The Number Of The Beast

Iron Maiden

Raw Power Records, 1982

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Another year, another line-up change for Iron Maiden. That's what people had to be thinking by the time their third effort, The Number Of The Beast, came out in 1982. In this case, out was vocalist Paul Di'Anno, in was former Samson lead throat Bruce Dickinson.

And, as this disc still proves today, in were the years of Iron Maiden's greatest successes. Dickinson proved to be a perfect match for the band, and this disc was the quintet's most solid release to that point.

These days, this disc is revered for such songs as "Run To The Hills" and "The Number Of The Beast," easily two of Maiden's greatest songs. But some of the real gems were the ones not getting regular attention. "22 Acacia Avenue," the only song in Maiden's catalogue (to the best of my knowledge) that was a sequel to an earlier song of theirs (in this case, "Charlotte The Harlot") and "The Prisoner" are songs which are burned into my memory, having heard them on the only heavy metal radio program we had in Chicago when I was a teenager.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But these songs all do share a common bond - namely, they illustrate how much Iron Maiden had grown in two short years, and how well the band was gelling together. With all respect meant towards Di'Anno and his contributions to the band, Dickinson seemed to be the perfect frontman for the group, exuding energy and charisma that seemed to know no boundaries. His vocals also seemed to be a shade more powerful, even if the ranges of both men's vocals was comparable. (Listen to Di'Anno on the early song "Women In Uniform" if you have any doubts.)

There have been so many re-issues of this disc that you almost need a program to keep track. (I happen to be working from the 1998 re-issue on Raw Power.) Recent re-issues include the song "Total Eclipse," originally supposed to be on the album but dropped at the last minute. Its inclusion is indeed welcome, and is further proof of how well Iron Maiden was playing as a unit.

Qualms? I have but one. Maybe it's because I first was experienced to the funereal live version on Live After Death, but the introduction on "Children Of The Damned" just feels like it's being rushed. But, that's a personal quibble, and doesn't take away from the overall power of the song.

The Number Of The Beast didn't stop Iron Maiden's revolving personnel door; drummer Clive Burr makes his final appearance with the group on this disc. But this disc does launch the band into realms of success they could only have dreamed of up to this point - and the engines were just about to kick into overdrive.

There's a reason this album has remained popular for over 20 years. All it takes is one listen to understand why.

Rating: B+

User Rating: A-



© 2004 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Raw Power Records, and is used for informational purposes only.