Posts Tagged ‘Adrian Smith’

Number-of-the-beast-album-coverBack in September of 2018, we started a journey covering all the albums that were listed on Loudwire’s 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list. Before we started, we had already covered 14 albums which meant there were 36 albums to discover and explore and now we are down to two. By 1982, Iron Maiden was already a pretty established band having already released two albums (Self Titled & Killers), but the band had just released their singer and now were embarking on a new journey with a new lead singer who would sweep the metal world off it’s feet. Bruce Dickinson was the new lead singer of Iron Maiden and he was joined by Steve Harris (Bass), Dave Murray (Guitars), Adrian Smith (Guitars), and for the very last time Clive Burr (Drums). On March 22, 1982, the band would release their epic third album The Number Of The Beast and it was a huge success for the band as it established Bruce as the leading frontman of Heavy Metal. The album was such a success that it was the first Iron Maiden record to go number one in the UK and it peaked at 33 in the US Billboard Top 200 Charts as it went platinum selling over 1 million copies.

number-of-the-beast-album-cover-back1. Invaders– Burr and Harris kick off the track before the band kicks into overdrive for the opening track that is all about the Viking’s Norman conquest of 1066. Harris believes that the band could have chosen a better track than this for the album. 4.5/5

2. Children Of The Damned-a very melodic intro and pretty mellow track that Dickinson has admitted was based off of Black Sabbath’s Children Of The Sea track. The lyrics were based on the films Village Of The Damned and Children Of The Damned. 5/5

3. The Prisoner-a cool track that is based off of the television series of the same name and even features an audio clip from the show that the manager of Maiden Ron Smallwood said he had to call Patrick McGoohan just to get permission to use it to which McGoohan agreed. 4.5/5

4. 22 Acacia Avenue– This is the second track in the Charlotte The Harlot saga and how she shouldn’t continue her life of prostitution because of the things that could happen to her if she continues. 5/5

the-number-of-the-beast-ltd-1a-600x6005. The Number Of The Beast– The most famous title track and a live staple for many years in this track that was inspired by a bad dream that Harris had after watching Damien: The Omen II and he has also stated that the track was also inspired by Tam o’ Shanter by Robert Burns. The spoken word in the beginning of the track was from The Book Of Revelations and was read by Barry Clayton because the band refused to pay Vincent Price asking price of £25,000. 5/5

6. Run To The Hills– This is probably the most famous and overplayed Iron Maiden track of all time in this track that is all about European white males who started invading the land that would later be known as the United States of America and what they did to Native Americans. 5/5

7. Gangland– This is probably the weakest track on the whole album and it’s even agreed by Steve Harris who said the choice was made in a rush in this track that I believe is about a man who leaves the gang life behind, but it never really leaves him as it haunts him. 4/5

8. Hallowed Be Thy Name– One of the most legendary tracks in all of Iron Maiden’s catalog as it is the most covered Maiden track. The track is about a prisoner who is about to be hanged. There is a little bit of controversy surrounding the track as the band was sued for songwriting credits. For more info on that, just click here. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This is not my favorite Iron Maiden record ever, but it is definitely up there. It’s that album to Maiden that Back In Black was to AC/DC or Blizzard Of Ozz was for Ozzy, it’s just the standard. A track to avoid on here is definitely Gangland while the rest of the album is more than listenable so rock out with your… well you know what I am saying. I am going to give the album 4.7 stars out of five.

powerslaveIt is 2019 and I wanted to open up the album of the week with a bang with one of what could be argued as one of the great Iron Maiden records of all time. The band’s catalog speaks for itself, but when think back to the Bruce Dickinson years of Iron Maiden, you might agree with me on this assessment. Loudwire.com ranked today’s album Powerslave by Iron Maiden 35TH on their Top 50 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time list ahead of the self titled, but behind Dickinson’s debut. Powerslave was released on September 3, 1984 via Capitol Records and featured Dickinson (Vocals) for the third time, Steve Harris (Bass Guitar), Dave Murray (Guitars), Adrian Smith (Guitars), and Nicko McBrain (Drums) while the album was produced by Martin Birch. One of the major accomplishments of this album is that it’s the first Maiden record to feature the same personnel on a second album. The album did very well for the band as it peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Top 200 charts while also peaking at number two in the UK while also going platinum in the US.

powerslave back1. Aces High-I always loved the beginning of the track with the guitar riff that opens with the drums and bass doing a call and response before we launch into the band’s signature galloping sound. the track’s lyrics follow an British RAF pilot during the Battle of Britain in 1940. 5/5

2. 2 Minutes To Midnight– The first single off the album that was a protest song against Nuclear War by Smith and Dickinson. The song references a doomsday clock that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists used to predict the big global catastrophe they thought was coming. 5/5

3. Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)– The last instrumental track that would be featured on an Iron Maiden record as we speak. 4.5/5

4. Flash of the Blade– One of my favorite Maiden songs about a knight or soldier who lives by the sword and will probably die by the sword like the old saying. 5/5

5. The Duellists– another galloping charger that is all about a man who duels with someone he knows he will be defeated by, but his honor is on the line. Another great track right here. 4.5/5

powerslave-bonus-cd-cd16. Back In The Village– an interesting track that I believe is about a soldier that has been so battle tested and worn that he is sick of the life. He feels that he is being treated like a number and not a person by the government. 4/5

7. Powerslave– The title track starts with some howls and what sounds like a mummy before the music kicks in this song that uses the Pharaoh as a symbol of why power does not last for any leader. 5/5

8. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner– For over 30 years, this was the longest ever Iron Maiden track the band had ever recorded until 2015’s Empire Of The Clouds. The song is based off of the poem of the same name by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 5/5

My Final Thoughts: This album is one of the best in the band’s catalog and it’s not a surprise that it’s one of three Iron Maiden records to make that list. It’s an album where some of the deep cuts are just as amazing as the singles. My favorite tracks are Powerslave, Flash Of The Blade, and the two singles. I picked Back In The Village as my least favorite track, but not because it’s bad, but just not my favorite on the album. I am giving the album 4.75 stars out of five for a final grade.

