similar guitar solos, two halves, one by Adrian and the other by Bill, but probably having a slight advantage in metal hierarchy due to its more innovative song structure and signature sections. Bruce’s scream sets the tone as the songs continues its build up towards the forceful solos. Then, a fan favorite, “Run to the Hills”, the song most non-metalheads know from the Irons, in great part due to Rock Band (or is it Guitar Hero?). My own first encounter with it was one cold Saturday morning around ’97 or ‘98, watching VH1 classics. I remember recording the video on a VHS with several other musical videos plucked from both MTV and VH1. The drums are classic, many would-be drummers emulating the tribal paths laid by the late Burr. I love the track, but I vastly prefer the Live After Death version, as I feel the solo is more explosive and the band simply managed to play it better and tighter, somehow.

“Gangland” is no filler either, but probably the least impressive song here. I totally love the Dream Theater version when they covered this whole record as a tribute, double the length and a jazzier feel. The solid “Total Eclipse” b-side from the “Run to the Hills” single follows on my ’98 CD, but I’ll skip it here right to the tremendous tour-de-force that is “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, which currently ranks as my second favorite song in all of metaldom, only behind Judas Priest’s “Painkiller”. It’s most certainly my favorite Iron Maiden tune of all time, and curiously, a song I don’t really enjoy listening to live, as I think they never manage to capture the mystique of both Bruce’s performance here and the solos put on tape, the total opposite to another of my 7-minute favs by The Beast, “Fear of the Dark” which seems to be continuously getting better and better on live renditions. “Hallowed Be Thy Name” is just too darn flawless and perfect, a monumental piece of pure heavy metal charged with atmosphere and passion. It has quite the emotive build up, since that ominous bell strikes your eardrums and Bruce’s most dramatic act holds you by the throat. The whole band contributes to its magnificent crescendo, as the instru-METAL final act hits you like an electric discharge. I can’t think of a strongest closer in like… any other album or discography.

“As the guards march me out to the courtyard
Somebody cries from a cell ‘God be with you’,
if there’s a God then why has He let me go?
As I walk my life drifts before me, though the end is near I’m not sorry
Catch my soul, it’s willing to fly awaaay”

AWESOME! That song alone could entail The Number of the Beast the title of masterpiece. Why some people don’t recognize this album as such is entirely beyond me, but to each its own. I’ve been happy to own this record since day one and that won’t change in this life and probably the next, when I’ll find myself dancing to Eddie’s tune on the fiery plains of Hell. Though Iron Maiden's modern output has been hit or miss after Brave New World, their 80s classics will always stand out as the cream of the crop among all of heavy metal’s vast and prolific universe. Even after four decades, Eddie’s reign in Hell still makes us burn in excitement, and we will most undoubtedly burn as such for all eternity.

Six! Six six! The Number of the Beast! - 100%

Slater922, March 22nd, 2022
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Parlophone (Digipak, Reissue, Remastered, EU)

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Iron Maiden's third studio album "The Number of the Beast". And man has it felt like forever since it released. But then again, this record in particular is not only the album that changed Iron Maiden forever, but I'd argue that it's easily one of the most influential metal records in the genre's history. And how did that happen? Well, you thank Paul Di'Anno for leaving the band, as they felt that his high usage of drugs and alcohol was heavily setting back his skills, along with Paul himself lacking a desire to continue with the band.

So then along came Bruce Dickinson. Bruce was in Samson before he grew an interest in Iron Maiden, but had a strong desire to be the vocalist for them. And with Paul out of the picture, it was his chance to get in. Well, as we'd all know, Bruce was accepted in the band, and they would go on to record and eventually released their third album in 1982 to much critical acclaim. But seeing how this is the album that permanently cemented Iron Maiden as a legendary band, I know I can't just do a typical review here. So sit back with me, as we look back on this album in a retrospect and see what makes TNOTB so damn good.

So we start things off with the instruments, which is where things are already feeling different. In the last two albums, Iron Maiden went for a heavy NWOBHM sound that sounded pretty nice. Here, however, the band leans more towards a traditional heavy metal sound, which sounds amazing. The guitars have a more powerful boom in their sound compared to the previous records, so its execution is more stronger. As for the drumming, it's also been improved heavily, as Clive Burr's drumming has a lot of strength in its beatings, but also let things back a bit to give the other instruments some room in their sound, which makes it all sound balanced in production. Even the bass is exceptional, as it not only follows along the guitars well, but it also sets up a strong foundation that stabilizes everything. But what really makes them all work is the versatility of the tone of each song. Some tracks like "Children of the Damned" are more laid-back and mighty in its atmosphere, whereas "Hallowed Be Thy Name" is much more epic in its structure and gives off a more grand landscape in its sound. Even the weaker track "Gangland" still has excellent instrumentals, as the guitar riffs still ring out with such force that empowers the atmosphere. Every single track on this album is special in its own instrumental, and would all work together to create one epic tale of the beast.

But then we get to the vocals, which is easily the biggest change in Iron Maiden's discography. Now, with all due respect to Paul Di'Anno, it was probably for the best that he left Iron Maiden, because while he had plenty of great vocal performances, Bruce would take those ideas and only enhance them to be even better. His voice is a lot more melodic in sound, and flows even better with the tracks than Paul ever could, and nowhere is this more apparent than in their signature track "The Number of the Beast". This song is an instrumental marvel with its melodic and epic guitar riffs and powerful drum beats, and Bruce would only magnify this with his voice. He starts it off with some whispers that give him a personality of uneasiness, but as the song goes on, Bruce gets more confident, which plays off with the instruments as they get more vast and epic. And when it all explodes into chaos, Bruce shows this perfectly with his high screams that hold the flow of the instrumental tightly. And don't even get me started with his vocals on the chorus, where at that point, he perfectly embodies the trust he has in the beast and his number. And that's just one song out of eight. In TNOTB, Bruce improves upon the already great work of Paul, as he would give the voice of the band a more energetic and prideful tone.

Even the songwriting is fantastic. The lyrical abilities in the previous two albums were nice, but here, they would get even better. Take the lyrics to "The Prisoner" for example, where this verse quotes:

I’m on the run, I kill to eat
I’m starving now, feeling dead on my feet
Going all the way, I’m nature’s beast
Do what I want and do as I please

This verse shows that the prisoner has fled the prison, and is now having to kill just to eat. Like in the previous albums, they're simple, but the way it is worded makes the story feel more urgent, as the reader worries if the prisoner will get caught. But then we move on to this verse:

Run, fight to breathe, it’s tough
Now you see me, aha, now you don’t
Break the walls I’m coming out

Not a prisoner, I’m a free man
And my blood is my own now
Don’t care where the past was
I know where I’m going... out!

Basically, the prisoner has now become a free man, as he runs in joy that he is no longer just another number in a prison system. The tone changes in the lyrics blend in smoothly, as the reader now feels great to see the prisoner free again. Furthermore, this goes hand-to-hand with the instruments and vocals well, as the energized guitar riffs and fierce drum beats further push the atmosphere of uncertainty of the escape, and Bruce's powerful vocals reflect the confidence the prisoner has in escaping. Pretty much all of the stories the album tells are simple, but effective in its narrative of the beast, and would flow well with the instrumentals and vocals.

If there were any doubts that Iron Maiden won't be successful and would eventually fade into obscurity, then this album would destroy any of that and officially push the band into stardom. The instrumentals are stellar with its more animated style, Bruce's vocals would only further magnify the power of the instruments, and the lyrics once again continue to tell simple, but great stories. This album would go on to be the blueprint for Iron Maiden's future works of epic and melodic heavy metal, and its influence in the band and the metal genre in general still stands to this day. When it comes to awakening the beast, "The Number of the Beast" is one beast you don't wanna mess with.

Often overrated, often underestimated - 100%

agogogt, November 28th, 2021

It was 1981 and Iron Maiden was a large band after releasing two very good albums. However, those albums meant how the band started to open up to the world with great songs like Phantom Of The Opera or Killers, but they were still premature to the true level they might arrive at. The distracted life of vocalist Paul Di'Anno started to jeopardize their continuous ascension seriously, something that the band's founding member wasn't willing to consent to. So the consequences were damn clear: Paul Di'Anno was expelled from the band. His replacement: the most powerful, energetic and dynamic voice called Bruce Dickinson, dubbed "Air raid siren". However, this album may not be meant a milestone in Dickinson's history, this album may be considered as an introduction letter to the new vocalist, as well as the birth of a renewed band.

More than any 80s band, Iron Maiden can be proud that they not only gave birth to a new dimension of music, they also made it clear what kind of audiences they will receive and assimilate. Their songwriting was so straightforward and their sound was so warm and welcoming that all these instantly captivated anyone else who still wasn't familiarized with them. They also can be proud of making an accessible -not simpler- stuff like this one, as they reinvented the wheel with this spectacular record. If there's an album that could be called THE metal album, the one that sums up everything and claim to be the best released ever, it has to be. Opinions will vary according to taste, but my taste is for total ass-kicking heavy metal and this is the epitome of it. Every song here is heavy as fuck, and we get albums like these to remember that metal can be heavy without being strident in terms of guitars, bass, vocals, etc. Sometimes, this album mixes light and shade, acoustic guitar with electric shredding. Anyone who thinks melodic means “soft”, would get a real shock from this album as the grade of musicianship is amazing from all members, and Bruce's singing is so pure at this point.

Invaders is a sudden, no-holds-barred opener, and without notice, you hear the delectable bass before the guitar's attack. Sleek and sexy, 22 Acacia Avenue features Adrian's outro solo, and along with Steve's bass, they keep the action for six minutes without wasting any potential. The album ends with Hallowed Be Thy Name, another legend that presents Bruce's superb vocals before breaking off and speeding up the song; this song features a classic Maiden trick which consists in repeating the riff over and over until a saturation point before switching to another, something that works for them luckily. The solos are incredible and feature one of the best guitar abilities you’ll see ever. The track-list is well put together, but my favorite master song is Hallowed By The Name, it's so well done and puts the cork on this album properly. Undoubtedly, everything on this record fits perfectly as the performers work in both songwriting and performance in a proper way. The record might not be the same without Dickinson, his voice is the revulsive one that this band need, and thanks to him they rise to another level at the top of the heavy metal world where Eddie would put his metallic ass in his throne, so he’s right there since then. The beast roars!

To review an album like this becomes a difficult task, more so if you look at the weight this album had. At this point, if not y'all, the vast majority of listeners know this album from top to bottom and they truly know that it’s not “another album” only. Beyond all, the bases of this album are razor/sharp guitars, shredding solos, brilliant bass, pounding drums and eargasmic vocals. It is a simple format perhaps but it works perfectly, you wouldn't ask for more in 1982, are you? Writing songs like these can turn your band into a megastar and there was something more behind the success matter. While The Number of the Beast is a disc of real importance in their ascent, is not the only one: Piece of Mind, Somewhere In Time, Powerslave and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son were also the milestones. In addition, anyone can choose his favorite album, but without this one your collection is truly incomplete, and I'm not talking about a simple heavy metal collection.

Often overrated, often underestimated: it can be good or bad, whether it’s fair or not. Undoubtedly, a decade of ingenious work: from a primitive filthy stage (this album belongs here), passing through the mid-decade without flaws in Powerslave whose evolved sound would collide head-on with the glacial purity of Seventh Son. More or less, you can define their career like this. It was a natural and logical evolution, and on this one everything sounds more compact, ferrous and consistent. Surely without looking for it, the kinda compositional rot that characterized the NWOBHM is abandoned; and The Number of the Beast is more audible than before notably. Guitars continue to be the predominant element in the mix through a truly passionate parade of crossover melodies. So forty minutes divided into eight songs, all of them crossed from end to end by that energetic, harsh singing that characterizes the new friend well. A true British howl, like a troubadour ahead of his time. Iron Maiden needed little else to prove their pedigree.

Electrifying!! - 100%

AxlFuckingRose, November 28th, 2021

Iron Maiden seemed destined for success, regardless of who their singer was. With the tightest rhythm section in heavy metal (and arguably of all time), the band underwent a major lineup change with the addition of Bruce Dickinson. And man, was this a brilliant decision. Bruce's voice can command a song single-handedly, with his incredible range and power, he makes anyone want to suit up for battle just by listening to a classic-era Maiden song.

The A-side of Maiden's most esteemed album runs a little bit thinner than the B-side, but it's still incredibly strong. It just didn't have the hits. "Invaders" has such a catchy hook with the guitar flourishes, and it's really a perfect introduction to the album, even if it's one of the weaker moments. I think of it more as a prelude of what's to come. Bruce's vocal prowess is really what drives this album, and he carries the anthemic "The Prisoner" as well. Much of this album has a soaring ambience to it, due in large part to Adrian Smith's leads. "The Prisoner" is a good example of this as well, and the triumphant, multi-phased solo here is a PERFECT complement to that infectious "I'M A FREE MAN" on the hook. This is probably the catchiest song on the album (though some of the B-side gives it a run for its money).

If there's one distinction between the A-side and the B-side of this album, though, it's that the A-side is more rhythm driven, while the B-side works more off of the riffs. Clive Burr's drumming is all over "The Prisoner" and "22 Acacia Avenue," although the latter works off a haunting guitar melody too. The cymbals are just placed at such perfect times all over this thing, you can really hear all five of the band members firing on all cylinders here, and it helps in understanding why this album turned out to be such a masterpiece.

"The Number of the Beast" was a ballsy move for one of the biggest bands in the world at the time, writing about the devil in such blatant terms. But Bruce nails the hook with so much ferocity and the riffing is so catchy that Satanic-Panic advocates probably couldn't help but leave it off the list. This song just has everything, and even though the riffing on this side is what makes it transcend (see "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and its precision-playing on a slew of riffs that all hit incredibly hard), Steve Harris still has prominent and effectual bass playing across the entirety of the album. In fact, his writing and playing is probably what took Iron Maiden to the next level, coupled with Bruce's singing. This is the album that the band mastered catchy songs with fast but controlled playing, and paired it with some of Adrian Smith's most memorable solos. Everything comes together for the band.

This is probably my favorite metal album of all time, and its blend of speed metal, proto-power metal, and pure heavy metal made this album a capstone for the NWOBHM movement, and arguably the pinnacle of the metal genre as a whole. It's up there with the greats, and a timeless record for sure.

The great consolidation - 100%

Darley, November 13th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Parlophone (Digipak, Reissue, Remastered, EU)

This disc supposes one of the essential albums to define what heavy metal really is, especially when it comes to understanding the transition from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Perhaps it may not be the perfect album for some metalheads since there is a whole legion of detractors of "Invaders" and especially "Gangland", a song that Steve Harris himself assumes was not very successful in including it instead of Total Eclipse. All in all, this is an album that came at the right time, breaking out with force thanks to the fact that it was the first album with the recently incorporated Bruce Dickinson on vocals. Although the legends had already started with their first two releases years ago, this was the album that made them grow, making known itself to an ever-increasing masses and more eager to have Iron Maiden playing in their city, a business which manager Rod Smallwood knew how to take advantage of.

Focusing on the remastered sound, this is the edition they released in 2018 in CD digipack format. In general, few details have been polished, with both guitars and drums being more enhanced. I love how the riffs sound cleaner and better as long as each detail can be appreciated, as well as each figure, each nuance they included in the original vinyl. Clive Burr's performance has also gained protagonism, with a crisp drum sound highlighting some details. For example, the timpani hits in the middle part with the guitar solos are much more present than the original vinyl and thus, there are many more details that manage to rediscover an ever many-listened album like this one. It was when they finally decided to walk away without shame or shyness from that sound that compared them to neighborhood bands. Regarding cover art, each Eddie character was immersed the band's world whose evolution brilliantly summed up the concept of each one.

I'm left with many feelings, all positive, I think it's one of the best records in music story and it's definitely my favorite from this band. Bruce Dickinson's voice seems simply spectacular to me. Steve Harris does an excellent job with his instrument and shows why I consider him one of the best bassists ever. Guitars are indescribable, all the melodies, all the solos and absolutely everything on this instrument show off that Adrian Smith and Dave Murray were definitely stood out at their best. Clive Burr does it spectacularly, he always sets the beat perfectly with his skills and also left some of the best drum intros. Everything on this album is excellent and 39 years later it still is remembered. I always try to do a track-by-track in my analysis, but this time results a bit difficult since I love each song and I highlight absolutely all of them. In order to not break the tradition, I'm going to highlight the title track, 22 Acaccia Avenue and the one I always mentioned as my favorite ever, Hallowed Be Thy Name: it begins slowly, in crescendo and reaching the moment when the metal-throat roars in a whirlwind of notes as the melody envelops you and squeezes you, like the successful lyrics about a prisoner's thought before being hanged.

In addition, we can't limit ourselves to the musical description, this should also make us reflect on a lot of things. There are several interesting questions, for example, what their trajectory have been like if Paul had led a more “normal” life so as not to get fired? I believe -in my humble opinion and not detracting him- they hadn't gone so far as I consider Bruce better adapted to the times that were to come. Also, could Iron Maiden exist as we know without The Number of the Beast? I think not, as this is like the original version of the Bible. What about Mr Harris? Everything this man writes seems destined to burst the sales charts, and despite his almost superhuman capabilities, not all of his works obtain the same reception from specialized critics. But if there is a story that has really raised their popularity to the highest level, this disc is, without a doubt. An epic listening that includes the vast majority of Eddie's adventure through the street punk/metal vein as well as the end of the NWOBHM as such. While this is a milestone in heavy metal, their next album would be the true 180° change in their music stamp that would identify them to this day.

Iron Maiden III : Satan's Work is Done - 95%

DanielG06, March 14th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2014, 12" vinyl, Parlophone (Reissue, EU)

I've heard many people say that The Number of the Beast is overrated. Sure, everyone is allowed an opinion, but the importance of this album to the band and the genre as a whole is undeniable. First of all, this was the album that introduced Bruce Dickinson, who is the band's definitive frontman and served as a massive cornerstone of Iron Maiden's legacy, and some of his best performances are on this record. Although the singles, Number of the Beast and Run to the Hills, are quite overplayed, the rest of the album varies from moderate hits to hidden gems, and everything has its place. Despite Gangland and Invaders being some of the band's most hated songs, I personally think that they're both fitting; short but catchy, and considering they're sandwiched between a chain of 6-minute heavy metal behemoths, it's understandable as to why they're forgotten by most. All of the songs have fantastic riffs, incredible solos, and unmatched songwriting. The Number of the Beast can therefore be seen as an extension of Killers, but with a more refined and less repetitive twist. The album is very commercial, admittedly, but commerciality doesn't decrease the quality of the songs, they were still crushing for 1982, back when hairspray, makeup and cheesy generic synthesizers dominated rock/metal. The production still holds up today, the guitar tone is one of my favourites in the Iron Maiden discography, being somewhat of a mix between Killers' wild and vibrant tone and Piece of Mind's crunchy, dry tone. Clive Burr's drumming has been diminished a little bit compared to Killers, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, since the pattern of the songs has shifted and they're longer songs on average, there isn't a need for insane fills and gallops throughout every song. His playing is still tight, and some of his finest moments are on here, such as the drum intros to Gangland, Run to the Hills, and The Prisoner, and the last minute or so of Children of the Damned.

Adrian Smith and Dave Murray's playing has significantly improved, although they've been adequate players ever since their teenage years in Urchin. Adrian Smith in particular varies his solos much more, like the tapping in Children of the Damned, and the bluesy twist in the solos of 22 Acacia Avenue. When I mentioned earlier that the songs are longer than on the first two albums, most of these tracks are about 5/6 minutes long, and the band doesn't waste any of the runtime. Some of the tracks have an incomprehensible amount of changes. 22 Acacia Avenue has about 30 sections, and that's why it's one of my favourite songs. It's like a different type of progressive, there are so many solos, acoustic parts and riffs that make the songs very memorable. Run to the Hills is one of the biggest metal songs ever written, I don't think I need to explain that. The song is just so classic, the riffs are unforgettable, the mid-paced gallops and monstrous chorus make Run to the Hills a brilliant song. The title track is probably the song I enjoy more out of the 2 singles, and it would be the band's definitive song if it weren't for the title track from their first album. Everything about the song is great, from the intro riff, to Bruce's godzilla screech, to the solo section, to the chorus, it's the recipe for a perfect metal song. But the absolute highlight on the album is Hallowed be thy Name, which is virtually universally praised as the best Iron Maiden song, and one of the summits of heavy metal music.

This album is influential for a plethora of reasons, its melodic powerfulness, the brilliant song structures, the talent from every member, the virtuosity of the solos, the classic feeling of cuts like The Prisoner, and the passion that was clearly put into it. Every metalhead has listened to this album, some love it and some hate it, but it still unequivocally stands as one of the most significant milestones in music.

