Album #513 – The Number of the Beast

Album #513

The Number of the Beast was Iron Maiden’s first album to feature long time vocalist Bruce Dickinson, one of my favourite singers. His vocals are a mixture of opera and the closest voice to Dickinson’s is Ian Gillian of Deep Purple, a huge influence on Dickinson. Dickinson’s voice has power but, also it is distinctive and does not frighten at all. Despite this, the album was derided by some because of it’s title and the dark nature of some of the songs. Even the artwork can raise and eyebrow or two. But, beyond this, the album is one of the best I have ever heard. The musicianship is phenomenal and mixed with Dickinson’s voice, the group creates a one-two punch. It is excitement from start to finish. The album is a huge part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and defined a generation of that music. It remains a classic and an essential listen for not only fans of metal but rock as well. It contains their biggest British hit, Run to the Hills, a song that showcases Dickinson’s range perfectly. Not all the songs are about heaven and hell. In fact, Dickinson could not fully write many of the album’s songs. This was because he still had a contract with his previous band. He could influence them but, most of the writing went to guitarist Steve Harris. Some of the tracks have themes of science fiction like the Prisoner, based on and containing dialogue from the TV show of the same name. Many accused Maiden of being Satanists but it’s far from the truth. Dickinson flies planes in his spare time. Many of the other band members also have pretty normal lives. It’s their love of music that brings them together. That is why this album is so good. The musical quality is outstanding. It’s just a shame that many people have written this band off simply because of the album’s cover or the titles of their songs. Iron Maiden is so much more than that. To me, they are continuing the tradition of amazing rock and roll by creating their own sound and style. Music is always evolving but without changes, it would not be as exciting. For Iron Maiden, the music comes before anything else. Other rock bands should look at just how innovative a band can be by their sound. Because after all, it’s the sound that should matter much more than the image. Other highlights include: Invaders, Children of the Damned, 22 Acacia Avenue, The Number of the Beast, Gangland and Hallowed Be Thy Name. Overall, I give The Number of  the Beast, 7 out of 5.

Next: Rio by Duran Duran


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