14 March 2013
Iron Maiden - The Number of The Beast
I was not planning to review this album yet. Not that I do not like the album just that it is sort of like Sgt Peppers and OK Computer. Everyone seems to own it and because of tend to steer a little away from it. It is the one that people have as a fashion statement, the one people have just because it is socially acceptable to have. Now for the record I am an Iron Maiden fan, I still remember when I first heard them (the song was a live version of "Infinite Dreams" on Radio 1 back when it played everything not just chart stuff). They are as British as a bulldog, early closing on a Sunday and a missing sense of purpose. But yesterday the first drummer, Clive Burr died at the age of 56 after a long battle with multiple sclerosis. This was the last album he played on with Iron Maiden so I thought I would give it another spin.
Now at the time there had never been anything like this. Before hand, Iron Maiden had been seen as more of a punk because of their previous lead singer Paul Di'Anno. Looking back it is sort of obvious they were not punk, they were a different breed. This album was also the first with Bruce Dickinson, who had previously sung with Samson and had left them to join Iron Maiden. The album was produced by Martin Birch, who would become their long term producer, going on to produce 9 albums with the band, as well working with Deep Purple, White Snake and others. So this album was the beginning of so many things for them all really.
Musically, it has that definitive Maiden sound, the pounding bass, excellent guitar solos (can't be denied, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray are fantastic guitar players) and an amazing turn from Mr Burr on his last performance with the band. The album has the classic track "Run To The Hills", "The Number of The Beast" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name". It is held very dear by many people, and I do like the album. However, as good as it is I have never been able to love it. It is sort of like the prequels in Star Wars - something about it makes it impossible for me to truly take it to my heart. Maybe because it is what people say is the definitive Maiden album, and I'm just rebelling. I've been listening this a lot over the years and I was genuinely impressed when it was recently voted the most important album in British musical history. But even though I know it's place in history I cannot say it is the album I would recommend for the best Maiden album ever, but I would not say it is anywhere near the worst.
Whilst this may sound like a negative tribute to Mr Burr, I would like to point out that I do love the drumming on the album, whilst the man who followed (Nicko McBrain) was a better drummer, Clive Burr is just on fire here, it feels more natural and it is because of his performance that hold for me more than the others. To Mr Clive Burr, we salute you and hope you find rest in the halls of your fathers.
7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check
You can purchase from here
You can listen to it here on Spotify
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