I recently said I was too busy to write up song-by-songs on all these records. And I am. I really haven’t got the time for this. I should be sleeping – our teething baby will be up again in such a short time. But here I am at 22:00, on my second glass of a fairly nice red wine, both kids are asleep, and I have Number blasting in these good headphones and it’s AMAZING. Hells yes I gotta do this up, however briefly. I need to face the fact that once I’ve started something I cannot let it go.
Invaders is one helluva notice served that the band will not relent. They are out to kick your ass Every. Single. Time. I Wiki’d why Di’Anno left the band, and I thought that was weak. Anyway. The introduction of Dickinson is a perfect fit; very different approach, but still bloody incredible. I loved Di’Anno’s raw punk approach on the early records. Dickinson just sounds like… Dickinson. As fans, you know what I mean. It’s that… thing that he has. Incredible.
Children Of The Damned is beautiful. It made the little hairs on my arms stand up. There’s just so much going on, and it’s so unrelenting. It ROCKS! And those vocals! The Prisoner starts out weirdly – I had to look up that intro, and I stil don’t care – but then it gets down to the rocking and that’s all we need to get our Maiden on. Another huge, pounding song. I loved the guitar solo. Air Guitar Nation! Oh yes. Onward! 22 Acacia Avenue’s chugging guitars pulled me along, thrilling as I went to those little licks and riffs over top. That middle section made me work for the new rhythm but my ear eventually caught up. I love all the work on the drums, those center-cymbal hits. Perfect.
I don’t even need to comment on Number Of The Beast and Run To The Hills. These are total hits, and you’ve heard them a million times. Good for you. Go and make it a million and one! I do have a Hills memory: a few years ago, we went to see Tool in concert, and after the (horrible) opening act finally left and before Tool took over the stage, the road crew must have been testing out the sound system because they blasted Hills at top volume. The entire arena full of people roared and cheered and started rocking out. Incredible. People were right into a bloody RECORDING. Now THAT shows you the power of good music.
Gangland’s drums are impossibly fast. Holy shit. I played drums in a band for a while, and my arms got tired just listening to this. The energy here is just great. “Dead men tell no tales,” indeed, and those guitars on the run-down! Damn. These guys are Not Fucking Around. I loved it. Total Eclipse is a sweet mid-tempo track. It’s not the greatest song here, but every album has a song like that… WAIT! That brief middle section totally makes up for it! Yeah baby. But the rest is sort of a throw-away for this group. Sure, for any other band it’s a solid classic hit, but these guys? Just another day at the office. And Hallowed Be Thy Name? One of the first Maiden songs I ever heard. You all know it. I won’t even try to talk about its majesty.
I am sad that this was Burr’s last record with the band, whatever the circumstances. He was one HELL of a drummer. Just awesome.
Number? Brilliance, top to bottom. But you knew that already. Fucking GREAT.
Here’s Mike’s review: http://mikeladano.com/2012/09/30/review-the-number-of-the-beast-1982-1996-bonus-disc/