Killers: individual album judgement by yours truly


Free Man
Back in 1990 there was a review from German (I believe) Metal Hammer for the top important albums of the decade. The most one group would have were 3 albums. Not many groups had such honor though, right out of the bat it was Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Motörhead, maybe Slayer. For Maiden, the magazine selected the first 3 and since the review was highly influential (everybody I knew had read it) Killers gained a holy cow status for the community and for me. Granted, it's a great album, but hey, Piece of Mind & Powerslave were clearly better and could be there in that list instead.
It took me a long time, especially after I joined here, to start seeing its flaws. Of course I still like it very much; a very strong album, pure in-your-face adrenaline at times combined with the first epic moments that would define our lives. And its sound is unique.

Below my verdict taking into consideration the full Maiden catalogue:

The Ides of March - 7
Wrathchild - 9
Murders in the Rue Morgue - 7
Another Life - 5
Genghis Khan - 6
Innocent Exile - 4
Killers - 5
Prodigal Son - 5
Purgatory - 4
Drifter - 3

Average: 5.50

This is a middle tier album and at no11 best in Maiden's catalogue for me, based on individual song polls rankings. Since songs have been ranked against the entire catalogue, anything ≥ 4 is good.

I explain the methodology for my ratings here.
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Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Killers (1981)

The Ides or March - 8/10 >
Wrathchild - 7/10 >
Murders in the Rue Morgue - 8/10 >
Another Life - 6/10 >
Genghis Khan - 8/10 >
Innocent Exile - 6/10 >
Killers - 8/10 >
Prodigal Son - 7/10 >
Purgatory - 4/10 >
Drifter - 3/10 >

Yeah, Killers isn’t a bad album (though a couple of songs come close), it’s just merely okay in the discography of a band that’s consistently great. There are some strong songs here, but they get overshadowed by the weaker ones. Numbers like “Another Life” and “Innocent Exile” feel incomplete, and “Purgatory” and “Drifter” are just straight-up meh. The mix is kind of bad too. Very much an album I don’t come back to if I can help it.

Total: 65%
Weighted: 64%
Since I've mentionned this album as one if not the weakest in their catalogue, why not some explanation about it. I don't consider Killers as a bad album, it's just that compared to Maiden standards and specially compared to their first, this one is just way too generic. Where the first album has a lot of different elements in it, you'll have short rockers (Prowler), songs mixing calm and heavy parts (Remember tomorrow), a "groovy" sing along song (Running Free), one of their best epics with Phantom, a calm and dreamy one (Strange World), most of Killers songs just sound alike. It's like their (or should I say Steve's) songwriting took a few steps back instead of going forward. Songs like Another Life, Innocent Exile sound lifeless and just so generic (yeah I use this word a lot) that any band could have written them. Killers and MitRM have both great intros but then become so repetitive whereas they're under 5 min length!!! And then you have the worst song in their entire catalogue, Drifter, that has to be probably the only one I can never listen to in its entirety...among their whole discography. Yeah it's that bad, this is a third division track, that wouldn't even be good enough for a B-side. Did I mention the..."lyrics"??????

Just for fun here are the grades taking in consideration their whole discography:
The Ides of March -5 (not bad but it's just too short to get an higher grade)
Wrathchild - 8 (the best track no doubt and one of their best short rockers)
Murders in the Rue Morgue - 5 (great intro but then all falls apart in less than one minute)
Another Life - 4 (boring music, boring lyrics)
Genghis Khan - 6 (never been a big fan of instrumentals but this one is quite good)
Innocent Exile - 4 (same as Another Life)
Killers - 5 (MitRM syndrome)
Prodigal Son - 7 (Maiden goes acoustic? Not bad at all even if sometimes it sounds as a total different band but at least something different)
Purgatory - 7 (I can't explain but always loved this one, in just 3 minutes, it has a lot of different things and great melodies)
Drifter - 2 (worst Maiden song ever, enough said)

Average: the bottom of their catalogue for me (yeah I even like Virtual XI more...I said it!)


Priest of the Holy Wristband
Ides of March : 8
Wrathchild : 8
Murders in the Rue Morgue : 8
Another Life : 9
Genghis Khan : 10 (their best instrumental)
Innocent Exile : 4
Killers : 9
Prodigal Son : 10
Purgatory : 10
Drifter : 8

I'm not a big fans of notations. Does it make sense to give the same note to Prodigal Son and Hell on Earth ? No. But giving the first a solid 10, I mean that I enjoy every second of the song. 40 years after listening to it for the fist time, it must tell something about the song quality.