Iron Maiden Avoided the Sophomore Slump with ‘Killers’ | Album Review

If you haven’t read my review for Iron Maiden’s debut album, feel free to check it out! For now, we are moving onto the band’s second album, Killers (1981). It marked the first album with guitarist Adrian Smith, who replaced Dennis Stratton, and the last with vocalist Paul Di’Anno. Killers was also the first Maiden record produced by Martin Birch. The band has a lot of cool album covers, and Killers is one of my favorites. Will all that said, let’s get on with the music!

The instrumental “The Ides of March” builds suspense before transitioning into “Wrathchild.” Steve Harris’ bass is crucial as he is the driving force behind this track; the guitars and drums back him up, while Di’Anno sings every word like a boss! It’s hard to top “Wrathchild,” but “Murders in the Rue Morgue” comes close. It’s got the orchestrated guitar parts, a fine bass line, and raw vocals from a guy that looks like he could kick your a** any day!

Next up was the exhilarating “Another Life;” though there aren’t many lyrics, you can’t deny the energy on this track. “Genghis Khan” is an instrumental and all of the parts from the guitars, bass, and drums were well-constructed that no one did the same thing consistently, which was nice. “Innocent Exile” screams heavy metal with a punk vibe. A galloping hi-hat, a noticeable bass riff, and moody guitar parts set the tone for the title track. The killer is on the loose and he’s not messing around as “He walks through the subway / His eyes burn a hole through your back / A footstep behind you / He lunges prepared for attack.” 

“Prodigal Son” features melodic acoustic guitars and is one of the more relaxed tracks on the album. “Purgatory” is fast-paced and aggressive, and Clive Burr effortlessly keeps time, while Harris manages to make his bass heard. “Twilight Zone” is short, but effective. Oddly enough, it’s not listed on the back cover of my album copy. “Drifter” is another fast-paced and aggressive track where the guitars blend in well together. Though I’m not happy about the lyrics repeating themselves, I enjoyed the track because of the band’s musicianship. Their lyrics would get better overtime anyways.

Compared to the band’s debut album, I like Killers a lot better because Di’Anno’s vocals didn’t sound as monotone as he tried to extend his range and test out his high notes. Smith and Dave Murray were in sync with their guitar harmonies, and Harris delivered thriving bass riffs. Though I found some of the lyrics lazy, instrumentally I thought the songs were well executed. I tend to like songs better when I don’t read the lyrics. Since this is the last studio album with Di’Anno, you can say that this is Maiden’s last punk album as their style would shift quite a bit on the following albums. Overall, I’d give Killers 4.5 out of 5 stars.

What is your favorite song from Iron Maiden’s Killers? Let me know in the comments below!

Take care and see ya real soon!



47 thoughts on “Iron Maiden Avoided the Sophomore Slump with ‘Killers’ | Album Review

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    1. Oh it’s great! I had to lighten up when reviewing this record though because as mentioned in the review, the lyrics are lazy, but I tried to look at the songs with a different perspective and focus on the feel instead.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooof, I think it’s their very worst with some bad lyrics and scant hooks. “Nail that Fokker, kill that son, gonna blow your guts out with my gun.” Just grade school level songs.


    1. Thanks so much Aaron! I was originally going to title it, “Iron Maiden’s ‘Killers’ is a Well Executed Record,” but I wanted something more eye-catching, so I changed it to the current title. Killers is my favorite Maiden record with Di’Anno, and that album cover is awesome!


      1. Thanks so much. I wouldn’t say I have a knack for it, but hey, who wants to read an article with a boring title?

        I almost titled it ‘Paul Di’Anno Left Maiden With a Bang,’ but I didn’t want to drag too much attention to that.


  1. While there are better Maiden albums further down the line, “Killers” provided a great foundation on which to build on. To answer your question, my favourite song from this album is “Prodigal Son.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah true, Maiden would put out better records overtime and I do prefer Dickinson as their singer to be honest. “Prodigal Son” is a great choice! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 80smetalman!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sammy Hagar is a better singer than DLR, but I’d rather listen to every David Lee Roth Van Halen album than a Sammy one, and I know I’m not alone.

        Paul has that edge! The rasp, the vitriol. Bruce Bruce is the man, but Paul was no slouch and fit his albums perfectly. Bruce doesn’t sound as good singing most of Paul’s stuff, but he does sound way better singing any of Blaze’s stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah I know you’re not alone. I don’t even like DLR, but I can’t think of Van Halen without him because he’s part of the classic lineup.

        I think Bruce does a good rendition of “Wrathchild,” but I get what you’re saying. The Bruce songs are different from the Paul songs because both singers have different voices. Bruce is more operatic, while Paul is more punk rock.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well I’m sure Nicko is a nice human being that learned from his mistakes, just like Phil Rudd from AC/DC. Don’t you dare try to point out the things he’s done cause I know already!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I haven’t ruined Def Leppard for you yet. I’m not gonna tell you Rick Allen was found guilty of spousal abuse in the ’90s. Whoops!

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Ha, jokes on you! I knew about that when I searched him up two years ago! BAM!!! IN YOUR FACE!!!

        Rick is partially the reason why I stopped drinking (Steve was mainly the reason, but he played a part in it as well).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This album blew me away when I first heard it. I’ve gone just a tad cold on it but I still like it very much. Purgatory is easily my favourite song on it.

    Liked by 2 people

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