Top critical review
The Number Of The Fillers
on 10 May 2017
After releasing 2 Flawless Albums in a row, Iron Maiden singer Paul Dianno leaves the band mid tour. While attending Reading Festival in 1981, Bassist Steve Harris and Manager Rod Smallwood are watching NWOBHM band Samson performing with a little known singer Bruce Bruce. After being extremely impressed by his Vocal performance, They offer Bruce the job as the next vocalist, as they were looking to replace Paul anyway. Bruce changed his stage name back to his real Name, Bruce Dickinson and the rest is history.
So how does the first album with Bruce hold up after all this time? Well, not great. This album is often seen as a landmark of Heavy Metal, which is just something I can't agree with. Lets analyse this album track by track.
1. Invaders. The album opens with a song that has practically the same song subject as a previous maiden song (Invasion, a B side to the Women in Uniform Single). This song is a bit forgettable, with some weird lyrics and phrasing by Bruce. 2/5
2. Children Of the Damned. The next song alternates between Peaceful Acoustic Verses and Heavy Chorus, with a heavy fast section, complete with a surprisingly average Tapping solo that is slightly out of time. It's not a bad track. 3.5/5
3. The Prisoner. This song is based on a late 60s TV show of the same name. Quite a good Maiden song with a great Sing-along Chorus and some good lyrics. 4/5
4. 22 Acacia Avenue. The second song in the 'Charlotte' song Saga (the first being Charlotte the Harlot from the first Maiden Album). A Fast, dark and Heavy song that switches time signatures and has sudden song time changes. A prog Metal song, while still having the Structure of a straight forward Metal song. 5/5
5. Number Of The beast. The title track with a memorable music video. I must admit, the first time I heard this song, I found it really great. The more I listen to it however, the more I don't like it. The song, even though it's not even 5 minutes, drags on a bit too long, with the song sounding much longer than it actually is. I do find however, that this song always works much better live than in the studio. 3/5
6. Run To the Hills. A true Heavy Metal classic. Memorable riff, great historical lyrics, the trademark Maiden Gallop and one of the greatest choruses ever committed to tape. 5/5
7. Gangland. Oh boy, Gangland. Possibly the worst Iron Maiden song of the 80s, Even perhaps their whole career. Nothing about this song is any way special or even good. Even Clive Burr's drum work can't save this song. 1/5
8. Total Eclipse. Ok, this song wasn't originally on the original album (originally just a single), but's on the CD remasters series, which is what I own, so I'm reviewing it. It's a better song than Gangland (that's not very hard), but it's still not great. It's only a bit less forgettable than Invaders, but isn't that much better Musically. 2.5/5
9. Hallowed Be Thy Name. The closing Track, and What a closing Track. After a calm intro featuring an Acoustic Guitar and a Church Bell, What comes next is 7 minutes of Dual Guitar Work, Superb Drum Work and Bruce Singing about a Prisoner about to be hung and Asking why this all happened to him. Easily one of the best Songs they ever wrote, and the intro features a better scream than Bruce's famous Scream on the Title track. 5/5
So, how does their Mainstream breakthrough album rank? Featuring 3 classic tracks, One really good track and the rest of the album filler, with also the worst Maiden song ever written, I just can't agree that the album is the Heavy Metal classic that so many people say it is. The Previous albums and the 2 albums following this one are much better.