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!