Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast

Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast


With their desired vocalist Iron Maiden hit their straps as planned with their first British number one record which broke the US market wide open for them.

Written by: Dangerzone

ARTIST: Iron Maiden
ALBUM: Number Of The Beast
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Bruce Dickinson – vocals * Dave Murray – guitars * Adrian Smith – guitars * Steve Harris – bass * Clive Burr – drums

TRACK LISTING: 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 Hallowed Be Thy Name



The decision to replace Paul Dianno with Bruce Dickinson was certainly not without many detractors, ‘it’s not the same band’ many were quoted at the time having said. Indeed for those who preferred the faster, more untamed Iron Maiden of the first two albums ‘Number Of The Beast’ might have been an unsavory experience, as the melodic content was more streamlined and noticeable.

The sound remained naturally very heavy, as the alleged ‘punk’ dynamics of Dianno gave way to the classic high pitch of Dickinson which well and truly ensconced Maiden as purveyors of true metal. Dianno reportedly was removed for various excesses, enjoying a drink or ten, and Dickinson formerly of Samson realistically was heading nowhere in an otherwise fine band.

The Songs

With their desired vocalist Iron Maiden hit their straps as planned with their first British number one record which broke the US market wide open for them. Both amazing feats and a milestone of the NWOBHM, delivering for many the definitive Maiden disc. However, for me that honour would have to go to ‘Piece Of Mind’, but this is the way metal was supposed to be played and handled, then and now.

Shoving aside with ease the remainder of the British metal movement (minus Saxon) ‘Invaders’ is a traditionally strong opener, the surging pace and riffs set to a backdrop of Nordic mayhem showing little had been lost in transition. This is the kind of three minute metal that Iron Maiden abandoned in recent years, but one you can’t help but wish they’d revisit one more time.

Mini epic ‘Children Of The Damned’ sets the tone for all future endeavours, the slow buildup followed by rampaging instrumental excursions. Harris’ ‘The Prisoner’ is of course based on the cult TV show, perhaps to that point Iron Maiden’s most melodic chorus.

’22 Acacia Avenue’ is closest to the spirit of Dianno era, especially the debuts rough charm, see ‘Phantom Of the Opera’. The title track and ‘Run To The Hills’ need little description, both anthems ruined by constant airplay and live airings over the decades to the point both can safely be tucked away forever.

‘Gangland’ is the most unappreciated track, despised by Harris supposedly, but easily the rawest and fastest moment with a brutal guitar solo that begs for more attention. The seven minute ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ is another epic, well sculpted and reaching a furious crescendo in the final frantic minutes.

In Summary

Already on the verge of stardom, the mammoth success of ‘NOTB’ made Iron Maiden the biggest metal band of the decade without one inch of doubt. One of the more curious aspects surrounding ‘NOTB’ down the years was the decision not to include B side ‘Total Eclipse’ as part of the actual album, as it’s a clear classic and amends were made by including as part of the tracklisting on remastered copies of the album.

Iron Maiden of course went from strength to strength with Dickinson and his well planned appointment paid dividends that are still being reaped, witness the acclaim given to their fourteenth studio venture ‘A Matter Of Life And Death’. A long way removed from ‘Number..’, which holds up easily as a masterpiece, forever destined to be one of the most famous metal recordings of all time.


Entire Album (Select Tracks)

Playlist: Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast 1982 (FULL ALBUM 1998 Remastered release)
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1 thought on “Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast

  1. I follow this bloke on YouTube called Dan McClellan who is a religious scholar. He’s very good, calm and to the point. He did a video of the meaning of 666, which also correlates to 616. The first number refers to a Greek transliteration, the second is Latin. The Bible used a coding system called Gematria. The number referred to a person rather than any other offworld entity or some future prophetic event. That person was Roman Emperor Nero Caesar, referenced as the second beast in Revelation 13,14 and 18.

    On a funny side note, one commenter suggested that 664 could be referred to as the Neighbor of the Beast.

    As a footnote, I’m not into religious dogma as such, but found the video interesting nonetheless.

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