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Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast review



Reviewer:
7.0

2817 users:
9.19
Band: Iron Maiden
Album: The Number Of The Beast
Release date: March 1982


Disc I
01. Invaders
02. Children Of The Damned
03. The Prisoner
04. 22 Acacia Avenue
05. The Number Of The Beast
06. Run To The Hills
07. Gangland
08. Total Eclipse [1998 remastered bonus]
09. Hallowed Be Thy Name

Disc II [1995 remastered release]
01. Total Eclipse
02. Remember Tomorrow [live]


Regularly vaunted as one of the best metal albums ever, The Number of The Beast stands tall in history. When you look at the album on closer inspection, it's a case of the classic songs being so strong they overshadow the weak points that come to the fore. Is it a bad album? Far from it, but is it one of their strongest releases? Probably not.

To cut right to it, half the album is some of the strongest metal in existence, to the point Captain America should dump Vibranium and use these as his shield. The other half? Average tracks that have been carried to heights they're not worthy of; swap "The Prisoner" with "Gangland" and you can skip to track five and sit back and enjoy.

"Run To The Hills", "The Prisoner", "Number Of The Beast" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name" are what make this album what it is (along with some excellent artwork ala Derek Riggs). When you hear this album get the kudos it does, it is off the back of these four songs. "Hallowed" is one of the strongest epics the band ever committed to tape, "Hills" is commercial metal without diluting your sound, and the other two nail atmospheric yet bludgeoning metal once they crescendo. It's no surprise then that three of these tracks are regular compilation and live staples to this day, more than likely they're also the songs that pop to mind when you ask anyone to name an Iron Maiden song.

As if some kind of karmic ying and yang possesses this album, as good as those tracks were, the other four tracks are that much worse. "Invaders" sounds like the little brother trying to tag along with his older siblings and trying to act tough (now you'll have that stuck in your head when you next hear the chorus). "22 Acacia Avenue" and "Children of the Damned" are unmemorable and boring respectively. Gangland is a second rate "Hills", which makes its existence redundant. Shed these tracks and yourself a flawless EP.

The musicianship throughout this album is top notch even on the bad tracks; they aren't bad due to being poorly played, they just aren't great examples of song craft. Harris' trademark bass is stamped all over this album, underpinning a guitar duo of Harris and Smith that had found their feet as a team. Burr's swansong is one hell of a departing present; he is more than just the drum fill on "Run To The Hills", he is one of the most underappreciated drummers in metal and he shows why here. Dickinson leaves one hell of a first impression and makes the songs his own, which is a feat given that he had no hand in making them.

Worthy of adoration? Absolutely, but it is not the flawless masterpiece you are lead to believe, The Number Of The Beast is an album of two halves; get the good one and you're in for a treat, get the bad one and you'll be reaching for that skip button in quick succession.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 9

Written by omne metallum | 15.04.2020




Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
HS
Rating:
10
At that time, Iron Maiden had already released two studio albums, Iron Maiden and Killers, which had made them known in the British metal scene. However, vocalist Paul Di Anno was fired from the group due to his uncontrolled alcoholic problems. Although this could have been proved a painful strike, Iron Maiden's golden era was about to start. Soon, vocalist Bruce Dickinson joined the group and in 1982 they released the historically important album The Number Of The Beast.

Read more ››
published 18.09.2003 | Comments (23)

Guest review by
Arian Totalis
Rating:
9.5
The year is 1982, and metal is still a young and developing genre of music. The new wave of British heavy metal is beginning to take its toll on the American populace. We had already had a taste of Priest's British Steel and nine entire studio albums by Black Sabbath. Now it's Maiden's turn to hit the spotlight, and let me tell you, this release did it for them.

Read more ››
published 18.02.2010 | Comments (24)


Comments

Comments: 28   Visited by: 123 users
16.04.2020 - 00:29
IH8Hipsters

I disagree with a lot of what you wrote. Music is all personal opinion of course so no one is wrong, but it's still fun to argue. I love Children of the Damned and Gangland. I don't consider either boring or second rate, far from it. 22 Acacia is the only song I don't really really like or love.
Hallowed is one of the most iconic songs every written by any bands in my eyes and a top 10 song in the history of music according to me. I'd rate this album a 10/10 all day. I believe it's clearly one of the greatest musical achievements in the history of music on this planet and every other planet in the universe.

