Last week’s entry was fantastic! I loved that stuff. Eugene and I had talked about it and Jon sat and listened to us. I know he got to hear a few bars of some songs because I played it during a Meeting of the Minds. Will he get to the review? Perhaps. He says he’s not a lost cause. So, let’s hit this one…
#37 – Killers by Iron Maiden.
It took me a long time to warm up to Iron Maiden. Galloping rhythms and lyrics that were over my head (much of it literary) just wasn’t my thing. Other than Bruce Dickinson, I didn’t even know anything about them. Truly the first thing I ever heard from them was “Wasted Years.” I didn’t buy anything until around 1992 or so and that was Piece of Mind on CD. I’m still not a huge fan of Maiden but I’ve grown to like more and more of them.
So, not knowing a lot of their history, when I purchased Killers on CD, without looking at it, I put it in the player and started listening. Yeah, this sounds like Maiden. Then on the “second” tune, “Wrathchild,” I was like man, Dickinson sounds rough in his early days. Well, it wasn’t Dickinson. It was Maiden’s first (recording) vocalist, Paul Di’Anno, who hasn’t the range, power or vocal charisma as Dickinson.
I’m not saying he isn’t a decent singer, I think he is just that. But, once Bruce Dickinson hit the scene with Iron Maiden, they broke out. Their sound got more commercial, which we all know is where I like my music. I can see why Eugene likes and picked this one. It’s rawer and, well, less commercial. Eugene tends to skew to the non-commercial side. I don’t know if that’s the right term, actually. He likes the less mainstream? Perhaps. Anywhat!
This was the Steve Harris Show. The first two albums were. After Di’Anno snorted and drank himself out the band and Mr. Operetta showed up, Harris was no longer the focal point of the band, in my opinion, which is okay because I’ve never been a big fan of Steve Harris. Some of it is my bias against finger picking bass players. I’m not against them, just prefer pick users. Of course, that is subjective, there are fine finger picking bass players that I like a lot. In rock, especially hard rock, though, I want pickers. That’s neither here nor there, and I digress…
To me, after listening to this album about seven times over the past week, it really never got past background music to me. It doesn’t keep my attention. Some of it may be my preference of Dickinson. But, also, I think the songs were better written for Number of the Beast and after, than this album. Not many songs stand out to me. I hear some things I like such as the bass intro to “Wrathchild,” which is pretty cool. I like how they turned Edgar Allen Poe’s “Murder in the Rue Morgue” into a song. Other than that? Meh.
This is the first album with Adrian Smith, who was a childhood friend of Dave Murray, the other Maiden guitarist. That provided for a lot of the harmony guitar work that Maiden has become famous for; perhaps even more than for Dickinson. When you have two guitarists that are on the same wavelength and of equal skill, you get great guitar duos and this is one of those.
The late Clive Burr is the drummer on here and any NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) band worth their salt needs a fantastic drummer. Burr was just that: fantastic. The guitar harmonies and the drumming were probably my favorite parts. I’ve touched on Harris and Di’Anno already and don’t get me wrong, they do what they marvelously. I will always admit that Harris is a beast. I just don’t like him.
The album is good, just not my bag. It does its job and I can definitely see why Eugene likes it. Bring on the 1982-89 Dickinson era for me, though. That’s my Maiden. In fact, I’m going to listen to one of the Dickinson albums to rinse this one away (I’m thinking Somewhere in Time). Thanks, Eug for pushing me to revisit it. I’m glad I did. Jon, I’ll see you on the review flipside. Dear Reader, you should listen to the album.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“She lays in bed at night and that is when I make my call. But when she stares at me, she can’t see nothing at all, because, you see, I can’t take no shape or form. It’s been three long years since I’ve been gone.” – “Twilight Zone” (Harris/Murray)