'Hallowed Be Thy Name' blows me away every single time. Simple as that.
With many songs, it's possible to work out how they work and why they have the effect on my ears that they do. With this one, I really have no idea. Is it the picked intro with the characteristic Maiden trick of changing the bass notes and shifting the focus of the harmony? Is it the guitars riffing away in parallel thirds? Is it the lyrics, or Bruce's awesome presentation of them? Is it the changes in tempo, or the awesome solos? I can't say; all I really know is that by the time the song ends it feels like a momentous journey has taken place, and I'm usually pretty much speechless.
This is music that is as close to magic as anything I can think of.
I've never heard a weak live version of the song. I love the way Bruce revs up the crowd towards the end - on Flight 666 he times it perfectly so that the loudest cheer from the crowd arrives just as he begins the final lyric. I also enjoy Dave's variations on his lead line after fingerpicking the intro, especially when he uses the long trill as a chance to retrieve his plectrum from his mouth. It's tricks like that that any guitarist could learn from!
I never get tired of this song, and it was one of the most memorable moments from the SBIT concert for me. The lyrics are brilliant, and the music is simply amazing, meshing together perfectly. Often considered one of the finest Maiden songs, and for good reason. 10/10
I've always imagined Hallowed Be Thy Name to be set in a jail in either the 1700s or 1800s England, but due to the "at 5 O'clock they take me to the gallows pole" line I now imagine the song is set in the US during the 20th century. The reasoning..hangings during the Industrial Revolution in England took place during the day in front of mass crowds to showcase the punishment of criminals whereas US hangings/executions still take place before dawn - ie 5AM. This discovery changes my whole interpretation of the song...it was oldie worldie Englandie but now I hear it as an American guy in an orange onesie preparing himself to meet his maker as the Sun rises on his final day on earth.
I had always thought this was about The Stranger by Albert Camus. It's one of my favorite books and I see too many parallels for it to be a coincidence. Not in the mood to post a full analysis at the moment, but certain lyrics give it away.
"When the priest comes to read me the last rites
Take a look through the bars at the last sights
Of a world that has gone very wrong for me"
The Stranger has the exact same setting, of a man condemned to the gallows. A priest comes and tries to reform his "sociopathic" ways but is thrown out of the cell as Meursault suddenly feels empowered. He opens himself up to the "general indifference of the world" and smells the flowers outside. He had never truly lived up to this point, and he needs neither God nor anyone else.
"Life is just a strange illusion"
Camus' views on the absurdity of existence are eloquently portrayed in this line. Through the end, Meaursault is near not sorry, for his death is the most authentic and personal experience of his life no one can take away from him.
I could write more, but at a later time. BTW, 20/10.
This song is pure magic.
Everything about this song is epic, from the atmospheric intro, to the smooth guitar riffs, to the outstanding vocals and the fantastic lyrics, great solos and superb ending.
This song really paints a picture in your head which I find so important for great songs. This was the first Maiden I really loved and it still give my chills everytime.
Without hesitation my favourite song on the first three albums and it therefore deserves my first;
Steve stole part of this song, uncredited. And we don't care, because Hallowed. But whenever Steve steals songs elsewhere, people make a huge deal about it (don't believe me? Wait till we get to The Nomad).