You Better Scratch Me, From Your Black Book - 85%

Sweetie, March 15th, 2020

More than anything, I view The Number Of The Beast as the proper follow-up to the debut, for no reason beyond it being a greater reflection of that album. It’s a nice power-loaded disc that still heavily crafts itself on the NWOBHM influence while managing to hint at the future. And the truth is, this is the only Bruce-fronted album where I can picture Di’anno singing the songs and it still sounding right. Songs like “The Prisoner” and “Total Eclipse” ring in that same early energy, following similar guidelines and attitudes to what other acts like Saxon had previously laid down.

But setting that aside, I think there’s a mini-epic feel to a lot of this that showcased early signs of where Iron Maiden would go for future efforts. “Children Of The Damned” will always be one of my favorites for this reason. The clean intro with loads of melody, molding into a steady bulk is all part of a build-up factor. The ending of this one is so explosive, peak eruption being the start of that tap-happy solo played in high octaves. “22 Acacia Avenue” is similar in its own unique way, as it delivers the same taste but by shifting attitudes from welcoming to threatening. These songs get overlooked thanks to the famous supergiants on this album, but they’re easily some of the strongest.

The point of all of that is that they work as the perfect evolution of tracks like “Remember Tomorrow” or “Strange World” off of the debut. I’m not saying these songs are better, but they’re the perfect bridge between those early classics, and true epics like “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner.” That said, the famous classic “Run To The Hills” rejects all of this, keeping things as straightforward as possible. This works to contrast others like my personal favorite “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” which was the greatest push towards that sound that The Number Of The Beast would ever show. But I hardly think I need to go on about that.

My only complaint is the weak opening. “Invaders” is like the annoying younger brother of “Run To The Hills,” but you have to include him anyway. It’s executed the same way, only reaching the blitzing speed right away rather injecting a slow intro. Worse things have happened, but I’ve always felt this one rather hollow compared to everything on this album. This is a stellar record, though. Like Killers, it’s an essential piece of the puzzle. But a bit of a personal opinion, I think Beast lives up to its hype a bit more.

This is the Iron Maiden I love - 90%

DMhead777, June 20th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Parlophone (Digipak, Reissue, Remastered, Enhanced)

I was super excited to write this review if I am being honest. After reviewing the previous Iron Maiden albums, I knew what was to come. The Iron Maiden that I have grown to know and love was because of this album. This is one of the few Iron Maiden albums that I always went back to and knew what it was all about. After really focusing on the lyrics and paid extra attention to everything else it has to offer, I say with confidence that this is, so far, the best album Iron Maiden has written and executed up until this point in their career.

I don't want to compare this masterpiece to previous albums, but if I must then I would say it has many improvements over the previous efforts. Gone are the extremely repetitive nature of the lyrics and the 70s rock vibe from "Iron Maiden". The song writing on this album is miles away from the previous two efforts. I don't hear any references to pick up trucks and I feel that the style of those previous albums are completely wiped away. Paul Di'Anno is gone and Bruce Dickinson has snatched the reigns of lead vocalist and it is very much for the better. Paul Di'Anno had improved drastically on "Killers", but I think Bruce is a much better fit for the band. Bruce proves to be one of the best metal vocalists of all time. This album being his first one with the band is ridiculously impressive. Besides the vocals, I feel like the overall quality is better on "Killers" as it pains me to say.

This album has some insane guitar solos and the bass and drums is as impressive as ever. Unfortunately, I feel that the quality of the sound has degraded for me. The solos were almost crystal clear in past albums and here it seems to all blend together with no extra emphasis on what is playing. Maybe it is just the version I listened to, but I just feel that the solos were more focused on previous efforts. With that being said, Maiden has written some of my favorite riffs on this album. The solos for "The Prisoner", "Run to the Hills" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name" are some of my favorite riffs of all time. I said it before in past Iron Maiden reviews, and I'll say it again that this album is worth it for the musicianship alone. Each riff is a masterpiece and fits each song perfectly.

The lyrics are another example of maturing Maiden. This album is surprisingly dark. It focuses on raping and pillaging, devil worship, prostitutes (Charlotte the Harlot returns!), and being sentenced to die by rope. This is the epitome of heavy metal devil music and I fucking love it. The lyrics are so much fun and really bring you to another world. They paint the perfect picture of each song in your head. When I am listening to the title track, "Number of the Beast", I can see the fire the man is talking about. I actually feel how the prisoner feels in "Hallowed Be Thy Name". It's just a wonderful album filled with even more wonderful lyrics.

The speed on this album is another thing that is an improvement over past efforts. While "Killers" and "Iron Maiden" had its fast songs, I think this album takes the cake. Not only is the music fast, but Dickinson sings fast as well. It gives off a huge rush that you just want to drive 100 miles per hour to. The intro song "Invaders" gives exactly what you want to hear for an opening track on this new and improved Maiden. I didn't mind "The Ides of March" has an instrumental intro on "Killers", but I think they took notes from "Iron Maiden" and wanted something a little more in your face to get you in the mindset for all the shinanigans of the rest of the record.

Overall, there isn't too much to fault on "Number of the Beast". The only thing I would really bag this album for the sound quality and the song "Gangland". I don't know what it is about that song, but it's probably my least favorite on the album. The lyrics are written well, but I don't think it flows all too well. "Number of the Beast" is easily one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time and everyone should listen to it. If you haven't listened to Iron Maiden and think it's just old school dad rock then I would really reconsider your life's choices.

Songs I'd recommend: "Invaders", "Children of the Damned", "The Number of the Beast", "Run to the Hills" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name"

Bloated Meandering Filler - 50%

CuddlySilverback, July 28th, 2018

From the very moment I began my journey into the realms of metal music, Iron Maiden has been presented as a pioneering stalwart in the era of NWOBHM. The band was an underground sensation delivering two phenomenal albums to begin their career. Their fusion of punk with catchy soaring riffs became the iconic sound of this colossal band. Moving forward to the next record, the band members felt the need to go in a different direction to rise to the top. We all know what happens next; Paul Di'Anno is dumped for the operatic Bruce Dickinson and the rest is history. However, it's high time we come to the overwhelming realization that The Number of The Beast is not the paramount classic so many have claimed it to be. Yes, this record helped launch their career but it can be argued that Iron Maiden was riding a tidal wave of popularity as a result of their previous efforts. The third album was going to sell no matter how much forgettable material was imbedded throughout the record.

I know what you're all thinking, "How can you deny Number of The Beast as a classic!" and before you blow out the few remaining cells you rub together in your cerebrum to formulate half-intellectual thoughts, let me state my case against this album. I cannot deny that some of Iron Maiden's finest work was constructed for this album. The infectious anthems of "Run To The Hills" and the title track are undeniable classics that will be lauded by generations to come. The harrowing epic known as "Hallowed Be Thy Name" is in my humble opinion the finest composition in their illustrious career. On these standout tracks the tandem of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray shine. These tracks are rife with scorching leads and galloping riffs that would become the signature of Iron Maiden. In his final performance for the band, the late great Clive Burr turns in perhaps his finest effort. Intricate drum patterns that not only assist Smith/Murray but even takes charge at times. These memorable performances, however, are unable to save this album from its low points. When looking over what remains from the highlights there is very little that can be deemed as noteworthy. I'll admit that "22 Acacia Avenue" is an above average track but nothing else by any means succeeds to pique my interest.

We begin with the fast-paced "Invaders" equipped with simple but catchy hooks and while I understand that Maiden was going for a more accessible sound this time around, the track falls flat as mere filler pop. What follows is truly irksome as Maiden decides to kill all the momentum with a slow saccharine power ballad "Children of The Damned". This pop ballad meanders around a bit before picking up the pace near the end, yet it's a directionless waste that lacks any of the rawness of ballads in prior or later works. Tracks like "The Prisoner" and "Gangland" have similar issues, they aren't bad songs per se but they lack any conviction. It's overly accessible filler that markets well to a large demographic and leaves no lasting effect. I even find Bruce Dickinson somewhat annoying on theses weaker tracks. He's more nasally than usual and it takes away all the power in the performance. Bruce is a phenomenally talented vocalist but it's on tracks like"The Prisoner" where his few weaknesses are more apparent rather than his strengths. As I've stated earlier, I biggest criticism isn't any of the individual performances but inconsistency and dull songwriting that plagues the majority of the album. Iron Maiden is capable of mixing accessibility with the rawness of their earlier work; they successfully did it on Powerslave. On Number of The Beast, however, Maiden is aimless and erratic with an unhealthy amount of cheese.

I probably wouldn't be so harsh on the album if it wasn't constantly ranked near the top of metal's all-time greats. THIS? This is the finest hour for Iron Maiden? Not only did Iron Maiden's previous and later works surpass The Number of The Beast but even the albums that are considered weak by the Maiden faithful trump this supposedly seminal record. I have great respect for the members of Iron Maiden. Steve Harris is a genius and Bruce Dickinson is an incredibly gifted vocalist but given that we know their capabilities, I believe it's only fair we hold them to that standard. 3 great tracks and 1 descent one out of 9 does not make a monumental release. The record is far too inconsistent, especially for an album considered to be Maiden's best by many. As I've stated before, there are some fantastic songs here but a large section of it is rather mediocre. And if we're being completely honest, "Run to the Hills" is also a little overrated. I don't need to hear it ever again. It puzzles me why this album is constantly deemed as this grandiose classic when Maiden have written far better works and people only remember a handful of songs from it. The real shame is that this era of Iron Maiden sported some of the most talented individuals and they concocted this turgid carcass of an album.

Freedom of individual thought is most important to me and I strongly encourage those in the metal community to do their own research and come to their own conclusions. Perhaps you still consider this an extraordinary record and you're entitled to that opinion as long as it's your own. Critics and metalheads alike have praised this album without giving it a thorough analysis; blindly concurring on its greatness because Iron Maiden is exempt from any criticism. No band should be granted that privilege and we shouldn't believe Number of The Beast to be good because everybody says so. We in metal demand the freedom of expression and individual preferences but the great hypocrisy is we sometimes expect everyone to like the same things. Love it or hate it, you should form your own opinion of this record.

The score is meaningless - 87%

gasmask_colostomy, December 27th, 2017

Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast doesn’t really need another review on the Metal Archives, nor does it require any introduction. So what are we doing here, then? I’m here to explain why no one dares shit on this album and why the lowest score here is only 60%, which is for a review where the writer comments on filler songs and the difference between this and Powerslave. I’m here to tell you that the only difference between this and Powerslave is that The Number of the Beast is original flavour heavy metal (I guess Maiden’s 1984 classic is like the version with nuts) and that it’s the first time – or if not the very first time, the most widely heralded first instance – our kind of music ceased to be a subgenre and became a legitimate genre in its own right. This is pure heavy metal: blueprint completed, signed.

Just think about it. Before Iron Maiden, there were heavy metal statesmen like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, but they never seemed perfectly sure about their identity. Sabbath would write something mind-bendingly heavy like ‘Electric Funeral’ and then put ‘War Pigs’ on the same album, which is essentially a prog rock song with very heavy guitar chords. Judas Priest walked the walk and talked the talk of being heavy metal, yet they were also more than happy to write sappy ballads and AC/DC rock boppers alongside them. You can point all the fingers you like to other bands like Scorpions, Diamond Head, Raven, or other NWOBHM bands like Saxon, Venom or Angel Witch, but you’re not going to find any of them putting out consistently, definitively, heavy metal music at the same point as Iron Maiden, nor have most of those sounds proven nearly as enduring as the one encapsulated on The Number of the Beast. It’s not my purpose to say that all that went before this was “not metal” or that it’s not worth your time bothering with anything earlier, but this is the first time when everyone knew that the album in question was a heavy metal album and didn’t need to ask any questions.

The cover image of Eddie pulling the Devil’s strings; the band on the back cover standing before a great bonfire; songs about war, possession, death, and Satan; the overdriven wail of the guitars; the meaty thump of the rhythm instruments; the unabashed wail of the vocals; the feel of the band moving forwards as one: all this combines into the album’s essence and barely deviates from its path. The Number of the Beast certainly wasn’t the heaviest album of 1982, nor was it the fastest or the most aggressive, yet the feelings of determination, trepidation, and elation seen here are the most complete summary of the whole scope of heavy metal. Arguably, this is more of a “good times” album than Killers a year earlier, cutting back on the social commentary and slasher imagery to take in more fiction and history than before, though that drop in spite and darkness makes the concoction all the purer, Maiden needing no such punk spirit as on the likes of ‘Innocent Exile’. This is a capacious release and sounds easy too, as if the five-piece didn’t need to apply too much effort to think up the songs.

That sense of ease is recognizable in the moments when Maiden let simplicity speak for itself, allowing chugging riffs to carry the title track and ’22 Acacia Avenue’ through their opening verses, words falling into place as though they had been residing subliminally in the bandmembers’ minds until recording began. Other kinds of simplicity are exhibited too, such as the slow and fast dynamics used in ‘The Prisoner’ or the ubiquitous stomping rhythm of ‘Run to the Hills’, which is surely the most facile thing the Londoners ever created. Likewise, the “childish” bass hook of ‘Invaders’ (as it has often been criticized) seems like the thought of a moment, for better or worse, though this is contrasted by the elegant flow of the lead section in ‘Gangland’ or the inimitable build-up of ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ into a roaring powerhouse of philosophic riffing and melodic brilliance. All of these songs are instantly recognizable and require no more than the mention of a title, lyric, or riff to cause metalheads to sigh nostalgically; therefore, despite some clear imperfections, they can be said to fulfill the purpose of their existence marvelously well.

As with all albums that have such particular significance, quality is very difficult to judge, though there is a point to be made about the slightly lower levels of passion and grit (compared to earlier Maiden efforts) or instrumental mastery and songwriting prowess (giving way to later albums), though the quantity and insistence of the hooks on The Number of the Beast must surely be ranked highly amongst all albums of the time period. There are some songs that have been crafted more carefully than others, notably the slow-burning ‘Children of the Damned’ and exquisitely calculated ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, the latter of which does not permit any criticism whatsoever. There are a few moments of underwhelming proportions, those being the difficult verses of ‘Gangland’ and the rough and ready style of ‘Invaders’, while ‘22 Acacia Avenue’ hangs on for six and a half minutes largely thanks to the second chapter in the saga of Charlotte the Harlot. Of course, the perfect balance between the simple hooks and the sublime quality comes from ‘The Number of the Beast’ itself, which is one of the only absolutely compulsory listens in heavy metal and the sole site of biblical verses that I can quote. On a rather different – though related – note, the quote at the beginning of ‘The Prisoner’ has been used more than once during interrogations with my mother.

As a result of the special position of The Number of the Beast at the fore of heavy metal and as a source of nostalgic enjoyment, the score at the top of this review can be almost entirely ignored, since it holds almost no meaning for me. The score is based on the pure quality of the music and songs contained in the album, though cannot reflect the personal and cultural wealth contained in the recording. My advice for enjoying The Number of the Beast would be to listen regularly from a young age and ignore everyone else’s opinion on the album. Only then will you know if it’s really worth all the fuss.

Oblivion Beckons Us All - 94%

CHAIRTHROWER, October 2nd, 2017
Written based on this version: 1995, 2CD, EMI United Kingdom (Reissue)

Although the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (circa the mid 70s to the mid 80s) encompasses numerous compelling bands, I tend to favor a select few which in my mind constitute the movement's big "six": Angel Witch, Judas Priest, UFO, Pagan Altar, Witchfinder General (these last two also lean towards the doom side of the metal spectrum) and most explicitly, Iron Maiden, formed on Christmas Day in 1975 and still going strong, having released its sweetly sixteenth full-length in 2015 amidst a veritable gallimaufry of live albums, compilations and B-Sides. Believe me, I was hard-pressed to choose my first "Maiden-view" (for shame!) but after due consideration settled on where it all started for me as an eager albeit nerdy heavy metal aspirant back in the 8th grade, namely 1982's classic The Number Of The Beast - which, might I add, was re-released by EMI in 1995 with a bonus CD comprising "Total Eclipse", a rather upbeat, rock-ish number and a live, Bruce Dickinson sung version of "Remember Tomorrow", premiering on 1980's "namesake" debut.

There's something inherently gripping about the NWOBHM; one can't help but revel in untold compelling guitar harmonies/ riffs/ progressions backed by pronounced, bouncy/ galloping bass lines and loose but perpetually pounding drum beats, capped by downright epic, usually high-pitched vocals and fluid, super melodic leads. As well, there's also a certain element I can't quite put my finger on but consistently draws me back to the aforementioned legends alongside many other less heralded stalwarts such as Blitzkrieg, Diamond Head, Holocaust, Traitor's Gate, Trespass and White Spirit. Call it authentic. genial or simply unpretentious flair but today's explosive "traditional" revival owes much to this highly revered bygone era. OK, enough with the banter (and compulsive listing)! Allow me to wax eloquent and nostalgic on Number Of The Beast's concise octagon of tracks, starting with its kick-ass, lyrically alluring opener, a knavish, Berserker infused slickster aptly titled "Invaders". Alongside Steve Harris' glowingly pulsing bass line and Adrian Smith/ Dave Murray's simple but catchy as hell guitar riffs, Dickinson grandiosely delivers his first time out with the London based quintet - dig the wicked, battle-some opening verse, the first amidst ships:

"Longboats have been sighted and the evidence of war has begun
Many Nordic fighting men their swords and shields gleam in the sun
Call to arms defend yourselves, get ready to stand and fight for your lives
Judgment day has come around so be prepared don’t run, stand your ground..."

In particular, I fancy Dickinson's ever slight nasal twine as well as his poignantly drawn-out inflection on the word "gleam". That said, one reason I'm so taken by Maiden's third release is the way it sounds like a killer, perfect amalgam between the Brits' Paul Di'Anno-led days and its eventual, "un-punkish", more polished and straight up heavy metal sound already firmly established a year later with Piece Of Mind and in full swing on the succeeding masterpiece Powerslave (my first actual purchased CD). While most of the tracks reek of chthonian ardor - obviously the epochal title track, with its primeval bible verse quotation, the beautifully alliterated horror movie based "Children Of The Damned" as well as the infamous long-winded and spirited closer "Hallowed Be Thy Name" - a couple unabashedly veer off the crooked path, namely "The Prisoner", based on the popular TV series at the time ("I am not a number, I am a free man!" + sardonic laughter) and another top "Beast" pick along with "Invaders" and "Children Of The Damned", the sleazy, if not cheeky coming-of-age innocence squasher "22 Acacia Avenue", likely the sister track and logical conclusion to the debut's fond "Charlotte The Harlot", with such ribald and lewd lines as: " Fifteen quid is all she asks for, everybody’s got their vice" and "You can tell her that you know me and you might even get it free". Suffice to say, along with the utterly pleasing and engaging sixth cut "Run To The Hills" - the snugly snagging opening/ main guitar riff was surely an ear-opener! - "22 Acacia Avenue" created quite a jubilant commotion amongst my classmates; without further prompts I was compelled to hear what all the fuss was about - for this I'm forever grateful.

Number Of The Beast is also the last album to feature drummer Clive Burr (RIP), soon to be replaced by the eclectic, one-of-a-kind Nicko McBrain, and while the latter, along with Harris, represents Iron Maiden's long standing bedrock foundation, I often ponder how the quintessential metallers' sound would have evolved otherwise. Regardless, Burr claims his own moments under the sun, er, dark star (another quaint NWOBHM band!) such as with the raucously pounding Angel Witch/ "Dr. Phibes" evoking intro to "The Prisoner" - a somewhat humdrum track at first but whose appeal rapidly escalates thanks to an incredible bridge and solo section - or maniacally thunderous drum roll ripping open "Gangland"; he also does a swell job of propping up "Run To The Hills". As well, team Murray/ Smith periodically steal the show in most spectacular fashion i,e. their impeccably phrased yet still scorching leads on "Invaders", the "Number Of The Beast", "Run To The Hills" especially and of course, the explosive rundown to the gradually incepting but highly comprehensive tour-de-force "Hallowed Be Thy Name". Long standing metal fans and gregarious newcomers alike can't help but revel in the ethereally haunting and melodic opening guitar progression to "Children Of The Damned" (in my opinion, nobody, and I mean nobody has ever managed to truly do this track justice cover wise) or the crisp, unrelenting guitar riff to "22 Acacia Avenue".

I'd foolishly laid Iron Maiden's Number Of The Beast to the wayside so I'm now making up for lost time by fully re-rejoicing in its timeless magic. To the willing musical layman curious and open-minded enough to make a fortuitous foray into the wonderful World of heavy metal, particularly the NWOBHM, I'll say this much: Iron Maiden's Number Of The Beast from 1982 is a damn good place to start!

“Woe to you, oh Earth and Sea
For the Devil sends the beast with wrath because he knows the time is short…
Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast for it is a human number
Its number is six hundred and sixty six”

The Greatest Album That I Would Call Overrated - 98%

Caleb9000, July 14th, 2017

Usually the most critically acclaimed albums of the metal genre are both not as perfect as often said, nor are they even the best work by the band that produced them. However, this doesn't mean that said album isn't exceptional nonetheless. This is the case for Iron Maiden's third record, The Number of the Beast. In fact, I don't think I've ever been alike to apply what I've written above with such sincerity for any other record. This is because this album is often considered one of the greatest metal albums of all time. It isn't perfect, but it is certainly beyond exceptional, even masterful.

