The Ides of March -- 9
Wrathchild -- 9
Murders in the Rue Morgue – 10
Another Life -- 7
Genghis Khan -- 8
Innocent Exile -- 7
Killers -- 8
Prodigal Son -- 7
Purgatory -- 7
Twilight Zone -- 10
Drifter – 8
Just went through this myself on the individual track threads.
The Ides Of March - 6/10 >
Wrathchild - 8/10 >
Murders In The Rue Morgue - 7/10 >
Another Life - 7/10 >
Genghis Khan - 6/10 >
Innocent Exile - 6/10 >
Killers - 7/10 >
Twilight Zone - 7/10 >
Prodigal Son - 8/10 >
Purgatory - 7/10 >
Drifter - 6/10 >
A noticeable step up from the debut album in every way, and the presence of Adrian Smith makes a large and immediate difference here. Some of these songs still have some more generic rock elements to them, and Paul's voice has some clear limitations, but the Maiden sound is starting to emerge for real on this record.
There are a couple of great songs here and several good ones, and there aren't any clunkers. Good stuff.
Weird album. The highlights are awesome and showcase a step up for the band.... but the low points are some of the worst the band has ever done. I enjoyed this listen more than usual but I don't expect this to rise one bit.
Killers - for me, this is the worst Maiden album, but no one can re-create the sound/vibe of that album ! Some says that the style of the first 2 albums is punk rock, but for me the style is: ''Maiden style'', unmatched by any band !
The Ides Of March - 9/10
Wrathchild - 10/10
Murders In The Rue Morgue - 8/10
Another Life - 6/10
Genghis Khan - 7/10
Innocent Exile - 5/10
Killers - 9/10
Prodigal Son - 4/10
Purgatory - 9/10
Drifter - 7/10 ---------------------------------------------- Average album score: 7,40
I'm being the anarchist mold-breaker again since I'm writing this before actually scoring individual songs in their respective topics.
But yeah, Killers. A couple of fun facts to get things started:
Killers was the first Iron Maiden album I actually owned and listened from thorought. Funny enough, it didn't really "stick with me" and never got that much of special personal value for me over the years - at least not as much as you'd probably expect one's first Maiden record to have. I haven't listened it in it's entirety that much after discovering other albums and while I've always enjoyed some of it's best songs very, very much, I also tend to listen live versions with Bruce whenever possible.
So, after giving Killers a couple of appropriate spins during the past few days and having somewhat interesting history with the album, I guess it's also appropriate to write here. Here's a litte song-by-song view for starters:
The Ides of March
A good, threatening yet very groovy instrumental intro. I wouldn't mind if they used it with Murders in the Rue Morgue to open a concert one more time. Not that much to say about it. If I gave it it's own score, I guess it would be 9, since it's not exactly anything that'd blow you away, but it does what it's supposed to do perfectly.
One of the big live numbers over the years. Wrathchild has fallen into rather unfortunate zone after being the too-easy-last-minute-addition just a tad bit too often. While it arguably could have been given a rest one or two times in the past sets, it does not take anything away from the original recording. Extremely punchy. A solid 9, I guess; maybe even 10, depends on how you look at it. I mean, it does what it does with absolute perfection, but it's kinda down to the moment and personal taste if you really, really love this kind of Maiden. Personally, I like it quite a lot, but it's not quite that kind of Maiden I love the most. Therefore, I guess 9 it is then.
Murders in the Rue Morgue
The slow build-up in the intro is very nice, but it's also just a bit strange right after Wrathchild. Overall, I think that the running order (even if you look at it with vinyl sides in mind) of the songs on this album isn't the most fitting, but on the other hand, I love how the album takes you from one place to another all the time; unlike some of the later albums, it does not even try to linger in certain "places" or atmospheres, it just goes all over the place. And yes, Murders in the Rue Morgue is brilliant. Another 9, I think?
While not the most interesting song, it definitely has a nice groove and vibe in it. It just fails to be anything you'd exactly want to hear time and again and it does have this little "leftover" or "filler" feel in it. That being said, it's a fun song on it's own right. The vocals are actually pretty cool in this one, but the problem is that the song doesn't really go anywhere after the first round, it's just repeats itself another time without really growing. 5-6, maybe?
I never really cared for this one too much. But then again, I never gave it that much of a chance either. And now when I actually did, I find it very solid, enjoyable instrumental. I like it! 7-8?
I like how this one starts off and there's, again, nice groove and some appropriate roughness in it. Again, a common theme with this album, it's an interesting and very good song indeed, but there's not necessarily enough to get you hooked from time to time. That being said, something always intrigues me back to ponder about this one...