UP THE IRONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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16.04.2020 - 01:17
cubanmetalguy

I can't imagine this album without Children of the Damned and 22 Acacia Avenue.
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16.04.2020 - 04:31
Tyrannical Hero
Super Normal
Overrated indeed.
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Crackhead Megadeth reigns supreme.
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16.04.2020 - 04:48
The Witchfinder
Account deleted
Prisoner, Number of the Beast and Run to the Hills are the only good songs on this.
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16.04.2020 - 07:03
IH8Hipsters

Written by Guest on 16.04.2020 at 04:48

Prisoner, Number of the Beast and Run to the Hills are the only good songs on this.



Hallowed isn't a good song? C'mon that's just dumb to say or you hate Maiden and you should go post some hatred somewhere else., UP THE IRONS OVER YOUR DUMBASS AND DROP THEM.
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16.04.2020 - 07:04
IH8Hipsters

Written by Tyrannical Hero on 16.04.2020 at 04:31

Overrated indeed.



How is it overrated? Do you even like Maiden or power metal? Let me guess Dragonforce is your favotrite band. Eat a bag of UP THE IRONS AND GO PISS OFF
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16.04.2020 - 07:23
Tyrannical Hero
Super Normal
Written by IH8Hipsters on 16.04.2020 at 07:04

Eat a bag of UP THE IRONS AND GO PISS OFF


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Crackhead Megadeth reigns supreme.
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16.04.2020 - 10:59
nikarg
Mod
Written by cubanmetalguy on 16.04.2020 at 01:17

I can't imagine this album without Children of the Damned and 22 Acacia Avenue.

Me neither. I could easily do without Gangland and Invaders though.
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16.04.2020 - 11:05
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
I cannot listen to "Invaders" with a straight face and take it seriously.

That said, "Children Of The Damned" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name" are one of the best songs ever, so this album is a bit of a mixed bag.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?


2021 goodies
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16.04.2020 - 11:05
nikarg
Mod
Written by IH8Hipsters on 16.04.2020 at 00:29

UP THE IRONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Up The Irons indeed. You should have stopped there though, it's not that anyone who doesn't like the album is insulting you personally. One more comment like the ones towards Maco and The Witchfinder and you are getting a very long rest from posting on the site.
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16.04.2020 - 11:18
qlacs
"The Quaker"
Agree with the rating, but not the review. I have no problem discarding Gangland, Invaders or Total Eclipse from this record. The rest - yes please.
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16.04.2020 - 11:53
JoHn DoE

Written by qlacs on 16.04.2020 at 11:18

Agree with the rating, but not the review. I have no problem discarding Gangland, Invaders or Total Eclipse from this record. The rest - yes please.


Total Eclipse was not on the original album, I do not know if they used it for some B-side single, but as it says above, it's a remastered bonus.

I disagree with the review and the rating. I can't go lower than an 8 for this album. Yes, Invaders and Gangland are the weak tracks, but they are still listenable. So not even filler.

What's wrong with The Prisoner? Such a fun track if you ask me.

As for Children of the Damned and 22 Acacia Avenue being unmemorable and boring, I LOLed.

Yeah, I'm tired of Run to the Hills, it's been overplayed, still a good song.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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16.04.2020 - 12:34
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Children Of The Damned and Hallowed Be Thy Name are IM classics, heavy songs, even Number has good rytmer, story and lyrics, its decent IM albbu,
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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16.04.2020 - 17:09
The Witchfinder
Account deleted
Written by IH8Hipsters on 16.04.2020 at 07:03

Written by Guest on 16.04.2020 at 04:48

Prisoner, Number of the Beast and Run to the Hills are the only good songs on this.



Hallowed isn't a good song? C'mon that's just dumb to say or you hate Maiden and you should go post some hatred somewhere else., UP THE IRONS OVER YOUR DUMBASS AND DROP THEM.