What makes this album so good is its balance between accessibility and innovation. It certainly sounds like a metal album from the early 1980s, with its NWOBHM flavoring, clear influence from early acts like Judas Priest and Black Sabbath (not that this is a doom metal album in any way), along with its analog production. But this album has stood the test of time among the masses more than any other albums related to it at the time because of the clearer usage of melody, more epic approach to songwriting, and of course the powerfully operatic Bruce Dickinson.

Dickinson deserves extra mention due to the fact that his influence has been running rampant in the metal scene ever since his appearance was first noted. His vocals are mainly in the tenor range and he uses a fair amount of chest, along with vibration (though not too excessively), which increases the dramatic nature of his voice just as much as his operatic vocal melodies do. Every now and again, he takes his voice into the stratosphere, though not to the extent that certain vocalists in modern power metal do. His pitch is flawless, and even when he goes off key, it's obvious that it's intentional, as he takes his voice to a growl, then taking it back with seemingly no effort at all. Though this album may be overrated, Bruce Dickinson is not overrated in the slightest.

The music is epic and melodic, while maintaining the rawness of acts that inspired them, though to a lesser extent than their previous two efforts. Songs are generally longer, more subject to tempo-changes, and the riffs are more intricate. This is complimented by the basswork of Steve Harris, which is more independent than on Killers. He is also more subject to break into a solo.

Songs range from melodic speed metal ("Invasion"), galloping NWOBHM ("Run To The Hills", "22 Acacia Avenue"), along with all out epics, which I will mention later. It breaks out into rather strange and awkward territory at times, particularly the chorus of Invaders, which is in a radically different key, using a a jazzy-chord scale, led by Dickinson screaming. Something slightly similar is heard on the title track, with the technical jazzy bass solo after the first guitar solo.

Speaking of the title track, it's one of the epics. The intro builds tension better than any useless intro used by the average Scandinavian folk metal band, which goes into Dickinson screaming again, descending downwards into a vocal melody, under a pounding melodic guitar riff (my favorite riff of the album), going into the best chorus of the album. What is there not to enjoy about chanting "6! 66! The nuuumber oof the beeeaast", at a concert of this band playing this track live.

The other is an obvious choice. "Hallowed Be Thy Name" is this Bands masterpiece, what is there to say about it that hasn't already been said? The beautiful lyrics, the way that the riffs flow into each other like a river into the ocean, both solos, its all perfect. Dickinson compliments this song so well with his high sustain and vibrato that it's pretty much indescribable without parroting what I've already said about him. He certainly is bursting with passion on "Children of the Damned", along with the vocal ascension before the final chorus of "Run to the Hills" (one of the best vocal moments in metal), but he compliments the entirety of this track better than the entirety of any other.

So now that I'm done praising this album, what is it that makes this album overrated? It is none other than one song and ONLY one song alone. "Gangland" has a main riff that is practically a carbon copy of the one on "Invaders". The rest of the song is great, but plagiarism is evil, even when it's self-plagiarism.

This album was a landmark in the legacy of Iron Maiden, and it is an album that is both appealing to people wanting something accessible, along with those who want something innovative. It is a very important record, due to its influence, and it is a god damned masterpiece. Bar one song and you'll find one of the greatest albums in metal. While it isn't the perfect record that it is often made out to be (Hell, it's not even the best Iron Maiden album, even when you ignore "Gangland"), but it's a masterpiece nonetheless, as well as an album that should be owned by a fan of this band, or the genre of heavy metal in general.

Defining the spirit of heavy metal - 91%

kluseba, May 8th, 2017

Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast is one of the best classic heavy metal albums ever and definitely deserves the legendary status it has achieved since its inception.

This record marked a fresh start for the band with new singer Bruce Dickinson. While the band's first two releases had more rebellious, raw and sinister lyrics and sounds, The Number of the Beast still has somewhat dystopian lyrics but a much more epic, melodic and uplifting sound. The album offers more melodic guitar solos than before, several tracks are much faster than what the band used to play and Bruce Dickinson's epic high-pitched vocals are liberating and transmit a passionate lust for life. This vivid mixture works particularly well in the first single ''Run to the Hills'' that sounds rebellious in an uplifting way despite the serious and sinister topic about crimes committed against the First Nations. Instead of choosing an overtly moralizing and negative tone to approach the topic, Dickinson's vocals transmit the resilience of the First Nations and their will to live. ''The Prisoner'', inspired by the outstanding dystopian television series of the same name, has a very similar approach. Instead of delivering a desperate and sinister approach to discuss the narrator's and main character's mysterious abduction, Bruce Dickinson incarnates a character that never gives up and is ready to solve any problem.

There are still a few songs with a more sinister touch that are also perfectly sung by Bruce Dickinson who manages to hit both the highest and lowest notes in the outstanding milestone and absolutely haunting ''Hallowed Be Thy Name''. This song still is one of the best heavy metal epics to this day and young bands should take some notes here. Bruce Dickinson also convinces as wicked narrator in the nightmarish title track ''The Number of the Beast'' that portrays both the life-affirming and profoundly gloomy sides of the heavy metal spirit. While outsiders still criticize the song's unholy lyrics until today, they haven't understood that you have to accept, cherish and even embrace the dark sides of life in order to fully enjoy the beautiful moments in our existence. This song exactly transmit this attitude of still shining in the dark.

Two tracks that are often criticized on this album are the fast opener ''Invaders'' and the gloomy ''Gangland''. I have always thought that ''Invaders'' is a really underrated track that is nearly on the same level as ''Run to the Hills'' and ''The Prisoner''. It deals with a sinister topic and yet feels absolutely uplifting. It's one of Iron Maiden's fastest and most unchained tracks ever and in my opinion a perfect song to kick off an album on a high note. It literally invades the listener's heart and soul who might have been skeptical towards this record because of the line-up change. This song is a perfect introduction to Bruce Dickinson, just like the single ''Run to the Hills''. The criticism directed towards ''Gangland'' is already more justified in my book. It has a gloomy atmosphere but is lacking the depth, energy and enthusiasm of the other songs. It's the only song on the album that might fit better to Paul Di'Anno's rawer voice or even Blaze Bayley's gloomy vocals. Some people claim that ''Total Eclipse'', that was released as a b-side on the single ''Run to the Hills'', would have been a better choice than ''Gangland'' but I have to disagree. ''Total Eclipse'' is one of the most boring tracks in the band's early years and doesn't impress me at all aside of the interesting lyrics. This song shouldn't have been included on the remastered version of the record either because it really drags the album down.

In the end, we have one average track plus a weak b-side versus seven genre-defining heavy metal anthems that have stood the test of time. The Number of the Beast might not be the band's most atmospheric, epic and intellectual album but it's the band's most energizing output by a mile in my book and this vivid spirit hits the listener like a train from start to finish for a length of slightly above forty minutes. This vivid roller-coaster ride really defines the spirit of heavy metal where gloomy topics meet an uplifting attitude. The Number of the Beast is a record any metal fan should own without a doubt. Let me tell you that this album is an unexpected grower, even thirty-five years after its release and I can only recommend revisiting this genre milestone.

Second best maiden album - 100%

Killer_Eddie82, March 25th, 2017

After the debut and Killers, they lost their singer Paul Di'Anno. Bruce Dickinson finally joins the band and releases an album that shits all over the first two, which were still excellent in their own right. The instruments sound fresh and Bruce's voice sounds clean and unforced, unlike Di'Anno sometimes did. The solos on this album are nothing short of incredible and are beaten only by the solos on Seventh Son, but it still kicks so much ass in its own right.

The riffs continually kick ass from the beginning of this album all the way to the very end. The guitar work is amazing, Dave and Adrian bring a character to the guitars that to this day has never been matched. Good old Steve is right there with his solid double bass line, and Clive never misses a beat between songs on his drumset. Another thing is the extremely awesome cover implies that Eddie being controlled and yet simultaneously control pure evil, but that's all just a show. It's a way to shock people in order to sell more records, I mean, is not a bad thing. Whatever, music is here, and no fucking one going to take that away from.

"Run to the Hills" has a fantastic riff set and chord progression. And the chorus sounds like a fucking choir of angels tore off their wings, put on some leather and started kicking some ass. "The Number of the Beast" is the single most imitated riff set in all of metal. And just when you thought you've heard everything, it's throw in some spoken-word intros to kick your ass before you even start the song, like in The Prisoner. There's also "Children Of The Damned" to be considered here, it's a ballad, it absolutely takes a dump on all but the best of the ballads metal has to offer. I mean, how many people can be singing a ballad and still be pissed off and cranking out riffs at the same time? This song rules. Period. "Hallowed Be Thy Name" starts off with riffs that kick the shit out of you from beginning to end, and the vocals are mournful and pissed off, forgiving and harsh, all at the same time. And the melody line, you know that hundreds of bands have tried to copy that melody line and ended up doing nothing but sucking wind. This song is the perfect sample to do that.

Just like Seventh Son, this album is mostly a spectacle of the guitarists. Their riffs, solos and harmonies are just astonishing! Also Clive does a wonderful job here, especially on "The Prisoner". Bruce, as usual, is in a great form, he's still a god!

The band released this awesome album, which I'm sure you've already bought, seeing as how only a loser of the absolute highest degree would not have already purchased this work of perfection. This album is simply a masterpiece and is the basis by which all metal is formed, judged, sentenced, and handled. It's like the bible of metal, sort of like the lost gospel of Bruce for your own good book. Although they would surprise us later again with their 1988 album.

Simply put, the greatest. - 100%

TrooperEd, March 12th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1998, CD, EMI (Reissue, Remastered, Enhanced)

When someone talks about the greatest heavy metal album of all time, the four albums that are consistently listed as the candidates are Paranoid, Reign In Blood, Master of Puppets and The Number of the Beast. But to me, what makes something the greatest are not the arguments for it, but how well they withstand the arguments against it. Master of Puppets simply influenced metal in too much of the wrong ways, not to mention is more or less a carbon copy of Ride The Lightning; Paranoid had Rat Salad & Planet Caravan; and Reign In Blood just feels underdeveloped, in addition to not having that much influence outside of so-called extreme metal. With The Number of the Beast however, at best the arguments against this are superfluous at best, and retardedly piecemeal at worst. I do hear certain grumblings about Gangland, or specifically how it should have been the B-side to Run To The Hills and Total Eclipse should have made the album. I do agree with this sentiment, but note the album version being discussed, which rectified the problem by having including both tracks near the end. Usually adding extra content to an album hurts it by giving it filler (see also, the remaster of Reign In Blood with the two bonus tracks), but this re-release actually improves the album, making it the definitive metal album. Even if you don't care much for Gangland, you have to admit it's still a proper metal song.

Some arguments might also claim that Iron Maiden would put out better albums than this with better lineups. While I agree with this sentiment, aside from maybe Powerslave, none of those albums reached the level of influence and acclaim that The Number of the Beast did. Not to mention that as amazing as Nicko is, there are still plenty of folks out there who still think Clive Burr was Maiden's best drummer. I don't agree with this, as usually the people who say this are the people who claim that Nicko only uses the ride cymbal to keep time. I counter with not only is that sentiment wrong, but Clive was only able to play in swing rhythms. Regardless, the point of all this was Clive was a fine drummer in his own right. Some of his drumming on this album being the finest moments of his career, such as the drum roll crescendo of Children of the Damned or the absolutely insane double time hi-hat rhythm of Run To The Hills. I get carpal tunnel syndrome just listening to it sometimes. Keep in mind this was a guy that was doing Wrathchild with one hand!

But this album's secret weapon are the tones. The vicious, bulking tones. This just might be Martin Birch's greatest production job ever. Before Ride The Lightning, Morbid Tales and Reign In Blood shoved a spike through the brains of the world, The Number of the Beast was the heaviest guitar sound on the planet. This and Killers set such a new standard in pain, crunch and tonality that by the time Judas Priest had caught up, thrash had already taken root. But I'm not just talking about guitar tones. Bruce's voice at this time is something truly nightmarish to behold. He was the perfect replacement for Paul Di'Anno because while he had a higher range, he still had that maniacal menace that was able to deliver the power and carnage of previous tunes like Prowler, Killers, Murders In The Rue Morgue and even Wrathchild. Best demonstrated on the brilliant double live outing Beast Over Hammersmith (the only other candidate for a 100% grade, which I would write if I hadn't lost the damn thing). While he was dubbed an Air Raid Siren, I think vampire werewolf would be much more suiting. He delivers these songs and those high notes like a deranged lupus howling at the moon before ripping the throat out of whatever sorry chump happened to be wandering around. Contrary to what some delusional fanboy hipsters will waddle, his voice still very much exquisitely executes the deadly character of Eddie, and would continue to do so throughout his tenure (albeit as time went on, it would be done in a much more different way).

The laughable tag of New Wave of British Heavy Metal was laid to rest forever with this album. Everything after this point was simply heavy metal, classic metal, traditional metal, power metal, whatever the fuck you want to call it. NWOBHM became the tag Diamond Head, Tygers of Pan Tang and a hoist of others got imprisoned with simply because by 1982, they could no longer deliver the goods. Iron Maiden on the other hand, had manage to take the Jailbreaks, the Risings, The Heaven & Hells, the Sabotages, the Hemispheres and the Stained Classes and synthesize them all into one glorious sound comprised of songs that seemed simple and anthemic, but were quite complex on top. The title track is the best example of this, with its oddball 5/4 time signature intro riff. It also needs to be said that placing the two singles near the end of the album was a ballsy and smart move. The songs on side one of the album are all great in their own right, but there's a reason everyone knows and loves Run To The Hills, Number of the Beast and Hallowed Be Thy Name. Perhaps part of the grief Gangland gets is that it has to follow Run To The Hills and just doesn't have that Hellion quality riff to stop the listener from hitting the rewind/skip back button. Casual listeners do not like to explore albums, they like to repeat the singles over and over again and you better come up with one hell of a melody to keep them from skipping backwards. There's also the fact that most singles, or songs in general, can get old and stale with over play. That does not happen here. I'll never get tired of Run To The Hills, The Prisoner, 22 Acacia Avenue, Total Eclipse, etc., etc.

I hope you've enjoyed reading this brief essay on why The Number of The Beast is the greatest metal album of all time, (and not because you don't actually own the album). It forever stands the test of time of how this genre should always be approached from a songwriting perspective.

Hallowed be thy name - 100%

Metal Disciple, March 5th, 2017

You're probably wondering why with so many reviews for an all-time classic in metal history that we need to read another one. To answer that, I'll say it is because this album is my favorite release in the entire multitude of metal albums. It has everything you could want in a metal album: speed, aggression, melody, and excellent singing. It is Iron Maiden's greatest album and a landmark in metal history. This album defines Iron Maiden and true 80's metal. Each track on this album is great and holds its own. What is good about this album is that it was released in a time before hair metal destroyed metal, allowing Maiden to have a pure and original sound. Maiden's later albums like Fear of the Dark have a distinct 80's sound with some hair metal elements in them. But this album was released before the treachery of hair metal could work its way into good bands music.

First of all, if I was to be buying this album on its release I would be wondering if Bruce is able to fill the role Paul DiAnno previously occupied. Not only does Bruce fill the role, but he does a far more outstanding job on vocals. Not only can he hit the high notes, but he has an amazing set of lungs and can hold those amazing screams for a good while, just listen to the title track and "Hallowed Be Thy Name". But Bruce is not just known for the high notes either, he can sing both aggressively and melodically. As far as Maiden's career is concerned, this album feature's Bruce's best singing, and for being his debut, that says a lot. Adrian Smith is now in perfect alignment with Dave Murray and as always Steve Harris is shining. Clive Burr is outstanding as well.

"The Prisoner" features a good intro and right after that, it's an excellent drum/guitar intro, before promptly jumping into the fast and rockin' Iron Maiden we're all familiar with. The solo is no exception either. "22 Acacia Avenue" continues the Charlotte The Harlot saga, only this song has the opposite attitude, as opposed to its predecessor on the self-titled debut. Yet the song itself is a straight-up heavy metal headbanging tune, with great riffs, some notable pace changes, and two great solo sections in the middle and end. "Run To The Hills" is also an instant classic. This could also be considered one of Maiden's most famous. I've heard many punk bands cover this song, and even a few non-metalheads I am friends with enjoy this song. Why? It's so damn catchy! Great lead guitar intro and probably the most memorable chorus ever written by Maiden. This is where Bruce really hits the high notes on the album. Great tune with a great rockin' feel to it.

"Hallowed Be Thy Name", although it isn't everybody's favorite metal song, it is considered by many to be Maiden's greatest song. The introduction is dark and gloomy, the distortion kicks in and we have a melodic solo. Great verses, amazing lyrics, excellent riffs, and of course a fast headbanging section with solos that will tear your soul into pieces. The greatest solos Maiden have ever done are on this song, and after them there's still some fast riffing and speedy drumming - perfect headbanging section. That godly opening riff comes back, only in harmony. And the song closes off with Bruce singing the title of the song and holding his voice for a good long while at the end. The perfect epic closing song an album has ever had. I know of no song greater than this song here.

So what we have here, is what I feel is the finest album that has ever embraced the metal scene. Hallowed Be Thy Name is the most amazing song ever written. Iced Earth tried to cover it, as did Cradle of Filth. Nothing can compare. And likewise with all other bands who have covered the timeless classics on this album, which defines the band's early career and music. There is simply nothing better than this

riddled with inconsistencies - 84%

mikey22, September 21st, 2016

Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast is one of the most celebrated, well-known, popular, and cherished metal albums of all time. The question is though is it as good as everyone says? To be honest, not it's not. There are far better metal albums that have been released by numerous other bands in various sub-genres and Iron Maiden themselves have surpassed The Number of the Beast on a number of occasions. The problem with this album is it is plagued my many and numerous inconsistencies in the songwriting, and vocal performance.

Let's talk about the positives now (there are a lot) though and why this album is so celebrated and cherished. First, the bass playing by Steve Harris is superb in it's audibility and balance with the other instruments. Without Steve's bass Iron Maiden would not be the same band and Steve's galloping bass lines always stick out and are clearly heard in the mix (he is the main songwriter in the band). He does not play watered down versions of the guitar riffs like many bassists do, he matches the riffs of the guitarists and he often ventures off and inner mixes his own creative bass lines under the guitar riffs to create the truly unique Iron Maiden sound that they are known for. The drumming by Clive Burr is great in it's own right. He often utilizes galloping triplets to the songs to give the songs a "bouncy" feel to them. He utilizes this galloping feel to the songs when the songs speed up and when the songs are slower he'll throw in some great fills and a solid steady beat to keep the music going. Clive Burr was the best drummer Iron Maiden had; his drumming style is more creative and is more powerful in delivery than Nicko Mcbrain's. Nicko may be more improvisational but Clive had a more "driving" feel to his sound than Nicko.

The guitars are strong in that the riffs are very catchy and the solos are melodic. There's no atonality in the guitar riffs or sudden/jerky rhythmic shifts in the music mostly utilized by the modern technical death metal/djent scene. Instead they are clear, full of melodies, and are attention-grabbing. For example the riffs in the title track, "Hallowed Be Thy Name," and "Children of the Damned(the end riff)" are some of the best riffs Iron Maiden have ever written in their long career. On the great epic track of "Hallowed Be Thy Name" (the closing track) the piece raises deep philosophical questions such as Is there an afterlife? Has god Forsaken me? Is life itself just a crazy dream? All held together by a beautiful backdrop of fantastic music. From the riffs, to the bass lines, to the story about a prisoner to be executed, it is just a marvelous song.

Now there are a couple of weak parts that the album suffers from. Before "Hallowed Be Thy Name" you have the utterly abysmal song "Gangland" and the forgettable "Total Eclipse." One thing that brings this album down are some horrific choruses for example "Invaders" has one of the most cringe worthy choruses ever put on record, the mood of the song set up by Harris and the guitarists before hand is ruined and spat upon by the terribly cheesy chorus "Invaders!" Whenever I hear that chorus my face cringes and contorts with pain, it is that abysmal. "The Prisoner" is another example of a song ruined by a terrible chorus. The mood set by the opening quote from the show the prisoner sets a good mood and the driving riff that kicks in at the beginning keeps it going, the verse comes in, but then the terrible chorus comes in and ruins the mood of the song. It's not as bad as the "Invaders" chorus but it is just incredibly cheesy. "Gangland" itself is very unmemorable and just a very throw away track. The guitars in this song are very simple, the main riffs is just chords made up of half notes, and dotted half notes (maybe dotted eighth notes). Bruce did a good job singing on this album but a lot of times the lyrical content is very shallow and cheesy, other times it is beautiful and elegant (as demonstrated on the last track). An example of shallow lyrical content is "22 Acacia Avenue" which is about prostitution.

