Nov 30, 2022
By Michael James Hall
Iron Maiden are the most enduring metal band of our times and undoubtedly one of the most endearing. They crossed over in 1982 with debuting vocalist Bruce Dickinson and a pair of hit singles in “Run to the Hills” and “The Number of the Beast” informing the huge success and longstanding appeal of the band’s third album, also titled The Number of the Beats.
The imagery and lyrics that caused so much moral outrage then are now more iconic than offensive, the songs themselves remaining triumphal, remarkably tuneful, and endlessly influential. Singles aside, “Hallowed Be Thy Name” is a dramatic, brooding demon of a song, hinting at their gradual shift into the epic, while “The Prisoner” highlights the phenomenal melodic sensibility the band had swiftly developed since the previous year’s Killers.
There’s little here that could be labeled anything less than anthemic and this vinyl pressing of the 2015 remaster is a sonic treat. The replacement of the album’s weakest track “Gangland” with fan and band favorite, b-side “Total Eclipse” is an inspired choice. The fact that this comes packaged with the band’s legendary and elusive Beast Over Hammersmith live show, featuring thunderous versions of Maiden’s early work, is a mouthwatering bonus for diehards. One of the best metal albums of all time and one of the most thrilling; 40 years on, the beast still roars. (www.ironmaiden.com)
Author rating: 9/10
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