Sometimes I’m listening to an album, and reading about that album, and wondering why I seem to be hearing something different than other people do.
I think The Number of the Beast was Maiden’s best album to date, and the one that really cemented their sound and their place in the history of metal. To my ears it felt like the rough edges were gone and they had perfected their formula (it is still a formula).
Piece of Mind, which many fans and critics seem to regard as their best album. But all I hear is more of the Maiden formula: the same types of songs, the same types of lyrics, the same characteristic gallop, etc.
Are the songs better than on the previous album? Not to my ears. Now, keep in mind it’s been a while since I heard that one and also keep in mind that I don’t know the band’s entire catalogue. But I don’t necessarily detect a superior set of songs here, which would be the only thing that would cause me to consider it the equal or superior to The Number of the Beast which, after all, came first.
I’m not trying to imply this record is bad; merely over-hyped. Maiden is obviously very good at what they do and this is a strong set of songs showing off everything that is good about them. But is it one of the best metal albums of the 1980s? Hardly.
PS Yes, “The Trooper” is pretty classic.
- “Where Eagles Dare” (Steve Harris) 6:08
- “Revelations” (Bruce Dickinson) 6:51
- “Flight of Icarus” (Adrian Smith, Dickinson) 3:49
- “Die with Your Boots On” (Smith, Dickinson, Harris) 5:22
- “The Trooper” (Harris) 4:10
- “Still Life” (Dave Murray, Harris) 4:27
- “Quest for Fire” (Harris) 3:40
- “Sun and Steel” (Dickinson, Smith) 3:25
- “To Tame a Land” (Harris) 7:26
- Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
- Dave Murray – guitar
- Adrian Smith – guitar
- Steve Harris – bass guitar
- Nicko McBrain – drums