Overall a solid album, but Iron Maiden have done better. Albums like Powerslave, Somewhere in Time, and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son all triumph over this album in musical output and lyricism. Even though there are some fantastic songs on this album; some of the tracks are just not good and irritating to listen to. For what The Number of the Beast lacks in consistency it makes up for in its strongest sections. It’s an influential album, and a fun nostalgia trip, but when put up against many of their other albums, in my opinion, it just doesn’t hold up. Songs like Hallowed Be Thy Name, the title track, Run to the Hills, and Children of the Damned will all be remembered as classics for good reason.

A Turning Point For Iron Maiden - 90%

Iron Maniac, June 28th, 2016

After the Killers world tour, tensions were high between Paul and the rest of the band. This is mostly due to Paul's drug abuse. This led to his firing soon after. Now, the band needed a new singer, which would be tough, especially considering many fans now were use to the sound of Paul's voice. However, Bruce Dickinson, formerly of Samson, filled these shoes marvelously, and the band prepared to write a new album. For the first time in Iron Maiden's career, they would have to write nearly the entire album from scratch, as the previous two albums had songs that were written long before their recording. Fortunately, Adrian stepped up to the plate, having 3 song credits on the album. This represents the beginning of a change in writing for Maiden, as the rest of the band step up more and write, or at least co write, many tracks. When the album sold, it hit #1 in the UK, and was successful worldwide, even with controversy surrounding its themes.

Martin Birch once again delivers powerful production on this record, though it may not sound as clean as Killers. Overall , the album seems to have more of a grim tone to it, and seems as even more of a departure from Iron Maiden's earlier work. Derek Riggs does another powerful artwork, with Eddie looming over Satan himself. The performances on this album were strong, and a representation of the musicianship that would come later in their career. Bruce's new vocals add a whole new sound to the music, and he sounds powerful and strong. Steve holds up well, though he may not stand out as much on this record. Meanwhile the guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith play some incredible guitar licks. The only suffering performance comes from Clive, who seems to be lacking a bit on this record.

As stated earlier, this album is a turning point for Iron Maiden. The songs are heavier, and seem to have much less punk influence as Killers Or Iron Maiden. This works in benefit of the band as this is their most successful album yet, and remains to many as one of the strongest metal albums of all time. When many think about Number Of The Beast, they are most often reminded of the title track and hit single "Run To The Hills", which both produce strong solos and catchy choruses. However, there are many other standouts on this record. Including "The Prisoner", with the infamous intro, "Children Of The Damned", with its beautiful vocals, powerful lyrics, and incredible solos, "Catchy and upbeat "Invaders" and "22 Acacia Avenue", which revisits Charlotte The Harlot. Perhaps the best song on this album, and one of Iron Maiden's best to date, is "Hallowed Be Thy Name", which is an incredible epic that sets the scale for many to come. With a grim intro, incredible solos and some of the best vocals ever by Bruce, it earns a spot as one of heavy metal's strongest songs. The only mishap here seems to be the track "Gangland", which seems a bit bland, as it doesn't seem to have nearly as much work or passion behind it. Past that, the album is near flawless.

To this day, many consider Number Of The Beast one of the strongest metal albums of all time, and it lives up to the hype.

An album that more than lives up to its reputation - 92%

psychosisholocausto, April 5th, 2013

When the average member of the general public hears the words heavy metal one of the first names they should be able to reel off associated with the genre is Iron Maiden. This band has been around now for several decades and continues to influence many a band to this day. Albums such as “The Number Of The Beast”, “Powerslave” and “Piece Of Mind” are rarely missing from people's lists of their favorite metal albums and the band are seldom left out of a list relating to favorite bands.

Out of all of their albums the most popular would be The “Number Of The Beast”. This garnered the band a lot of attention through its controversial title track and the two highly regarded songs “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “Run To The Hills”. It served as the perfect album for vocalist Bruce Dickinson to begin his career with the band on a high note and is one of a number of releases that many would say could contest to be the best metal releases ever. From the fast paced introduction of Invaders this album reeks heavily of grandeur and marvel and it delivers this spectacularly. Eight songs make up this forty minute slice of greatness and every one of them is more than enough to keep the listener interested.

Not one member of the band could be considered dispensable and nor do they slack off for “The Number Of The Beast”. The drumming is intense and varied from the quick beats that are pressed upon the listener by the opening song Invaders or the slower title track. Long before the band employed a trinity of guitarists; they proved their ability to create a well-paced and masterfully crafted release with just the standard two. Both Dave Murray and Adrian Smith contribute heavily to the overall sound of this release as should be expected from a metal release. Whether they are playing the slower clean guitar sections to “Children Of The Damned” or the lightning fast soloing found on “Hallowed Be Thy Name”; the performance of the duo never dips in quality.

The bass performance on “The Number Of The Beast” is as good as has come to be expected from Steve Harris who wrote the majority of the songs that make up this release single handedly. His rumbling bass lines are constantly audible and contain a strong amount of musical intelligence behind them. The bass to this release does not follow the generic formula of following every note of the guitars as has become the norm of metal in recent years but actually endeavors to break free of these chains. “Hallowed Be Thy Name” is Harris' best contribution to this album both as a writer and performer. It is a seven minute long streak of genius opening with some bells ringing and developing as the song progresses into an absolutely epic creation with many speed changes and some of the best riffs found on the album.

It was on this release that the air raid siren himself Bruce Dickinson was accepted into the fold and stands tall as one of his greatest achievements to date. Whilst his predecessor put in some strong performances; Bruce easily shows himself to be a marvelous replacement and far out strips him. This album even continues a successor to an earlier song that allows Bruce to continue the story of a prostitute named Charlotte started on the song “Charlotte The Harlot”. The song that arguably makes the best use of Bruce's operatic vocals is “The Prisoner”. This is the first of three songs that stretch over the six minute mark and never does it let up in intensity. The energy that is spilled into the vocals as the drums and bass gallop forward before the chorus is absolutely incredible but it is during the chorus where Bruce really displays his strengths. He holds some fantastic notes for a couple of seconds at a time before ending on a sharp note by barking the word "out" with a lot of conviction.

“The Number Of The Beast” contains four tracks that are often considered to be among the band’s finest (Run To The Hills, the title track, “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “Children Of The Damned”) but the other songs that make up the album do not interrupt the flow of the album either. The aforementioned album opener Invaders kicks things off to a great start with a fast pace and a collection of stupendous riffs and “The Prisoner” continues this as mentioned. “22 Acacia Avenue” is the song that is most in line with the band’s previous material both in the nature of the introduction and the chorus as well as the fact that it continues the story of Charlotte. The only song of the original eight (“Total Eclipse” was later added on a re-release) that could be considered filler is “Gangland”. Following on from “Run To The Hills”; this song merely feels like a bridge between that song and the monumental closer “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. As the second shortest track on the album it can merely be seen as an interlude but has some good riffs as well.

The lyrical content on “The Number Of The Beast” is also absolutely top notch and is arguably one of its strongest points. Never on this release will you find a generic line and there is not an unnecessary lyrical contribution in sight. Each song’s lyrics feels focused and draws up a complete portrait of what they aim to portray; be it Norse warfare (“Invaders”) or an escaping prisoner (“The Prisoner”). The peak of the quality in the lyrical content on “The Number Of The Beast” is on “Hallowed Be Thy Name” which stands as just another reason why it could be seen as the finest thing on the album. It tells the story of a prisoner’s final moments before execution and the thoughts that pass through his head and has a lot of emotion behind it whilst being written in a tight fashion.

“Tears fall, but why am I crying?
After all, I’m not afraid of dying,
Don’t I believe that there never is an end?
As the guards march me out to the court yard,
Somebody cries from a cell “God be with you”.
If there’s a God then why has he let me go?”

The song contains deep religious lyrics that question religion and the morality of both the prisoner’s actions and guard’s actions without ever throwing any direct accusations. They are, in my mind at least, some of the best lyrics in all of metal and stand testament to how good a lyricist Steve Harris actually is.

“The Number Of The Beast” is rightfully considered to be a metal classic in my opinion. This is an album that has both a tight instrumental performance and a marvelous vocal performance from Dickinson. The lyrical content is strong and the guitar work intense; with the bass and drums complimenting it perfectly. Bruce Dickinson was the perfect choice of a vocalist for this style of music and this is the definition of the word “masterpiece”.

If you’re feeling down, depressed and lonely… - 73%

Evil_Carrot, January 11th, 2013

Nostalgia! I remember I first heard Iron Maiden playing a Tony Hawk game, I had to be about 13. The soundtrack featured Number of the Beat (As well as Eddie as an unlockable skater and Maiden decks), and holy shit. At this point my metal credentials was basically the fact that I owned the Black Album, and had heard Motorhead’s Ace of Spades. But that fucking scream. I was both floored and sold. The next time I was out, I went to the rock section, found the iron maiden CDs and picked up Number of the Beast. I did that thing where you straight for the song you heard, and then began playing it from the beginning. My mind was abosolutely blown for almost all of it, barring two songs - which I’ll get back to. It was all downhill from there; heavy metal is one hell of a genre.

Number of The Beast is one of those metal albums that every metalhead should be familiar with on some level. It’s a classic of the genre, and introduces one of the most recognized singers of metal, Bruce Dickinson. And with a new singer came a change in style. Paul Di’Anno Maiden was a great band, with some real grit. Paul sort of had a punky “kick your ass” attitude, but could also pull off beautiful vocals for songs like Remember Tomorrow or Strange World. Unfortunately, due to his habits and the fact that we all know he sort of DOES live a punk rock lifestyle AND beat the shit out of people, especially women or something. And benefit fraud. But Bruce brought a cleaner, almost operatic voice to the fold. And to compliment this, the band also became, much like an opera, more over the top. This is the beginning of the definitive Iron Maiden style. The galloping riffs, the high range vocals, the literature and historical lyrics. Not much to be said about running from the law anymore, or bedding women. Ok, well, maybe in the early 90’s.

Subtlety is gone as well. There really are none of the little things that made previous albums interesting. Songs like Remember Tomorrow just don’t work for this new Maiden, with its quiet bass intro, as one guitar plays the main riff, and the other adds quiet melodic enhancements to the song, and the drums sneak in soft drum fills, just before Di’Anno hits a high note, and the band hits us with enough energy to make the song more powerful, but not so much that it doesn’t fit in with the soft side of the song. This sort of subtlety is gone, in favor of making the music louder and more in your face. This isn’t necessarily a bad direction to go in, but it does lend credence to the argument that a lot of Maiden songs sound the same. While Maiden may not be the AC/DC of heavy metal (I’d say Motorhead), they do have a pretty standard formula. While they do try to add things to music with synthesizers or orchestra sections, that definitive Maiden style doesn’t change a whole lot. This album is the first to really show it off, and may be the biggest perpetrator. The intro, a fun, catchy and great speedy song with a great vocal melody, really sets the tone for much of the rest of the album. The Prisoner, the famous Run to the Hills, the sequel to Charlotte the Harlot, 22 Acacia Avenue, and the title track all really show off the maiden formula. They’re catchy, and have that classic Maiden galloping, driving beat, and the signature soaring vocals. The downside is that within the same year of me falling in love with t his album, I lent it to a friend, who was not nearly as into it, and upon its return said he felt like every song was Number of the Beast. Realistically, this can be seen as a valid argument. There is probably not enough true experimentation on this album, or hell in Maiden’s discography for that matter. They’ve settled into a particular sound, and they’re sticking to it, like it or not. Anyway, moving on…

Children of the Damned is a rather epic song, although it pales in comparison to the far more epic Hallowed Be Thy Name, which I think if you aren’t familiar with, you need to turn in your metal card, because it’s one of the best epics this band has ever done. Both of these songs start off fairly slow, and finish in with some great speed metal. Children of the Damned features a really cool section near the end, leading directly into one of my favorite glory notes Bruce has done. And that says something.

The only two songs on this album I never got were the quick, almost speed metal Gangland, which just never did it for me, and Total Eclipse. In another review which also agreed that this album was overrated, it was called into question that maybe this song is so coldly received because it wasn’t on the original release, and this is evidence that most of this albums positive reception is nostalgia. Well, I can tell you that this song was on the first copy of this album I ever had, and I never knew another Maiden fan before I bought this album to influence my opinion. And I still never liked this song much. So it might just kind of suck. I’m to understand that the band had to cut a song to make a b-side and these where the two bottom choices. Yeah, I agree.

At the end of the day, this album brought us a handful of classics, and truly made the Iron Maiden sound, and hell, it’s probably a good starting place, but this is far from their best work. It’s an influential album, and a fun nostalgia trip, but when put up against many of their other albums, in my opinion, it just doesn’t hold up, although songs like Hallowed by thy Name, the title track, Run to the Hills, and Children of the Damned will all be remembered as classics for good reason. Not a usual frequent listen for me though. More like that childhood friend you grew apart from, but still occasionally call to check up on out of the blue.

A quick note as far as original vs remaster. As I said the remaster features the B-Side Total Eclipse. You aren’t missing much if you don’t have this song. Otherwise, the biggest difference seems to be a volume boost. I’ve never noticed any clipping, though I’m not an audiophile. Otherwise, I really haven’t noticed a ton of difference between the two versions, except maybe on a few tracks (I seem to prefer the original mix’s version of The Prisoner, maybe it’s some dynamic range loss, or maybe it’s all in my head). However, I will say the remaster’s packaging is far more interesting, so if that’s a selling point, go for it. I don’t think the remaster did enough in terms of the actual audio to either enhance or diminish the album’s quality. Just throwing that out there if you’re worried about versions.

Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast - 70%

ConorFynes, March 20th, 2012

Long held to be Iron Maiden's immortal, classic contribution to the world of metal, Iron Maiden has undoubtedly had brighter musical moments than this, but its place as a go-to essential is not unfounded. Graced with some of the band's most recognizable songs, 'Number Of The Beast' lays down a foundation for all of the Maiden work to come. With galloping rhythms, acrobatic vocals, aggressive speed and relative lyrical sophistication, Maiden's third album is a great place to start with this band's illustrious career.

As part of the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) movement, Iron Maiden has a very signature sound to them here, one that's likely already indelibly etched into many a metalhead's mind. Twin-harmony guitars and a rhythm section that achieves a rolling pattern, akin to the galloping of a horse, are the two distinguishing traits of the band's music. Although these songs are quite catchy, there is a technical sense to the riffs. Speed metal is obviously a factor here, although it's used moderately enough for the music to be melodic and memorable. The two most famous tracks off the record are the title track, and the crowd pleaser 'Run To The Hills'; a song that features everything that fans love about Maiden. Here, the lyrics revolve around European conquest of the New World; an ambitious topic in comparison to the bawdy 'sex and drugs and sex' themes that many metal bands of the time were into.

Iron Maiden had been a capable act with singer Paul Di'Anno, but Bruce Dickinson's voice really brings the band's sound to a new level of distinction. He is one of those singers who manages to impress in a lower range, as well as a blistering falsetto. The epic closer and highlight 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' is most indicative of this. Beginning quite slowly, Bruce is able to set the scene of a dark holding cell, then raises the intensity as it becomes clear that the protagonist is doomed to be executed. Iron Maiden's sense of refined aggression is matched perfectly with this dark subject matter, although there are certainly more upbeat moments on the record, such as the tongue-in-cheek '22 Acacia Avenue'.

'Number Of The Beast' really is a perfect place to start with Iron Maiden, even more so than any best-of compilation. Although I think the quality of music would get higher as they tread towards more progressive domains, the classic quality and consistent songwriting makes this album a winner.

We want information. Well here it is - 93%

ralfikk123, April 21st, 2011

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!"

Satan's got nothing on Maiden. - 85%

Empyreal, August 16th, 2010

Well, the time has come, everybody. The new Iron Maiden album is almost here. I haven’t heard it yet, but I’m going to pick it up tomorrow morning (and it might well be that time by the time this review is accepted), and while I wait, I figure I’ll go back and review one of my very first Maiden albums ever, The Number of the Beast. Yes, I remember being a wee 15 year old kid and going into Best Buy and looking at this album like it was a golden nugget. I didn’t know much about heavy metal then, except that Iron Maiden was a cool band, with cool cover art and rebellious, rousing lyrics and energetic guitars oozing out of every pore. I mean…just look at the cover art. 25 years later and it’s still an icon of rock music at large. How can you beat that lovably dead miscreant Eddie pulling the Devil himself around on puppet strings? Eddie is better than the Devil, so Iron Maiden is better than the Devil. That’s just awesome. You parents think the Devil is what you need to worry about? Hell naw, it’s Maiden.

And the music, kicking off with the high-energy gallop “Invaders,” showed what Maiden was all about. Previously they had been a down n’ dirty punk influenced act with that hunk of armpit hair, Paul Dianno, on vocals, but this one showed the arrival of our great Air Raid Siren himself, Bruce Dickinson, who handles these songs with an expert feel and a comfortable segue between the aggressive snarls of the verses and the maniacal, melodious howls of the chorus. Could Dianno have managed this much versatility, this much power for a song this dynamic? Well, it’s a good song either way, and better than people will tell you. I’ve always had a soft spot for it.

But they really kick up the game with the following “Children of the Damned,” a much more calculated and sinister track…listen to the way it switches from that dark, swirling stomp to the fiery, hell-crazed conclusion. It’s a great build up, and one of metal’s real classic ballads. This is pretty much the first true example of why Iron Maiden worked in the 80s; it’s just such a charismatic tune. Maiden were not only a great band because they had a hell of an instrumental base, electrically fueled with storming riffs, rollicking bass and energetic, skin pounding drums, fronted by a singer who could really sell their songs, but also because of their charisma and style. The songwriting was endowed with poppish hooks here and there, but only as a ruse to reveal the absolutely astronomical metallic prowess hidden beneath. On “Children of the Damned,” we get a band exploring a new style with balls, conviction and a melodic sensibility that would only improve over the years.

Why was Maiden so great? Above all it was the attitude, the unmistakable style that made them a household name. You could recognize a Maiden song in three seconds flat. Like “The Prisoner,” with its jettisoning leads and monstrous beats from the drums. And just listen to Bruce’s wailing of every vocal line as if it’s going to be the last he ever sings…pure classic stuff! He sells these songs like a Thespian of sorts, becoming completely enveloped in them. The title track is another perfect example of this. That foreboding guitar flare that starts us off, the corking, boiling riffs and melodies…it’s all there, with Bruce rasping and bellowing and really becoming the man on the run from the devil in the woods that the lyrics spin the tale of. It is this kind of theatrical posing that metal was built on from the start – bigger, flashier, more grandiose. Subtlety? What’s that? That’s not the aim here!

“22 Acacia Avenue” and “Gangland” hearken back to the band’s past as a streetwise bunch of young punks, and the former works pretty well, with heavy, hook-fisted riffs and a domineering vocal performance making it into a stylish, aggressive take on the whole Charlotte the Harlot ‘saga,’ but the latter is pretty dire. It’s not a horrible song or anything, but it’s just kind of unimpressive, and doesn’t really inspire me to run down the street with a torch of white flames like some of the other songs on here do. It’s a very pedestrian track, with an average and very rockish riff, a somewhat rushed vocal motif and a chorus that isn’t so much powerful as…well, slightly annoying. The vitriolic verses are pretty good though.

“Total Eclipse” is another one I just don’t like as much, as while it is undoubtedly experimental and different…it’s too different for this album. It sounds like something you would have heard about five years earlier on a Uriah Heep album or something; not a Maiden album in 1982. The riff is pretty simple, and the whole structure of the song, with the more somber mood and the slower, laid back tempo, just sounds completely alien with the rest of the album’s blazing dual leads and frenetic rhythms. And I like Uriah Heep and other 70s rock bands, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that “Total Eclipse” is not a particularly inspiring or well done song for that type. Again, it’s not horrible or anything, just not that great like the better songs on here.

Enough has already been said about “Run to the Hills,” which is an all time classic with its ultra-catchy drum intro, the syncopated verses and the explosive, streamlined and layered chorus, which is criminally infectious – really; the band received lawsuits for how catchy this song is. If you don’t believe me look it up! You might not find anything, but at least you did something more interesting than reading reviews on this website all day long. “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” too, has been talked about to death, and I don’t have much to add. With its spine tingling build up, those first whispered lyrics and the explosive, careening metal storm that follows, Maiden created a classic for the ages. The vocals from Bruce belt out some of metal’s best and most iconic lyrics, and the riffs escalate into a platitude of classic metal glory that is still a monument to hear. It’s just great, and anyone who denies it is a fool.

The Number of the Beast is a historical landmark, as it is where Iron Maiden first started on the path that would lead them to worldwide stardom, but it is a fucking great album all the way, too. It’s simple, it’s poppier than the previous albums, but it’s a well written, tight collection of songs from a band bursting with youthful fire. Maiden on here showed the first signs of their expertise at crafting memorable, hook-laden and commercially successful work, and it’s a testament to exactly how good writers they were that these songs are still so universally memorable and loved. This isn’t Maiden’s best ever, but it’s an easy classic and well worth listening to, as it packs some kick ass songs. Go check it out, and if it's your first time, like it was when I first heard this, the experience will never be replicated again. Savor this one.

