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Monday, April 25, 2011

Iron Maiden: 30 Years Since The Release of "Killers"

"Killers" is the second album by Iron Maiden released in 1981 in. The album was to be their first with guitarist Adrian Smith, who replaced Dennis Stratton (guitar on "Women In Uniform") and their last with vocalist Paul Di´Anno who was sacked after problems with his stage performance arose due to his alcohol and cocaine use. This was also the first Iron Maiden album made with veteran producer Martin Birch, who went on to produce their next eight albums before retiring after "Fear of the Dark" in 1992.
Killers is the only Iron Maiden album to feature two instrumentals and was written almost exclusively by Steve Harris, with only minor assistance from the rest of the band (the title track and "Twilight Zone" being the only other songs to receive additional writing credits). Each song, with the exception of "Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "Prodigal Son," had been written in the years prior to the recording of their debut album, although none were recorded professionally until the "Killers" sessions, apart from "Wrathchild" (an early version featured on the"Metal for Muthas" compilation).
The Killer World Tour was the tour in support of the album and would feature the band's earliest shows in the US, in support of Judas Priest.
There's a fair bit of unity in the lyrical themes, with a parade of murderers, fugitives, and characters otherwise torn from their roots. "Murders in the Rue Morgue" is a first-person retelling of the Poe short story, and the title track is another highlight, with Paul Di´Anno turning in an especially menacing performance. The single "Purgatory" has a catchy singalong chorus and a tempo worthy of Motörhead, while "Twilight Zone" (not included on the U.K. issue, but added to subsequent releases) scraped the bottom of the British charts. 
And it is one badass album. Where later Maiden efforts howl at you through the winds of history, the realms of the imagination or the shimmering neon streets of the future, "Killers" takes you from the shadows of the back alley of the sprawling 80s metropolis, lunging at you with a rusted cleaver, cackling with glee. That's not to infer that it ignores the band's old penchant for lyrics based in science fiction, horror and history. But compared to an album "Somewhere in Time", "Killers" is just low down, dirty and mean, without totally lacking that melodic kick in the pants that made this band a household name on planet Earth. I can't blame Di'Anno for any of the drug problems he may have succumbed to while helping to conceive or tour off this album, because I honestly feel like taking a snort or two myself and tracing it with a draft of something dark and lethal proof when I listen to these songs.

Iron Maiden - Another Life (Live at the Ruskin... by Hyperbolic778

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