Reviewing Every Iron Maiden Album (Part 3): The Number of the Beast

Welcome to the next album in the Reviewing Every Iron Maiden Album series, which is a really special one because this one happens to be probably my favorite album by Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast. This is also the very first album to feature one of the greatest metal vocalists, Bruce Dickinson, which the only other vocalists good enough to compete with him include Hansi Kursch from Blind Guardian, Rob Halford from Judas Priest, and Ronnie James Dio from Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Dio. This album review is the third part of a sixteen part series where I review every single album by my favorite band, Iron Maiden. This part focuses on the best album by Iron Maiden so far, The Number of the Beast.

It's pretty obvious that Steve Harris decided to take a different approach when writing most of these songs, because this sounds nothing like the first two albums, and it's not only because of Bruce Dickinson's singing, but Steve Harris wrote differently than in the first two albums, and I actually kinda like this new style of writing better. Songs such as Invaders, Children of the Damned, and 22 Acacia Avenue, I liked right off the bat. They were all great songs, and proved that popular does not always mean good, since all of these songs are better than Run to the Hills, the most popular Iron Maiden song to this day. The Prisoner and The Number of the Beast were also pretty good songs, with some great spoken dialogue at the beginning of the song, and great intros after that. Sure neither of those songs are as good as Children of the Damned, my favorite song from that album, not Hallowed Be Thy Name, speaking of, that is a really great song, and one of my favorites. While I like Hallowed Be Thy Name, it isn't my favorite Iron Maiden song, or even the best from this album. Children of the Damned, Invaders, The Number of the Beast, and The Prisoner were all better, and other songs from other albums such as Phantom of the Opera, Prodigal Son, To Tame a Land, The Duelists, Powerslave, and Moonchild are also all better. I kinda find Hallowed Be Thy Name as a song very similar to Metallica's Master of Puppets, which I recently wrote a post on why it wasn't the best Metallica song, and other songs were better than that. I do like Hallowed Be Thy Name better than Master of Puppets, but neither of them would be my favorites by the band. Run to the Hills was also a pretty good song, but very overrated and doesn't deserve to be nowhere near the most popular song.

The only song I really don't like from this album turned out to be Gangland, and that isn't counting Total Eclipse, which was not from the original album itself, so I didn't bother listening to that song. The reason why I don't like Gangland is because of how weak it sounds, and that Invaders and Moonchild are pretty much better versions of that song, and Steve Harris probably needed one more song, so he made one crappy one, whose purpose was to be a filler. Clive Burr wasn't really a help either, and considering it was the only song he wrote by Iron Maiden, I'm guessing he may have not been that great of a songwriter. I'm sorry, but while he is a great drummer, and probably about as good as Nicko McBrain, it was probably good for Steve Harris to get rid of him early like he did with Paul Di'Anno and Dennis Stratton. Oh, and during the recording, some lousy person wasn't being careful when driving, and had to pay £666 just to get his car repaired. He would not pay until they changed it to £667, probably because he didn't want to pay a satanic bill. I would've done the same thing.

Of course this album caused many people to think the band was satanic, with their one song "The Number of the Beast", which many thought was about devil worship. It turned out the song was about a dream instead, and even Steve Harris explained that the song wasn't satanic. The song itself is much better than Run to the Hills, because it had a better solo, and the rest of the reasons also apply to The Prisoner. The album itself, though is the best Iron Maiden album, and every song except Gangland only adds up to its greatness. The production was better than it was in the first two albums, but compared to Piece of Mind and Powerslave, it sounds nowhere near as good, but still great. The album may not be as diverse as the first two, but not every song sounds the same. Invaders made a great thrash classic, proving that even though they aren't a thrash metal band, they played it before Metallica even had the chance to release their first album, and Hallowed Be Thy Name, while it isn't anywhere near the best of Iron Maiden, is a very long and complex track with some epicness added to it.

The Verdict

- If I had've actually bothered listening to more album by different bands instead of only listening to Metallica, Megadeth, Death, and Iron Maiden, which were the only bands which were my favorite for a while, and I bothered listening to, then I could easily put this in the top 5 or top 10 best albums of all time in my opinion. It is my favorite Iron Maiden album for now, and my favorite I fully listened to. The album had a lot of great songs, especially Invaders, Children of the Damned, The Prisoner, 22 Acacia Avenue, The Number of the Beast, and Hallowed Be Thy Name, and is better than anything Steve Harris could do with Paul Di'Anno. I actually like the album better than anything Metallica ever did, including Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning, and I definitely recommend this to any metal fan, especially the ones that are new to it so they can get a little taste in the best kind of metal, which is good old Traditional Heavy Metal.

Three albums have been reviewed, thirteen lucky albums remain, and you'll never know what I'll say about them. The next album I will be reviewing is the first with drummer Nicko McBrain, Piece of Mind.