The magnum opus of heavy metal? Not quite. - 84%

MetalSupremacy, November 28th, 2009

So here we are, we've arrived at one of the albums that is considered to define heavy metal itself. Not thrash metal, not speed metal, not power metal, not death metal, and not black metal - just pure classic heavy metal. Does it? In a lot of ways, yes. But it also has some significant problems, two songs which I really dislike, and only three songs I consider to be absolutely perfect. It should be a masterwork but consistency is the name of the game here, and Number Of The Beast, for all of the praise constantly heaved upon it, is not consistent.

Something that is always lost upon most metal fans is the phenomenon of how Maiden sold out. Yes, sold out. It was with this album. Now before all of you suckers reading this decides I'm either a looney or an idiot, just think for a moment. Iron Maiden is considered to be a band that pretty much never sold out throughout their entire career. Now take Judas Priest, who were accused of selling out many times, first with Killing Machine and British Steel(even though the latter is now a metal classic anyway), then even worse with Point Of Entry, before redeeming themselves with Screaming For Vengeance and Defenders Of The Faith and then promptly selling out again, this time to the glam crowd, with Turbo. Most fans don't believe they regained their power again until Painkiller(Ram It Down, a highly underrated album in my view, is often considered to be little more than a slightly better successor to Turbo, which is total bullshit), and then that they lost it again with Jugulator. True? In some ways. Maiden, however, were never accused of truly selling out, as even No Prayer For The Dying and Fear Of The Dark are far less obviously commercial than the most commercial Priest records and their later stuff again lacks such criticisms. Meanwhile, their first seven albums are often considered to be virtually untouchable, and none of them even remotely a sell out no matter how much money they made.

The problem is that this is total nonsense. In its own way, The Number Of The Beast is a sellout. Not a bad one, in a lot of ways actually a good one, as becoming more popular obviously raised Maiden's already high spirits even more and led them to produce many more records, all of which were far more similar to this one than to the debut and Killers. It's a far less obvious sellout than British Steel as even the songs that yes, are designed for radio-play are not very clearly singles in this sense. But just look at the differences between this album and the first two. The debut was(at the time)fearlessly experimental and progressive, combining rock, punk, and metal together in a way no one had really ever done before and doing so with brilliant musicianship, excellent songwriting, and a very good singer who fit the style they were playing perfectly. Killers was less progressive but extremely good nonetheless, with again a high punk influence on all of the songs, great musicianship throughout, and more killer(pardon the pun)songwriting. Neither record was ever trying to be commercial - Maiden had a vision and they pursued it in exactly the way they wanted, they just happened to become popular anyway because they kicked ass.

Now take this record. Despite its reputation to the contrary it's far less daring than the debut or even Killers. The riffs throughout are often far simpler, the songs themselves are for the most part actually less complex and progressive while at the same time often sounding more pretentious due to the singing(more on that soon), and the essential atmosphere, grit, and real, down to earth urban feel of the first two albums is gone, replaced by an overly slick production and a far more clean and civilised sounding singer. Granted, this has its strong points as well, since gritty raw production doesn't really suit the epic style they would subsequently go for, and nor would have Paul Di'Anno's vocals. Bruce does bring a certain power to the album, and he is genuinely a very good singer, the best examples of this being the songs Children Of The Damned and Hallowed By Thy Name(which, not coincidentally, are also the best songs on the record), as well as the overrated but still fairly good title track and most of Invaders. However, Maiden also lost something here. While this is still a NWOBHM album at its core, it also more than hints at the really epic sound they would begin playing on their very next album, a sound soon became nothing like NWOBHM at all, and more like proto-power metal. Of course this again has its strong points as well as its weak ones(one of the strongest being just how much this led to the development of power metal), but part of Maiden's original character was in Paul Di'Anno. When he left, something left with him - the part of Maiden that was how they used to be, their lack of pretentiousness but their desire to create something new and exciting, which they did brilliantly. And then Bruce came along, and Maiden started getting pretentious, lost all of their grit right after this album(the last traces of it can be found in the song 22 Acacia Avenue, one of the last urban themed songs they'd ever write), and yes, they did become more commercial. They just did so in such a subtle way that hardly anyone noticed.

I place the songs on this album into three categories. One is the excellent category. Only three songs from the album fit into that one. Two is the very good category. Three songs also fit into that one. Three is the decent category, which only one song fits into. Then there's the mediocre category, which two songs fit into.

The album begins with Invaders, a song which fits into the "very good" category, and seems to be a strong start to say the least. The improved production does have one really good strong point: it highlights the guitars and makes them sound far heavier than they did before. Once it gets fast this song becomes skullcrushing heavy metal that at times borderlines on proto-thrash. So far so good. Then Bruce's singing comes in, and...well, it works, but it's so different in style and sound from his predecessor that you can tell this is a changed Maiden. It's far more over the top, which Paul never sounded like, and this is a shame as it means the song becomes quite cheesy in a lot of ways, and Bruce doesn't have the singing chops to make an over the top performance not sound cheesy all of the time. Even so it's still going ok...and then the chorus. By the gods, the chorus. Why? Why that awful happy tone when he screams "INVAADERS! PILLAGING! INVAADERS! LOOTING!" ? Why that dreadful five notes up five notes down major scale instead of an actual riff? When I first listened to this on a sampler ages ago it put me off the album so much that I took several more months to buy it. Things like this damn chorus actually made it harder for me to get into Maiden. A lot of other reviewers have commented on it too, and yes, it really is that bad. It virtually ruins the song, and the only reason it doesn't is because it lasts for just a few seconds. It prevents the song from ever becoming great and leaves it as just good. There were no unbearably shitty moments like this in either the debut or Killers. The solo is fairly short and not very memorable but ok, and other than that there isn't much to say. A fairly simple song really. If not for the chorus it would be in the excellent category. Speaking of the chorus, it's another example of how Maiden subtly sold out: they introduced poppy moments which could appeal to anyone and everyone, but didn't write actual love songs, so they weren't perceived as sellouts. It's something a lot of people don't notice when they should, and it's for that reason that I stopped caring what the majority of either other metalheads or Maiden fans say and decided to just judge their albums on an individual basis.

However, we then have Children Of The Damned, a song which fits right into the "Excellent" category, and for a damn good reason: it kicks ass. From the deceptively gentle clean intro and verses, right to the mighty chorus and powerful heavy fucking metal riff behind it, and then after this repeats around the stupendous middle section which is just...well, sublime. The section from 2:20 to 3:01 is extremely well done, but then the part from 3:02 to 3:42 is absolutely brilliant, beautiful, and just plain outstanding, from the lovely but haunting melodies of the very heartfelt solo to the powerful crushing riffs underneath. It's moments like this that solidify this album as a good one despite its flaws, because this song is so fucking fantastic that the mediocre parts of the album don't matter while you're rocking out to Children Of The Damned.

My one and only criticism of this song is the lyrics themselves, which, despite working well, are not the often fairly serious and thought-provoking subject matter Maiden dealt with on their first two albums, but what basically amounts to fantasy nonsense. Yes, the film Children Of The Damned was an old school classic, but it was still kinda silly nevertheless. It's this kind of thing that led to Maiden overusing fantasy and mythology along with not particularly clever or interesting history lessons on albums like Piece Of Mind and Powerslave, and often being hideously cheesy in the process. However, I'll give it a pass here as this song is just too damn good for me to care about how serious or realistic the lyrics are.

We now reach The Prisoner, a song which fits into the "decent" category. It's not a bad song, but it really isn't all that good either. The intro from the TV Series is exceedingly cheesy and far too long, and the song just takes too damn long to get going by which point I've lost most of my interest. I was never a big fan of The Prisoner and Maiden manage to make it all seem even cornier than it really was, in fact probably a lot more so as the original series wasn't really that cheesy as far as I've heard. All I know is that I don't particularly enjoy this song. The "heroic" part where Bruce sings about escaping isn't inspiring to me either, because in order to really feel something here, you have to have felt for the real prisoner in the series, and I never did. The whole thing just wasn't my cup of tea, and so I can't really connect with the song as it's dealing with the same character. Again, not a bad song, but not a particularly good one either.

Then comes along 22 Acacia Avenue...which is absolutely brilliant, perfect from start to finish, with great riffs, two awesome solos, and an interesting performance by Bruce. It easily fits into the "excellent" category. I don't know why this song is so underrated, and it's even more absurd that it often gets ignored while the likes of "Run To The Hills" receive infinite praise from everyone. For me it's the opposite, as this is one of my favourite songs on the whole album, while "Run To The Hills" never appealed to me at all.(more on that later) Anyway, aside from the great riffs and solos throughout, there isn't much to say actually, although Bruce's singing here is interesting, because he's obviously trying to go for the very gritty urban style that Paul always had, which is to be expected as this song is about the same character last featured in "Charlotte The Harlot", a great song from the debut album. Does he succeed? Sort of, as he certainly sounds quite different than he did on, say, Invaders. But he just hasn't got the dirty, raw kind of voice that really suits this style, often still sounding too clean, and the way he screams "meet a lady that I knoooooooww" is terrible, as is the way he mirrors this the next time it goes around slightly differently with "you might even get it freeeeeeeee"...ugh. Those kind of vocal acrobatics are what always put me off Bruce a little. Sure he's a good singer, but very few vocalists can make those acrobatics actually work, and Bruce ain't one of them. Rob Halford is, and interestingly, so is Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian, a very influential power metal band that were likely influenced themselves by Iron Maiden. But Bruce just isn't, and while he can occasionally pull it off(the way he sings the chorus on the song Caught Somewhere In Time from Somewhere In Time, for instance), he often can't. This is the only weak point to an otherwise great song though, and the breakdown in the middle with the heavy crushing riffs and the excellent solo is really awesome. The song also ends well. All in all, one of the best songs this album has to offer.

Now we come to the infamous title track, a song I would place in the "very good" category. Most would consider it to be more worthy of being called excellent, but I disagree. Sure it's a classic song, and one of the best known of all metal songs. It's also remarkably straightforward, not very complex, not even very epic, and most of all, aside from the intro, not very dark. Lyrically it is but musically? The riffs are all very happy and upbeat and don't really paint a picture of the lyrics. When Iron Maiden previously wrote songs about very dark subjects(whatever "Remember Tomorrow" was about, Purgatory, Killers, etc)for the most part at least they actually sounded dark. Here they don't, which just goes to show that Number Of The Beast could very easily be called a sellout after all, as it wrote more obviously catchy and upbeat songs and certainly did make more money. One could argue that making more money was simply a side effect of better songwriting, but that's being pedantic, trying to make excuses for ideas that are very obviously commercial. Whether they're commercial in a good way or a bad way is up to the listener to decide. Personally, while I'd take the title track over a song like The Prisoner, and would place it on a roughly equal footing with Invaders, I don't like it as much as Children Of The Damned, 22 Acacia Avenue, or one of the later songs. (As a side note: this song was the one that caused everyone to call Maiden "satanists" - actually, not everyone, just the Christian side of the media, and it wasn't so much an assumption as an accusation. Either way it's fucking pathetic. Maiden weren't satanists, and even if they were, so what? The whole thing is dumb and shows just how much power idiotic religious fundies still have over our society. What's even dumber is that in the US, critics refused to acknowledge Maiden SIMPLY because they believed they were satanists. So the religious views of a band affect whether they're worthy of listening to? Those music critics should have been taken out and shot. If anyone wanted proof that the music media in America is still controlled by Christian fundamentalists, that's it right there. Utterly stupid.)

Next up is a song beloved by virtually every Maiden fan...except for me. Run To The Hills is probably the most overrated song they ever wrote. It's slightly interesting lyrically but not enough to make up for its obviously commercial slant and not very good riffs. I find little worth listening to in this song and like a lot of others on here it's annoyingly happy sounding. Judas Priest's "Savage", while not one of my favourite songs by them either, dealt with the subject far better. The only thing really worth exploring is how Maiden didn't make it a song entirely about the cruelty of the persecution of American Indians, but also about the glory the settlers felt as they rode them down and "drove them to the hills". While I'm pleased Maiden decided to show the perspective of both sides rather than just one, I still don't like this song. I just find its construction annoying. In particular, it takes nearly 50 seconds to get to a riff one can properly headbang to. Maybe one can headbang to the first riffs, but I'm not sure. Isn't it a bizarre coincidence that the two most popular songs on this album, this one and the title track, both take a while to get going? It's just ironic that for two songs that are supposed to define heavy metal, they don't even start with heavy riffs one can bang their head to. "Run To The Hills" is a song I place in the "mediocre" category.

This wasn't the worst, though...that's just coming up. "Gangland" has to be one of the most painfully awful and pointless Maiden songs ever written. It's even worse than the overrated shit on Powerslave(and that's saying something, since everyone else loves that album)and the dreadful songs on No Prayer For The Dying and some of Fear Of The Dark. It isn't overrated, but it still sucks nonetheless. The intro is boring and the main riffs are neither interesting nor very memorable. It's another attempt to go back to the grittiness of the first two albums, but unlike "22 Acacia Avenue", which was a great song, this song is crap. It's neither gritty, raw, or menacing, it's just stupid. Definitely falls into the "mediocre" category, and I have nothing else to say about it. It's that forgettable as well as shitty.

But then...where the fuck did this come from? Suddenly "Total Eclipse" begins, and we have a winner again! This is a disgracefully underrated song that deserves a lot more credit for at least trying to be atmospheric. From the powerful, genuinely heavy intro to the mighty riffs throughout combined with a respectable performance by Bruce and some very dark lyrics about a rather apocalyptic scenario, plus genuine musical darkness for the first time since "Children Of The Damned", this is a song easily worthy of the "very good" category. I don't know why this wasn't included on the original album because it kicks ass.

One good thing about Maiden is that with the exception of Killers, you can be sure of hearing a very memorable song at the end of every one of their albums. And this is absolutely true of the magnificent "Hallowed Be Thy Name", a song that has justly gone down in history as a masterwork of heavy fucking metal. This really is strong, very much because of its amazing atmosphere, which is quite seriously dark, with nary a happy sounding riff or solo in sight, but also because of three other things: Bruce Dickinson's performance, which is truly great and really portrays the emotion of the character's feelings he is describing in a way that's so genuine you almost forget about the idiotic way he sung on some of the earlier songs, the lyrics, which are definitely of the thought-provoking type, and the brilliant riffs and solos throughout the entire song. For once the clean intro isn't annoying or tedious but works brilliantly at creating a dark feeling. Then when the heavy guitars kick in at around the 1.00 mark, things become truly fantastic. I have no problems whatsoever with this song - it's one of the defining songs of all heavy metal and is NOT overrated - it does deserve every single bit of praise it gets. A true masterpiece.

So what does that even out as, then? Three awesome songs, three very good ones, one average one and two poor ones. Overall a highish score(which is what I gave it), but not perfect.

Despite all of my earlier criticisms, The Number Of The Beast is still an essential album, even if only for the three utterly brilliant songs, because they are so sublime that they transcend all of the album's various faults and weaknesses. It's more than that though - it's a piece of metal history, and deserves to be owned for that reason alone. While I wouldn't place it on the same level as its predecessors in terms of consistency, or as high on the scale of being inventive as Piece Of Mind or Somewhere In Time, or as high quality throughout as Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, it's still a good album to say the least and from my perspective infinitely better than the ridiculously overrated Powerslave. A quality album that, despite it flaws, should be in every metalhead's collection nonetheless.

They finally found my number and dialed it - 93%

autothrall, November 12th, 2009

A year prior, Paul Di'anno had become a footnote in the annals of one of heavy metal's legendary bands. But who was this new guy? Oh sure, he fronted obscure NWOBHM beefcakes Samson, but would he stand and deliver for the rapidly escalating Iron Maiden?

Over the past 27 years, it's safe to say this question has been answered. Bruce Dickinson came, saw and conquered, as early as his full-length debut with Maiden upon which he already has the chops of a seasoned veteran. The rest of the album wasn't too shabby either, as an increased quality of melody and songcraft permeates The Number of the Beast. The s/t debut and certainly Killers had their fair share of memorable tunes, but this is just about perfect, with the possible exception of "Invaders", a somewhat dull track that unfortunately opens the album.

So we'll skip that and move along to the solid steel bliss that is the remainder of this timeless exercise in 'eavy metal. "Children of the Damned" is nigh invincible, proof Dickinson was comfortable over more than triplets and power chords. A flowing, catchy acoustic track which lapses perfectly into a gleaming chorus, with a dual lead rocking bridge. "The Prisoner" makes great use of a sample from its namesake espionage TV show, and then Clive Burr kicks up a storm of rockin' beats, while the song also features some great Harris grooves and licks.

Following this we get the pseudo-sequel to "Charlotte the Harlot", that being "22 Acacia Avenue" with its montage of shifting beats and groove beneath some of Dickinson's most venomous lines on the album. Next up is the title track, one of Maiden's most infamous compositions and in all likelihood the best on this particular album. As much as we'd all like this to be about the devil (including cover artist Derek Riggs), it supposedly isn't. I like to think it's based on the Heinlein novel of the same name (certainly a source Maiden has used for inspiration elsewhere), but aside from the name, it's really not. "Run to the Hills", yet another of their live staples, follows with its elegy to the American Indian. It's rarely left their set in close to three decades. "Gangland" is a balls out rocker comparable to the style you'd hear in other early NWOBHM like Motorhead and Saxon, though hammered with those classic melodies only Maiden was adept at. "Hallowed by Thy Name" is the epic closure to the original album, a lengthy and moodier piece which foreshadowed others to come.

What more to be said for an album which is worshiped by millions of human beings, many of whom consider it their very best. I dare to disagree with such a sentiment, as I found "Invaders" a bit weak and the album not nearly as catchy as the next three. The Number of the Beast is surely the beginning of the band's strongest stretch of material (ending with Somewhere in Time), and nearly every track is an outright classic. With evocative and meaningful lyrics and subject matter, class act riffing and overall amazing musicianship for 1982, they were now the band to beat. Oh, sure, it'd happen in a year or so...but there simply were no other bands of this period as well rounded as Maiden when it came to creating interesting metal music which has survived in the minds of so many until this very day...


Bottom heavy - 67%

failsafeman, December 27th, 2008

Iron Maiden's roster was fairly unstable in the early days, with each of the first four albums featuring a slightly different lineup; what's generally considered the classic incarnation would not be heard until Piece of Mind. It goes without saying the most significant of those changes was the frontman switch that took place between Killers and The Number of the Beast; it not only drastically altered Iron Maiden's sound on an aesthetic level, but altered their general character as well. Where before Maiden with Di'Anno at the helm favored gritty, violent songs about, well, gritty violence (often of a sexual nature and set in the modern day), the Bruce-led band favored songs about epic battles, historical conflicts, and of course general mythology, science fiction, and fantasy subjects. I wouldn't say that Iron Maiden "invented" those themes in metal per se, but they definitely played a major role in pioneering and popularizing them. While that may sound like a positive change, it also came with a drawback; to illustrate, an anecdote. I once saw an interview with Bruce, in which he explained the reasoning behind his stage antics; small gestures would be missed by those in the back row of a huge stadium, so in order to get what he wants across he has to exaggerate his motions to larger-than-life proportions. Just think about that for a moment. I doubt he was trying to be deep, but Bruce's simple and sensible explanation also seems to describe his music with Iron Maiden quite well: everything is large and exaggerated, written in CAPITAL LETTERS so even those in the back row know what's going on. Of course, the back row in this metaphorical sense unfortunately refers to the mentally rather than financially challenged. Dickinsonian Maiden seems to have lost much of its former subtlety, and everything is LARGE and out in the open, for better or for worse. Because of that, sometimes the Bruce-era material sounds too over-the-top, as if you're watching a high-budget action movie where the excessive gore, explosions, and/or general violence lack supporting substance, such that all the drama totally loses impact and becomes cartoonish (think "summer blockbuster"). Nowhere is this more apparent than in the title track, which is fun but almost unbearably cheesy and vapid to boot (but more on that later). Still, that over-the-top aspect Bruce brought also allowed Maiden to do amazing songs like "Hallowed Be Thy Name", which I can't imagine them even attempting with Di'Anno (of course, Bruce can't pull off Di'Anno-era songs, either). In short: Bruce is amazing on successfully emotionally intense songs, but often painfully too much for those that fall short or require subtlety or grit. Most (good) NWOBHM bands sound like they could beat you up, Di'Anno Maiden more than any; Bruce sounds like he's been in the library all day. Angel Witch sound instead like they were on the receiving end of some beatings, but that's a story for another time.

Everything can't be laid at Bruce's feet, though; he's the most obvious change in the band, but he isn't the primary songwriter. Harris seems to have gotten a bit lazy on this album, going for a more upbeat, simpler, and what I can only call "poppier" approach on many of the songs he's credited with (the notable exception being, of course, the monumental album closer). The only song he doesn't have at least partial writing credit for here is fucking terrible, though, so what the hell; damned if you do, damned if you don't. On to the songs!

