Iron Maiden - Killers (Cover Artwork)

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden: KillersKillers (1981)
EMI Group

Reviewer Rating: 3

Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Listening to Iron Maiden without Bruce Dickinson on the mic is like listening to an Iron Maiden cover band. I'm sure that assessment doesn't sit well with original frontman Paul Di'Anno ('90s stand-in Blayze Bayley would probably agree though), but it's Dickinson's operating wail that complete Maide.
iTunes StoreAmazon

Listening to Iron Maiden without Bruce Dickinson on the mic is like listening to an Iron Maiden cover band. I'm sure that assessment doesn't sit well with original frontman Paul Di'Anno ('90s stand-in Blayze Bayley would probably agree though), but it's Dickinson's operating wail that complete Maiden's sound. Still, though, for diehards, Di'Anno's two records with the band make for an interesting listen. Killers, Iron Maiden's second album, and Di'Anno's last with the band before he was fired for underperforming, is arguably the best Iron Maiden album that doesn't involve Dickinson.

Musically, this record shreds just as well as the better known Maiden records. Bassist Steve Harris composed most of the music, and the first half of the album just keeps upping the ante. "The Ides of March" is a perfect instrumental opener, gradually adding in bigger and bigger guitar flourishes to drive crowds crazy. "Wrathchild" has a driving bassline and a searing guitar hook to propel it. All of these songs have kick ass guitar solos.

But there's something holding back these songs, and it's Di'Anno. His typical singing style is a little bit lower than Dickinson's. He has more of a snarling hard rock style, and it doesn't quite suit the musical pyrotechnics going on around him. When he goes for a higher, more operatic approach, a la Judas Priest, it comes off as forced and underwhelming. The songs are at their least entertaining whenever he takes the mic, both lyrically and vocally.

Granted, the band was still defining its sound elsewhere as well. Most of the tracks were written during the band's formative years, with the exception of "Prodigal Son" and "Murders in the Rue Morgue," and it kind of shows. "Genghis Khan," for example, is more bluesy hard rock than metal, and while it boasts a sweet guitar solo near the end, the verses don't have the same driving energy heard later on, say, Powerslave. In hindsight, Killers feels like a trial run for what Iron Maiden would become.

Still, though, Iron Maiden had decent chart success during the Di'Anno years, so firing the lead singer was still a little bit of a gamble. After all, by this point the band had already had successful tours with Judas Priest and Kiss. Luckily, they already had a replacement in place: Bruce Dickinson. Any doubts that Dickinson was a better fit for the band were quickly allayed by Iron Maiden's very next album: The Number of the Beast.


People who liked this also liked:
Into It. Over It. - 52 WeeksSpraynard - FuntitledSnowing - I Could Do Whatever I Want If I WantedSnowing - Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit [7 inch]Pulling Teeth - Funerary [12-inch]The Ergs! - Thrash Compactor [7-inch]The Flaming Tsunamis - Fear EverythingStrike Anywhere - Iron FrontPolar Bear Club - The Redder, The BetterThe Ergs! - Dorkrockcorkrod

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
givemeamuseumandillfillit (April 12, 2012)

Only one easier to imitate has to be Danzig.

DAA DAAA.... DAAUUUiuiu and you can sing anything from the first four records.

givemeamuseumandillfillit (April 12, 2012)

If anything, isn't it Dickinson that started holding them back? He sounds the same on every track he has ever recorded.

At a karaoke bar in Japan, I once did 11 Maiden songs in a row, doing pretty much one 5 second loop of sound over and over while pulling a powerfist. I don't think anyone ever noticed.

NAAAAA!! NAauu nauu NAAAA! or, if it's a slower song, just less caps and more u's. a few "vbvbvbvbv"s here and there too.

eatdogs (April 11, 2012)

Bring ya daughta ta da slaughtaaaaa!!

liabungalo (April 10, 2012)

This is a poor review of a legendary album with an unfair rating. Killers should not be compared to anything Dickinson did with the band because he WAS NOT IN THE BAND YET. He was making shitty music with Samson in dank, smelly pubs. Killers is a legendary album made by a band that was doing things no one was doing at the time, except maybe Priest. Smith and Murray pretty much invented the dual-guitar leads with this album, and songs like Wraithchild and Killers are two of the best in the Maiden catalog. DiAnno was a punk singer fronting a metal band, because that's what was trendy at the time. He did his best, and produced two albums that are changed the face of metal. While I personally prefer the rawness of the band's debut, Killers isn't far behind, and both records laid the perfect foundation for Dickinson to walk into and take them to another level. Giving this album three stars is like giving Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap three stars because Bon Scott wasn't near the vocalist that Brian Johnson is.

misterspike (April 10, 2012)

John, I will come to your house, and fight in you in yr. front yard. Dickinson > DiAnno

DrGunn (April 10, 2012)

i love dickinson and all, but writing off di'anno is crazy. killers is a bit uneven, but the self-titled album can easily stand with number of the beast and powerslave. i love how di'anno can switch between his gruffer "punk" voice and the more operatic voice he uses on the slower jams. killers is solid, but definitely feels a bit thrown together after their previous album. but the title track, wrath child and murders in the rue morgue will make any best of iron maiden mix i put together.

killtaker (April 10, 2012)

What is an "operating wail"? Oh yeah...Dickinson is not only the best singer ever in Maiden but one of the best in any metal band. So unique.

johngentile (April 10, 2012)

I'm afraid that I must create dissension in the punknews ranks. Dianno > Dickinson.

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson


Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go