Killers is one of metals classic albums. Musically it could be argued that Iron Maiden Killers is not the finest Iron Maiden album and Iron Maiden have produced a number of metals finest records (Seventh Son, Number of the Beast, A Matter of Life and Death etc) but Killers is different.
You see that Killers is not just a record. There is something a little bit nasty about Iron Maiden Killers. Being miserable or morose in metal is common (a.k.a D minor the saddest of all keys etc) but not many albums are produced that actually have “bite”. Killers bites likes a hungry Pitt Bull, stings like a Wasp in detox, and leaves an after taste like cheap dry cider. You know there are more healthier ways to get pissed, but deep down you also know that you enjoyed it. Iron Maiden Killers is one of metals finest hours, and an essential part of any classic metal collection. It is not opera and it is not prog Rock. Killers is simply pure, raw, high octane heavy metal.
Released in February 1981, Killers is the second album released by Iron Maiden Iron Maiden. The album was the bands first release with lengendary guitarist Adrian Smith, and the last Iron Maiden to feature vocalist Paul Di’Anno. This was also the first Iron Maiden album made with veteran Martin Birch, as producer. Iron Maiden Killers sold over 1.2 million units. Number of the beast 1.9 million and Piece of Mind 1.8 million. Commercially this record was a success but culturally its impact was greater. An album of high tempo tracks, fantastically energetic natural guitar heavy metal guitars from messers Murray and Smith, the Bass Guitar of Steve Harris, one of the finest recorded examples of drumming ever from the late great Clive Burr http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clive_Burr and a peerless metal vocal performance from Paul Di’Anno.
The album starts with an instrumental. A show opener, the Ides of March. Choreographed by the military marching tempo of Clive Burrs drumming. A finer heavy metal instrumental has never been produced. Metallica’s Orion is special but the Ides of March got there first. This track finishes and the opening bass riff of Wrathchild follows. This is still a track that Maiden play live occasionally. Di’Anno sings “Born into a scene of angriness and greed” almost through gritted teeth. The vocal is closer to a growl than a sing-along. The anger in Di’Anno’s voice can be felt. This is not just music it is emotion.
The third track on the album is Murders in the Rue Morgue. Another Maiden classic. Slow melodic guitars followed by a monster of a drum intro and a fast pacing headbanging epic.. Like the TGF express train” Running from the Gendarmes”, “Down the south to Italy”, a song of power, pace and melody. Another Life follows. Again a fast track, upbeat but with an interesting lyrically style. The same verse about suicide sang three times. Ghengis Khan is also an interesting track. The second instrumental but a middle section which can be heard again on the following album on Hallowed Be Thy Name. The final track on this side is Innocent Exile and so side one of Killers ends.
At this point we have had two instrumentals, a song about illegitimacy, one about committing a murder, another about being framed for a murder and a song about suicidal depression. Killers is a dark album set in contemporary times. It is not an album of historically imagery. It is an album that describes the real demons of the 20th centaury, and not fictional devils created to scare children. There is a theme to this record and the theme is “mean”. Iron Maiden came back to this type of darker imagery on the X-Factor released in 1995 and Maiden do it well.
Side two continues with the dark aggression and opens with Killers, and then Prodigal Son. A semi acoustic track. Purgatory is the third track on this side and the record finishes with Drifter. One of my all time favourite Maiden Tracks . At times an almost punk (bollocks to you) rebellion can be heard in some of the tracks on this album Britain in 1981 was a country that faced significant challenges and perhaps this has had an influence on the band.
After Killers Iron Maiden released Number of the Beast and went on to become superstars. No doubt without Bruce Dickinson this would probably not have happened and Iron Maiden post Killers were musically a more ambitious and accomplished act. However it is Killers that set the scene for the triumphs of later years. Iron Maidens Killers was the pinnacle of the NWOBHM, and it is with this release that Maiden left their contemporaries such as Saxon, Samson, Diamond Head, Girlschool and even Judas Priest behind.
Who really know what the real reasons were for Paul Di’Anno’s departure from the band but after having cancelled gigs (supposedly due to Di’Anno’s inability to perform which had resulted from cocaine abuse and heavy drinking) a replacement was sought. This replacement was of course Bruce Dickinson. And although Paul Di’annos post Iron Maiden career has been colourful and relatively successful with a number of other bands, he has had his challenges including a conviction for benefit fraud. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1365334/Ex-Iron-Maiden-singer-Paul-DiAnno-52-jailed-45k-benefits-swindle.html/ .
However Paul Di’Anno remains one of metals great vocalists and the video link below is testimony to just how good Iron Maiden were live during his tenure on the mike.
Paul is still performing and touring
After Killers, Maiden were the biggest metal band in the UK and 33 years later they still are the biggest metal band in the UK and probably in the top three globally, but without Paul Di’Anno, and without Killers would this have been possible? Probably not.
Paul Di’Annos legacy is Iron Maiden. Killers’ legacy was the rebirth of British Heavy Metal. Iron Maiden Killers at Find My Band. If you don’t own it, pay for it and download it. It is a true classic.
“I’m gonna get my song till I can’t go on, I’m gonna keep on roaming gonna sing my song”