"Invaders" opens the album on a promising note, with the epic tone it quickly sets simultaneously setting the Bruce-era apart from the Di'Anno-era, in which this exultant epic energy would've seemed totally out of place. Instead of stalking women through claustrophobic London alleyways and chopping them up to statisfy lust undeniably perverse, we're chasing women through burning villages and raping them to satisfy lust...except it was socially acceptable then, so you and Bruce feel just fine about it afterward. But wait, what the fuck is this? That silly chorus comes in like a wrecking ball of cotton candy and turns the delicious atmosphere to shit! Yes, it's another of those "what the fuck were they thinking" moments, like the shitty main riffs in "Sanctuary" or "Running Free", except this is a whole chorus and "Invaders" is actually quite nice besides that. My guess is Maiden were trying to do another of those quick mood shifts they seemed to like a lot early in their career, as heard on "Charlotte the Harlot" and "Remember Tomorrow", but while those songs worked fairly well despite the abruptness, "Invaders" fails utterly. The serious and tense tone with the defenders preparing for the viking invasion is replaced by farce as, apparently, the longships unload hordes of invading Smurfs, who proceed to merrily frolic the village to the ground ("Papa Smurf always says: 'rape, then pillage, then burn the place to the ground,' and Papa Smurf is always right."). I can see what Maiden were trying to do here; it's the same thing they do in "Run to the Hills", where first we get the perspective and mood of the Indians and then that of the American soldiers, so one would expect hordes of Vikings to have an upbeat and bloodthirsty theme like the soldiers; instead it's like you're watching a good action movie on TV when the channel randomly switches to loud cartoons for a few seconds, making you jump, but the channel switches itself back again before you can figure out what the hell happened. Now, imagine that three times every three minutes, and I'm sure you'd just turn off the TV in disgust, no matter how good the movie you were watching was. What makes it worse though is that unlike "Sanctuary", the rest of "Invaders" is fucking good! Epic feel, cool lyrics putting you in the battlefield ("Axes grind and maces clash as wounded fighters fall to the ground/Severed limbs and fatal woundings bloody corpses lie all around"), honestly I'm far more irritated than if they had just written a song bad all the way through (which they did, but more on that later). It's as if Harris made us a shit sandwich, but used some really good bread to fool us into taking a nice big bite, wasting the bread in the process, of course. I mean for fuck's sake, the chorus "riff" isn't really even a riff, it's a fucking major scale; up five notes, down five notes. It's as if "inspiration" struck during highschool band warm-ups, or something.

Luckily, "Children of the Damned" is quite a bit more interesting. It starts as basically a ballad, with the slow pace complimenting the ominous tone, and Bruce's emotional performance is good; the only downside to the song is the overlong chorus, which feels even longer when preceded by the shorter, superior verses. But once the song picks up after the second chorus, we never hear it again, so at least there's that. Some laughably claim this tempo shift "ruins" the atmosphere built up in the slow section. Rather than ruining it, the acceleration serves to heighten the tension and mood, without shattering it like on "Invaders"; the faster section is the best part of the song, hands-down. The tedious chorus doesn't make a return and the song is fairly short, so overall I'd call it pretty good aside from the pacing problems. It's definitely better than the previous track, but not nearly as good as "Remember Tomorrow" thanks to the tiresome chorus, though otherwise the songs are similar. I really wish Iron Maiden had tried more songs like this, they're better at slow, moody songs than people usually give them credit for (most tend to harp on the fast upbeat pieces or long epics), and with a little revision this one could've been a lot better.

"The Prisoner" starts out slow, with an intro from the old TV show (a good series, I might add), followed instrumental intro. Two intros for the price of one! Yeah, they should've dumped one or the other, and Clive's drum beat is rather obnoxious to be the focus of the second intro, but anyway once the song finally gets going after more than a minute (and it's not even the album opener!), it's pretty exciting. Sure it's upbeat, and an easy target for accusations of being poppy, but like "Run to the Hills" and unlike "Invaders" or the title track, this one is actually justifiably and believably upbeat in its portrayal of the exultant emotional release of #6 who is finally free of his captors. SPIT IN YOUR EYE, I WILL DEFY! Freedom and escape from oppression (whether at the deliberate hands of a conspiracy, or just society and/or religion's restrictions in general) have always been major themes in metal, and "The Prisoner" does a good job of bottling that for our enjoyment. Sure, it's a tad overlong and repetitive, but if you ignore the double-intro (easy to do) and get swept up in the mood of the song it's good; the chorus especially is fantastic, and the driving riffs during the verses really hit home. Another song where Bruce's "over-the-top" nature isn't out of place.

Now, "22 Acacia Avenue" is a sequel to "Charlotte the Harlot", and predictably Di'Anno probably would've fit the song better; it was likely even written for him, as the vocal melodies are pretty restrained in range and difficulty for the most part, with no multi-tracking at all. Bruce does a good job, don't get me wrong, but he just lacks the grit that would've made a dirty, desperate song about a whore much better. The song is fairly long, second-longest after "Hallowed Be Thy Name", and it justifies its length well with an interesting structure. In the first minute-thirty it shifts between a slow, tense section and a "release" section that's more upbeat twice before going into a totally different section for a while...honestly it's pretty progressive, and unlike most of the songs on the album, it's the instruments that hold interest rather than the vocal lines, which definitely play a more supporting role. If any song on this album could be considered a grower, I'd say it's this one; repeated listens definitely rewarded me with a greater appreciation for it. I'd even say it's stronger than "Charlotte the Harlot", and definitely the sleeper hit of the album.

The title track is one many people like to cite as a Maiden classic, but I suspect it's more because it's essentially pop with metal aesthetics; before you scoff and decide I'm full of pretentious crap, pause for a moment of dispassionate reflection. The song is upbeat and happy, very simple both structurally and technically, and in fact the only remarkable thing about it at all is, of course, the charismatic singer. The "Satanic" theme is utterly incidental; Bruce could easily be singing about joyriding at 666 MPH or fucking 666 women in a row (you decide which is more impressive) rather than running from the devil in a dream, judging by the mood. I don't know about you, but a terrifying nightmare doesn't put me in the mood to dance around, and honestly the most flattering conclusion I can reach is that the lyrics were written separately and only put to the music out of convenience or coincidence. Still, ludicrous claims of quality and dubious theme/mood harmony aside, it's a fun little song. I find it strange that something as obviously poppy and radio friendly is so revered in a community that supposedly abhors such qualities, but there are many examples of similar sheep dressed in the wolf's clothing of a metal sound that have also attained popularity among metalheads, so I suppose it should come as no surprise. Always be wary of musical opinion in aggregate; I'd take the say-so of one guy I know I can trust over a million faceless fans any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

"Run to the Hills" is also considered by some a classic, while others abhor it, probably due in part to it being one of the best-known and most-played Maiden songs of all time. And it's easy to see why; it's catchy, upbeat, and emphasizes the classic NWOBHM gallop to great effect, capturing the feel of soldiers chasing down the redskins on horseback very well. It also displays the first of what I like to call Maiden's BFCs, or Big Fucking Choruses (as heard on later songs such as "Two Minutes to Midnight" and "Aces High", among others). I'm not much of a radio listener, so the song hasn't really been ruined for me, but I can see how hearing it all the time could. It's a fun little song, and has enough depth to stand above the title track and "Gayland" at least, despite its similar almost total lack of real guitar riffs. Instead we basically just have galloping and some chord progressions under the chorus, and some bass antics (redolent of an overlarge ego, but it's not too obnoxious). Like on "Invaders", the mood and perspective switch, starting out slow and melancholy with the Indians' lament and then bursting into galloping speed with the soldiers running them down. I have to applaud Iron Maiden for not taking the bleeding heart route and dispensing heavy-handed moral judgment like some bands (Satan's "Broken Treaties" comes to mind), and that "white man's guilt" bullshit gets old quick. Iron Maiden make destroying Native American culture sound like fun (which it probably was). It's not the most artistically significant song Maiden have ever written, but it doesn't outstay its welcome and has at least enough substance to have some lasting merit beyond mindless entertainment. When it comes on, I don't skip it; that pretty much sums it up.

"Gangland" on the other hand is so painful, they should have called it "Gangbang". For something supposedly about dangerous gang members slaughtering one another, it sounds about as dangerous as a booster shot. The gangs I imagine while listening to the song aren't Goodfellas or even Warriors; more like West Side Story. "Funland" would be another appropriate title for the song. The riffs are terrible, the melodies are repetitive as is the chorus, the slow section is one of the worst, most boring pieces of shit the band has ever written. The noodly bridge however is passable; Bruce's shriek of "yeah, c'mon!" before the guitar solo is downright cool...then it goes back to shit with the reprieve of the verse and final repetition of the chorus. The drums are really annoying too, and the thought of Clive Burr (who co-wrote the song with Smith) getting replaced with Nicko McBrain after this album gives me warm fuzzy feelings. His fills always seemed the equivalent of radio jingles to me, from the intro to "Another Life" to the beat that begins "Prisoner". I think if doctors were to do some serious research on this song, they would find that Clive's MS was the direct result of co-writing "Gangland". Maybe karma isn't such a silly idea after all. The song is under four minutes long, but it feels like an agonizing marathon of monotony. Think of the longest, most grueling run you've ever had in your life, whether towards a train, away from the police, or perhaps at a track meet at school; now, imagine running that again, but this time while waist-deep in liquid mozzarella. You fail to reach whatever goal you're running towards in time, and in fact find out you were going the wrong way all along. That is "Gangland".

Maybe I'm writing from Planet X or something, but does it seem like too much coincidence that "Total Eclipse", the only song on here I've seen get unjustly panned with any regularity, is also the only one not drenched in gallons of nostalgia? Now, I can't speak for everyone who's ever heard the album and written something about it, but it seems reasonable to assume that a good percentage of metal fans got acquainted with this album through the original edition which excludes this track. Unencumbered by that intoxicating nostalgia, the bonus track gave Iron Maiden fans the rare opportunity to objectively evaluate a track from the sessions that brought them this highly-regarded album. Is it significant that without that nostalgia to guide them, a good many fans blunder right into the wrong conclusion? I can imagine an aging metalhead listening to The Number of the Beast in his living room, graying hair flailing as he headbangs furiously along with "Gangland". For a few minutes, it has transported him back to the days of his beer-soaked youth, when regular jobs were for losers and metal was a full-time lifestyle, rather than something relegated to evenings and weekends (preferably when no one is around). All of a sudden, "Total Eclipse" comes on; the headbanging ceases, and a frown creases the fan's face. "What's this crap? Where's "Hallowed Be Thy Name?" He listens for a few more seconds, then hits the skip button in frustration and, recognizing "Hallowed Be Thy Name" with relief, resumes headbanging as before. Though many people have started getting into metal long after "Total Eclipse" became a staple bonus track on The Number of the Beast, that attitude towards it has been handed down to the younger generations (I bite the hand that feeds, of course). Now, that's not to say everyone who doesn't like the song is stupid, and stuck there in the middle of familiar friends, it's normal for a stranger to be left out. "Total Eclipse" is a slow, steady number with an emphasis on ominous atmosphere; it reminds me of "Children of the Sea", except the giant is wearing steamrollers like roller skates rather than boots for stomping. Compared to a radio jingle like "Invaders", it's fucking Chopin, as it's both less catchy and more mood-driven, a kind of song that requires a bit of attention to appreciate. I'm not claiming all Maiden fans are idiots or anything, but I do know that for an album that is so well-known and one that almost every metalhead has some nostalgic feelings for (yes, including me), "Total Eclipse" provides a chance to see a band we know so well anew; luckily, the song holds up quite well, even better than many of the supposed classics on the album. I like it.

Last but certainly not least, we have "Hallowed Be Thy Name". Incensed fans who by now may have pegged me as pushing an iconoclastic agenda can put that to rest; when it comes to this song, I uphold the status quo. It's fucking amazing, easily one of the best Maiden have ever written. It hits fantastically upon many major metal themes simultaneously; death, freedom, and of course religion. I love the ambiguities it presents, proving that contrary to my initial condemnation Bruce-era Maiden aren't always obvious. Did the prisoner really commit the crime, or is he innocent? Does he really enter an afterlife, or is the dream of it just the last refuge of a man staring death and oblivion in the face? By extension, does the band believe in the former or the latter? Nothing is spelled out, all we have is that brief glimpse of a man's last moments, and the intense feelings that well up inside him: disbelief, terror, hope for an afterlife but at the same time a questioning of that hope ("Tears flow but why am I crying/After all I'm not afraid of dying/Don't I believe that there never is an end?"). The music reflects these feelings wonderfully, with the last half of the song being almost entirely instrumental, "narrating" in its way the execution, and actually, Burr's drumming is great on this track; I take back the mean stuff I said about him before. Sorry Clive! The scene the music sets is just as vivid without words. Perhaps more so. A perfect album closer; one of those songs you have to sit back and ponder after it's over, savoring the mood that lingers long after it closes. Would that it closed a perfect album.

Nostalgia is a funny thing; it's essentially just left-over good feelings and impressions from an earlier time in life, but old or not those feelings can still be strong enough to influence people in strange ways. In an almost religious experience, someone can recapture maudlin memories of a more innocent past through nostalgia, and the stronger that experience is, the stronger the reluctance to re-visit the cult object of that nostalgia with objective eyes, much like a religious person might mentally block themselves from logical evaluation of their belief, jealously guarding the subject of worship ("faith", they call it, and the same terms could be similarly applied to the attitude of the metal community towards certain classics). Haven't you ever heard someone casually dismiss an album (or movie, or book, or whatever) you've loved for years, and you get mad, not because they're necessarily wrong but because you can't muster a rational defense on the spot so you're secretly afraid they're right? The anger is blown all out of proportion as well, as if they'd insulted a close friend who recently died or something (to this day I still get pissed whenever people say bad things about Transformers: The Movie, wanna fight about it?). I think this is where those things people call "guilty pleasures" arise; to their modern standards the music is lacking, but the nostalgia still allows them to enjoy the music despite being more or less aware of that lack. Unfortunately, other people get equal but opposite perverted pleasure from slaughtering the sacred classic cows, often as messily as possible (I'm sure if you look hard enough you could turn up evidence of that, maybe even somewhere else on this very page). Whether at heart the crusaders of truth they claim themselves to be, or more akin to those nimrods who like to spoil the end of movies for a cheap laugh (SNAPEKILLSDUMBLEDORELOL), these individuals often blunder way off into exaggerated territory, as perhaps they're too wrapped up in gleeful mental images of frothing fanboys to worry about anything like doing an album justice. Both stances are immature, and counter-productive to approaching the album's true worth, despite whatever reactionary, exaggerated reviews might be written to "balance the scales" or some similar bullshit. Is truth some kind of paperclip you have to bend further than you want it to get it to retain the proper shape? Now, I'm hardly the first to give The Number of the Beast a moderate score, but I hope after reading this at least one or two of those people who feel anything less than 100% is slander or anything more than 0% is a travesty will think twice about writing such reactionary nonsense. A word to the wise: 99% of albums are going to fall between those scores. And this concludes the preachy portion of the review.

Iron Maiden are a band that writes great songs, not great albums; viewed as a whole, there's not nearly enough artistic depth to The Number of the Beast for it to be considered a masterpiece, despite the excellence of "Hallowed Be Thy Name". Entertainment is fine for what it is, but the album fails at even that on more than one significant occasion. Given Iron Maiden's previous and subsequent albums, not to mention the phenomenal closing track, this one leaves a lot to be desired. The final track is a must-hear, but even the best of the rest isn't worth more than an occasional listen. Even if you totally disagree with this review, I hope it least at encourages people to really scrutinize The Number of the Beast, and similar albums as well. Metal has too many sacred cows.

Maiden has your number! - 79%

marktheviktor, December 26th, 2008

I was a seven year old Catholic school boy when Number of the Beast came out. It was after seeing some seventh grader walking around wearing an Iron Maiden Number of the Beast tee on a dress down day when I was first exposed to this band. The next time I was perusing Tower Records, I went to look at all the Iron Maiden records and saw it again among the other ones as well. I was far from being a metalhead at this time but I was utterly fascinated at how heavy this band must have sounded like to go along with their awesomely metal looking cover art. Yes, this was the first real metal band I ever encountered, at least visually. I knew of this band even before I had heard of Black Sabbath. It would still be awhile before I was allowed to listen to the music behind the records. I think there are many who encountered Iron Maiden this way when they were very young. It was a true grabber. And so, what did this album finally sound like? It sounded like and still sounds like the embodiment of heavy metal. We think in visuals and when the term 'heavy metal' comes to mind, I think of Number of the Beast.

What can be said about the album that hasn't been said already? There is no denying it is a classic. That's for damn certain. But is it their best? No, it is not but it's up there. Number of the Beast is more classic than it is the very best. It's the inauguration of an era. It's heavy as hell but it never blew my socks off quite like Judas Priest did. It's fast and has an adventurous zeal to it. This album like every other one they did was written and recorded to be played live in concert and that's another great plus with the album. I would have loved to have heard these songs played at their show.

The production on Number is an absolute dream in no small part due to producer/engineer Martin Birch who seemingly was a sixth member of the band in the studio. Every instrument is crisp and the Steve Harris' bass pervades with hard focus throughout every song. Adrian Smith and Dave Murray add punch of physicality in their playing.

Invaders is the first track and it's trademark Maiden. It almost sounds like Ides of March at the beginning. The theme of battle is pretty cool and sets the table for everything else on the menu. As Bruce Dickinson's first song on an Iron Maiden record, it does well to bring him in with great command. Children of the Damned bears more than a striking resemblance to Black Sabbath's Children of the Sea with its acoustic intro and heroic atmosphere. Power metal never had it so good up until now. The Prisoner has a fabulous mid pace action with the drums. This song centers the album with its theme of fugitive psyche. I haven't had the privilage of seeing the band live but if I did, I would have hoped this was on the set list. While I loved the opening riff of 22 Acacia Avenue, the song is not a standout. The one small knock on alot of Iron Maiden albums is that they are slightly filler prone. I would say that this album is the least guilty of this but 22 Acacia Avenue and especially Gangland fill that quota on here although they are one of the better tracks in question in that regard.

My favorite thing about Iron Maiden is that their title tracks are almost always the best songs on their records. They seem to be in the middle of the albums and they always deliver the metal goods. It's thought they are the main course. When I look at the album covers, I can always put the song to the art. Number of the Beast is no exception. It's the best song on the album. Bruce Dickinson makes that awesome scream to launch the rest of the head banging glory that the song deserves. And then of course we have Run to the Hills which is the band's most famous song. The local radio stations where I live don't regularly play Iron Maiden but when they do, Run to the Hills gets the nod. I will say that it's a great song to play in the car but by no means is it even close to the best one by them. I think it has the right amount of length and catchiness that has made it the hit that it is. Hallowed Be Thy Name would probably be their second most well known song and probably their most venerable on the concert set list. It's another great classic that is a metal encore song if there ever was one. Bruce's crescendo that leads into the main part of the song is the most memorable. It never loses momentum and the guitars on here will stay in my memory for a long time. The influence on this one can be heard in many a thrash metal band to come.

Reflecting back on my heavy metal memories, this album will always stay with me. Those who don't appreciate this album were probably not around at the time when it made its debut or they just were oblivious to heavy metal in that period. Not only is there nostalgia here but there is replay value. Iron Maiden have the longest lasting influence in metal today and it would be a shame if you don't at least give it as many chances as you can to admire its spirit.

Most Lauded, Most Inconsistent - 70%

1stMetalheads, October 11th, 2008

Along with albums such as Reign In Blood and Master Of Puppets, Number Of The Beast is one of *those* albums. You know, the ones that garner praise as if you could package it in shit and people would cut off their own nads to lick it off. As such, there is inevitably two groups of people, the fanboys, and the detractors. And as you should know, both groups usually have something right.

The new vocalist, and arguably the most famous member of the band, Bruce Dickinson, is the most overarching presence on this album, and consequentially, has the largest problems with his performance. When he is just doing the normal range of vocals, without soaring high notes, then he does very well, with a great lower register reminding one of certain other vocalists like Geoff Tate and Rob Halford. Unlike these two, however, he just can’t do the high notes. Whenever he tries, it’s obvious he’s straining, and it comes out sounding as if he just put his balls in a vise to try to get the effect. As for the rest of the band-members, they really are just average. Even Harris’ much-lauded bass just plods along, and this leaves it up to Dickinson to pull up the slack, except for a few notable examples.

Throughout all of the songs, especially ones like 22 Accacia Avenue, there is still trace amounts of Iron Maidens punk era here. Normally that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but Dickinson just doesn’t seem to fit during this. Also the album is really messy to listen to all the way through, as the conflicting styles often mark the inconsistent nature of Iron Maiden within albums. There’s not as much filler as say, Powerslave, but there still is enough to jam up the flow. Also worth mention is how poorly the songs are grouped, with the truly metal Invaders followed by a semi-ballad, and Hallowed Be Thy Name being preceded by the worst song on the album.

