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Iron Maiden

The Number Of The Beast

Review by Patrick Hennen

Back in the 1980's this was the album that was constantly under fire by Religious Fanatics, Politicians and anyone in general who wanted to try to give rock music a bad name. I wish that those same people would bother to listen to the song, read the lyrics and try to understand the songs better before they open their mouths to try to discredit it. There, I'll step off my soapbox for now. This album marks the debut of former Samson singer, Bruce Dickinson. This truly is an album that any real classic metal collector would have in their collection.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Musically a great punch right off the get go, this song kicks in your teeth from the opening drum beats to the hardcore rhythm guitar. Lyrically, this tune is about an old Norse battle with the Saxons. What? I am learning history from Iron Maiden? YEP!
Children of the Damned
This is the mellow track from the album. This still has an incredible bridge that will crack your ribs. This song does build by the ending with some tremendous guitar work.
The Prisoner
This is one of my personal favorites on this disc. The clip at the beginning is from the old television series "The Prisoner" and is used very well at the beginning of this track. Musically this song will make your neck sore from banging your head. Bruce uses his vocal skills in an awesome assault of range in this track.
22 Acacia Avenue
Ah, yes, the continuing saga of "Charlotte The Harlot", from the 1st album. I often get confused listening to this track due to the lyrics. At the beginning of this song it sounds like Bruce is playing pimp for Charlotte, "You can tell her that you know me, and you might even get it free." However, by the end of this song, Bruce plays superhero and tries to remove her from her life in the red light district. "You're packing your bags and you're coming with me." Musically, I've heard better tracks by them, but this is not that bad.
The Number of the Beast
OK, I'll reposition my soapbox up here so all the religious fanatics and politicians can hear me on this one. This song is about someone trying to cope with witnessing a ritual. This is not about how to do one or anything like that. This is musically one of the best tunes on the disc. It has great structure changes in rhythm and timing and is a true metal classic.
Run to the Hills
We've all heard Metallica mutilate this song at the end of their disc "Garage Days Re-Revisted", well, here's the real deal kiddies. Musically, this one is relentless, with a hard drive that doesn't slow down to take a breath until the end. Lyrically, this track opens with the Indians' views on the cowboys, and closes with the cowboys' views on the Indians.
I admit it right now, this is the track that I usually skip on this disc. This is a very busy song. The opening drum beat is nothing short of reckless and musically it's not bad, it just didn't click for me. It is worth a listen though.
Hallowed Be Thy Name
I really couldn't think of a better track to close this with than this one. The opening with the chimes is breathtaking. Bruce's vocal range will stop you cold here. The song is about a convicted man's last moments before being executed for his crimes. It's a terrific song to close this monster opus with.
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