The other day when leaving Hälsingland I was to drive down home alone and needed to compensate for the lack of the usual wonderful company of my girls. I came to the conclusion that the only thing that might do the job was to crank the best band in the world and their best albums the whole way home. So when I got in the car I put on their third album from 1982, which happens to be the best album ever recorded, and realizing this was an excellent idea.
I'm off course talking about Iron Maiden and the album "The Number Of The Beast".
I've listened to this album about a million times and I'm never getting the slightest bored of it and now I hadn't really listened to it for quite a while, which made it even more exiting than usual. When it had ran through after 40 minutes and 15 seconds (the original version that is) I realized once again what a perfect album it is. To me it has everything and everything with it and on it is total perfection. (Thinking that if Iron Maiden is my religion, that album would be it's holy scripture.)
I mean, listen to it's sound. Amazing. The guitar parts are so great, Mr Dave Murray and Mr Adrian Smith doing some divine guitar work and arrangements there and the bass obviously doesn't need any any praise since it's the work of Mr Steve Harris. Mr Bruce Dickinson easily does his absolute top vocal performance ever, his phrasing and dynamics are phenomenal. Listen to his voice on the verses of the first song "Invaders" (which we, by the way, all probably agree should maybe not have been on that album at all. But I've come to realize that it fills it's purpose on there, even if the song undoubtably would have gained having a different chorus). I really love the jazzy vibes that runs through more or less the whole album, supposedly thanks to Mr Clive Burr and Mr Smith I believe, the song "Gangland" being the main example, such a great and really cool song, way too often overlooked. Speaking of overlooked, "Total Eclipse" should surely have been on that album (well it is nowadays on the re-released versions), awesome song and I believe even Mr Harris agrees with that. Even though I've grown up with Mr Nicko MacBrain's drumming and love it, Mr Burr plays such unique and tasteful drums on this album, as on the two first ones as well, they really melts in so naturally. Despite all this I do however believe that it's the all-thorough strong material, the arranging and the production that makes "The Number OF The Beast" so great and here I think Mr Martin Birch and also Mr Smith deserves some credits, besides Mr Harris off course. Beside Steve Harris being the main motor and therefore a huge influence on me, Adrian Smith is one of my top five musical influences, mainly his arranging and writing.
I believe album number two for me has to be "Powerslave". It made such a strong impact on me back when it came out, and still does. It was the first album I've really been waiting for to be released, really waiting, I remember getting the single to ease the wait. Great album, awesome production and material. Not to exited about the guitar sound though, I think they lost their awesome guitar sounds after "Piece Of Mind", which by the way is an awesome sounding album, love the production on that one. Though it might lack the Maiden-all-way-through-hi-quality material a bit, some weaker songs there on side B, love "Still Life" though, and side A is great. Also "Killers" got me really hooked, great and cool arrangements on that one, the bridge between the punkier Maiden Mark I and the more progressive Maiden Mark II, a lot thanks to mr Smith joining the band and Mr Birch producing it I believe. Really cool blend of punk and progressive heavy metal - The birth and invention of many parts of future heavy metal music. Off course the first album is a milestone and an awesome album as are "Somewhere In Time", which I like a lot (lots of great material written by Mr Smith on that one) and then also "Seventh son of a Seventh son" which kind of wraps it all up if you ask me. Mr Smith and Mr Birch leaving and the flow and magic seems lost and Iron Maiden never quite found it again. For me it's the first seven albums.
This might have ended up sounding a bit like a review or something but it sure wasn't meant as such at all, I simply wanted to throw in a couple of words of my reflection after doing this little dive into the sea of my biggest influence. Maiden have really, really meant so much to me since the day I bought "The Number Of The Beast" sometimes back in 1983, in so many different ways, and my best Maiden memory must, besides seeing them live all the times, off course be the two times I got to meet them in person some years ago (two totally different occasions but two days in a row!). I never really wanted to do that simply because they were Gods and I didn't necessarily want to come to realize that they might be normal human beings, which I know now that they are and real nice and cool ones indeed. Even though it sure took some of the divinity level down I'll off course never forget getting meeting the band, hanging, chatting and having cold ones with them, totally surreal for me but glad I got to live to that - Huge cheers to my bro Mr Viberg for hooking us up real good!
Regardless meeting them or not, it's what they do, what they've done that I'm grateful of and above I'm only reflecting on the studio-side of the band, which is great, but it's live on stage where they're really doing it, where they've really influenced me (and also by the fact that they've always done their thing, their way) and yeah, when I think about it, Iron Maiden is, at least pretty close of being, my religion.