Now, the songs here can be grouped into three basic groups, the regular NWOBHM tracks, the singles, and the slower, emotional songs. Hailing from the first group, Invaders, the opener, has Dickinson giving forth both good and bad performances. Fortunately, the bad is short and merciful, rarely disrupting the flow of the song. The end result is good, with a chorus worthy of Maiden. A couple songs later, The Prisoner bursts on the scene. This is really where Maiden really starts proving they can pull out more than filler. It has an emotional chorus, with riffs that are energetic and bass that, surprisingly doesn’t just plod along like almost every other song.

After this though, it’s just more filler. 22 Accacia Avenue is a good song, but lacks any real hooks to distinguish itself, unlike the previous song in this series (Charlotte The Harlot). Also, as mentioned before, you could just imagine hearing this on the S/T or Killers, and Dickinson doesn’t fit. As for Gangland, this is the kind of song that gives haters their justification. It’s generic, and just plods along at the same pace without a single real hook or memorable moment. So much so that it could even give AC/DC a run for their money.

Now for the singles, everyone alive has heard them, they even rival Metallica for recognition. Of the two, Number Of The Beast is the better. Starting out with a spoken part similar to The Prisoner, it goes into the riff, and then a surprising thing happens, Dickinson gives out a scream worthy of his fame, and goes into a great performance, with a voice that really sounds like someone who has seen the devil. It also has a catchy chorus that, while repeated a little too often, deserves its recognition. The rest of the instruments though, are more generic, supporting Dickinson, and don’t really come out on their own except for a quality solo.

The other single however, doesn’t do so well. Run To The Hills, other than being catchy doesn’t really have much else to add. You’d think a song about the struggle of the Indians would have more emotion, but instead it just has Dickinson repeating the chorus ad nauseum, with another repeating part alternating in and out. And yes, it’s just as boring as it sounds. Adding to that, Children Of The Damned is boring for nearly the same reason, with a repeat chorus (though the guitar parts vary some) that utterly fails to capture the emotion or power such a song should have.

Luckily though, Beast ends on a much better note in that. Hallowed Be Thy Name shows off what Iron Maiden *could* do. It starts with an appropriately hallowed sounding guitar part, and goes into a deep and emotional performance by Dickinson. What is also surprising is that his vocals work well even when going into ranges where he’d normally sound like he had a ten-foot dick up his ass, and it is indeed a beautiful thing to behold. The rest of the band members also give equally inspirational performances, with riffs that reinforce the sad nature of life portrayed by the non-repenting lyrics describing a criminal going to his death.

While Number Of The Beast certainly has its filler, it also has its classics, it’s a good way to get into the genre, and has some songs that will satisfy even jaded veterans who’ve long left the classics behind. Just don’t go into it expecting a masterpiece

Highlights: Hallowed Be Thy Name, Number Of The Beast, The Prisoner

This is one of heavy metal's greatest albums? - 56%

Vaibhavjain, July 16th, 2008

So what we have here is Iron Maiden’s third studio album, “Number Of The Beast.” Yeah, you seem to have seen the name of this album right at the top or its whereabouts in every list concerning heavy metal’s greatest album? Or whenever you asked a Maiden fan their favorite album chances are that more than just a handful of them must have said this album? This is exactly what has happened to me a ton of times as well. What is so great about this album eludes me even after hundreds of listens.

“Number Of The Beast” is an album that is a mixture of good, average and weak songs, most of which occupy the last two of the three sections I just mentioned. This was the first album that had Bruce on the vocals (the only reason me and probably a hundred others still stick to this band).

The album consists of tracks like “The Prisoner” and “22 Acacia Avenue” which are the rare good tracks on the album. These are memorable in their own ways, where the band clicks together wonderfully well encompassing good riffs, vocals and solos. Except for another track that I will mention later in the review these are pretty much the only good tracks here. The former of these tracks have a cool spoken intro while the next has one of Maiden’s best riffs, a good solo and equally good vocals.

Two tracks, which are “Run To The Hills”, and the title track irritate me to this date. It’s not that these tracks are weak but it’s the extremely high standard at which the fans of the band hold them which irritates me. Hang me for saying this but “Run To The Hills” is nothing more than a catchy karaoke song that one expects to here at clubs or parties. “Number Of The Beast” is another track that eludes my logic of why this track is so great. Yes, the chilling spoken intro followed by Bruce’s scream is one of the best moments in heavy metal history but that’s about it, here is where the “greatness” of the track ends. Mind you this track is not weak by any standard what so ever but is rather a better than average heavy metal track.

The tracks, “Invaders”, “Gangland”, and “Children Of The Damned” are horrible right from the word go. The latter of these tracks have a slow intro and is a decent “sort of ballad” track where everything is going average or just above average for the band except for the chorus that is nothing short of horrendous, once again Maiden in their attempt to raise the tempo of the slow track ruin the atmosphere they managed to create with the listener. This is the first time the band did this (ruin the track by raising the tempo) but more often than not, the band kept on doing this even later in their career. Also Bruce sounds bad on these tracks, and once the only respectable force of the band cannot deliver, you know that the band is going nowhere but down.

The gem on this album is “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. Everything and I mean everything on this track is great, right from the intro, to the ending. Right from the lyrics, to the vocals straight to the guitar solos (which for once do not sound repetitive) this song is nothing less then perfect.

“Tears they flow but why am I crying
After all I am not afraid of dying
Don't I believe that there is never an end
As the guards march me out to the courtyard
Somebody calls from a cell "God be with you"
If there's a God then why has he let me go?
As I walk all my life drifts before me
And though the end is near I'm not sorry
Catch my soul, it's willing to fly away
Mark my words please believe my soul lives on
Don't worry now that I have gone
I've gone beyond to see the truth
When you know that your time is close at hand
maybe then you'll begin to understand
Life down there is just a strange illusion”

Lyrics like these, which I just mentioned, are from the track “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and show the maturity of this band. These lyrics standout and for once Steve Harris does a job that does not pull the whole band down.

An important thing that annoys me throughout this album is the bass. It is extremely weak and that signature galloping bass line has been taken a wee bit to seriously by Mr. Harris because most of the bass lined in his career, with this album being no exception, sounding similar. With bass playing a major role in heavy metal band and if the bass itself sounds weak, no such album can be classified as one of the world’s best ever.

So there you have it. Good moments (the intro to Children Of The Damned, the creepy intro, scream and chorus of the album’s title track), but lack of good tracks (with the exception of the iconic “Hallowed Be Thy Name”). Now if the major proportion of tracks in an album fall under the category of “weak”, “average” or “slightly better than average”, enlighten me as to how an album can be regarded one of the best heavy metal album ever made? This album is overrated and is far away from being the greatest heavy metal album ever made, hell I don’t find this Maiden’s best work either! So if there any chance that you are new to metal and have not listened to this album (yeah, I know chances of that are extremely slim) and are expecting as great an album as you’ve heard and read at innumerable places then my friend, you’ll be highly let down.

“Run to the hills,
Run for your lives ….”

(Revised And Redone)

Not a masterpiece, still a solid Maiden effort - 60%

Nhorf, June 3rd, 2008

“The Number of the Beast” is widely regarded as one of the landmarks of heavy metal and one of the crowning achievements of Iron Maiden. This record put them truly in the map, selling very well, thanks to the title track and to “Run to the Hills”, the two big hits that made waves within the metal/rock community. But is “The Number of the Beast” good? Is it a masterpiece, like many reviewers already stated?

Meh, I don't think so. I'm a huge Iron Maiden fan, “Powerslave” is my favourite record ever, but this piece just doesn't get me, mainly because of its unconsistency. Everybody knows that Iron Maiden is a band that prefers to write great songs instead of great albums. There are bands out there, like Opeth, that make albums that really sound amazing as a whole, but Maiden just can't deliver a record like that (well, they delivered one, after all, the allmighty “Powerslave”). Unfortunately, there are always fillers here and there that kill the flow, in the majority of the times.

Surprisingly, “The Number of the Beast” has PLENTY of them. The opener is one of them, its chorus must be one of the most annoying choruses I've ever heard (“Invaders!”* childish bass line * “raping!” * childish bass line *). However, this song is very fast and that's one of the main characteristic of “The Number of the Beast”: there are some midpaced tracks here and there (“Children of the Damned”, “Hallowed be Thy Name”), but the majority of them are very upbeat. Clive Burr is the one that contributes the most to this aspect; while he isn't as technical as Nicko McBrain, his performance is simple but catchy and effective. His best performance can be heard on “Gangland”, a drum-driven track, that should work well as an instrumental, as the music is reminiscent of the fantastic “Genghis Khan”, but everything is ruined by the vocal lines and the repetitive chorus. It kind of reminds of Metallica's “My Friend of Misery”, which was also meant to be an instrumental, but, in the end, Hetfield sang on it and ruined the song (not completely though).

“The Prisoner” and “22 Acacia Avenue” follow also the boredom path; the first one has a nice spoken intro and drum lines, but it's WAY too long and that ruins the listening. The same thing goes to “22 Acacia Avenue”, a song that would be much better with a shorter length. The middle section is quite cool though.

Anyways, now the good things... The guitar work is obviously amazing. Iron Maiden is very well known for the twin guitar leads and blazing solos and, hey, this record is great, guitar-wise. There are lots of good riffs and solos present here, from the technical middle section of the afore-mentioned “22 Acacia Avenue” to the unforgettable first notes of the title track, all absolutely top notch. And where would be Iron Maiden without Steve Harris? He is not as present here as on later albums (“Powerslave” or “Piece of Mind”, for example, are more bass-driven than this piece), but he still is audible and his playing is, like always, tasteful, complementing the performances of the other musicians very well and, most of all, actually adding something to the songs.

About the highligts, there still are some here. “Children of the Damned” is not the best ballad ever made, nor the most beautiful one, but it's decent, featuring an excellent performance of an emotional version of Dickinson, an approach that he later used again on “Infinite Dreams”, a track out of “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”. It's a worth lisening track mainly because of the vocals, as I've already said, Dickinson doesn't deliver emotional performances too often, so better hear this one. The title track is an authentic classic and, despite I, in the majority of the times, hate the big hits of the metal bands, I must say that I like this one. And, wow, I like “Run to the Hills” too, one of the best tracks of this album. This song really grown on me over the time but now I love it; the fast drumming (and the intro, oh God) and the over-the-top Dickinson performance really please me.

After a catchy meal provided by the “Gangland-666-Run to the Hills” trinity, the Maiden gives us, then, a nice dose of epicness to our hears, with “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, considered by many as the ultimate Maiden song. It begins with a fantastic guitar riff, that, with the help of some cymbal hits, provides a nice and mysterious atmosphere to the tune. Then, the vocals kick in, with Bruce singing calmly – got to love that “the sands of time, for me, are running... looooooooooow!!”. After this part, the song becomes heavier, with a blazing deliverance of great metal guitar riffs by the two masterful guitar players. Anyways, I really like this song, but I don't consider it as one of the best Maiden ever wrote. In my opinion, there are thousands of better Maiden songs out there (”Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Dance of Death”, even “The Legacy”. However, it still wins the prize for the best track of “The Number of the Beast”.

So, this is a typical Maiden album, with too much fillers present; the only different thing is that they are actually worse than the ones on the other albums, so that harms the whole listening experience. Anyways, this record marked the beginning of the golden era of the band, so it's worth listening after all. But if you want the best Maiden record, get “Powerslave” or even “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”, which is a bit weaker but still good.
On other hand, there's some good material here, songs like “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “Run to the Hills” are simply great and deserve a listen. And the performances of the musicians are all quite good, so that's another reason to hear this.

Best Moments of the CD:
-the creepy beginning of “The Number of the Beast”.
-the drum intro of “Run to the Hills”.
-the calm section of “Hallowed Be Thy Name”.

An absolute classic within every sense of the word - 100%

VampireKiller, April 30th, 2008

After the roaring "Killers", Maiden came up with what is often considered their magnum opus. And I can tell you that this is partially true. This is indeed Maiden's perhaps most classic album, but at the same time I like "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" better. After "Killers" and the following world tour, Paul Di'Anno left the band because he apparently didn't like the fame he was getting. A lot of fans were in doubt whether another front man could live up to his tenor with Maiden. But then nobody counted on Bruce Dickinson, did they? You could say that Maiden's sound completely changed when Bruce entered the picture. His vocal style is quite operatic and far removed from the punkish overtones that Paul had. This would also mark the end for Clive Burr.

The production is mostly excellent. Both the rhythm and lead guitar tracks have a lot of crunch and a metallic overtone. The bass is very up front. The only complaint would be about the drum sound, since it almost sounds like Clive is beating on a pair of buckets sometimes.

So the album begins with a riotous speed metal number called "Invaders". It's probably one of Maiden's most underrated openers even though the vocal/guitar combination during the chorus sounds slightly awkward. But aside from that little mistake there's nothing wrong with this song.

"Children of the Damned" is my favourite song from this album. It begins quite slowly and doomy, but later turns into quite a fast track with excellent guitar and vocal melodies.

The next two songs were fan favourites that never really made it beyond that status; "The Prisoner" and "22 Acacia Avenue". "The Prisoner" starts off with a spoken intro from the TV series of the same name before a recognisable drum beat from Clive initiates the song. It's quite a fast track with some great melodies. My only gripe about this track is that the chorus is a bit repetitive. "22 Acacia Avenue" is quite a long and progressive song for being about a whore (!). The intro guitar riff is very simplistic, but works really well. There's not much more to say about this song.

And the following two songs are all time metal classics that I don't think I have to say much about. "The Number of the Beast" with its lyrics, guitar solos and chorus, along with the galloping rhythm and catchy licks of "Run to the Hills".

"Gangland" is, along with "Invaders", the song that gets classified as fillers by most people. I kind of agree with that, but this one is a really good filler. A quite jazzy drum beat gives way to a very simplistic but catchy and quite heavy riff. The only thing wrong with this song is that it's slightly repetitive and not quite up to par with the rest.

"Total Eclipse" is a slow, epic and heavy track. The lyrics are the main driving force behind this song. The guitar solos and the ending part are probably the song's highlights.

And so the album comes to an end with the epic metal classic called "Hallowed Be thy Name". There's so much I could say about this song, but I think most of the other reviewers have already said enough about this.

666! The Number Of The Beast! - 100%

Crank_It_Up_To_666, March 23rd, 2008

It is an indisputable FACT that the mighty Iron Maiden were, are, and will continue to be one of the most influential, consistent and important heavy metal groups in the entirety of heavy metal. Their career is a long, industrious one exemplifying all the best characteristics of dedicated workmanship that have become synonymous with all the greatest metal bands, and it is also a career that has yielded some truly brilliant albums in the course of the genre’s history.
None more so, in this reviewer’s humble view, than 1982’s legendary ‘The Number Of The Beast’ – an album that truly deserves the accolade of “everyone should own a copy”, an album that has come to define all of the elements that have become quintessential to modern metal culture. This album, fellow metalheads, is the stuff of legend.

‘The Number Of The Beast’ is perhaps less of a defining moment for Iron Maiden than it is for heavy metal at large – Maiden are a band who have always been willing to expand and experiment over reliance upon the same old sound. Here, we find a band shrugging off the vague punkish overtones of ‘Iron Maiden’ and ‘Killers’, crafting a masterwork in high speed, balls-of-steel power featuring some of the most important and universally known songs in heavy metal.
For starters, the album itself is a wonder to look at – whether on CD or vinyl, Derek Riggs’ iconic depiction of zombie mascot Eddie towering above a scene of demonic carnage embeds itself in the brain instantaneously. Everything about the album as a package – the logo, the spot on album title and the infamous song titles – all serve to engage the listener’s attention in a vice grip that they won’t want to be relinquished.

The songs have become archetypes of the genre and anthems to generations of metalheads, and rightly so. While the likes of ‘Gangland’ and ‘Total Eclipse’ are admittedly somewhat forgettable, the sheer quality of the majority of the album renders this the most infinitesimal of gripes. Opener ‘Invaders’ is a fantastically over-the-top work of striding riffs and ridiculously cheesy lyrical conceits, complemented perfectly by ‘Children Of The Damned’, one of the best songs of a more mellowed bent that Maiden have ever written.
Fan favourite ’22 Acacia Avenue’ is a powerful headbanging exercise, but it is at the midpoint where the twin hammer blows of the record are delivered, and at the close of the record the piece de resistance: ‘Number Of The Beast’, ‘Run To The Hills’ and closer ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ remain three of the greatest songs in metal’s entire history, featuring some of the most unforgettable riffs, blazing solos and anthemic lyrics of all time, capable of raising devil horns in salute every time they touch mortal ears. The title track may just be one of the greatest songs ever conceived, with its spine-tingling refrain of “666! The Number Of The Beast!” a masterpiece of lyrical craftsmanship.

As a unit, Maiden here are on the top of their game. While they arguably would be given a greater edge in recent years with the use of triple guitar players, here the dual harmonies and galloping riffs of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray get the job done and done damn well. Clive Burr provides a backbone of steel with impeccable drum work, never overdoing anything and making every cymbal crash and rolling fill count. Bruce Dickinson and Steve Harris, for their part, should be given highest honours for their work here – Harris’ complex, driving bass lines are a joy to listen to, as is Dickinson’s human air-raid siren of a voice, a voice that puts in absolutely career-defining performance here. All of these elements combine into a tightly cohesive force to be reckoned with.

In terms of the sound of ‘Number...’, Martin Birch’s production is a stellar work. Crisp and sharp, all the instruments ring out clearly without intruding upon the other and all retaining their own power. Burr’s drum hit with full vim and vigour, the riffs are suitably meaty and heavy whilst never becoming too overbearing, and Bruce’s vocals fit comfortably amongst everything. While the bass’ prominent position seems to cause contention, ultimately Harris’ superb proficiency on his instrument renders this argument somewhat impotent.

‘The Number Of The Beast’ is without a word of exaggeration one of the greatest heavy metal records of all time – one that continues to enthral now and will no doubt do so for decades to come, so it is crucial to metal’s entire development and growth. This, fellow metalheads, is one of the records that no collection is truly complete without.

It's really all it's cracked up to be. - 92%

mankvill, February 21st, 2008

There are many different opinions about this album, ranging from Maiden's best to an overrated piece of garbage. If one steps back and takes a good listen to this album for what it is: Bruce Dickinson's first album in a time with little to no heavy metal, you can start to see this album for how great it really is.

Almost every song on here is unforgettable. There are the undeniable classics of The Number Of The Beast and Run To The Hills, fan favorites 22 Acacia Avenue and Children of the Damned, but then there are also gems in here in the form of The Prisoner and Hallowed Be Thy Name (quite possibly the best ending song to any album ever.) The only miss on this album comes in the form of Gangland. While not terrible, it's wholly forgettable. But even that can't slow down the dominance of every other song on this album.

Dickinson can really wail. His presence on this album is unmatched by any of Di'anno's works on their two previous albums. Dickinson's voice really made Iron Maiden unique at the time and was just something Di'anno could not pull off. Steve Harris on bass, of course, gives a fantastic performance all around, from the galloping of the title track or the emotional playing on Hallowed Be Thy Name, Harris shows just what he can do. Dave Murray and Adrian Smith pull off smoking solos in multiple songs and are only accentuated by Clive Burr's excellent drumming skills song in and song out.

Love it or hate it, no one can deny how influential this album was when it was first released and how it still influences bands over twenty years later. The Number Of The Beast is a great starting point for beginning Iron Maiden fans, and is definitely one of their best releases.

Solid Followup - 87%

Mungo, April 23rd, 2007

The Number of the Beast is one of Iron Maiden's most well known albums, and seems to have had an impact on the metal genre as a whole, with various critics naming it one of the best metal albums ever. With Paul Di'Anno replaced with Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden had to change their sound to some degree due to the more 'operatic' style of their new singer, which spawned the trademark Maiden sound which they still use today. While it isn't as good as Killers, it is still more than a worthy follow up and while not being the classic some say it is it still remains pretty damn good, if somewhat overrated.

Maiden's sound changed considerably with this album, with them opting for a more traditional Heavy Metal sound as opposed to the NWOBHM/Punk influence they previously held. While before it sounded as if the music on display was less thought out and simply raged ahead without as much thought to how each song was constructed, on here it is more streamlined and every note sounds as if it were carefully put in place. The crystal clear production accentuates this point. That is not to say it is a bad thing, as the tracks on this record are mostly high quality. It is generally consistent and packed full of dueling solos and awesome riffing. Iron Maiden knows how to make a good song, and it shows here with such tracks like 'Invaders', '22 Acacia Avenue', the title track, 'Run to the Hills', and the classic closer, 'Hallowed be thy Name'. Unsurprisingly, these songs became sort of Metal anthems, and to a large majority of people they are what comes into their heads when someone mentions Iron Maiden. About half of this album remains in their live set today which makes some songs seem overplayed, but they are mostly still competent songs in their own right.

