Woe to you Oh, Earth and Sea
For the Devil sends the beast with wrath
Because he knows the time is short
Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast
For it is a human number
Its number is six hundred and sixty six
How many times have I listened to those spoken opening lines over the last 29 years? A hell of a lot more than 666 I’m sure.
The Number Of The Beast by Iron Maiden is another of my all time favourite albums and also my favourite amongst Maiden’s studio albums – despite the fact that it doesn’t contain my favourite Maiden Song. That honour goes to Revelations a track from the band’s next album Piece Of Mind – a very good album in its own right but not as strong overall as its predecessor.
The Number Of The Beast is a collection of 8 classic metal tracks and is the first to feature the air-raid siren voice of Bruce Dickinson. Of these 8 songs, I think the best are Children Of The Damned, 22 Acacia Avenue, The Number Of The Beast, Run To The Hills and Hallowed Be Thy Name and all of these deserve to be labelled as classics – that’s 5 out of 8 of the album’s tracks which is not a bad return at all. 3 of these 5 were released as singles (Run To The Hills, The Number Of The Beast and Hallowed Be Thy Name) and all 3 remain key entries in Maiden’s live set list – performances can be found on live albums such as the superb Live After Death (one of my favourite live albums), Rock In Rio and Death On The Road.
So, The Number Of The Beast is considered by myself and many others to be a classic album and IMO one that everyone should hear before they die. But what of the rest of Iron Maiden’s output over their 35-odd year history.
Well, I’ve been a fan of the band since 1982 and own all their albums. Some are okay, some are good and a few have attained the same giddy heights as their third album. Those I consider to be their other best releases are their self-titled debut (Iron Maiden, obviously), Powerslave (which features another firm favourite of mine Rime Of The Ancient Mariner), Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son and Brave New World. Of the remainder Piece Of Mind and Somewhere In Time rank just below those I’ve already mentioned. That said, there isn’t a Maiden album that I don’t listen to as all are very enjoyable metal releases – even the ones featuring Blaze Bayley.
And how many times have I run out of breath trying to sing along with Bruce Dickinson at the end of that opening verse to Hallowed Be Thy Name?
I’m waiting in my cold cell, when the bell begins to chime
Reflecting on my past life and it doesn’t have much time
’Cause at 5 o’clock they take me to the Gallows Pole
The sands of time for me are running low
The original post can be read here.