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Classic Review: Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast
Iron Maiden
The Number of the Beast

Label: EMI
Year released: 1982
Duration: 44:55
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: August 30, 2003
Reviewed by: Eddiethe'Ead
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.61/5 (92.28%) (101 Votes)

Damn, it sure is hard not to be biased when it comes to reviewing a Maiden album. I mean, it's Iron fucking Maiden. The single most influential metal group to ever grace the scene, they deserve every last ounce of the respect that they have garnered. No band will ever accomplish what Maiden accomplished in the 80s; the single greatest decade by any band in the history of metal. With 7 excellent studio albums, and a live disc for the ages, Maiden in the 1980s were unstoppable. It is a sad thing indeed to note that after the brilliant Seventh Son album, they dropped tremendously in the songwriting and energy departments, and became less great. But let that not dampen what they did in the 80s, and that was release some of the best heavy metal on the planet. The Number of the Beast is a bonafide classic; a surefire album for the slogan, "a classic if there ever was one." One of the first truly "evil" albums, it created a huge impact upon the scene and the media when it was released (mainly because of the devil on the cover). But this started the underground explosion of the 80s; kids wanted to go out and buy the most evil thing that they could get their hands on, and Maiden was sort of a rebellious teenage thing. That's how the kids got into Maiden, and the music kept them there. Why? Because the music was so damn good. Steve Harris, bass master and songwriter extraordinaire for the band, wrote some memorable tunes on here, including the immortal "Hallowed Be Thy Name." But many have asked the question: is this really the best Iron Maiden album? The answer is no, it is not.

The collection of tunes on The Number of the Beast is very solid indeed, but not quite as great as the ones on Piece of Mind, or Powerslave. "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and "22 Acacia Avenue" are two of their all-time best songs, but "Gangland" is also one of their worst. The two hit songs on here, "Run to the Hills" and the title track are both pretty good, with the latter being the better. "The Prisoner" contains the best Dickinson vocal performance, with his trademark snarl. My main problem with the album is that it is not consistent, too many simply average songs, and not great songs. Not to say it doesn't belong in any self-respecting metalhead's collection, it certainly does. Actually, go the fuck out and buy every single Iron Maiden album; they are all worth it, every last one.

But the debate rages on which Maiden album is the best…but who gives a shit? Just enjoy them for what they are. I mean, isn't it good to not have a favorite album by a band? That means there is tremendous competition going on. With other bands, there is always one album that comes out on top, like Judas Priest with Sad Wings of Destiny or Slayer with Reign in Blood, but Iron Maiden just has so many classic albums that picking a favorite is eternally impossible.

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