But while a large majority of this is excellent, there are two songs on here in particular which bring it down. The first one of them is 'The Prisoner', which despite having some awesome soloing is boring and predictably in the verses and choruses. The second is 'Gangland', a song which is sub par compared to what else is on display here. That it is built around a drum beat and not a killer riff would explain why it is a throwaway track. It is very repetitive as well, not a good thing when the song is only 3:49 in length.

The highlight of the album, however, nearly makes up for it. Hallowed Be Thy Name is simply a metal masterpiece, and perhaps even the best track they have ever written. It starts off with an acoustic intro which then leads into a terrific riff with Dickinson’s trademark vocal performance. It then slows down at around 4:06 and leads into awesome fast paced soloing after which a riff is repeated a number of times. Towards the end the vocals come back in with Dickinson holding the last note for around ten seconds after which the song ends. Such a track is rightfully recognized as among the best things to ever come out of the NWOBHM movement, as one listen to it can justify.

So while not being up to the standards of ‘Killers’, this is still a solid Heavy Metal album. It is not necessarily the classic some say it is and more than half of it is overplayed to exhaustion, which can sometimes lead to one skipping over tracks like ‘Run to the Hills’ simply because said person doesn’t feel like listening to it for the 500th time, but it is still more than worth a listen. Its influence on the metal scene at the time was undoubtedly big and there are many people who still worship at the altar of it, but one gets the sense that it is a little overrated.

The Beginning of the Maiden Legacy - 84%

DawnoftheShred, November 15th, 2006

Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast. The greatest heavy metal album of all time? Hardly, although a significant number of people will likely argue this to the death. The greatest Iron Maiden album of all time? Not quite, though it showcases a few of their classics. So what is it the greatest of? Well actually, the album really isn’t the greatest of anything. It has its classic moments, but it hasn’t got the heart of the band’s later releases. However, dwelling on what the album isn’t might cause you to lose sight of what the album is. And what it is is an incredibly important album in metal history, regardless of its inherent flaws.

I‘ll start with the album’s strengths. First off, the songwriting here is phenomenal. Tons of memorable riffs, melody lines, and lead. Some of Maiden’s best are present here in their full glory. Regardless of its simplicity, “Run to the Hills” is one of the single catchiest and most magnificent songs the band has ever released. The chorus is almost amazing beyond words. “Children of the Damned” is one their better power ballad type songs, with a great sense of melody and a cool clean riff. “Hallowed Be Thy Name” is of course none other than one of the band’s most celebrated masterpieces musically, lyrically, and even atmospherically. The intro is still chilling almost 25 years later. If that doesn’t scream greatness, I’m not sure what does.

Secondly, the addition of Bruce Dickinson was one of those legendary moments in metal history, as his creative influence would lead to dozens of classic tunes by the band. I personally like Paul Di’anno as a vocalist, but he doesn’t have the range that Bruce has. Bruce’s vocals aren’t perfect here, but they would be by the next album, Piece of Mind. His presence in the band is incredibly welcome.

Now on to its flaws. Its most glaring problem is the same one from the first two albums. While some of the songs are classics, the others are pretty much forgettable. Songs such as “Gangland” and “22 Acacia Avenue” really unbalance a generally strong album. If the band can write 5-6 classic songs, why can’t they write 2 more instead of filler? Your guess is as good as mine, though they wouldn’t have this problem on most of their prior albums. My other big complaint is with the bass sound. I never really noticed this until my most recent listen, but the bass guitar part is way louder than it should be, sometimes overpowering the guitars. Yes, Steve Harris is a great bassist, but he doesn’t need to be way up front like that.

Other than the weaker tracks and erroneous mixing, Number of the Beast is a great album by all means. It’s heavy, it’s quick, it’s catchy, it’s melodic, and it’s quite memorable. It’s not the band’s best work, but it shows the first signs of the true greatness the band would soon afterwards achieve.

The bridge between the two eras. - 98%

Fatal_Metal, September 29th, 2006

In 1982, Maiden raked up an album which caused quite a bout of controversy and caused quite a stir in the metal scene as well. Paul Di’Annio went out the door and in came the superior Bruce Dickinson. Perhaps as a result of adaption to Bruce’s vocal style, Maiden softened their style, rooted out the punk and went forward to a more epic style. The residual effects of this change can be seen on this album. There are many moments and tracks which scream ‘Killers!’ (although with the punk elements out) here which is what makes it a sort of a bridge between early Maiden and later Maiden. This album was what really broke Maiden into the mainstream.

Bruce Dickinson is a much more capable replacement to Paul Di’Annio. With Bruce’s operatic style, Iron Maiden truly found its niche. Bruce had more range, power and emotion than Paul (there are few singers with as much emotive power as Bruce) and his talent spoke for itself, quickly erasing any doubt from people’s minds that Maiden had perished. Steve still shines on the bass-rich production which as I mentioned earlier, acts more as a boon than a bane to Maiden. Dave Murray and Adrian provide another solid job on guitars here, pulling off some of Maiden’s best solos ever in Hallowed Be Thy Name (which has Maiden’s best solo and is incidentally their best song as well), Number Of The Beast and The Prisoner. Clive Burr still hasn’t missed a beat although this would sadly be his last album with Maiden before he faded into obscurity.

A few weak-spots prevent this album from receiving a 99 or a 100. And these are Run To The Hills and Invaders. Both are nice and fun (esp. Run To The Hills) but lack the spark and the freshness of the rest of the album. Perhaps this is because these songs seem more like residue left off from Killers and don’t work at all when slapped on a more mature release like Number Of The Beast. Also bonus track ‘Total Eclipse’ was rightfully rejected, it doesn’t at all keep up with the standards set by the rest of the album.

The rest of the songs though, are some of the best if not the best of Maiden’s catalogue. ‘Children of the Damned’ is a haunting ballad on the movie of the same name, Bruce really rips on vocals here. The song builds up from a slow starts and finishes off with a majestic fashion with an adrenaline-pumping twin lead and a distinct wail from Bruce. ‘The Prisoner’ is another up-beat, catchy number with excellent soloing showing up mid-way. ’22 Acacia Avenue’ is the follow-up to ‘Charlotte the Harlot’. The song though is absolutely nothing like the Charlotte. I disagree with claims from many that it drags, in fact the length is just right. The soloing and riffing are top notch and Bruce delivers another performance for the ages here. Also, this song contains what maybe metal’s first bass solo at 5:57 (actually it’s a bass-guitar dual lead). The title track follows and is probably the catchiest song here. This song was in many ways flag-song of metla in the 80’s and especially raised the hairs of a few fanatical Christian groups with its supposedly Satanic lyrical content. ‘Gangland’ then follows and sounds like another song that could have been placed in Killers. Its probably the fastest song on here and the twin-lead midway is excellent. Next is ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ which is undoubtedly Maiden’s best and metal’s best song. The atmosphere around the song is immense and foreboding of the feeling of death lurking within one’s grasp. Maiden sucessfuly render the insecurities of a prisoner before his execution and his subsequent resignation to his fate. Bruce gives an unmatchable vocal performance while the guitar themselves play a riff laced with most exquisite melody and aptly mid-paced tempo (the way its menat to be, Maiden ruins it when they speed it up live), Burr expertly co-ordinates with the rhythm while Steve gives a dirge-feeling to it all. The song passes through various tempo changes and remains excellent throught. One point to note however is the solo section, which has Maiden’s best solos ever. Adrian (who’s part is now being constantly butchered by Janick Gers) and Murray both belt out their best here and the solos also feel amazingly suited to the atmosphere around the song. The lyrics contain some of the best lines ever invented, who can deny the charm of – ‘If there’s a god, why’s he let me die?’ or ‘When you know your time is closer, then you begin to understand that life down there is a strange illusion’?. The entire song is truly an achievement and a song of such depth, emotion and brilliance will in all probability never arise again, even from Maiden!

On the whole, the album is worth getting – if only for the last track. This album contains the last traces of the Killers sound and the subsequent release totally sheds any association with the debut or the sophomore release. Although recently the album has come under criticism for being repetitive, these views are all but biased – there is great variety to be found in the album and it is evident to any listener when he actually listens to it.

Standardizing the Legend. - 92%

hells_unicorn, September 15th, 2006
Written based on this version: 1998, CD, EMI (Remastered, Enhanced)

During the late 70s to early 80s the NWOBHM was a fairly loosely defined term, applying primarily to bands that had some similarities with the punk rock movement of 1977, but with more musicianship, more energy, and much better singing. Ultimately 2 very different styles would emerge from this movement, the thrash style pioneered by bands like Motorhead, and the more traditional melodic heavy metal by that of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.

This album, along with "Screaming for Vengeance", represent the most standardized approach to the more melodic, yet still heavy side of the NWOBHM sound (barring that the latter came from a band with roots much earlier). It is a departure from the two previous albums not only in that Paul Di'Anno was replaced with Bruce Dickinson (which was a rather large change) but also that many of the more progressive elements on the past two albums vanished in favor of a much more standardized sound.

The song structure on this album, as a whole, is a lot more basic. Songs such as "Invaders", "Children of the Damned", "The Prisoner", "Run to the Hills", and the title track are all structured like your stereotypical radio friendly metal tune from the 80s. Although they do rock out a good deal harder and have more lyrical depth than most of the 80s mainstream stuff. "22 Acacia Avenue" and "Hallowed be thy name" have fairly complex changes, the former has a fairly sizable change in feel, while the latter has a ton of varying themes that come in and out.

If I were to rate this album in terms of individual songs, it would get a 100 easy, but one thing which this album suffers from is a lack of overall variety. Some of the songs have a sameness to them, that is further brought out by the fact that some songs that are next to each other have similar intros. One example is putting two songs with drum intros (Gangland and Run to the Hills) right next to each other.

Stand out tracks on this album, ironically, are the ones that are the most radio friendly. "The Prisoner" has some great lyrical storytelling and is a good classic hommage to the old TV series (which I saw many reruns of while I was at college). "Run to the Hills" highlights one of Bruce Dickinson's greatest vocal performances, along with an unforgettable chorus. The title track has it's fair share of intrigue, particularly a neat little bass riff that follows the climactic guitar solo section.

One other point of interest is the guitar soloing. Although I have a preference to Adrian Smith's lead playing on most other Maiden releases, on this one Dave Murray has the lion's share of the better solos. His solo on "Hallowed be thy name" is much more dramatic sounding than Smith's, and his work on "Run to the Hills" is quite excellent.

Without question, this is an essential part of any metal collection. I can't say it's my favorite album, because other Maiden releases after this one built on the format that this one started and were a bit more intricate. But some of Maiden's best and most well known music is on here. I can recommend this album to all whom appreciate good old fashioned traditional metal.

The Evergreen of Heavy Metal - 89%

Robert_the_Bruce, April 18th, 2005

When Paul Di'anno was handed the pink slip in 1981 due to his questionable lifestyle, many Maiden fans wondered whether or not the band would be able to successfully soldier on. As we all know, their fears were allayed when Bruce Dickinson was selected to take on vocal duties. The band not only survived--they flourished. Dickinson's powerful and evocative delivery afforded bassist and key songwriter Steve Harris a larger window for creative songwriting. The rest of the world was not slow to pick up on this, as the album shot straight up to #1 on the charts in their native England while the band found themselves embarking on their maiden (pun intended) stateside tour. As hinted at in the title, the band's third volume still packs a wallop, despite having been released over two decades ago. I can't begin to imagine what people thought of this back in 1982.

Things kick off with the fast and furious "Invaders", an account of Viking conquests. Proto-speed metal is the name of the game here. After hearing ten to fifteen seconds worth of Bruce's wails, it is clear that he was a vital ingredient in the band's metamorphosis from a promising NWOBHM outfit into a worldwide phenomenon. Despite a fractured chorus, the track does a decent job of setting the tone for the rest of album. The second song, "Children of the Damned", begins with a soft, down-tempo intro, to which "Fade to Black" owes quite a bit. In my estimation, this song, more than any of the others on the disc, harkens back to the Di'anno days. After some impassioned, melodic vocals from Bruce, the song picks up the pace, and the listener is treated to a rapid-fire solo. Track number three is entitled the "The Prisoner" and begins with a clip of the intro from the old television program of the same name, followed by some nice groovy percussion work from now-erstwhile Clive Burr. Not to sound nit-picky, but this song has a more commercial flair than anything that Maiden had came up with thus far; the chorus is decidedly catchy and justs screams 'sing-a-long'. Of particular note is Harris's four-string work, pointing to Geddy Lee influences.

Up next is "22 Acacia Avenue", one of the band's more progressive compositions. The sequel to the eponymous debut's "Charlotte the Harlot", it is also a considerable improvement. Bruce's delivery borders on raunchy at certain moments, but that is precisely what this tune calls for. There exist a multitude of mood and tempo shifts, bolstering the song's replay value. After the conclusion of this 6 1/2-minute metal triumph, there follows the song that enveloped the band in controversy. Religious figureheads (known as crackpots by us thinking individuals) wrongfully accused Maiden of Satan worship, pointing their fingers at the title track. Things commence calmly enough with a Vincent Price-esque spoken word section taken from the book of Revelations, but shortly after the 1:15 mark, Bruce lets loose with a scream that would rip Roger Daltrey a new one. The chorus was definitely designed with audience participation in mind, and the song has been a mainstay of the band's setlist to this day. Two back-to-back solos, by Dave and Adrian respectively, round out this classic. Maiden's best-known song "Run to the Hills" calls this album home, and also has yet to be discarded from live performances. It may be cheesy and radio-friendly, but few things get a crowd pumped up at a Maiden gig more than this fun little number and that instantly-recognizable drum intro.

Whenever a Maiden fan is asked to pick out the weakest link from this album, the majority of replies will be the seventh track, "Gangland". I cannot bring myself to disagree with this viewpoint, but the song does not suck or constitute filler by any means. The riffing is relentless and Bruce is in total command here. A noteworthy fact is that Harris does not have a writing credit here; this fun little number was the brainchild of Smith and Burr. "Total Eclipse" was not originally found on the original album, but existed as a B-side. The lyrics revolve around the topic of nuclear holocaust, with an apocalyptic-sounding riff accentuating the verses nicely. It is unquestionably a solid track, but the band have saved the best for last. If ever a heavy metal nation was founded, "Hallowed Be Thy Name" would doubtlessly be its national anthem. Starting off quietly with some clean guitar and tolling bells, Bruce lucidly paints a picture of man reflecting on his last few hours of living. After about a minute in, the killer riffs begin, quickly joined by Dickinson's fiery wails. Two inspired guitar bridges give the listener a chance to catch a breath before the next verse kicks in. The final lines before the guitar histrionics begin are some of my favorites not just in Maiden's catalogue, but in all of metal, period. How can one NOT get a jolt from hearing "When you know that your time is close at hand/Maybe then, you'll begin to understand/Life down here is just a strange illusion."? A grand finale in every sense of the phrase.

In spite of all the accolades I've heaped upon the album, I firmly believe that it still plays second-fiddle to 'Powerslave'. By the time that particular album was released, Maiden had honed their craft to a razor-edge and all but had the metal world's balls in a vise grip. That in no way detracts from 'Number', though. It is still a high pick for the foundation of a metal music collection, and not a half-bad album for rock fans to pick up, too.

Maiden hits the jackpot - 95%

raZe, July 28th, 2002

So comes the third album. Iron Maiden had enjoyed success with their two first albums. They had even released a live EP called ‘Maiden Japan’ after the second album. The truth is, though, ‘Killers’ was a disappointment after the mindblowing debut album, and vocalist Paul Di’Anno was starting to loose it. Maiden had to cancel several shows because of Di’Anno was getting drunk or worse. They needed someone to replace him. So, they began their search and found Bruce Dickinson. Bruce was at the time the vocalist in a band called Samson, and called himself Bruce Bruce for some reason. Steve Harris and the rest of Iron Maiden was of course very interested in having him join. Bruce wasn’t basking in any particular success with Samson, and thought this could be his way to stardom. He joined, and Di’Anno got the boot. And then Iron Maiden recorded their third album.

“The Number of the Beast” was the band’s breakthrough record. While they grew bigger through the rest of the 80’s, this is the album that really got the snowball rolling. It is considered by rock critics to be their best album, either this or Piece of Mind, while the fans think of it as one of Maiden’s best, perhaps not quite the masterpiece ‘Seventh Son…’ is, but still an incredible record.

The record starts with ‘Invaders’. A fast, upbeat track, it’s a great opener, though not quite the quality that most of the rest of the album possess. There’s a definite improvement in sound over the first two albums, and Dickinson’s incredible voice makes Di’Anno’s voice pale in comparison. Maiden really hit the jackpot with that decision. Song number two, ‘Children of the Damned’, is a semi-ballad. The intro is reminiscent of Metallica’s ‘The Unforgiven’, though if anyone’s ripped of anyone, it’s the other way around. It’s a really beautiful song, and the first song on the album where new vocalist Bruce really shines. Towards the end of the song, it gets faster, and Clive Burr’s drums in that section sounds fantastic. He really was one of the best drummers. Then comes ‘The Prisoner’, a song based on the television series of the same name. Somehow it almost outclasses the song that preceded it, and that’s quite a task. This one is a faster song, with a ripping verse, and a very catchy chorus. The most impressive section of the song is the bridge, though, where bassist Steve Harris outdoes himself. It’s like a leadguitar solo, only on bass. Incredible stuff, really. Track four is named ’22 Acacia Avenue’, the sequel to ‘Charlotte the Harlot’, found on the debut album. The basis for the song was actually something guitarist Adrian Smith brought with him from his previous band, and it was reworked into this song. It starts very slow, with a cool riff, and then it suddenly gets fast. The guitar work is great as usual, and Dickinson’s performance is a treat to listen to. Closer to the end there’s a really great guitar solo from either Adrian Smith or Dave Murray. Although I play the guitar, it’s impossible for me to distinguish between the two. They are both two of the world’s greatest guitarists in the world, so it doesn’t really matter if I can make them apart or not. The song itself is not quite as good as the previous two, but it still has a high quality.

Then comes the title track. This is one of the most legendary songs in metal history, and of course one of Maiden’s best. Not an overly complicated song, but it’s perfectly executed. It starts with spoken word by some guy (I’ve heard it is Vincent Price, but I’m not sure), taken from the Bible, and then the riff kicks in. Bruce starts to sing, and after a few lines it all explodes in a high-pitched scream of fury. Or is it desperation. I’m not sure. It sounds great anyway. And then the verse kicks in, which is so great to listen to, words can’t really describe it. After a couple of verses, two of the most incredible guitar solos comes along. You should really listen carefully when those kick in. The chorus is simple, with only two lines, but still holds up by far. And this is only the second best track on the record! Track number six is probably one of Maiden’s most well-known songs ever. ‘Run to the Hills’. A very cool song, with a galloping rhythm. It’s very repetitive, but it’s so good it doesn’t really matter. You could say it’s this record’s version of ‘Running Free’. Bruce sings REALLY high-pitched on this song, and because of that he sometimes have trouble singing it live. He did it perfectly at the concert I went to in 2000, though. Actually, he’s having more trouble singing ‘The Number of the Beast’, now that I think of it. Anyway, let’s go on with the review. ‘Gangland’ is the next track. Sadly, it can’t compare to the rest of the album in terms of quality. It’s co-written by Clive Burr, and therefore it’s kind of the drums that get the attention. The verse is allright, but the chorus is not good at all. The guitar solos are boring, and all in all it’s better to skip the song.

If you have the ’98 remastered version of this album, there’s a bonus track on it. Track number eight is that bonus track. ‘Total Eclipse’ is a song that was released as a b-side to one of the singles from ‘The Number…’, but it’s actually better than ‘Gangland’. I think it was written at the same time as the rest of the tracks, but somehow it reminds me of the hybrid between ‘The Number of the Beast’ and ‘Piece of Mind’. It’s a bit slower than most stuff on the album, and very moody. I’m glad it was finally included. The last song on the album, track number nine, is ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’. This is arguably Maiden’s ultimate masterpiece. It’s a real epic from start to finish, and was the start of those grand, neverending songs that Maiden concluded their three next albums with. It’s about a man that is about to be executed, and about the thoughts that goes through his head in these last hours. The instrumental sections of the song are wonderful, and it’s the guitars that really makes this song head and shoulders above almost anything else. One incredible riff after the next, mixed with harmonies and killer lead-guitar solos. The end is so perfect it brings a tear to my eye. My God, I’m so impressed!

Phew. I’m finally at the end of the review. This is an album that every metal fan should own. It defined what Maiden was/is all about, and they have kept this going until this day. Of course, they skipped the 90’s, but that’s another set of reviews. My final words must be: If you own this album, you’re one lucky human being. If you still haven’t got it (and NO, MP3’s does NOT count!), you should be ashamed of yourself, confess your dark sin and go buy the album.