Hallowed is overrated. Calm down Mark Chapman.
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16.04.2020 - 18:30
omne metallum

Written by IH8Hipsters on 16.04.2020 at 00:29

I disagree with a lot of what you wrote. Music is all personal opinion of course so no one is wrong, but it's still fun to argue.


Oh without a doubt, I can see that my opinion varies greatly from most here haha. I'm glad others found songs I didn't particularly take to enjoyable, you get to see what a band/album means to someone that way.
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Just because I'm not listening doesn't mean I don't care
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16.04.2020 - 18:39
omne metallum

Written by JoHn DoE on 16.04.2020 at 11:53

Written by qlacs on 16.04.2020 at 11:18

Agree with the rating, but not the review. I have no problem discarding Gangland, Invaders or Total Eclipse from this record. The rest - yes please.


Total Eclipse was not on the original album, I do not know if they used it for some B-side single, but as it says above, it's a remastered bonus.

I disagree with the review and the rating. I can't go lower than an 8 for this album. Yes, Invaders and Gangland are the weak tracks, but they are still listenable. So not even filler.

What's wrong with The Prisoner? Such a fun track if you ask me.

As for Children of the Damned and 22 Acacia Avenue being unmemorable and boring, I LOLed.

Yeah, I'm tired of Run to the Hills, it's been overplayed, still a good song.


Yeah, the copy I reviewed didn't contain Total Eclipse so I didn't include it, that said it would of been a good addition.

I think going above 7 for what is a very 50/50 to me would be too generous, the classics are weighted down by the weaker tracks imo. Glad to see you really enjoy the album though.

I Think The Prisoner is one of the bands best songs, I think it's one of the good songs on the album.
I'll be honest, before re-listening to the album before reviewing it, I already knew all the songs like the back of my hand; the chorus to Children... and the tempo change in 22... were the only things I could remember from those tracks before re-listening. I think with so much quality material it gets pushed to the back and forgotten about.
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Just because I'm not listening doesn't mean I don't care
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16.04.2020 - 18:41
alexf91

I agree with Invaders and Gangland. These two tracks are forgettable after listening to the album many times. The only reason I might feel the same about Run To The Hills is probably because I heard it so many times on the radio.

Children of the Damn is like the ballad of the album and its good to hear some acoustics or clean tones rather than having the entire album all the same. Both this song and The Prisoner have a slow start but pick up the pace and have epic endings. Do you expect all songs to have high intensity/energy throughout? Or what makes these songs boring to you?
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16.04.2020 - 18:53
IH8Hipsters

Sorry I was rude. I was drunk and being cooped up too long inside. Everyone's opinion is important to them and I'm sorry I pooped on someone's. I was trying to be funny, but I looked like an ass.
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16.04.2020 - 19:28
omne metallum

Written by alexf91 on 16.04.2020 at 18:41

I agree with Invaders and Gangland. These two tracks are forgettable after listening to the album many times. The only reason I might feel the same about Run To The Hills is probably because I heard it so many times on the radio.

Children of the Damn is like the ballad of the album and its good to hear some acoustics or clean tones rather than having the entire album all the same. Both this song and The Prisoner have a slow start but pick up the pace and have epic endings. Do you expect all songs to have high intensity/energy throughout? Or what makes these songs boring to you?


No, I do like songs of all tempos and I have no predisposition either way. It's not that they're slower that bores me, I just never really found them to turn my head and pay attention. Children... to me is an uninteresting riff leading to a meh chorus.
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Just because I'm not listening doesn't mean I don't care
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16.04.2020 - 20:17
nikarg
Mod
I am in disbelief that we are discussing if this album is overrated or not in 2020. Its importance to heavy metal is immense. We are talking about 1982. It is the first IM album with Dickinson, it is a departure from what the band did in the previous two albums, it has at least four songs that anyone who comes even a little bit close to metal knows most of their lyrics: "Hallowed...", "Children...", "Run To The Hills" and the title track. Subjectively, "Hallowed..." is IM's best track ever, objectively it is one of the most iconic heavy metal songs in history. Yes, overall it is lacking compared to everything before it and everything that came after, until No Prayer. But even this doesn't say much, all of Iron Maiden's '80s albums have defined heavy metal forever. It's just that The Number is the least great one.
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16.04.2020 - 21:14
Nihil Aeternum

9 / 7 / 8 / 9 = 7
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16.04.2020 - 21:31
tominator
At best deranged
Written by nikarg on 16.04.2020 at 10:59

Me neither. I could easily do without Gangland and Invaders though.