While previous two, especially the later one, were by no means bad songs, they're also more or less... not quite there either. But this one is. It's a great, aggressive yet very melodic piece that gets you hooked right from the start. A very efficient live number that could have made a couple of more visits in their sets over the years - alas it has not though... Mind you, I have a feeling that they might actually give Killers one last go in one of the future sets, if there's some appropriate setlist spot available. I like the album version, but for me the Beast Over Hammersmith is the definite version of the song, with Bruce giving the song a very appropriate treatment. I really like his Edhuntour takes on it as well and it's a sort of a missed opportunity not to include this instead of some other oldie to pretty much any setlist since then. Again, I'm not demanding every sinle forgotten gem to be featured in every set, but it's one of those little things that might have made some of the more uninspired sets a bit more interesting. Just pointing it out. Anyway, I really like this one. A very solid 9, perhaps?
This one does not always get that much love, but I like it. Again, it's nothing I'd dream to be played live or anything I find myself listening to often, but the semi-acoustic arrangement and some of the melodies do work very well. The chorus is a nice one too. Maybe even 8?
This was one of my favourites from very beginning. Maiden has released tons of songs afterwards that I'd rank above this one, but it really doesn't take any glory away from it. Everything works well, even if it's not the most spectacular piece around. What I find worth pointing out is that the song does not lose it's grip; it does not stop and not a single section gets any extra repeat. That unrelenting grip is actually perhaps the most valuable quality of the song, especially if you compare it to some of the very recent ones - as much as I indeed love most of them. If Purgatory was made in, say, 1998 or 2010, I guess every single harmony and section, especially during the instrumental breaks, would have a couple of (perhaps completely needless?) repeats. If you exclude a couple of most pointless repeats there is, most of the have some sort of "narrative" function, so I'm not saying it's always an issue, but it's still noticeable how different things were back in the day... Anyway, Purgatory is somewhere around 8-9, I guess?
Ah, the song that was some sort of a setlist staple back in the day and made that little comeback in 2005. While I can kinda figure out why, it's also easy to understand why Sanctuary and Running Free lingered on to next decades and this one didn't. There's some nice changes and overall it's not that worthless of a song, but I also feel - sorry everyone who really loves it - that it's probably their most anticlimactic and lackluster album closer... I know that one shouldn't meddle with running orders already set in stone decades ago, but I feel that switching this one and, say, Innocent Exile, Another Life or some other tune around wouldn't have been a bad idea either. Anyway, it's definitely a fun song, but not exactly a strongest output of early Maiden and therefore it has fallen in the shadows over the years. Not because it's necessarily that weak of a song, but simply because there's an insane amount of more interesting stuff to go with instead. Again, apologies to everyone in love with Drifter and it's admittedly fun and chill-out vibe, but it's a... 5? 6? 6½ at the most?
I really like Twilight Zone quite a lot - it's another very early favourite of mine; again, it's may not be anything I'd miss that much, but if I look at it with rest of the bunch, it's definitely a strong number and including it on the album wouldn't have been a bad move either.
Thoughts about the album in general:
Killers starts off great and despite songs like Another Life and Drifter being on the weaker side, it has a nice, surprising and energetic flow in it. Another Life is saved by it's position; it works rather well as a part of the strong opening bunch and keeps the energy going, while Genghis Khan and Innocent Exile are both quality numbers on their own right. Side II opens up very well, I like the contrast between Killers and Prodigal Son. The first mentioned is a true classic and gorgeously outrageous representation of the raw, yet also relatively sophisticated power of early Maiden and the latter is a good number too, even if a bit more forgettable than an average Maiden song from the 80's. I like the sound of it. Purgatory is a return to the more aggressive form, which also underlines the even too laid-back vibe of the album closer, which in my opinion does not quite work that well, but there you go... As I've already stated, I like how Killers is all over the place. It's the quality that makes it feel like it's consisting of leftover songs but it's also the quality that makes it so exciting. Every time you return to it, you can find something and experience certain songs in a different way, regardless if better or worse than the last time. There's certain level of the mentioned outrageous, aggressive and rough edge of the very early Maiden - this time combined with good production, which makes Killers very intriguing package. In all of it's imperfection, it's a very interesting one and while it contains some of the arguably weakest songs Maiden came up with during the 80's, it's also a very essential record when it comes to the evolution of the familiar Iron Maiden sound and it was important to get some of their earlier tunes, such as Wratchild and Purgatory (previously "Floating", as most if not all of you know) a proper treatment before moving to something much bigger that would be waiting just before the doorstep...
A good, solid, interesting, very imperfect yet pretty polished record. Not too much more, if nothing less either. Worth giving a spin or two and there's some true classics on it.
Oh well, since I already gave TNOTB (sort of) a score, I might just as well score this one as well... So, according to somewhat loose ratings above, it's around 7-8... So 7,5 maybe?
1. The Ides of March 10
2. Wrathchild 10
3. Murders in the Rue Morgue 9
4. Another Life 9
5. Genghis Khan 9,5
6. Innocent Exile 10
7. Killers 10
8. Prodigal son 9,5
9. Purgatory 9
10. Twilight zone 9
11. Drifter 10