Iron Maiden / The Number Of The Beast [Remastered]

Number of the Beast

The Number of the Beast is the third studio album by British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. The album was released on March 29, 1982 through EMI and on its sister label Capitol on the Harvest imprint in the US originally before it was re-released by Sanctuary/Columbia in the US. This was the debut of vocalist Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden.

Of all the songs in the album, “The Number of the Beast”, “Run to the Hills” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name” remain on the set lists of nearly all of the band’s concert tours, with the latter two often used to close a show. All three songs have been released as singles in various forms.

The Beast on the Road was the tour supporting the album.

The Number of the Beast is one of two Iron Maiden albums listed in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (Iron Maiden is the other).

The Analysis:

Invaders—-This release marked not only the debut of Bruce Dickinson as lead vocalist, but also a new production quality that allowed the band to truly shine and set their trademark galloping sound in motion. This was a groundbreaking release…establishing the band as the fore-fathers in the NWOBHM movement. Dickinson delivered a vocal that the band was just dying for…something that Di’anno was never able to really produce for the band. This track…full of that medieval style lyric that the band concentrated on in the early years was monumental and set kids on fire all over the world…the rekmarkable thing….this still sounds huge and fresh to this day.

Children Of The Damned—-Beginning with a nice guitar interlude, the mood is set in motion with the onset of Dickinson’s vocal….not differing much from the stuff he did with Samson….the histrionics that Dickinson brought to the band though elevated them to a level that I’m sure surprised even them. If you listen back to old Samson stuff though, this would have fit perfectly in the set list. You can not deny the huge power riffs and chords as well as the powerful voice…we just knew this was the future…indeed.

The Prisoner—-A classic track if just for the spoken word intro alone. This is another of those Maiden tracks that I never get tired of listening to. this has a vocal that shows Dickinson off to his finest…the band works in perfect tandem with the histrionics….this is a true classic 80’s Heavy Metal track….when Metal really meant something. Again, as I have said many times before….Nicko has never received proper kudos for his stellar drum playing that he has done in this band…they make this song as huge as it is…this is stellar…Bruce stretches his voice just enough to make an impact and to bring a permanent smile to my face….incredible!!!

22 Arcacia Avenue—-Although this track really contains all the classic elements of every Maiden song, this has never really found a place in my heart as far as Maiden favorites go. I love the vocal as I listen back to it now. The guitars are a bit restrained…allowing Bruce to steal the spotlight…the gallopping bass sound a bit more restrained…this is by no means a bad song, it just never had that magic for me that so many Maiden songs have had. This is still classic…especially when the song breaks and allows Harris to really play.

The Number Of The Beast—-Perhaps one of the best songs that this band has in its catalog, this song has often been misunderstood by adults who claim this is an ode to the devil…quite the opposite really as the song cries out to those who are in the know to rescue those who are being led astray. The intro is a classic affair…the spoken word intro often repeated over the 14 times I have seen Maiden never gets old and always elicits a crowd frenzy. The track allows Harris to play with abandon as the song is bass centered and is his ‘baby’. Dickinson delivers a vocal of a lifetime and it still works incredibly well today…this is just fantastic…a moment caught in time.

Run To The Hills—-For me, this was the song that proved what an incredibly dynamic vocalist Bruce really was. Not to mention that this had the Maiden sound fully in check….the Harris bass line was the master of this track…never letting up or allowing you to forget that this was a band that was really going somewhere. This was a masterpiece, remains a masterpiece and still plays like a masterpiece. I never could find the words to tell you how many times this song has been played in my house…not to mention my head!!! Besides, it has a nice political message as well!

Gangland—-Again, has enough ever been said about the exceptional drumming in this band? I think not!!! This begins with a drum intro that really leads the entire pace of the entire song. Bruce delivers a vocal that is classic…the band will still play this live on occasion and it is still as dynamic as this remastered recording…even if it is toned down a bit to adapt the waning vocal capability of Bruce’s vocals. This is a huge track…the riffs from the guitars are monumental…even with Harris a bit in the backdrop. This is classic, stellar and still fresh all of these years later.

Total Eclipse—-With a lead in by the Harris bass line machine, the drums are second place on this track but monumental none the less. the build-up before the onslaught is fantastic….Bruce enters with what i would consider to be his weakest vocal on this release…and even that is pretty damn incredible. This is secondary to the vocal in my opinion…this for me was a nice showcase for the band and their ability to play a very great song. It was successful for me…this is still a favorite track of mine.

Hallowed Be Thy Name—-If you are fortunate, then you have experienced this track live….that note that Bruce hold out and seems to go on and on and on is just incredible. The beginning of this track is the stellar moment for me…the rest of the song is hard pressed to come close to that mastery. The lyrical content is SOOOO Maiden… set a landmark for content and mood. Harris lands a great bass line and the trademark galloping sound was never the same after this track…freakin brilliant!!!!

****3/4 out of 5


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