Iron Maiden - Killers
EMI
NWOBHM
10 songs (43:53)
Release year: 1981
Iron Maiden, EMI
Reviewed by Thomas

Ah, the second classic in a row from the heavy metal monsters Iron Maiden. After the breakthrough that was their self-titled debut, these skilled Englishmen released a string of classic and pioneering releases under the heavy metal umbrella. Nearly every song on here were written before their debut, and since they couldn’t fit everything on Iron Maiden, Killers was released one year later. As well as being an undeniable classic, this was also a so called turning-point for the band. Vocalist Paul Di’anno was kicked out of the band after this release due to his abuse of drugs and alcohol, this is the first out of eight records produced by Martin Birch, and this was the first record to feature Adrian Smith and thereby the start of one of the, if not the most successful and legendary guitar couple to grace the heavy metal underworld ever.

Steve Harris and the gang must’ve spared most of their best material for this one. Killers is pretty much an overall improvement on more or less every aspect that shaped Iron Maiden. Even though the sound is less edgy and raw, the new and improved production shows signs of a proper produced record, and that the band didn’t get to toy around as they wanted to. The sound is still thick and juicy, mind, yet it’s still much clearer and audible. Harris’ bass is a little less slack, and the drums sound much tighter. Although Di’annos soaring wails is top notch, I got to admit that, for me, the instruments alone are the color and the shape of this album. The framework is excellent, and the steady drumming by Clive Burr coupled with Harris’ ADHD bass-playing drives this murderer forward with an unstoppable force. The guitars, well, what can I say? Murray and Smith are criminally underrated, and the way these guys fill each other out on their first album together, establishes the fundament for a continuous unbeatable teamwork. Thrilling dual solo battles, powerful and innovative riffs and great melodic twists and turns embraces your body and soul, slowly making your head nod in definitive appreciation. Killers is also an improvement in terms of song-writing. Where their self-titled debut had Running Free, Transylvania, Strange World and Iron Maiden Killers has Wratchild, Ghengis Khan, Prodigal Son and Purgatory. However, you’re not getting anything that re-creates the moment of the mighty Phantom Of The Opera. The only song close to capture the magic is the bursting Murders In Rue Morgue which still is nowhere close. I also think that rather an improvement, the two instrumentals on Killers are more of an expansion.

Now I feel a little bad for not mentioning Di’annos vocals more. I have to admit that I absolutely understand people who prefer him to Bruce Dickinson. Yes Dickinson is definitely the face of Maiden, but he’s still struggling to capture the earlier songs like Di’anno so perfectly did on this release, and on the few live-shows he featured. The blessed mix between rough and raspy snarls and soaring high-pitched wails is something Mr. Dickinson never seems to grasp. It gave Maiden’s first two albums an extra boost in quality and maybe helped them stick out a little more from the crowd.

If you’ve heard the first one and liked it, you’ll have no problem with this. As a matter of fact, if you keep classic heavy metal close to your heart, this is something that should have an obligatory spot in your collection just as nearly every other Iron Maiden-album. Everything has its place here. The instruments are melted together perfectly; the lyrics are conceptual about various killers which completes the atmosphere along with the classic cover-art. Some will state that they took the success of Iron Maiden and repeated it. I will whole-heartedly say that they took the success of their debut and improved and expanded it. No questions asked, this album kicks ass and takes names, an undeniable heavy metal classic that lives up to its title.

Killing Songs :
All
Thomas quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Iron Maiden that we have reviewed:
Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
Iron Maiden - Flight 666 DVD reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden reviewed by Thomas and quoted CLASSIC
Iron Maiden - The X Factor reviewed by Ben and quoted 87 / 100
To see all 29 reviews click here
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