Iron Maiden
The Number of the Beast

1. Invaders
2. Children of the Damned
3. The Prisoner
4. 22 Acacia Avenue
5. The Number of the Beast
6. Run to the Hills
7. Gangland
8. Hallowed Be Thy Name

Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Dave Murray – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar, backing vocals
Steve Harris – bass, backing vocals
Clive Burr – drums, percussion

Iron Maiden (1980)
Killers (1981)
The Number of the Beast (1982)
Piece of Mind (1983)
Powerslave (1984)
Somewhere in Time (1986)
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)
No Prayer for the Dying (1990)
Fear of the Dark (1992)
The X Factor (1995)
Virtual XI (1998)
Brave New World (2000)
Dance of Death (2003)
A Matter of Life and Death (2006)
The Final Frontier (2010)


Martin Birch – producer, engineer
Rod Smallwood – manager
Derek Riggs – illustration
Ross Halfin – photography
Denis O'Regan – photography

Released 22/3-1982
Reviewed 23/3-2012


By today, hundreds of thousands of hard rock albums have been released and among these there are a small amount that has made such an impression that both you, me and everyone else knows about them. On this very day, 30 years ago, one of these few really classic albums were released - 'The Number Of The Beast' by Iron Maiden.

You might say that there are many Iron Maiden albums that can be considered "classics", maybe even that most of them are but regardless of how much I can understanding that point, I can't agree with you. Sure, if you ask 1000 hardcore Iron maiden fans, you'll probably get at least ten different answers on which album that is the most "classic" or the best. But ask the same questions to people within the music industry and I'll guarantee that 99% of all will say 'The Number Of The Beast'.

'The Number Of The Beast' isn't necessarily the best Iron Maiden album seen solely to the music either objective nor seen to personal taste, but it is the album that has meant the most for this band. Not only is it the first Iron Maiden album with bruce Dickinson on vocals, nor the first Iron Maiden album with the kind of sound that the band has become known for playing and kept on playing for many years and albums after 'The Number Of The Beast', fine tuning and improving to such an extent that it's hard to deny that later albums perhaps are better (though, if we're honest, they're just alternative versions on this particular album).

'The Number Of The Beast' also became the first number one charted album for the band, and the single Run To The Hills became the first top ten single. By today, the album is certified for platinum in three countries (and in Canada they have a tripple platinum) and gold in at least another five countries. The title track is also one of the most played hard rock songs on radio in their home country and I don't think many readers of Hallowed can't hum on songs like the title track, Run To The Hills or Hallowed Be Thy Name. Or some of the other as well. The fourty minutes of music is divided on eight songs and until today, the album has sold in more than 14 million units.

There is a reason why Iron Maiden has become the biggest heavy metal band on this planet. They have the most top ten charted albums of all band within that genre and that's no coincident. 'The Number Of The Beast' was a minor chock to the world as it was released. The cover and the title was almost enough on their own, but then they also sing "666 - the number of the beast" in the title track, which was something that the religious fanatics of that age thought was pure propaganda for Mr Horn and his living, despite the fact that Iron Maiden never has taken a satanic stand and also quotes the Bible everywhere on the album. Musically though, it was a chock as well since the band had left that raw, speedy sound of their debut and follow-up for a more rhythmic and somewhat technical kind of heavy metal (but since it's Iron Maiden, of course it wasn't technical). Also, the new vocalist contributed with a deeper voice that filled the music better.

Three big hit songs comes from 'The Number Of The Beast' and take for example Hallowed Be Thy Name that still today is considered as one of the best heavy metal songs it's easy to forget that there are eight songs on the album and it's not the three big classics that makes the album. One of the benefits with this album compared to the followings are the lack of those really long songs over ten minutes, another is the fact that none of the songs really sounds like any other. On later albums Iron Maiden tended to do at least 2-3 songs in the same vein that became their singles as they realised that it was that kind of songs that sold singles. In that sense, 'The Number Of The Beast' is a cherry within heavy metal and it will stay so because it's an album that definies this genre in so many ways, even today. 30 years after its release it's an album we can't miss when talking classic hard rock albums and I can only lift my hat and bow - congratulations on your 30-year anniversary!



Label: EMI
Three similar bands: Saxon/Judas Priest/Bruce Dickinson
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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