Iron Maiden – Hallowed Be Thy Name – The Number Of The Beast Classic Album
Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast is widely considered a cornerstone of heavy metal. At the time of its release in 1982, the record was distinctive to anything else available, which surrounded a band on the verge of breaking America with a spark.
The thing that made Iron Maiden stand out was that they had a vision and stuck to what they believed in. This was their first album with vocalist Bruce Dickinson, which really broadened the band’s song writing possibilities; the addition of Dickinson took the band to a place where metal had never quite been before. Fans loved his voice, his stage presence and the way he connected with the audience – all supported by the band’s ability to create moods and imagery with each song during their live sets.
Written by bassist Steve Harris, the dramatic narrative of Hallowed Be Thy Name tells the story of a prisoner facing execution and features some of the band’s most philosophical lyrics – the condemned man struggles to understand why he’s scared because he believes his soul is immortal. Harris has stated he imagined himself in the situation whilst writing the song and questioned the possibility of your faith deserting you at the time you needed it the most. Dickinson sings the lyrics with real power and emotion and has stated that performing the track live is like “narrating a movie to the audience”.
With two exceptions, Hallowed Be Thy Name has appeared in all of Iron Maiden’s setlists since The Number of the Beast was released. Featuring Iron Maiden’s trademark twin guitars, the track’s moody atmosphere makes for an epic closing track. Intertwined with bass harmonics, the two guitars are tracked on the studio version to give a fuller width. One of their signature songs, Hallowed Be Thy Name is not only a crowd favourite, but one of the bands’ favourite to play. Iron Maiden have placed this song in all positions on their setlists – beginning, middle, end and encore. And they’ve discovered it works every time.
Despite the controversial nature of the album in the US, due to the religious references in its artwork and the title track’s lyrics, The Number of the Beast achieved critical and commercial success. It was the record of the time – interest in metal was building and this was the album that captivated everybody. The Number of the Beast is not a complicated album, but it’s just right. Every song has something about it which works, joining together melodic and heavy elements with big choruses – which was completely new at the time.
The Number of the Beast propelled Iron Maiden from leaders of the new wave of British heavy metal to an international rock act. With The Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden showed the world what heavy metal was all about.
Watch ‘Iron Maiden: The Number of the Beast – Classic Album Documentary’ on Amazon Prime here.