Billboard metalThere was a time when Metal dominated the charts all the time so it saddens me to see the world we live in now where so many bands struggle. Although there are those moments when I get very excited at the news of metal bands topping the charts like Motorhead’s Bad Magic debuting at number 35 on the Billboard Top 200 charts last week or Disturbed’s Immortalized debuting at number some weeks back. This week brings more good news for the metal world as two new albums will debut on the charts. Last Friday saw the releases of Five Finger Death Punch’s sixth studio album Got Your Six and Iron Maiden’s epic sixteenth studio album The Book Of Souls. Well, the good news is that both of those albums will debut in the top 5 on the Billboard Top 200 charts with Iron Maiden coming in fourth and Five Finger Death Punch in second. According to Loudwire.com, this is how the charts are measured, “Billboard has a new system in place to determine chart position. In addition to pure album sales, the publication also factors in track equivalent albums and streaming equivalent albums.” So, even though FFDP’s new album finished in 2ND behind The Weeknd’s record, it outsold the Weeknd when it came to Pure Album Sales. For FFDP, this is their third consecutive number 2 finish with their last two records (both volumes of Wrong Side of Heaven) while this is Iron Maiden’s second consecutive fourth place finish as 2010’s The Final Frontier did the same. Just a little fun fact for you Maiden fans out there, this is the highest selling album for Maiden in the first week of release in the US since the return of Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith came back in 1999. Congratulations to both bands and to Metal especially as we all rejoice.

File:Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time.jpg

I’m not sure exactly how many people were a big fan of this album and what the initial reception was because I was only four years old when the album was originally released. As a child with significantly older brothers that were into metal, I could name the beast on the album cover because we shared the same first name, but I couldn’t name any of the members at the time. I remember it was the summer of 1990 and I went with my mother to a flea, hoping that she was going to buy me something cool. Instead of wanting a toy at the age of 8, I asked her to buy me three cassettes. She bought me Kiss’s Asylum, Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood, and Iron Maiden’s Somewhere In Time. I was a huge nut for Motley Crue (believe it or not) when I was a little kid, but there was something about this album that just amazed me when I placed it in the tape deck.

The Full Album Cover
Courtesy of Weareprivate.net

The album was a little different for Iron Maiden in that it was the first time they had used synthesizers and it was the first album with Bruce Dickinson that he didn’t have one song credit to his name. Bruce, I guess had written some acoustic versions of songs that ended up getting rejected by the rest of the band during the writing process. The album is very notable for having full songs that were written by Adrian Smith, who wrote the albums two singles. It amazing too because the two songs he wrote were my two favorite songs on the album (Wasted Years and Stranger In A Strange Land)It was also the first album not to be released a year after the last one as Harris had stated that he wanted to band to be able to have time to do the record right. Sadly, Iron Maiden pretty much abandoned the album when it came to live shows only playing Wasted Years and Heaven Can Wait.

Back Cover
Courtesy of Flickr

The artwork for the album is what really got me interested in buying the album because Eddie was made into a cyborg like hunter. The regular artist of the band Derek Riggs in my opinion made an album cover that could hold a diehard fan’s attention for a longtime as you found all of the goodies that were laid on the cover. I’ll give you a couple of examples. A banner with the words, “This is a very boring painting” is displayed backwards within the lobby of the Bradbury Towers Hotels International. This can be seen to the left of Eddie’s right leg. The last example is An Eye of Horus neon sign at the top of a building, is a reference to the song, “Powerslave”. Those are just two examples of many that can be seen and as an eight year old kid, it sure as heck kept me busy for a long time. One thing that I will say before I get into the songs themselves is that I felt that a lot of Iron Maiden songs were like history lessons and this album had an example of that right in it.

File:Stranger in a Strange Land.jpgAs I had stated before, my two favorite songs on the album were the Wasted Years and Stranger In A Strange Land. Wasted Years starts out with Adrian’s trademark intro riff that displays what a masterful guitar player he is before you hear it kick in to the song about how the last tour had brought so much baggage, but in the end it was a decision the band doesn’t regret. It’s a song that no matter how many times I hear it, I still enjoy playing air guitar to. Stranger In A Strange Land contains some real epic riffs from Smith and even though it doesn’t feature Harris’s galloping bass lines, his playing in the intro of the song is still amazing and it gets you in the mood to head bang. The track is about a man that gets frozen in ice only to be discovered 100 years later by other explorer’s. Caught Somewhere In Time is another great track that starts the album which features some epic riffing and some galloping bass. Sea Of Madness featured more epic and funky bass playing from Harris with an amazing pre-chorus and some blazing  power chords. Alexander The Great starts with the King telling his son to conquer more land for a bigger kingdom before it breaks into the very slow guitar riff with Nicko playing a cadence military style drumming.  Then the epic guitar playing comes in before the madness begins. It’s a great history lesson from the professors.

Deja-Vu starts the same way as Alexander The Great did without the intro and military drumming. It’s a song that is about exactly what the title suggests, feel like you’ve been here before? Heaven Can Wait  is another epic song about realizing that you’re slowly dying, but you fight death because you refuse to die and their’s a part after the chorus that just makes you want to chant along with Maiden. The only song I was never crazy for was The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner because I never felt a song about track was cool enough for Metal. Overall, I give this album a final grade of 4 stars out of 5 as this was the last album from Maiden that I enjoyed from beginning to end until A Matter Of Life And Death.