Number of the Beast is an album which set the benchmark for heavy metal in the 80s, and powered the genre into a new era. The addition of Bruce Dickinson's powerful vocal gymnastics took the already popular and promising Iron Maiden to another plane. The two superb singles taken from the album, 'Run to the Hills' and the title track, proved that good music didn't have to bow down to the radio-friendly consensus to sell units and smash its way into the 'pop' charts. Oh how those smug DJs must have cringed when they had to play the songs in the chart run down. Unlike many mainstream albums, the quality didn't waver beyond the singles. The record opens with 'Invaders' which hits like a locamotive out of control. The lilting intro to 'Children of the Damned' lulls the listener into a false sense of security before it explodes to a storming finale. 'The Prisoner' thunders along beneath a catchy chorus, and '22 Acacia Avenue' is an intelligent pot pourri of hard hitting riffs and rhythms. There is a slight lapse with 'Gangland', before the album closes with a masterpiece in 'Hallowed Be Thy Name'. The updated CD version of this record also includes 'Total Eclipse'. Initially released as the B-side to 'Run to the Hills', and missing from the original album, it's a great track and would have undoubtedly been on the album had CDs been around in 1982. NOTB was a ground breaking record, and still sounds as fresh and vibrant now as it did on its release, when it found its way to the number 1 spot in the UK album charts. Maiden have rarely reached such a peak in performance and writing since.