Agreed! Even as a massive fan of IM, those two songs are not very compelling imo. Some of their weaker 80s songs if you ask me.

Still love the album though. Hallowed and Children are still easily in my personal top 10 of best Iron Maiden tracks.
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18.04.2020 - 15:19
tea[m]ster
Au Pays Natal
Leave the album alone. It's perfectly fine.
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rekt
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18.04.2020 - 20:24
tintinb

Maybe it's the Indian in me but I kept on reading gangland as Gangaland (the land beside river Ganges).

The album rips though. Hallowed is the most wholesome heavy metal song I can think of. Also, funny story, I was introduced to Hallowed through Cradle of Filth's cover of it. I think there was a really cool anime video of the song which fit the song perfectly in Dani's vocals. Later I heard the original version, saw multiple live videos of it, went to Bangalore to check out live Maiden. But I still remember in my late teens, Cradle's cover of Maiden's Hallowed was the heaviest shit I have heard till then.
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18.04.2020 - 21:59
Redel

Written by nikarg on 16.04.2020 at 20:17

I am in disbelief that we are discussing if this album is overrated or not in 2020. Its importance to heavy metal is immense. We are talking about 1982. It is the first IM album with Dickinson, it is a departure from what the band did in the previous two albums, it has at least four songs that anyone who comes even a little bit close to metal knows most of their lyrics: "Hallowed...", "Children...", "Run To The Hills" and the title track. Subjectively, "Hallowed..." is IM's best track ever, objectively it is one of the most iconic heavy metal songs in history.


These lines, imo, are effectively sufficient for a top-notch review summing up the key facts about this iconic album.
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27.04.2020 - 23:18
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
I think this album's overall quality and impact is pretty fairly assessed in the metal community at large. If it's overrated, only slightly so. I do think though that there are other Maiden albums that are more consistent quality wise, and that are more fun to listen to as a whole front to back, particularly Powerslave and Seventh Son.
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Check out Apothecary's Favorite Bands Playlist, brotendo. One track per band.
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28.04.2020 - 05:06
Dark Cornatus
Powerslave
I actually agree that it's not one of their top albums, but for me 22 Acacia Avenue and Children of the Damned, are two of the best songs.

The average filler for me are: Invaders, Run to the Hills (yes i know people love it - but i don't), The Prisoner, Gangland.
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28.04.2020 - 12:22
Răzvan

Written by nikarg on 16.04.2020 at 20:17

I am in disbelief that we are discussing if this album is overrated or not in 2020. Its importance to heavy metal is immense. We are talking about 1982. [...] Yes, overall it is lacking compared to everything before it and everything that came after, until No Prayer. But even this doesn't say much, all of Iron Maiden's '80s albums have defined heavy metal forever. It's just that The Number is the least great one.


It's always important to talk about a record in the context of its release; what was going on around that time, the impact it had and all that. However that's not always possible and I think an equally valid approach is to talk about how well something holds up today. Some things can be immensely influential in the art or genre, but may not do too well when perceived through a modern lens. Not saying this is the case here, not in my opinion, but I totally get why someone may feel underwhelmed if they're, let's say, new to metal and making their way back through some of its major milestones.

Take me for example: I absolutely love some of the songs on this albums, but others are take it or leave it for me. For its influence and for its highest highs, I'd give it near maximum scores. But if I'm honest with myself and how I feel in 2020 about some of the weaker songs, I would say that its current rating on MS, its position relative to how other Iron Maiden albums have scored is... greatly exaggerated. There are 4, maybe 5 other '80s Maiden albums that I would sit down to listen to from start to finish before I'd do the same with this one.
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My subjectivity is better than yours.
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